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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Does Money Buy You Happiness or Does Happiness Get You Money?

You don’t need a financial expert to start you on the road to wealth. All you need is a pen, paper, and a vision. The following are three ways to get the money whether it’s before happiness or after:

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According to Ben Feder, Author and President of International Partnerships at Tencent Games, it turns out that happiness is a learnable skill, and it’s something you can practice. He recently stated, “By being mindful of our thoughts and deliberately turning them around to be more positive and optimistic, we can, over time, create new neural pathways so that our overall disposition is happier.” This is something that I’ve always believed; as the saying goes, Life is what you make it. But if happiness is a learnable skill, can you learn to be happy without money? Is it even possible to be happy if you don’t have money? Or can your happiness lead you to getting money? All great questions but my belief and experience tells me that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Most millionaires don’t become wealthy by accident, and billionaires get this status on purpose. While millions of people play some form of the lottery every single day more lose than they win. And those who win tend to end up in the same position they started from (if not worse) due to the lack of financial planning. You don’t need a financial expert to start you on the road to wealth. All you need is a pen, paper, and a vision. The following are three ways to get the money whether it’s before happiness or after:

Survey Your Current Situation. Take stock of your current financial status. What is your current salary and income? List your expenses and financial responsibilities. Jot down all of your bank accounts and the balance for each. Also, include your spending habits and what you do for entertainment.

Consider Your Aim. Where do you want to be in six months, one year, three years and then five more. A key is envisioning the lifestyle you’d like to have and then match it with how much it would cost. If you see yourself going to Paris next summer, how much will your flight and lodging expenses be? Check out the price of food and shopping.

Discover the Steps to Get There. Based on your current situation and desired goals figure out the steps needed to get you there. If you want to have 10,000 dollars in savings, how much do you need to save on a monthly basis to get you there? Leave room for unexpected money to flow into your life too. The important thing is you are committing to experience your ideal life.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is a speaker, bestselling author, personal finance expert, and business consultant. Ash has established himself as a thought leader and trusted voice with Corporate America, Colleges, Churches, and Community based organizations. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money.

Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Do What You Love for Free – Here’s Why

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This is ParadigmMoney.Com, right? So, speaking about a paradigm shift should come as no surprise. In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field. When speaking about money, most believe it is something you work for and not something that works for you. In all truth, the one percenters understand this concept quite well. In order, to wake up and do what you love, you too must shift your thoughts when it comes to finances.

Doing what you love for free allows you to create freely. You can come up with disruptive, out of this world, never seen before creations that will rock this planet. Take Elon Musk from South Africa, founder of X.com which went on to become PayPal and sold to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX which designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. You may say, of course, he can do this, he is a billionaire and co-founder of Tesla.

Not true. PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX are all products of Musk doing what he loved. As a child, he was an avid reader and taught himself computer programming leading to the creation of X.com. He dropped out of college to start a company with his brother and here’s what he had to say about that PayPal deal… “My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.” Elon Musk’s current net worth is estimated to be at about $13.3 billion. No bad at all.

The reality of the matter is the less you are attached to money the more money flows to you. Pay more attention to creating things that move the culture forward. Starting at doing what you love with ultimately position you for financial success and happiness.

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

How Much Does College Cost?

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How much does college cost these days? If you’re preparing to go to college and will need to find a way to finance your own education, this is one of the first steps to figure out.  Then you’ll want to find out all of your options and create a plan. Here’s a quick breakdown on the typical cost of college. (more…)

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

My Biggest Financial Mistake

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Happy Financial Literacy Month…the month where we shine a spotlight on financial education and the importance it plays in our lives. I talked before about my financial bounceback and received a few messages from readers about how that story showed them that anyone can have financial hardships.

Now it’s time to be even more transparent. To kick off Financial Literacy Month, I want to share my biggest financial mistake to date in hopes to further inspire people.

Whenever I want to accomplish something, I start with a plan and follow it no matter what. Some people called it stubbornness, but I like to call it persistence. One day, my persistence bit me in the ass-et, causing all kinds of grief and hardship. Having a plan can be great, until it’s not.

At one point in my life, I decided to leave a great-paying job to become a full-time entrepreneur. I was on a quest to follow my dreams. I knew the pitfalls and risks that came with my decision, but I felt like I was immune because, well it was my calling. Within a few months of taking the leap, I fell behind on my mortgage and almost lost my home.

Letters from the bank — and ultimately, their lawyers — came pouring in. In no time, my family was facing foreclosure. This was the first time anything of this magnitude had ever happened to me. I didn’t know where to start or what to do.

My family and I braced ourselves for what seemed like the inevitable: we packed our bags with nowhere to go. Just when I thought all hope was lost, I learned about less extreme ways of handling and resolving missed mortgage payments.

One option was a short sale. I could sell my home for less than I owed on the mortgage, if my lender would approve the transaction. The outstanding balance would then be forgiven. Another option was a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This would allow me to voluntarily give up my rights to the property instead of going through the stressful and costly legal foreclosure process.

Ultimately, I didn’t have to do either because I found one more option. At the time there was a federal government program called the Making Home Affordable Program which helped homeowners avoid foreclosure. I was able to do a loan modification where my lender changed the terms of my loan to allow me to make lower payments so my family could stay put. It made staying in our home a reality.

The loan modification began with a three-month trial period. After I successfully made the first three payments on time, the modification became permanent. While that was great news, the delinquent payments remained a blemish on my credit report. However, time does heal all. As I continue to make on-time payments toward my mortgage, the delinquencies will eventually fall off. Lesson learned. The next time I follow a dream, I’ll do it a lot more carefully.

Now that I put all my skeletons on the table, what is your biggest financial mistake? Use the comments below to tell us about your biggest financial mistake, what you learned from it and how you overcame it.

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