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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Disconnecting the Money Dots: How to Keep Your Money Honest

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During the 2009 American Music Awards, Jay Z won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist for his song “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys. During the end of his now infamous acceptance speech, he uttered six simple but powerful words. “Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.” When it comes to properly managing your finances, you should ALWAYS keep these six words in mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat with someone who starts painting a picture with their words that the numbers can’t confirm. And guess who I will believe? You guessed it…the numbers! With that said, I want to give you a few tips on how to keep yourself and your money honest, provide you with some tools to stay financially empowered and become the best you yet!

1. Create a Budget You Can Stick To

A budget is the best tool you can use to guarantee your financial success. It serves as your roadmap to navigate you towards your desired goal in a timely manner. But if you don’t follow it, what’s the point? Contrary to popular belief, a budget doesn’t limit the amount of money you can spend but provides direction based on what you tell it to do. Instead of creating a budget that looks good on paper (or your mobile device), focus on one that you will realistically follow. If you know you will spend a certain amount on dining out, let your budget reflect that. It’s better to be self-aware than to lie to yourself because eventually, you will begin to believe the lie.

2. Create Affirmations

Affirmations are a great way to achieve any goal. They keep your mind’s eye focused on what is most important and transport those ideas to your subconscious. Put them in your smartphone as an alarm in the morning so that as you begin your day, you are reminded what your goals are. For example, if you have a financial goal of saving $5,000 this year to invest, your affirmation could be, “I am so happy that I have saved $5,000. I will use and spend this money wisely to grow my net worth.” This will help remove any temptation to drift your spending in a different direction.

3. Limit Your Access

Many people falter on their budgets because they have too much access to their money. Separate your money into a billing account, a savings account, and a spending account. Set up your expenses to be paid through your bill account. Automatically deposit any funds into your savings account. Any money you have left over should go into your spending account. Using this method removes any temptation you may have to use the money for other purposes. This will keep your budget intact and allow your money to be honest!

4. Track Your Spending

People who are not honest with their money never know the cause of the “money leak” sinking their financial boat. Usually, small, unplanned expenses do the most damage. When you consistently track your spending, you are creating a mechanism that holds you and every dollar accountable. As you spend and subsequently track your spending, it’s easier to pinpoint and stop unnecessary spending.

5. Find an Accountability Partner

Lastly, you can’t lie if there is someone there to call you on it. Sometimes, holding yourself accountable requires some reinforcement. An accountability partner is a powerful tool to effectively manage your money. Creating a system that allows you to have periodic check-ins on your budget can go a long way. Whether it’s a friend, a significant other, a financial coach, or co-worker, align yourself with someone who can help you reach your goal.

 

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

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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