Money is the Root of All Evil? Bullshit.

11 Feb

Whether the thought is conscious or not, we like to believe that those raking in the dough stomped on a hoard of unsuspecting people to reach that level of success. Why? Because then we can feel better about the lack of money in our own lives – as if struggling to get by says something about our own moral fiber.

NEWS FLASH: Money is not evil and entertaining that belief is like saying “no” to our own chance at living abundantly.

If, while having a conversation with a friend you said, “You are a jerk and I don’t believe in anything you say.” Then in the next breath said, “But hey, do you maybe want to go grab a drink later?” Do you think said friend would take you up on your offer? Probably not. (And they most likely will not be buying you a friendship bracelet any time soon either.)

Quite simply, you can’t be inherently against something while simultaneously bringing it closer to you.

Getting to the root of what you believe about money is essential – especially if you are hoping to attract more of it into your life. Did your parents slap you over the head with that god awful statement, “Money doesn’t grow on trees, ya know”? Besides the fact that money technically does grow on trees (money is made of paper and paper comes from trees, duh), this statement perpetuates that feeling of lack – of there never being enough to go around. And even if you rolled your eyes at your parents when they said it, that feeling may have stuck with you through the years.

Maybe the money was there, but you were taught to think that wanting more was bad – so now, as you ponder asking for a raise, you quickly put yourself in check and try to stop going through the list of all the things that you could do with more money.

Let me say something that might just rock your world: YOU DESERVE TO LIVE ABUNDANTLY IN WHATEVER FASHION YOU CHOOSE.

Yeah, that’s right. You deserve more. Now that doesn’t mean you should live in a constant state of feeling the lack of what you don’t currently have, but you should believe that you deserve the cash flow you desire.

Money is not evil. The actions of certain individuals may be deemed “evil” but there are plenty of people that don’t have two cents to rub together that participate in some pretty questionable activities.

So start thinking of money in that positive, rainbows and butterflies kind of light – and you’ll begin to notice the difference in your wallet.

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Saving a Boatload by Spending Deliberately

11 Feb

There have been times when I sincerely wish I could justify spending $200 on a killer
new pair of “look at how frickin’ sexy my legs are” boots, and another $100 on “damn don’t I have a nice ass?” pair of jeans. And sometimes, I would rather cart these purchases home then give my savings account a boost with a hefty deposit.

Then of course, there are those times that I stop and think about what I would rather have – something that will most likely gather dust in my closet (let’s face it – I’m more of a sweat pants kind of girl), or a way to fund my next adventure? Or maybe a way to pay for a class that can actually help my burgeoning business plans?

As 20somethings we often struggle with split money-handling personalities: one that says we are entitled to buy what we want, and one that says (usually spurred by society, our parents, etc.) saving is the way to go. So which one wins?

First and foremost, deprivation and abundance don’t go hand in hand. In fact, they would rather beat each other up then live harmoniously together. And it makes sense – abundance is the belief that we can have it all, while deprivation is based in the mindset that there just isn’t enough to go around.

So if not making a purchase feels like you are depriving yourself, then by all means, pull out that cash (given you have the money to pay for it).

But, let’s be honest, the vast majority of us spend mindlessly – spurred by emotion or boredom. And even if we experience that euphoria we’ve been craving, it’s short lived and can easily lead to an “oh shit, why did I buy that?” spending hangover.

If we were to stop and think, “what experience could this $50 pay for?,” or “how could this $100 better serve me in creating the life I want?,” we would be able to deliberately create what we want instead of living that life of deprivation later on.

By all means, treat yourself when you are financially able to, but don’t use that as your means of feeling good. That is how we end up broke and living on our parents’ couch. Just sayin.’

Stickin’ it to the Man

11 Feb

*This post was taken from my personal blog confessionsofaperfectionist.wordpress.com

The subject matter makes it oh-so- appropriate for this particular blog.*

It’s a strange thing when seeing a business go under overnight becomes an everyday occurrence.  Or when families across the country reside in their homes one week only to be gone the next, taking the essentials and leaving behind a foreclosure sign in their front yard.  It’s even more strange when you stop remembering what it was like before everyone became so desperate, before the news mentioned the dire state of the economy and virtually everyone knew first hand exactly what they were talking about.

While politics may be all wrapped up in deciding the problems and finding the solutions to this horrid state of lack we find ourselves in, I think we all have the ability to reclaim our control over our own financial situations.  My attempt to do just that has included a recent brawl at my local bank when a cheery-eyed teller informed me that they offered no such thing as overdraft protection and a $36 charge per $3.00 transaction was normal, even if there was AMPLE money in a savings account that they were SUPPOSE to have connected to said overdrawn account.  Controlling my urge to pummel her, I bluffed and said that I would then be switching my accounts to another bank.  Thus the groveling ensued, followed by a fee retraction by the manager, and a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to follow through on my threat.

Banks, my friends, deserve to be shaken up a little bit.  Somewhere along the way we all agreed to give up our power, to roll over and accept the outrageous fees, the insane interest rates, and the utter lack of benefits we receive by GIVING THEM BUSINESS.  So when a friend received a letter from US Bank (no shame in name dropping here) stating that their interest rate for a line of credit would be raised due to recent negative marks on their credit report, I agreed to write a response.  Keep in mind, this friend had never been late paying on this line of credit, and the recent negative marks had been because, like HALF THE NATION, their income had dropped nearly 70% in the past year.  Strange, I would think that if you saw someone drowning in a pool you might say, hmmm…looks like you need some help- would you like me to drain some of that water for you?  Not, hmmm…looks like you need some help- I’ll have to add some more water to ENSURE THAT YOUR DROWNING IS SUCCESSFUL.

So without further ado, here is my response to US Bank….

To whom it may concern:

Please refer to attached letter.

First and foremost I extend my deepest gratitude that the great people of US Bank are being meticulous about following the state of my financial affairs.  It is so good to see that banks such as this one take the time to check up on those of us on “main street” when wall street is still reeling from the recent bank bailout.  Speaking of which, I am so glad that US Bank received the financial help it needed with the billions the government doled out last year ($6.6 billion to your bank alone, I believe).

However, with these generous handouts that your bank has recently accepted, I was a bit puzzled to read that you will not be extending this help in my direction but instead ensuring my own financial demise with an increase in the interest rate for my line of credit from 7.5% to 10.75%.  While your concerns about negative marks on my credit report may give you ample reason within your regulations to do so, it may also be prudent for you to refer back to my payment record with your bank in particular- I would be surprised if you found it to be anything but spotless.

In speaking with other creditors who have been sympathetic to my situation (one that I no doubt share with millions of other Americans), I have remembered that there are companies that are interested in helping instead of hindering my financial well-being.  They have agreed to do everything from allowing me to delay my payments to keeping my interest rate intact.  Strange, most of these companies haven’t been on the receiving end of such generosity as yours has, but I digress.

While my “cash flow problem” may not have shown up on the evening news like yours, I would assume that we both know the far-reaching effects that this issue can have.  So in seeing that you received the assistance that you needed perhaps you can tell me where I can find a similar hand out?  Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions.

Sincerely,

Your Loyal Customer

P.S. I will be sure to tell others to avoid banking with you in order to save you the time and energy it takes  to provide top-notch personalized customer service.  Consider this my gift to you.

Will this warrant some sort of brilliantly compassionate response on the bank’s part?  I’m not holding my breath.  But I’ll certainly keep you updated…

*UPDATE: One year later and that response has never come. I’m no longer holding my breath.*

Drop the Plastic, It’s Killing Your Financial Future

9 Feb

Come freshman year of college, the majority of doe-eyed youngsters fall victim to a variety of vices. But while binge drinking and drug usage find their way into mainstream media, there is one that most seem to be more content letting slip under the rug: acquiring a ridiculous amount of credit card debt.

See, credit card companies are smart. They are all too aware of the fact that if they set up shop on a college campus and offer free pizzas/iPods/frisbees they’ll find a plethora of people willing to sign up for their card. Seriously, that’s all it takes.

But while these companies know damn well that they’ll be reaping the benefits from this exchange, 18, 19, and 20 year olds aren’t prepared for the responsibility of this “free money” that they have suddenly been handed. Then, a few years and a few thousand dollars worth of credit card debt later, that now twenty-something is faced with the fact that no one is interested in lending them money. Yeah, kiss those dreams of a shiny new car goodbye.

Herein lies the point- while we may be eager to keep up with the Jones’ during college, we don’t realize how much this will affect us later in life. So before you sign up for that card or fork the one you already have over for yet another thing you just don’t need, remember these facts:

Black marks on your credit report stay put for seven years.

Credit reports hold on to mistakes like some people hold on to grudges – unwaveringly and for a ridiculously long time. So those late payments you didn’t think twice about a few years ago may come back to haunt you when you need your credit to be spotless for potential lenders. Bottom line? If you don’t have the money to pay that bill by the time it’s due – DON’T CHARGE IT.

High debt loads just don’t look pretty.

You may be diligent about paying back what you owe, but if your “usage ratio” – meaning the debt you have compared to what you are allowed to borrow- is high, then your credit score will reflect that. Rule of thumb: keep your usage ratio around 9% and beware of going above 50%. So if you have one credit card with a limit of $8,000, keep your revolving balance at or below $800.

Charge it and you’ll pay more than what it’s worth.

Yes, it’s nice to have those credit cards on hand for those things you just can’t live without (evaluate this statement before buying anything, please), but if you don’t have the money to pay it back in the near future, you’ll end up paying far more than what it was originally worth. Say for instance you purchase a $2,500 TV using a credit card with an 18% interest rate. If you paid a minimum payment of $50 every month it would take a whopping 334 months to pay off – by that time the true cost of that TV would be $8,397. Yeah, you read that right.

Next time you think about handing over that credit card, think again – and maybe you’ll be able to purchase that house and new car sooner than you planned on.

 

 

Flip Flops, Freedom, and Flexibility: How Generation Y is Changing the Workplace

9 Feb

When I was younger I remember watching my dad slip on a suit and tie up his dress shoes before leaving for work at 8 and returning by 5 or 6. I remember twirling around in roller chairs situated in an office space he shared with four of his employees. I remember late night meetings and vacations squeezed into the time my sister and I had off from school and the time he could take off from work.

Now, some 15 years later I’ve entered the workforce. I wear sweatpants to coffee shops where I work for a few hours freelance writing before sharing a lunch date with a friend. I wake up when it feels good (yes, it’s far before 10:00 am) and believe that I should earn a livable wage on a minimal amount of work. It’s a lifestyle that works for me because I have no intention of working for anyone else.

That, my friends, is the Generation Y mentality. And while I may be partial, I think it’s kind of rad. Here are a few common thoughts of our generation that are creating change in the workplace:

Meetings should be productive or not at all

We tend to like things precise and purposeful – so if there isn’t a need to have a face to face meeting, then we’d rather avoid it altogether. Our attitude: if information needs to be shared, email me.

Spending nine hours a day at work is a little much

Don’t get me wrong, we like to be productive and get work done, but who said the work day needed to be nine hours? Studies have actually shown that workers spend, on average, only 1.5 hours during the day actually working. So let’s get that work done and move on with it.

Jobs aren’t meant to be kept forever

Our parents may have been loyal to their employers, but since our generation saw first hand the greed of some of these employers, we pay attention to our own happiness above all else. This means we frequently change jobs and search for that next step that will bring us the personal success we crave.

A salary should indicate capability not longevity

We may be put down for our belief that we should receive a substantial salary before “working our way up” in a company, but why shouldn’t we get paid for what we do and what we are capable of – not the time we’ve spent somewhere?

 

Generation Y is undoubtedly blazing a new path in the workplace. The best part, however, is the intention behind creating this change: to live happier, fuller, and more fulfilling lives. And that is pretty damn cool.