Financial Education for the Average Joe

Have you ever come across a financial issue as an adult and thought to yourself “How-come I didn’t learn about this in high school? It would’ve been extremely valuable” and then struggled to wade through the information that’s out there to teach yourself. It can be overwhelming. In fact, for young and old folks alike, money management, knowledge, and skills are not always cut and dry. Using myself as a prime example of this, I wish I had taken the time to completely understand the ins and outs of credit cards and the fees involved.

I wish I had a notebook or resource about how to use it intelligently when I received my first credit card. Yes, I got the packet with the fine print, but I didn’t REALLY understand the whole thing. I skimmed it, like I’m sure many young people do. I didn’t understand the terms and so I gave up reading it because it felt so dense. Fast forward to last week. I did a poll of my co-workers and friends on Facebook to find out what they really want to know about money as a millennial. The answers were fascinating and varied. They wanted to know about the mindsets of different generations in regard to the cost of expensive brand name items versus off brand items. They wanted to know about investing. They wanted to know about workbooks and habits for spending and saving…I never thought about that before. It got me thinking: what resources are out there for adults and teens that would answer these questions at an early age? What I found was very interesting…to be continued…

This ought to be an interesting year. Why? Because we are in 2020…and that reminds me of hindsight being 20/20 vision. Maybe this time we’ll each get it right the first time. There’ll be no need look to the past to correct errors, because maybe this will be our lucky 20/20 not-much-in-hindsight but rather present year. And also, a little tip for 2020: make sure to write out 2020 in full your important documents/checks. It could turn ugly if the wrong person gets a hold of important documents and decides to add a 1 or a higher digit it could create a lot of trouble for you. With that, let’s raise a glass to 2020! Cheers and have a fantastic year! I can’t wait to see what it brings for all of us. New Beginnings

So here’s what I want to talk about: money…and how you can get some quickly while on your own terms. Everyone has something they’d change about their jobs, right? Same here, but the truth is that every job you have working for others is going to have something you don’t like. To be fair, many jobs have wonderful things about them, but at the end of the day answering to someone else is stressful. I hear ya. I am in the same boat with you and I want to share some information I think you’ll find helpful. Let’s talk about the gig economy and how it can benefit you.

The gig economy is extremely beneficial to a lot of large companies, and you know why? Gig jobs like Rover,com and Postmates are profitable for businesses because they don’t have to pay to provide any sort of benefits, and they’re not negatively effected if you work overtime. It’s a win-win for them. So, in other words, these companies are saving massive amounts of money and still receiving the end product that they desire. Some might argue that the gig economy is harmful to the worker because they have no benefits…but I think that depends on your perspective. You see, you’re already a step ahead by researching the gig economy options. Kudos to you, you made it this far! In my opinion, as someone who has been a part of the gig economy for the past few years, it is a great option. You just have to know how to structure and save your earnings so you’re not stuck with a massive tax bill (taxes are not automatically taken out) at the end of the year. Now back to the getting money quickly part.. Are you ready? Do you know what tool you can use to easily get a gig job? Hint: it’s probably what you’re using to read this piece right now. You don’t need much. You just need a smartphone with data or WiFi access to download and use the apps and a bank account that you can deposit your earnings into. That’s it! Pretty painless, right? Now…let’s talk about some jobs you might like to try your hand at.

  1. Rover.com Do you like dogs? Me, too! In fact, I LOVE dogs. Their slobbery kisses, cute faces, abundant joy and never ending love melt my heart each and every day. I notice every dog everywhere I go. I can’t get enough of them. I have to give my love to all of them. I also love being my own boss, making my own hours, setting my own pay rate and only answering to myself. So what would the perfect side job be for me? Why, dog walking/pet sitting, of course; and that’s where Rover comes in. It is very easy to get started. All you have to do is head over to Rover.com, fill out the preliminary application, agree to the background check, and set up your profile afterwards. Then it’s up to you. I’ve found that using the sharing tool on the website to promote my business on Craigslist is very beneficial.
  2. Postmates.com Do you like to exercise and get paid to do it? I’m a gym girl and I love getting outside and walking, so I don’t mind the extra exercise! Simply go to postmates.com, follow the prompts, download the app, do the background check, get your post mates pre-paid card and a delivery bag and you’ll be making money in no time! There is a base pay per delivery and often times clients will tip a small amount. It is definitely worth it if you want to make a few extra dollars here and there.

With that, I’m signing off for the evening. Happy earning, entrepreneur!

While researching different p2p (peer to peer) lending platforms, I learned that the two most popular and mainstream options are Lending Club and Prosper. They have similar set-ups and goals, but they certainly differ in their requirements to be a lender. They’re both great, it just depends on how much money that you have to start off with. Lending Club requires a starting amount of $1,000.00. That also means that you could start to make a decent monthly return (don’t forget that return includes BOTH principal payment and interest together, not just interest). My financial situation does not allow for me to have a free $1,000.00 hanging around…yet. I’ll get there eventually. Patience is key in the financial improvement world when you have little to start with. In comes Prosper. Honestly, I know more about Prosper than Lending Club simply because I am able to invest with them. Prosper only requires a first deposit of $25 and the minimum to invest in a loan is $25.

 

So yay! You’ve ready to invest your first $25 into a loan! Where do you start? What’s your game-plan going to be? Don’t know yet? Neither did I, and I’m still learning and growing. Bear in mind this one awesome detail: you don’t have to fun an entire loan by yourself (and in my opinion you probably shouldn’t). You can put in as little as $25 per loan. These loans are funded by a large group of investors, not just one, so it’s less risky if you invest in many loans with smaller amounts, than one loan with a larger amount. How do you choose which ones to invest in? It’s tempting when you get on the list of available loans and you see that D grade loan with a 23% interest rate that looks so attractive…soooooo attractive. Then you see the A grade loan next to it that looks…not quite as attractive. You think to yourself: really? 7%? Ugh. But there’s something important about the difference between these two loans and it’s a huge deal when you can’t afford to lose any money. As attractive as that high interest loan might seem…it may not be the best option for you…or it could the be that the A grade loan isn’t right. I’ll tell you why.

 

When Prosper vets’ borrowers they have a multi-step process. Borrowers enter information about their finances including their income, what the loan is for, etc. Prosper also tells the individuals funding the loan valuable information that could sway an investor one way or another. Prosper rates each loan based on historical statistics of loans of its kind. The ratings go from 1-11, with 11 being the more secure loan to invest in, and 1 being the riskiest (according to Prospers algorithm). Personally, I know that people make mistakes just like I have, so I give a little wiggle room when it comes to the grade and I generally accept 7 or higher. I think about it like this: on paper I did not look that great in the past, but I’d not default on paying a private loan to anyone, as I know that people work very hard for their money just like me. Therefore, I know that Prospers number grade may not encompass the entirety of that borrower. Even with their advanced systems they can’t avoid a borrower who may default on their loan who may have a great numbered grade. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Then I look further because I need more info to decide, but Prospers grade is a good starting point. I’ll let that info sink in for now.

I know it’s a whole world of financial possibility that I’ve introduced you to, and we’ll talk about the next steps in my consequent posts. Remember, you can always message me questions and I’ll get back to you asap!

 

P.S. Also, please remember to consult a certified financial advisor when it comes to the big decisions that you need help with. Although I have knowledge in this area, I would not pretend to be an expert. Happy financial improving! 😊Holding-Hundred-Dollar-Bills_4460x4460

While researching different p2p (peer to peer) lending platforms, I learned that the two most popular and mainstream options are Lending Club and Prosper. They have similar set-ups and goals, but they certainly differ in their requirements to be a lender. They’re both great, it just depends on how much money that you have to start off with. Lending Club requires a starting amount of $1,000.00. That also means that you could start to make a decent monthly return (don’t forget that return includes BOTH principal payment and interest together, not just interest). My financial situation does not allow for me to have a free $1,000.00 hanging around…yet. I’ll get there eventually. Patience is key in the financial improvement world when you have little to start with. In comes Prosper. Honestly, I know more about Prosper than Lending Club simply because I am able to invest with them. Prosper only requires a first deposit of $25 and the minimum to invest in a loan is $25.

So yay! You’ve ready to invest your first $25 into a loan! Where do you start? What’s your game-plan going to be? Don’t know yet? Neither did I, and I’m still learning and growing. Bear in mind this one awesome detail: you don’t have to fun an entire loan by yourself (and in my opinion you probably shouldn’t). You can put in as little as $25 per loan. These loans are funded by a large group of investors, not just one, so it’s less risky if you invest in many loans with smaller amounts, than one loan with a larger amount. How do you choose which ones to invest in? It’s tempting when you get on the list of available loans and you see that D grade loan with a 23% interest rate that looks so attractive…soooooo attractive. Then you see the A grade loan next to it that looks…not quite as attractive. You think to yourself: really? 7%? Ugh. But there’s something important about the difference between these two loans and it’s a huge deal when you can’t afford to lose any money. As attractive as that high interest loan might seem…it may not be the best option for you…or it could the be that the A grade loan isn’t right. I’ll tell you why.

 

When Prosper vets’ borrowers they have a multi-step process. Borrowers enter information about their finances including their income, what the loan is for, etc. Prosper also tells the individuals funding the loan valuable information that could sway an investor one way or another. Prosper rates each loan based on historical statistics of loans of its kind. The ratings go from 1-11, with 11 being the more secure loan to invest in, and 1 being the riskiest (according to Prospers algorithm). Personally, I know that people make mistakes just like I have, so I give a little wiggle room when it comes to the grade and I generally accept 7 or higher. I think about it like this: on paper I did not look that great in the past, but I’d not default on paying a private loan to anyone, as I know that people work very hard for their money just like me. Therefore, I know that Prospers number grade may not encompass the entirety of that borrower. Even with their advanced systems they can’t avoid a borrower who may default on their loan who may have a great numbered grade. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Then I look further because I need more info to decide, but Prospers grade is a good starting point. I’ll let that info sink in for now.

I know it’s a whole world of financial possibility that I’ve introduced you to, and we’ll talk about the next steps in my consequent posts. Remember, you can always message me questions and I’ll get back to you asap!

 

P.S. Also, please remember to consult a certified financial advisor when it comes to the big decisions that you need help with. Although I have knowledge in this area, I would not pretend to be an expert. Happy financial improving! 😊Holding-Hundred-Dollar-Bills_4460x4460

I can hear the collective groan now…do we, as artists really have to think about finances? Well, first of all, we’re still people, too, so the answer is: yup (unfortunately). I know that money and art don’t necessarily go hand in hand (I’m there with ya). I would like to share some information and tips that I have learned in the last year or more to help my fellow artists (and anyone who’d like assistance) to better their lives by improving their financial portfolio. Now, I am not a financial advisor or a guru of some sort, so please get professional help if need be and look at your finances with an advisor. These are simply the musings of an artist trying to get by!

About two years ago I was financially flailing. My credit score was about 1-200 points lower than it is now, and I came to the realization that a low credit score was really harming my ability to pay off a credit card that I’d gotten when I was young (and how that debt got there: that’s another story filled with me having no idea about the repercussions, aka interest, of my actions when I was younger). This debt has followed me around for years. Since I had such a high interest rate that was forcing me to throw money down the toilet every month, I decided that I needed to start working on improving my credit so that I could better my situation gradually. I also knew that I’d be moving out on my own at some point and that my credit would need to be elevated. Ah, being an adult. IT WAS DAUNTING. So…I started researching ways to slowly incorporate better financial strategy in my life.

The first step…is the hardest one: grabbing the bull by the horns and combing through your statements to see where you can begin to curb your spending. For me it’s been my Starbucks habit (I now only go once a week and I’ve cut my spending down from about $200+ to $50-$60 per month, at most). So yay! I get a special date with myself once a week and I get to keep more money, too! I know, it’s painful, but you can do it, as well! Think about it this way: for me that’s about $1,680 in savings per year…that could definitely pay a few monthly bills! What do you do that slowly demolishes your pay? The second step: still pretty daunting, but very liberating once you face it.

The 2nd step is to find out if you’re eligible for a credit card. I recommend applying for a secured credit card if you’re ready because they are designed to help those of us who are re-building our credit health. The way they accomplish this is by only having a very small credit limit (mine with Capital One was $200) so you don’t go overboard with your spending. It’s a great way to practice changing your habits while having a safer system than a regular credit card. There are lots of offers out there, but I recommend using Capital One because it comes with an easy to use set of tracking tools. The app allows you to see exactly how much credit you have and have used. It also informs you about your financial health by consistently showing you your credit score, providing information about the factors effecting your credit, and giving you tips on how to improve your score. By following the steps suggested, you can start to build your confidence in your financial setup. I have come to find out through my own experience how important and beneficial this is. In the last two years I have grown financially and I’ve realized many things, but one of the most important things I came to realize is that it is very expensive to not have money. Having a great credit score means that you will be offered better deals on financial products, especially interest rates. Interest rates are where the bank gets your money. With high interest rates you end up paying the bank more money in the long run because you have a low credit score. With a higher credit score the bank gives you a lower interest rate, and you end up paying less money in the long run than you would have otherwise. Weird, right? It seems backwards, but I hope to inspire you to think outside the box and turn the cycle back in your favor as I am trying to do on my end as well.

These ideas are just scratching the surface and there is more to come. Stay tuned and have a great day!

 

Disclaimer: please do what is best for you financially. My tips and ideas have worked well for me, but each situation is different. For personal advice please go to a financial advisor and find out your options.

Thank goodness for Starbucks…I’m always brainstorming new business ideas, blog posts, and how to succeed in life! To check out one of my newest ventures please look at etsy.com/shop/millennialpets and “like” my store! You’ll get updates frequently, and access to some FABULOUS deals that are tough to find elsewhere! Plus…if you have any questions about e-commerce and how to run your own store I’ll be happy to help. 🙂

Thank goodness for Starbucks…I’m always brainstorming new business ideas, blog posts, and how to succeed in life! To check out one of my newest ventures please look at etsy.com/shop/millennialpets and “like” my store! You’ll get updates frequently, and access to some FABULOUS deals that are tough to find elsewhere! Plus…if you have any questions about e-commerce and how to run your own store I’ll be happy to help. 🙂