I wrote a previous blog on money management where I shared some tips on how to identify where you are wasting money and then gave my own personal formula (via an downloadable excel spreadsheet found here) the gauge all of your spending. If you are coming from that blog, then you are in the right place. If you are just looking at this blog for the first time, it may be prudent to go back and check out the previous one I wrote or at least download the excel spreadsheet because you will need it for the next step.
Step 2 – Formulating a simple budget that you will actually follow.
It was told to me early on in life by a very wealthy mentor of mine who I respect dearly that if I couldn’t manage $1, then I couldn’t manage $1 Million dollars. This is so true, I meet people all the time who’s personal finances are garbage even when they are making great money in their career.
It all comes down to money management and budgeting. Again, this is another common thread among all wealthy people I have ever met; they all have a budget based on a formula that uses money as a tool never spending it emotionally. Here is what to do.
Take that excel spreadsheet you just downloaded. (or get it here)
The idea here is very simple. Manage any and all money that you get. EVERY SINGLE CENT! If you know what your monthly income is, it becomes very easy to budget, if you are like me and get paid in lump sums sporadically then disciplining yourself to a system like this is crucial!
Ok so here is how it works: For every dollar I take in, it gets split up and put in to different bank accounts. Each bank account represents a different aspect that I am saving for. In my case I have 8 Bank accounts. I explain what I use them for and the benefits.
- Wells Fargo Checking / Savings account – This account is used for daily spending, and paying bills. Think of it as your most active account, all money is deposited here before it goes to other accounts.
For daily spending and bill payment, I like Wells Fargo. The important thing to remember here is to bank with a bank that is convenient to for you with lots of locations and low fees across the board. As of right now, I pay NO FEES with Wells. I think B of A is the worst, and Chase Bank is in the middle when it comes to big banks.
- Discover Bank # 1 – Taxes (This is where I said aside money for taxes every year)
- Discover Bank # 2 – Emergency Fund account (Save for a rainy day)
- Discover Bank # 3 – Long Term Savings (Use for large purchases like a house or car etc.)
I use Discover bank because they give you the highest rate of return for a savings account. 0.95% to be exact and…
- No minimum deposits
- No Account Fees
- Open as many accounts as you want
- Capital One 360 # 1 – Annual Expenses account (Money set aside for annual expenses like car insurance, property tax etc.)
- Capital One 360 # 2 – Vacation Fund (Saved money for Vacations)
I use Capital One 360 because they pay a pretty good rate of return on money in savings and my account doubles over as my top pick for a travel debit card that has
- No minimum deposits
- No Account Fees
- Open as many accounts as you want
- NO foreign transaction fees
- No ATM banking fees.
(If you are interested in opening up a Capital1 360 Account and want $20 for free just for doing so, click this link.)
- Wealthfront Account – Managed Portfolio Long term investing account
(Click here to learn about wealth front and why I recommend them. Clicking this link will get your first$15,000 managed for FREE!!)
- FXCM Account – This is my active foreign currency trading account as I trade currencies daily. If your are interested in learning how to trade I wrote a blog about it here, otherwise, dedicate the 5% I am setting aside in this account to some other find or investment.
Now take some time to look it over the excel spreadsheet. If you need to open a couple accounts, don’t worry, this can literally be accomplished in an hour, follow the links above to use my recommendations, or feel free to open up accounts where your want to.
Keep in mind that I am a 1099 independent contractor that means I pay my own income taxes each year. If you are a W-2 employee, then you can zero out the taxes line because your taxes are collected before you get paid. Personally I set aside 18%-20% a year for myself, you may pay less or more depending on how much you make and what your tax liabilities look like.
- Enter all of your monthly and annual expenses. (You will see some numbers starting to populate)
- Replace my bank accounts with your banks and match them closely as possible, meaning if you have a normal B of A or Chase Checking and savings account, that should be your main account at the top. If you have an E*TRADE, Schwab or IRA, replace my Wealthfront account with yours etc.
- If there are some areas where you will need to set up new bank account, leave them blank for now
- Now enter in your monthly income at the top in the yellow (total monthly Colum)
- By now you should see some of the boxes populating. I will explain what’s happening here
Ok by now you probably have a good idea of what I am driving at here, but I will explain anyway. This formula is partitioning all of your income into different savings columns to give you a well rounded and financially savvy money management system.
The breakdown as seen in my excel sheet looks like this.
- I earn $100
- $20 (20%) is saved for taxes and taken right off the top (Skip step if you are a W-2 employee)
- Now I have $80 Left
- $40 (50%) Goes to my living expenses, i.e. rent, mortgage, car payment, food, gas etc.
- $10 (10%) – To the emergency fund, after all shit happens.
- $10 (10%) – Long-term savings fund. This could be for a future large purchase like a car or house down payment.
- $8 (8%) – Annual Expenses Account – Like car registration or medical/life insurance. Things that get paid once per year
- $7 (7%) – Vacation Fund – To broke to take a vacation, do this for a year, and I promise you that you will have enough to take a vacay!
- $10 (10%) – Long-term investment account – YOU NEVER TOUCH THIS MONEY! This is for your retirement. You may be thinking I’m way to young to start saving for retirement, but the difference between starting this habit at 20 years old compared to 30 years old will mean a difference of hundreds, yes I said hundreds of thousands by the time your retire. So don’t fuck around with this one, set the 10% aside and forget about it.
- $5 (5%) – For me it goes to an active trading account that I personally trade. If you have no desire to learn how to actively trade, you can simply put this money towards some other kind of investment short term to medium term, but this money is not for bullshit, it’s money set aside for short-Medium term investments with a bigger return on the short side.
This whole idea was adopted after first reading the age old book The Richest Man in Babylon. When done correctly you will learn to pay yourself first and then save and invest the rest of it leaving a little hear and there for having a good quality of life.
My parents generation saved about 20%-30% of there income on average. My generation saves a measly 5%-10% and knowing that we are going to need a least a cool million to retire on (4 times as much as my parents will need) we need to get on this today. There is literally no time to waste.
Again, if you are in debt, or not making a lot of money, apply this formula anyway. Rework the numbers to make them fit your situation. If you are in some serious debt, check out my blog on &^%&^%&*^%&* if you are just not making that much or spend money stupidly, then I challenge you to try this for 90 days. If after 90 days you don’t feel like you have a better handle on your finances and that you are heading in the right direction, comment here and I will jump out of an airplane to promote what ever you want me to.
Money is a tool. It is only emotional when you don’t have enough of it. It controls you, or you control it, simple as that.
****And as a bonus, if you are still not convinced, Acorns is a nifty little app that allows you to invest pocket change from rounded up expenditure in to the market as a long term investment. Follow this link to check it out and get $5 for opening an account.
Did you mis part 1 of this blog? Read it here!
In my last blog I wrote about the Joy’s and freedoms of working remotely. If you missed it, read it here! This will give you a little better context of what I am writing about in this 5-Step process to finding the perfect remote job to keep you traveling and experiencing the world all while making money from your lap top.
Here is my 5-Step Process.
1 – Find a job, skill, or way that you can actually do that will produce income with out you physically needing to be there.
This is going to be your most difficult task. You may be saying to yourself “well I am a doctor, how could I possibly practice medicine from a laptop?” Well this comes down to how resourceful you want to be. My dad is doctor, a Podiatrist to be exact and he has been looking into what is know as “tele-medicine” which is basically on call and on demand video conferencing from doctors to patients. Say you have a foot problem, you go on the site, set an appointment, my dad would accept it, you are instantly connected, he gives your advice and recommendations and your done. The system charges the patients credit card and they go on their way. Booya, there is a way a doctor can work 100% remotely. You may be surprised what you find if you really start thinking of all the different ways you could monetize your skill sets right from a computer from anywhere in the world, don’t worry, we will get to that in number 2.
2. Get really good with technology.
If you are going to have any chance at being an entrepreneur on the road, then you are going to have to get really good with leveraging technology and automation. What do I mean by this. Well put it this way, I can pretty much run all of my business from my iPhone. Everything from a CRM to a VOIP telephone system that allows me to communicate effortlessly through WIFI any where in the world. This means that if you are planning on getting in to a business that has to ship “real” goods and logistics as well as a customer service dept. will be necessary, than you are going to have your work cut out for you. I am not saying that it is impossible, just going to take a couple extra steps of strategic planning and utilization of technology that automates the process.
3. Simple is better.
A good business is not necessarily a complex business. I would consider a solid business to be one that is profitable, allows you to live the life you desire and takes care of it’s employees and it’s customers. Some of the best businesses that I know of were born out of the simplest ideas or needs by a consumer. Take for example the work we do at the FX365 Institute, we teach people how to trade currencies all over the world from office in San Diego. We have students in 20 U.S. States and 4 countries that take our course 100% remotely and learn a skill set that allows them to make money in the foreign currencies market anywhere in the world from a laptop. Don’t over complicate this part. The less you need to run your business, the better off you will be.
4.How much do you really need to make?
My favorite part of explaining these concepts to people is conveying the fact that a business only needs to make you a “enough” money in order for it to change your life. If you added up all of your expenses annually, and then added in the costs to live in another country or to travel a couple months out of the year I think you will be surprised to find that you don’t need to make $300K per year to achieve your goals. In fact, I have been able to travel about 2 months out of every year for the past decade making around $100k per year. The best part is that I only really needed about $60K to sustain so any extra money that I make on top of my yearly nut goes in to savings and investments. This allows me to stay diversified, active in the markets using online portfolio managers, and open to new ideas and businesses while I can keep the quality of life I have come to enjoy. The point is to make enough and then a little more. You don’t need to be a millionaire to pull this off.
5. Multiple Streams of Income remotely
I know you have heard this one before, but maybe not through the lens of doing it remotely. Every book I have read on this topic is about real estate and multiple businesses that would require you to physically be somewhere to manage those streams. When you start to venture down the road of working remotely you start looking at businesses in a whole new light.
I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely, follow the links below to check them out:
Do you ever dream of being able to run a business from anywhere in the world? Have you ever found yourself looking online for different ways you could travel abroad and somehow make an income while you were half way around the world.
Over the past decade I have been perfecting this skill. The truth is that it is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true if you are used to a 9 to 5 standard day job. The dream of one day quitting that job and breaking free from the chains of the corporate world can be elusive and fleeting.
When I was 22 I left the country for the first time. I had always wanted to travel but I was a troublemaker growing up and spent the later part of my teen years in rehab getting sober. By the time I was 20, I had been sober for a couple of years and my life was back on track, so I decided to leave America and embark on an adventure.
I signed up for a study abroad trip to Spain, paid the money and prepared to leave home. To be perfectly honest, this trip wouldn’t be my first time out of America, I frequently went to Mexico in my teen years growing up in San Diego. None of my trips to Mexico had any real cultural importance. In fact, I don’t even really remember what transpired during most of those trips and never really made farther the the Tijuana bars on Revolution Blvd. This trip was going to be different, I was with college kids, and there was some structure, so I figured that was a good place to start.
I remember getting off the plane in Madrid. I was bustled away from the group with my host mom who didn’t speak a lick of English and was given a room in her little apartment. I was super jet lagged and had never been on a flight that long in my life so I passed out immediately. When I woke up it was dusk outside. I walked down the 4 flights of stairs and sat out on the side walk in the neighborhood I was staying in listening to all of the sounds of the city and taking it all in. The smells, the cars, the food, everything was different, I didn’t know anyone around, and I was far from home. I was in LOVE.
This first encounter of Wanderlust was intoxicating to me. I vividly remember it and I was so grateful to be in that moment experiencing life again in a new way for the first time.
I thought to myself, what if I could do this all of the time, what if I could just travel a lot? It was sometime on that trip that I decided I was going to need to find a line of work that was going to allow me to do this. About a week before the program ended, I told my professors running the program that I wouldn’t be accompanying them back to America, and stayed in western Europe an additional 4 months traveling around Spain, Italy and France.
Once I ran out of money, I came home. At that time I was running a Mortgage office which surprisingly was still standing after my almost 5 months of me being gone. It didn’t matter though because I came home in September 2008 just in time to watch the housing market collapse completely. I was screwed. I had done really well for a kid who dropped out of college to get rich but it was all back firing now and traveling was the last thing on my mind.
After the dust settled I was about $190,000 in debt and in need of a new career. I had decided to go back to college a year earlier and had about a year and a half left for my undergrad degree so I figured I would spend the next 2 years finishing college and finding a career that would set me up to travel the globe and make money while I was doing so.
The first business that I found that worked really well for me was multi-level marketing. It seemed like a great fit, I was recruited in to a company being sold the dream that if I spent a couple years working hard at building an organization, it would eventually take off and continue to pay me residually. This was PERFECT. I could build the business for a couple years to about $100K per year then disappear to Indonesia
For a first timer in MLM, I did incredibly well, and I build that $100k per year income in a short amount of time but it was short live. The first company I was with asked me to leave and the second company I joined eventually went belly up. Also every time I would leave the country on a trip, I found myself on my phone or laptop the whole time putting out fires and that was just plane stupid.
When I finally walked away from the industry I decided to put my entrepreneur hat back on. I had raised some money for a tech start-up and was actively learning how to trade currencies in the FOREX market.
I never lost site of my desires and dreams of being able to make money from a Laptop; I just needed to be a little more resourceful. I found that as long as I can offer real value to a client even being a great distance away, that my capability to earn money anywhere where I was in the world would be there.
So over the past 5 years I have been doing just that. Most of the consulting work that I do is never from an office, maybe my home office. I do keep an office at the Currency trading school that I have a long-term contract with but they have always been cool with me leaving and making my own schedule. Again, I attribute that leniency to the results I am able to deliver. The moral of the story is that there is a million ways to make money and add value to a person, place or business, however you need to be resourceful if you are going to do this from a laptop half a world away.
I have put together my top 5 tips to finding your own way to take your business on the road with you for good. Read “Top 5 Tips to Working remotely.” To see what it’s all about
3 Weeks ago, I took a sales job to help keep me going while I continue to bootstrap my start-up company. Sure I still make a little money from my Multi-Level-Marketing company, but not nearly enough to live off of and definitely not enough to take any kind of Mini-Retirement Vacations. I have never been an advocate of full-time multi-level-marketing anyway, that is NOT the model! A good MLM company gives the person who has a day job the ability to add income and then after about 18-36 months produces enough income to replace what ever that person was making at their job. This idea of being a full-time networker with no experience in that space is a bad idea, you will most likely run out of money and burn through your savings before you get profitable forcing you to go back to your job with your hat in hand. Trust me, I know, I’ve made that mistake before.
All to many times I see people jump from company to company trying to “Find the right one” and that is just a bad way to go about. Do I believe in MLM? Yes, from the bottom of my heart, but I don’t believe that putting all of your eggs in to one basket in life is ever the correct path.
I think the correct path should look something like this, and keep in mind, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, this still applies.
- 1. Preparation – Get a money plan for any and all income, if you a 1099 guy like myself here is what I use for all income……
- – Say I make $10,000 from work, investment, play what ever
- – 20% ($2,000) – Goes to interest bearing savings account for Taxes
- – of the 8K left it gets divided as follows
- – 50% (4K) for living expenses i.e. Rent, mortgage, gas, food, travel etc.
- – 20% ($1,600) Savings / Retirement / Long-Term-investments
- – 10% ($800) – Education i.e. books, audios, personal development/investing seminars etc.
- – 10% ($800) – Big ticket item saving i.e. new car, toys, vacations etc.
- – 10% ($800) – Play fund money to spend on what ever I want, when it’s gone, I’m done playing
- – If you have debt to pay off, take 20% off the top before you adjust for Education, Big ticket items and play fund. Put it towards your highest interest debts 1st eliminating any all debt
- 2. Job – Income coming in on a weekly/bi-Monthly basis (30-40 hours a week / 3-10k per month)
- 3. Find the balance – Mind, Body, Soul, Relationships, Pocketbook. If these aren’t in balance, the next steps wont matter because you will never get there.
- 4. First 2nd Stream of income w/ little to no investment – This can be an MLM or a side business like flipping cars or selling stuff on eBay. This should make you money fairly quick, and the start-up cost should be small. A couple thousand dollars that you will see a return on in a couple of months. Any proceeds from the business.
- 5. Do Something Your Passionate about that Makes Money! – This could be from a side job you started or something that you always wanted to do. With enough money coming in and savings in the back subsidized with side income you now bought yourself the freedom to quit your job and find something that you’d much rather do.
- 6. Deals – Once you have conquered all of these areas, then it’s time for you to graduate from Owner to Deal maker, meaning that by now, making money has become easy to you, it’s no longer emotional and trivial, it jut is. When you get there, and you will know when you do, then life becomes more about the challenge instead of making money to survive.
Now, if at any point, you get knocked on your ass which you will, you simply start the steps over. It is what I am doing in my life right now, what I’ve done in the past and what I will do in the future. Why, because none of my financial decisions are based on emotion, if they are, you’re losing at the money game. Even when I’m down, I still strive to make logical decisions when it comes to money. That kind of delayed gratification is what allows wealthy-minded people to stay rich, and poor-minded people to continue to stay poor or loose you wealth. If you are anything like me, you will find that you become much more resilient to the ass kickings life throws at you once you have been through a couple of them. For me, it’s never about how hard I fall or what I lose, it’s all about how quickly I can get back up. This time around, I didn’t lose much as I was 10 times more subsidized and protected than I was when I went through some similar circumstances at the age of 23. I predict it will take me less than 6 months to clear all debts, and be in a cash flow positive situation traveling around the world by the end of 2014.
How am I so sure? Great question. Let me ask you this, if you were 23 years old and woke up one day and found out you were all of sudden $160,000 in debt, what would you do? If you make 50k a year, you would be shitting bricks. What if I gave you the same scenario, but you made $190,000 a year before. Probably not so bad right? Ok set that aside for a second and let’s assume that you have been in debt most of your young adult like I was and like most Americas are. We’re conditioned from a young age that it is ok to live like this. This is why you get credit card applications in the mail @ 18 years old and high schools, colleges and employers never even teach the most basic of finance. “The Man” i.e. your boss, the government (IRS especially), super rich people and the owners of banks and lending institutions etc. don’t want you to figure this out. They want you broke, tired, hungry and pre-occupied with shit that doesn’t matter like video games, American Idol, and spectator sports so that you are not paying attention to the fact that they are ROBBING you blind. If you don’t believe me, enjoy this video.
Debt, should be used as a tool, not as a way to get instant gratification to buy yourself things that you cannot afford, or even need in most cases for that matter. With the exception of college loans (Which I think is another racket anyway) you shouldn’t have any debt unless you own a business that produces income, or own a home. The fact that no one ever told you that you shouldn’t be in debt isn’t really an excuse and if it is, I’m telling you now. Don’t worry, it’s not like our country leads by example, they’re 16 trillion in debt, so don’t worry about them, because policy isn’t going to fix our problems here on the ground right now today as it pertains to you and your family or future family.
The point is that all those institutions make money off of our continued ignorance. Why does everyone hate them? Simple, because they’re smarter than us and no matter what recession we go through, the good people at Goldman Sachs or in Congress don’t seem to mind all that much our struggles doesn’t affect them. While were slaving away everyday trying to collect their scraps going to work every day to run on the mouse wheel they are taking million dollar bonuses from our bail out money and buying yachts. Do I not believe in Capitalism? Of course I do, and in order to achieve the types of results that they have been able to achieve you simply must understand their game.
Solution: Stop borrowing money. If a bank sells money, and we’re not buying it, the bank can’t make money. If we bought houses cash, we wouldn’t need a mortgage. If we cut up our credit cards, we could only spend what we had incurring no negative interest. If we took a job we didn’t like as a means to buy us some time to find something better, then we would all be doing things we liked and wouldn’t get stuck in the rat race. If we were always educating ourselves with the same materials the richest people in the world did, wouldn’t that level the playing field a bit? If we could all wrap our heads around this idea of delayed gratification, wouldn’t we become less impressionable to consumerism thus driving all prices of consumer goods down substantially because fewer people are “willing” to buy.
Ask yourself, do you really need a new car every year? Do you feel so left out because you don’t know who won the game on Sunday? Would it kill you to watch a little less TV and maybe read a book? Don’t you think you were put on this earth for more of a purpose than running on the hamster wheel, getting your food pellet, drinking water, playing a video game and getting back to running on the wheel again?
So lets start moving in the right direction, let’s stop trying to look good and actually do good. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my friends, and people I love find themselves in life and achieve great success. So much to the point that I have dedicated a large part of my own life to help people do just that. The help is there for those who seek. I sought it out when I was young and it got me to where I am today. As it turns out, all the successful people I met growing up were happy to help guide because they saw my willingness to learn and the way I sought out enlightenment. Let’s stop lying to ourselves and get honest with each other about where we a really at now, and get very clear on finding just what our real purpose is here in this life.
So if you have a Job, work your ass off at it, find something you actually love doing and then get out of there before you forget your dreams. There are no shortcuts in life that lead to the top of the mountain, you’re going to have to climb it, and the first time is always the hardest and scariest. I know because I have tried a couple of shortcuts while climbing the mountain and they always led back to the hamster wheel. The irony is that once you master that mountain and you can afford to buy a helicopter to fly to the top, it doesn’t seem all that hard to climb anymore anyway 😉
I wish you the best of luck out there, and take it because you’ll need it.