Take Control: Simple Tips to Financial Freedom

We’ve been hearing it for quite some time now. “Millennials are lazy” “Millennials aren’t leaving their parent’s houses.” “Millennials are ruining _____”. There seems to be a lot of criticism thrown at those who grew up in the age of the Internet. What’s interesting is that a lot of it is false, but also, a lot of it is partly to blame, because of the previous generations. Millennials didn’t cause the 2008 Financial Crisis. Millennials didn’t repeal Glass-Steagall. Millennials didn’t invent the predatory loan practices implemented in the education system. I could go one. But all of these terrible policies were created by…well…the people before us.

Stacked Odds

Unfortunately for us, the odds are heavily stacked against us. Higher educational costs have risen tremendously since even the 90’s. But not only this, competition has risen as well, as the populous get’s smarter, technology becomes more embedded, and the older, more experienced workers are taking less qualifying work. This helps to box out the fresh out of college millennial looking to enter the workforce. This is why those of smart, wealthy parents, don’t have much of an issue getting the type of work you and I would dream of. They can easily pay those educational costs, allowing them to enter much more prestigious schools, giving them a much higher leg up. And that’s not even considering those who just take the work of their parents. This creates a frustrated age group that feels marginalized.

Growing up poor, there’s one thing I didn’t learn until much later in life, that I wish I learned early on in my adolescence. And that’s money

But that’s the old way of doing things. That’s the traditional route that so many take. Doing well in high school to get into an average university, leaving with a massive amount of debt, to find a somewhat competent career path that hopefully pays for itself 20 – 30 years down the line, all while barely making the rent for a small apartment in the city you work in, or barely making the mortgage for a small house in a rural suburb. This is all fine and dandy if you’re the safe & traditional type of person. But god forbid another depression hits, and you don’t have enough money or resources to ride it out, things can get devastating really quickly. This is compounded exponentially if you have children or a family to support. Well I’m here to hopefully help with these issues, and make sure you not only have good pivot plan, but also set yourself up for success in the long run. This allows you to be a bit more liquid, which allows you to take a bit more risks, which end up being a bit more rewarding.

Save

Growing up poor, there’s one thing I didn’t learn until much later in life, that I wish I learned early on in my adolescence. And that’s money. My family was pretty good on saving money, but they were pretty bad on spending it. Not only this, but there was no clear book keeping. Money came in, and money went out, with no regard to exactly how much, and why. This gets passed down to the offspring, and of course, I was the same way for quite a while. It wasn’t until I went to college, and met a few rich Jewish friends that helped me understand finance in a way that I hadn’t looked at it before.

  • Keep track of ALL of your income, and ALL of your spending

This is the one tip that will drastically and dramatically improve your life. I promise you this. The amount of millennials, and people in general, that DON’T keep track of their finances, is truly staggering. Maybe it’s because they don’t really teach this stuff in school? Anyways, you need to track all the money that comes in. This includes your paycheck, any side jobs or gigs that you get, any checks grandma might’ve sent you, everything. And then also the opposite. Track everything you spend. From big equipment purchases, to the pack of gum you got on sale at Rite Aid.

One of the best ways of doing this is to use use an app. I personally use two. Both Quickbooksfor my small business, as well as Clarity Money for personal. There’s also Mintwhich works great as well. Connect your bank accounts to these apps, and all of your debit & credit cards. Then ONLY use your card for purchases to ensure they are being tracked. If you need to pay for something in cash, make a reminder to add those purchases to your finances. After you do this for about 3 months, you’ll attain an easy to read spreadsheet of how you’re spending your money. This will include what percentage of your income you spend on clothes, or food, or entertainment, etc. This then allows you to see exactly what you’re over-spending on, what you’re under-spending on, and it gives you an easy path to financial redemption. Money is the most important thing in this world, and it’s time you start taking control of it.

Diversify

So a lot of us only have one source of income. That’s our job or our career. For a lot of us, it’s sufficient. But when things go awry, and they often do, we’re fucked. Diversifying your income allows you to, one, make more money, but two, have a safety net in place should something arise. There are a few ways of doing this that will tremendously help you out.

  • Investing

If you make enough money to pay your bills, put food on the table, save for a rainy day, save for another rainy day, have a bit of leisurely spending, and you still have a bit left over – the best thing you can do with that money is to invest it. Making your money work for you is the easiest way to earn an extra income path. You can invest in a few different things as well. Stocks are always the default, and they are always a good bet to gaining a bit of extra money. But there is a bit of risk involved, and unless you’re dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into it, the returns are quite low. Nonetheless, it’s easy money. You can also invest in family or friends business ventures, you can invest in crypto currencies (which right now is a great time to do so) and you can invest in yourself by learning another trade.

  • Learn Another Trade

This is one of the best ways to diversify and increase your income. This is also the tactic that is most often overlooked. It wasn’t until I learned another trade, that got me into financial freedom. Of course, this take a lot of time and effort. It’s only downside. And I’m sure many of you “don’t have the time” to do so. But if you cut out the time you spend on the weekends going out drinking, if you cut out the time you spend after work watching TV or playing videogames, and if you cut out the time you spend relaxing on your days off, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can pick up a new trade. Dedicate yourself to something you really love, take all extra time you have left in your day to master it, and then monetize it. This is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.

  • Gigs

If you aren’t the type of person who can spend time to learn something new, there’s always gig work. Picking up quick gigs like a bartending job, or driving an Uber, or delivering pizzas opens up your finances tremendously. Of course, many will see this “just get another job”, and that is true in a sense, but gigs are usually work we don’t take too seriously. If you lose your gig job, your world doesn’t come crashing down around you. And again, it dramatically opens up your finances. That extra cash can then be used for a savings, or reinvesting.

If you have the bare minimum amount of energy to get your job done, then you will reap the bare minimum from it

Health

The last thing I want to touch upon is a bit more abstract, but ultimately, just as important to making money as the others. This is taking care of yourself. If you’re not sleeping, if you’re eating like shit, if you’re not exercising, it’s guaranteed you will not have the correct headspace or energy to compete in the modern world. If you have the bare minimum amount of energy to get your job done, then you will reap the bare minimum from it. This is a sad reality for many Americans. And I get it, it’s often difficult to eat healthy, get the correct amount of sleep (something I’m currently working on), and work out, but it’s necessary. Once you get the ball rolling on your health, it does become easier. And then you’ll notice that not only do you feel better, but you look better, and this helps a lot with the confidence you’ll need to succeed. It’s simple stuff, but it needs to be stated. Once you’ve made your riches, then you can think about letting it all go. But until then, hit the gym and stay off the cake.

End Goal

So hopefully those tips will help you out. They certainly helped me. One thing I want to touch on before the end of this article is a question to you. What exactly do you want? There are a lot of us who don’t set clear goals for ourselves. This often leaves us confused and wandering about looking for some type of meaning. Unfortunately, a lot of people find that meaning in vices like drugs or sex. Without understanding what you really want, you can’t strive for something. For me, it’s simple. I want to be able to live a comfortable life, just by creating things. Understanding this goal, allowed me to set up smaller goals that are much easier to attain, that get me closer to that main goal. It’s a great way to feel accomplished with a goal that seems so impossible to achieve. Again, accomplishing these tinier goals, lifts my spirits, keeps me motivated, and keeps me confident. All things that are required to succeed. So I implore you to sit down and really think about that question, and then make a plan on trying to attain it.

Now this is not the end of this piece. There are a lot of specifics I will dive into that will help those who want to specialize in certain aspects. Make sure you bookmark waynewalker.org in order stay updated. And also follow me over on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest tips and articles.