Today’s millennials aren’t big fans of debt. Unlike the baby boomers, young adults today are straddling massive financial pressure – be it heavy student loans or home prices reaching unaffordable highs. While all of this welcomes plenty of financial advice, most of them are wrong. Here are five pieces of money rules you can afford to ignore.
1. Buy A House ASAP (And Not Rent)
With home prices almost doubling and trumping inflation and pay, buying a house could lead to a nightmare if you’re taking out a mortgage before your income allows you to afford one. A better option would be to rent until you have enough funding to put down 20%, while taking care to not make payments that are more than 30% of your total income.
2. Ditch Your Credit Card
While this might be popular financial advice from the older folks, getting a credit card that comes with a low annual fee can help you immensely – if used right. What’s more, it comes packed with perks like reward points, cashback, mileage for travel, and can help you meet a large unexpected cost.
3. Pay Down Debts With The Highest Rates
It might be tempting to tackle the biggest debt of the lot and let the smaller ones slip down your priority list. The trick here is to focus instead on paying off your smallest of debts with every dollar you can afford – once it’s paid off, roll over to paying off the next one, until you’re debt-free.
4. Start Saving For Your Retirement (Right Now)
Despite the upside to saving for your retirement now, millennials might often find money too tight. For folks who are just out of university, a wiser option would be to aggressively pay off your debts instead. Although, here’s a caveat – IF your employer offers a retirement contribution match, invest just enough to get that perk (It’s free money!).
5. Buy Yourself A Car
With the shared economy on overdrive, there are plenty of options ranging from car rentals to ride-hailing services. Pumping your money into buying your car could also demand more of your savings for repairs and maintenance – funds you can use to pay off other expenses with. The opportunity cost isn’t worth it if you haven’t got enough financial cushion to meet your important expenses.
When Is Saying No Better Than Yes?
“If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”
Most well-known personalities, singers, movies, etc all talk about saying YES when opportunities pop up. Eminem talked in many of his songs about seizing the opportunity, just like the quote above.
There is value to this because most people won’t take advantage of the opportunities they are given. I’m not an avid listener of that genre of music, but Marshall Mathers really strikes into a vein of our society via music in a way that I’m not sure others have done.
The fact is most people let fear stop them from achieving something greater.
But, for those of us with an entrepreneurs mentality, we naturally say yes when opportunities pop up.
“Yes, I’ll buy that property.”
“Sure, I’ll partner on that deal.”
“This is a great business idea to create another stream of income!”
The problem is that almost no one talks about saying no.
As real estate investors or any other business minded person, it’s Often, saying NO is more valuable than saying YES.
It’s Hard to Say No
It’s easy to make excuses but it’s hard to say no. Be honest with yourself, when was the last time a friend asked you to help them move and you said in simple terms “no”?
Maybe you found something else to do that day. Perhaps you were ‘busy’. Whatever it was, you didn’t just say no.
It’s similar with business. Many people find excuses to not be successful, but few say “no” to success.
But, once you start saying “yes”, it’s addicting. More opportunities, more revenue, more income, more potential.
It’s HARD to say no to those things. But, sometimes we need to. Here are a few reasons why.
Think of Opportunity Costs
I recently met up with my good friend Jennifer over at REIMillionaire while we were both in Oklahoma City checking out some opportunities. She is really successful in real estate and has a number of income streams from various sources related to real estate.
We were assessing some solid BRRR Strategy opportunities. I asked her, “So, what do you think about these?”
“The numbers work. I have a few concerns but I think they are solid.”
“So, are you going to do it?” I asked.
“No, I don’t think so…”
After some more conversation, she pointed out that pursuing those deals don’t fit well into what she was doing elsewhere She wanted to focus on syndicating some new-build multifamily near Seattle that we’re working on together as partners.
It’s important to think about opportunity costs when evaluating a potential opportunity, be it in real estate or in other business.
We all have a ‘bandwidth’ meaning we can only focus on a certain number of things in a given period of time. When you take on a new opportunity, it will take you away from other things that you are working on.
And that is opportunity cost – what you give up in order to get something else.
As entrepreneurs, this is so hard to determine!
It’s Hard to Estimate Opportunity Costs
Think about it, imagine you’re earning money on your real estate, as an agent, with your website, doing some wholesaling. You’ve got a lot of revenue coming in.
Then, someone asks you to partner on a new build, or to start a property management company, or to do…whatever else.
So, you take the opportunity. You can make money doing it for sure.
You also don’t lose any money in your other areas. You’re still earning the same amount, so it’s good, right?
The hard part is going back and assessing if you could have earned even more if you had spent that time building up one of your other revenue streams.
Chances are if you had dedicated the same amount of time to buying more rentals, building your agent business, wholesaling real estate, or whatever else it is you do, you could have earned more.
Say No If You’re Too Excited
One of the problems investors run into is the excitement about a deal. It’s more common in newer investors but it happens with experienced investors as well.
If you find yourself overly excited about something, you might be trying to convince yourself to do it. If this is happening, it’s time to take a step back and take a deeper look.
When you’re evaluating any potential investment, regardless if it’s business, stocks, or real estate, you need to be totally detached. If you catch yourself fudging numbers to make it work, you’re probably too excited.
I’ve done it before tons of times. In real estate, you’ll find yourself bumping rents a little bit or dropping expenses in some way trying to get the numbers to pan out.
Remember, it’s always cheaper to lose a good deal than to say yes to a bad deal! So, it might just be time to walk away if you’re doing this.
Focus on a Few Things
The moral of the story is to focus on just a few things. Don’t get distracted by shiny objects and don’t chase things just because they could earn money.
When you are looking to chase a new project, be skeptical and avoid it if you find yourself getting too attached to it.
What about you, have you ever had to say no to a new project or investment even if it was a good one?
6 Money Saving Tips For Millennials
Millennials make up approximately 25% of the total population in the United States and they are now larger than the Baby Boomer generation.
This has welcomed a new trend—increased spending. The spending power of Millennials is estimated to reach a whopping $3.39 trillion by the end of 2018. A higher education level and more spending power haven’t yet translated into financial literacy.
As financial literacy is not taught in schools, most individuals grow up having no idea of investing and saving options. Most millennials will soon have to start making life decisions—whether it is to buy a home or start a family.
They need to find a way to overcome mounting student debt, skyrocketing rents, a saturated job market, and stagnant wages, while saving enough for retirement.
Sounds tough? Sure. But you need not worry. Here are six financial tips that will help millennials save a few bucks—all the while maintaining financial discipline.
Why You Need To Bag Muni Bonds For High-Yield Tax-Free Returns
With many investors taking to the stock market or making do with scraping a meagre 2% yield off their 10-year Treasury bills, most miss out on including a far better option to their investment portfolio – municipal bonds. What’s exciting about this asset class? They come packed with significant tax advantages, and yield returns that are over 6% to the investor. Here’s a short, somewhat helpful video on how municipal bonds work:
Muni bonds have been the safest bet when investing in bonds – their default rates at 0.2% for years are almost miniscule when compared to the volatility that the equity market flirts with. Earlier this year, a new federal tax law enabled improved tax deductions on federal returns. This drew many to bank on municipal bonds since it fit the tax-free bill. The interest income you receive on muni bonds is not subject to federal taxes, plus it is exempt from local taxes if it was issued within your state. The cascading gains you make can be dramatic.
The best way to tap into muni bonds are through a bond fund. Within a regular bond fund, you get to pick amongst mutual funds, closed-end funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Beyond these classes, you would also have to consider factors such as your investment horizon and cash flow requirements. Here’s a post that explains the calculations that go into muni bonds and other considerations to look at when making the investment. Better yet are the projections – nearly $51 billion in reinvestment demand is expected this month, which would sweeten the deal for municipal bond holders.