Have you ever experienced or learned something that is totally weird but totally true? Well, I have had those experiences. It turned out they've become the best personal finance lessons I've ever learned.
This is why I have learned to be more open to learning new things and experiencing new thoughts that may seem odd for a lot of people.
My wife and I had experienced financial difficulties even before we started our marriage, which mostly were due to my fault.
I built a business that failed and incurred a ton of debt in the process. Luckily, we survived, paid off the debt, and saved a ton of money in the process. We did all of these in less than 3 years.
What helped us survive? One of the reasons we were able to survive was we applied the strangest lessons we learned in life and from my mentor.
These strangest but best financial lessons helped my family propelled from owing $40K to creditors to having/saving over $200K in less than 5 years.
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8 Strangest, Best Personal Finance Lessons I've Learned
I honestly think that I am more than lucky to have learned these personal finance lessons. They have truly improved our lives financially and personally speaking.
Here are the strangest financial lessons I have learned from life and my mentor.
1. Get paid for the things you do at your convenience.
Seriously, I never thought about it. I thought that it's normal to not get paid for things I do daily. Now, I believe I need to be paid for what I do, and that's exactly what I'm getting now.
If you like giving opinions, watching TV, cleaning the backyard, or something else, then, get paid for doing just that, and use the money for your expenses.
Believe it or not, a lot of companies will pay you to do what you normally do.
My wife makes $300/mo on surveys, and that pays our monthly groceries and phone bill.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you money for completing mindless, super easy surveys.
Many surveys pay between $3.00 and $4.00, many of which take less than a minute to do. Since Survey Junkie adds new surveys daily, you can make money faster than you think.
Over 6,000,000 people monthly use Survey Junkie – a proof of how popular this site is. Just log in with your email or Facebook account, answer 5 basic questions that last only for 30 seconds, and you are set.
2. Make the right decisions.
While we sometimes need to find solutions on how to live cheap or within a tight budget, we may not always be comfortable talking about our finance to others because it's a sensitive matter.
I hear you on that because my family has been in that scenario before.
One great solution that works for us is by using a FREE personal finance app called Digit. It could work for you as well.
It is a sophisticated way to save money. It examines your spending habit and saves you the right amount of money every day.
What’s great with Digit is your money is FDIC insured up to $250,000 and your information is encrypted. You also get 1% savings bonus every quarter.
Digit is free to use for 30 days but after that, you will be charged $2.99 per month. The cost may be high but there are a lot of benefits you can use.
For example, Digit knows when the best time is to save money. There's no account minimum and it will reimburse you if it saves too much, which in the end, outweighs the cost.
With Digit, we paid off our $40K debt and saved $70K in 2.5 years. Digit helped us live off well under $31,000/year. How I wish we found this app a long time ago.
3. Use fee-free banks (and ditch your old ones, please).
In 2017, Americans paid $329 in bank fees on average, which could easily go to other important expenses.
Let's face it. Bank makes money from you, and not the other way around. I learned that it's best to use a fee-free bank that benefits you more (and not the other way around).
A year ago, I ditched my Wells Fargo bank for CIT Bank and I couldn't be any happier.
CIT Bank offers a High Yield Savings Account with 1.55% APY – 21 times higher than the 0.06% national average. I don't pay monthly fees and meet bank's “do this or don't do that” ridiculous rules, and still get that high APR. It's a double win if you ask me.
Now, I make over $1,550 a year on interest – enough for a year's worth of electric bill and, then, some more.
If you want to save money and make money as well with a small tweak, then, transferring to CIT Bank is just a great option to go for.
4. Don't trade short term gains for long term pain.
This shouldn't be primarily listed as one of the strangest pieces of advice, but it does have a place of being a strange advice.
We people tend to like convenience over savings for so many reasons. We buy the latest smart gadgets because they make our lives easier even if it means that we shell out a ton of money in the process.
The same thing goes for investing. A lot of us start investing later on in life.
I know how it feels to put your hard earned money in the hands of the stock market. My wife and I have been there. It was the scariest feeling in the world.
Acorns allows you to invest as little as $0.01. Those cents are invested in Vanguard funds known as the best of the best funds that normally require investors $10,000 or more for an initial investment.
It's user-friendly and easy to install. It only takes a few seconds to get it up and running. You can even set it up once and forget about it.
I've only been using Acorns for 7 months and my investment is already around $2,000. My rate of return? It's 12.5% return in 7 months and that's without me lifting a single finger.
Sign up and start with Acorns here and get your $5 sign-up bonus.
5. Choose the “harder” right than the “easier” wrong.
Oftentimes in life, we choose the easier or easiest routes because they are more convenient, they are less of a hassle, among others. But many times, these choices are not the right ones to make.
I have learned that it’s always better to choose the “harder” right than the “easier” wrong.
I have learned that it’s always best to choose the right solution even when it means that you need to sacrifice some important things in life.
For example, I always tell people to invest early in life due to the compounding effects when your money is invested early on.
The truth is, it is hard to invest money when you are just starting out in life and have a lot of bills to pay especially student loans, personal loans, or any financial responsibilities you may have.
Investing money early on is what I call the “harder” right and not investing early is somewhat but not entirely the “easier” wrong.
6. Take a risk and fail, then, succeed.
This is surely one of the best but strangest financial lessons I've learned in life. I mean come on. Who wants to do something with the intention of failing?
I honestly think that failures are blessings in disguise.
In 2012, I started investing heavily in the stock market. Now my portfolio is at least $200,000 even when I have only been investing $10K – $15K each year for the past five years. I took a risk, learned the effective ways to invest, and have made so much in 5 years.
In 2016, I started blogging to share my experience on how my wife and I paid off our $40K debt.
Now, I make at least $20,000 a month working 5 hours/mo on my blog. I do create posts from time to time, but I don't have to spend more time that I need to because my contents are applicable any time of the year.
I took a risk, invested time and effort, and paid dirt cheap $2.95/mo. It’s a coffee fix, to say the least. Now, I am making a full-time income on a part-time basis. I get to keep the day job I really love and blogging pays all our bills and then some (click here for the full story).
7. Use other people’s money for your gain.
Sounds like you need to scam people, right? The answer is no. You don’t need to scam people to use their money.
There are ways you can gain money from using someone else’s money.
For example, you can borrow money from your parents to buy a house. In turn, you rent the house to students or family for monthly rent higher than what you pay your parents every month.
So, when I say you use other people’s money, what I really mean by that is use their money as leverage for you to gain more money than what you borrowed from people.
That’s basically what a lot of businesses do, that is, they use other people’s money (through bank loans, collaterals, etc.).
Of course, you also have to be careful when using other people’s money. Why? It’s because when you invest or use their money, you can gain money or lose money. If the event you lose money, then, you still need to repay those people you owe money from.
8. Pay debt with another debt.
This financial management lesson is also strange but is what I consider one the best financial lessons out there.
For so many years, I was told that it's a bad idea to use another debt to pay another debt. Actually, I've seen it first hand.
When I was growing up, my mom and dad had to borrow money to pay for another borrowed money. What the end result was that they became indebted so much. Luckily, my brothers and sisters helped and all their debts were gone in a few years.
I wasn't old enough, then, to contribute even a single cent to help my parents.
Anyhow, I have learned that, sometimes, it's better to use one debt to pay another. There have been instances in the past where I did that.
For one, when I was paying my $40K, I chose to get a personal loan. That loan had an interest rate of 2.5%. It was a good decision because the interest rates on the credit cards I had hovered around 15%.
By going that route, I was able to save a ton of money by not paying interests.
So, when people say that it's bad to use another debt to pay another debt, just remind yourself that it's not always the case. I know you'll agree with me when I say it's better to pay 2.5% than 15%.
If you ever want to reduce your debt, I recommend you consider personal loans. Click here to find out how much you will save with a personal loan. I saved thousands of dollars and you could, too.
These are the best personal finance lessons I've learned in the past, but they certainly are the some of the best financial lessons I've learned.
Do you have any strange financial advice that helps you manage money or turned out to be the best advice you've gotten?