Rich Dad Poor Dad, written by Robert T. Kiyosaki, is one of those personal finance books that I truly believe everyone should read at least once in their lives.
Here’s the deal...If you are an individual who is neutral about personal finances, in that maybe you are able to control your spending, but not able to save as much as you would like. Or, maybe you have a budget, but are essentially breaking even each month. Or, maybe you are on a different side of the spectrum, in that you are struggling financially and are worried about not making ends meet day-to-day. Well, this book is for all of you! I do not think it will single out any class of people, because the concepts, themes, frames of thought, can at any point in time affect any one of us. Not only will this book be enlightening, it may also enrich your life in ways you never thought imaginable, while instilling in you the desire to take charge of your personal finances.
Frames of Thought from Rich Dad Poor Dad
Kiyosaki generally reasons through two frames of thinking when it comes to personal finances. His belief that financial intelligence should be taught at a young age is a frame of thought strong within the book. His argument is that since financial intelligence is not discussed in schools it has more people drowning in debt, and not earning enough income to cover daily expenses, as well as their future expenses. Modern day marketing amongst our culture nowadays has us thinking certain ways about what our “needs” are (which is not inherently wrong), that is not actually doing us any good nor taking our future into consideration. This frame of thought is actually so strong throughout this book it almost feels repetitive.
His second frame of thought discussed in this book is about creating wealth that replenishes itself. That might not make much sense, but think in terms of investing to create a return for yourself in the future. A strong focus of this frame of thought is real estate investing. That is pretty much all I will say on that theme because you really need to read through it to understand the concepts Kiyosaki talks about. Plus, I am not about to say that I know anything about real estate, *thankfully* there are professionals out there that do!
However . . .
Well, the above stated concepts are not actually the direction I want to take this blog post. What I want to do is focus mostly on one paragraph in this book because of two reasons. First, I am not about to ruin this book for you, because I want you to feel intrigued enough to read it. Secondly, I feel like this paragraph speaks to a lot of us and where we are today, financially. It will make sense in a minute, promise!
This paragraph is from page 57 of the book, head over to that page to read the paragraph in context and its entirety. For now, I will break up the paragraph and walk through each phrase. It is my belief that this is the core of what Kiyosaki’s rich dad is teaching in this book.
"To spend your life living in fear, never exploring your dreams, is cruel."
Have you ever had dreams of doing something incredible, but scared of starting towards that partly because you are not financially secure to move forward with it? I agree with Kiyosaki, that mentality of thinking is very cruel. It is almost debilitating. That is why I have felt the need to travel throughout my life. I am hungry for experiences in other countries and cultures. Some of you may feel this same hunger for experiences, but maybe you are spending your life living in fear. Make a plan. Make sure that plan includes travel. Stick to the plan.
"To work hard for money, thinking that it will buy you things that will make you happy is also cruel."
I think we all know that money does not buy us happiness. So, why do we continue living our lives buying tons of stuff, that we are unable to afford and do not have the budget, that we think will make us happy? If you are stuck in this phase of life, take a step back and try to look at the larger picture. Imagine where you could be in 5 years if you had a budget and plan to go along with it. Imagine the people that you want to be beside you. Remember that living within your means is the most optimal, and we should always strive for it.
"To wake up in the middle of the night terrified about paying bills is a horrible way to live."
Sadly, this is true for many people who lack financial intelligence. For those who are too afraid to talk to a professional for help with creating a budget because they just cannot accept (nor admit to themselves) they do not have an understanding of where their personal finances truly stand. The first step is admitting to yourself the truth. The second step is asking for help. Remember, I am just a phone call or email away!
"To live a life dictated by the size of a paycheck is not really living a life."
If you have ever lived paycheck to paycheck you know EXACTLY what this is talking about. It is almost as if the minute you get paid you are already drowning in too many bills that you just cannot dig yourself out of. In turn, this also means that there is no room for fun... So then we create exceptions to the rules in order for us to “really” feel like we are not missing out on life (FOMO, anyone?). Thus perpetuating the cycle of debt, and continuing to drown in these exceptions to the rules. Try to remember that fun does not have to cost a thing. Instead, seek out memories and moments with a loved one.
"Thinking that a job makes you secure is lying to yourself…”
When I was in undergrad and started my very first office job, I will never forget the advice of a colleague; "every job is replaceable" she said to me. I think perhaps she really meant it as an encouragement to validate that I did not need to stay dedicated to that workplace after I graduate. In fact, there is actually no guarantee that our jobs will be there the next day, or week. Companies can quickly decide to close their doors. Unions can quickly decide to go on a strike. Please, please, please create a backup strategy plan for your nine-to-five job. Always keep your resume updated. Your backup strategy can be as simple as saving up three months of living expenses, or maybe it is starting your own side hustle! It does not matter the strategy, as long as there is a strategy in place.
"Please don't let money run your life."
I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback if you have read this book. Even if you have not read the book, and something in this blog post sparked your interest. Comment below, or send me a message!
Would you know the answer to the question: Do you live below your means?
Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast where they were talking about how it is culturally acceptable to spend, spend, spend! Buy that new widescreen/flat screen/3D Screen TV! Buy the newest car! Buy that new piece of electronics! Buy the latest and greatest fashion line! Living within this culture where we are conditioned to overspend beyond our means, will allow us to do just that with seemingly no repercussions. I truly believe it becomes very hard to live below your means when you are immersed in a society and culture where it is acceptable to live beyond your means.
As I see it, there are a few options available to you in order to start living below and within your means. Here are five ways you can choose today to start living below your means:
1. Stop spending money
First off, it is easier said than done, but just stop spending your money altogether. Stop going out to eat. Stop buying the latest and greatest car/electronic/clothing. Even if we stopped here, at this point, you could be on track for living below your means. With the pressure of this current culture, being status quo is seems to be no longer enough. Everyone wants to be the first person who, when it comes to their Instagram account, is posting about their greatest experiences, or the newest restaurant in town, or whatever new piece of electronics they recently got. It especially makes me nervous when people talk about always spending money. I always want to interject, and ask if they have a budget, or if they are saving for retirement. . .
2. Increase your income
If you have done everything you can to cut your spending, then the next step is to figure out a way increase your income! This may include asking for a raise from your employer. But, seriously, when was the last time you had a raise? I am sure you are a great employee that goes above and beyond. Build your case, and request the meeting with your boss. It could be as easy as that!
Increasing your income could also mean you are working a side hustle. Did you know that if you started a blog, you could eventually start making money off the blog? Increasing your income could also include going through your house and purging items that are no longer useful for you. Instead of donating those items to Goodwill use Facebook Marketplace to sell them; or, apps like Poshmark (download the app and use my code for a $5 credit: EDRINAJENETTE). Another option is to drive for Uber or Lyft on the weekends, instead of watching Netflix. These are just a few ideas and options available to you.
3. Create a budget
What it really comes down to, in my opinion, the true problem lies within not having a budget and sticking to it. When it comes to living below my means, my number one takeaway that ensures I am living within my means is my budget! So, simple, right? Well, come to find out, many people do not use a budget! Which is entirely unfortunate for them because this is the number one way to ensure you are living within your means! At the very core of creating a budget is the fact that you will need to start tracking every single transaction from your bank accounts and credit cards. Making sure you are comparing what you spend to the amount of income that you are bringing in for that time period (whether it be per pay period or per month). So that at the end of that time period you will be able to identify where the bulk of your spending is going, and perhaps even drill down into a potential spending problem. That is when you should really focus and hone in on what your next steps will be.
It is no longer enough to just have a conversation about a budget. You really need to put pen to paper and work through the numbers yourself. Heck, even let a professional do that for you! I remember when I was first going to college and I was writing down every expense that I had and all of my income to figure out how to make ends meet. I remember feeling like I did not have enough income to make a meaningful budget. This left me feeling a little defeated and I did not want to continue working on my budget. But I pressed on anyway, because that is what you have to do. You have to press on in order to meet your goals.
4. Make sacrifices
When all is said and done, living below your means will certainly take some sacrifices. For myself, I have made a point to not eat out all the time. I have made a point to stick to my grocery budget as much as possible during the month. But, also, there is zero shame in shopping at the Dollar Tree! Every month, I make a point to go to the Dollar Tree for my everyday items. This saves me SO much money. Lastly, I have made a point to stay in the apartment that I am living in. This third point is probably the hardest for me right now. I have been wanting to move into a two bedroom apartment so that I can have a dedicated office space, but it does not make sense to me financially right now. Rent these days is a little ridiculous and I cannot imagine myself paying as much as they are asking for a two-bedroom. I have given myself a limit as to what I feel is acceptable to spend on my housing each month, and everything that I have seen over the past year would mean that I would be living beyond my means!
These sacrifices that we make in order to live below our means may not be easy. The way my office space is currently sitting is in my living room, which pretty much cramps my living room space. For almost half the year, I have had my couch in front of a closet because if I had it any other way there would be no room to walk! But, it is these sacrifices that I deal with so that I can live below my means. These sacrifices are conscious decisions that I have to make every single day.
5. Enlist an accountability partner
If you already know that you are not the greatest when it comes to numbers, then find someone who knows the numbers and can help. It does not even have to be a professional. Perhaps you have a trusted friend that can offer insight with an outsider’s perspective. Enlist them to be your budget accountability partner. Offer to cook them dinner and have a budget check-in session together. I have known plenty people who are very smart and capable, but also want that extra set of eyes, or a perspective of an accounting professional that they do not have. I completely and entirely respect that in them, because whether or not we want to admit it we are all human and can also make mistakes. All that to say, I am certainly not perfect and am still on this journey alongside you.
So, together, we can make living below our means socially and culturally acceptable! Who’s with me?!
Written By: Katie Horning
Katie Horning is an Accounting Professional based in the Los Angeles County area
Unemployment. What a dreaded word! In this blog post I have a dear friend of mine walk us through what she has learned about the unemployment process. Perhaps you have experienced something similar to her story. My heart goes out to each one of you who has had to deal with unemployment currently, or in the past. I would hope that this could bring you some semblance of what do you do when it happens so that you do not feel knocked down on your feet!
I hope it can bring you some comfort to know that the current state of the job market is in its growth phase. As this article states:
“Business’ number one problem is finding qualified workers,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “At the current pace of job growth, if sustained, this problem is set to get much worse. These labor shortages will only intensify across all industries and company sizes.”
If you are a skilled or qualified worker make sure you are following the steps below in order for you to get back on your feet stat!
Take it away, Katie!
In one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping, as the protagonist Lucy is remembering her father she says, “He would get these far-off looks in his eyes and he would say, ’Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan.’ I just wish I’d realized at the time, he was talking about my life.” Unemployment was never part of my plan. In 2015, I took a risk, leaving a job I had for over five years, to take a contract position for a job I loved, with every hope that this contract would become permanent. However, after a year and a shift in management, the contract ended, and I found myself unemployed. It knocked the wind out of me and left my head spinning.
That’s a bit of my story, and I wanted to share that along with some practical things I learned through that process, in hopes that it may help someone out there.
You’re unemployed; now what?
1. Apply for Unemployment Insurance – Unemployment Insurance will provide a percentage of the income you were receiving while employed. In my case, it was not a sustainable income, but it definitely helped slow the flow out of my savings!
You can do it!
I’m rooting for you!
The decision to go to Cancun was for a few reasons, and selling points. First off, we needed a getaway and wanted to make sure the getaway was budget friendly. We decided to do an “All-Inclusive” vacation. We were saving up for a vacation, just unsure of where to go but we knew we wanted something that would fit into what we had already saved. We were looking at very specific price points. We looked through other vacations, like cruises (I love cruises!!) and a few other local vacation spots.
I like to do a search on all those discounted travel websites like Expedia and Groupon, and then I do some price comparisons and research with Airbnb. For the amount of money that we would spend, over the course of a week, it just made sense to do an all-inclusive trip with CheapCaribbean.com. We knew that if we did go with an all-inclusive resort we would have the opportunity to do a timeshare presentation, and if we declined signing up for a timeshare, we would get a *free* gift. Whatever that gift would be and however long it took us to get, we were up for it! The gift turned out to be a complimentary massage!
A note about all-inclusive resorts: mostly everything is included! Starting with the airfare, cost of the hotel, cost of the meals, and sometimes the alcohol. Yes, you read that right! Additionally, the resort we stayed at has amazing WiFi all over! Even when we were on the beach, the WiFi still worked great! Our resort stocked our mini-fridge on the daily! It had things like soda, water bottles, juice, and beer. We did not have to buy any water bottles while we were there! We also were able to order room service at our leisure at no additional charge!
Now, my only drawback with all-inclusive resorts is that the food is not specialty food. I enjoy eating delicious made-for-me meals (and I usually default to a vegetarian-ish type of eating), and all-inclusive resorts usually have buffets as their main dining experience. Thankfully, the resort we opted for did include a dinner at a Teppan Grill -- which was fabulous! There was also a couple other restaurants there and that had delicious dinners! A steak restaurant and Italian restaurant.
However, when it comes to the activities outside of the resort, those will cost a pretty penny! So, be very careful when scheduling your excursions because those will add up very quickly. Pro-tip: Schedule an excursion that goes to more than one place, to get the most bang for your buck!
Importance of Traveling
I know that there are some people out there that would love to go on a vacation, but feel like they are hindered by outside circumstances. Perhaps you feel the cost of the vacation is too much to bear. Perhaps you feel like your work will not let you take a full week vacation off, OR that no one at your workplace should be filling in for you. Perhaps you think it will be challenging to leave your home and pets for the week. My guess is that because of any one of these reasons you have talked yourself out of going on a vacation!
Believe me, the pets will be fine with a family member or close friend watching over your home. It does not hurt to ask, and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised when they do agree to watch over your home and pets. I would also like to mention how necessary it is for employers to allow you to take your vacation time that you have accrued throughout the year. It is in the best interest of the company as it is for yourself. Read this article if I still have not convinced you.
I've linked some of my favorite travel products, check them out on Amazon!
As you can see I am an advocate of taking vacations. There is nothing better than getting away with your loved ones to reset. You can even use it as a time to come together and set or create goals for the upcoming year or season. Here are a few health benefits that I have found to be true for myself when taking a vacation:
“Let’s Do the Numbers” (said in a very Kay Rissdal way)
Traveling may feel like it can be expensive, but if you save up and plan for it in time by setting small goals for yourself you will find that it is attainable. Since the All-Inclusive resort pretty much included anything we wanted at the hotel, we were very mindful about tipping our servers. (Please be mindful and tip!) So, here’s our detail breakdown of our costs.
So, given our total cost of the trip was about $1,565 each person, if you were to save up for this in one year (with 26 pay periods), that is only about $60 per paycheck! If you have other priorities right now, like paying off debt, that is great! Once you get to a point where you are in charge of your debt, start saving for that much-needed vacation of yours! I also wanted to point out that the highlighted items are frivolous spending. We spent it because we had brought cash with us for that very reason. But, you do not have to opt in to spending this money. In fact, if you take those items away you would only need to save about $50 per paycheck for a year.
Tips For Booking Your Travel
Left: Our itinerary // Right: At Tulum on one of the excursions
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Make talking about budgeting a part of your everyday life!
If you do not take anything away from this blog, it is just that! The other day I was thinking of ways that I could bring a fresh perspective in order to assist in personal budgeting and finances. But then, light-bulb! I realized that simply starting the conversation could do just that!
Find ways to incorporate it into your daily conversations.
It does not have to be with just your partner either. I find myself asking friends before we go out what their budget looks like for our outing. Or, we already have a predetermined amount of money we can spend on a typical basis (which is CHEAP). I want to be mindful and cautious about spending money, and I do believe my friends want to as well.
I was just on vacation, and in order to keep track of our spending (because we only brought a set amount of cash) we literally wrote down where every dollar was going. We did not want to be in a situation where we came back from vacation and then could not figure out where our dollars went! As it turns out, we spent wayyyyyy less than we had thought we would. So, I came back with actual CASH! *happy dance* (I plan to write up a blog post on going on a budget-friendly vacation at a later time, where I detail all of our spending! Stay tuned!)
I think we are afraid of talking about budgeting!
I think the reason people tend to shy away from talking about budgeting is out of fear. Maybe we are afraid of being honest with ourselves? Maybe we feel like talking about our budgets means sharing every little detail about what is included, like income. Income is a very touchy subject. I am here to tell you that is absolutely not true! We all have different goals and priorities. But, we do need to be mindful that what one person’s priority may be, is another person’s luxury.
I am not saying that you need to share every detail about your budget. I am, however, suggesting to try and incorporate it into your daily conversations. We could all become a little more vulnerable with each other and learn how to share sensitive information in a trustworthy and safe environment.
That is to say, you most certainly do not have to share what you are not comfortable with sharing. Think about the times you and some friends are discussing which restaurant or coffee shop to visit. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to say something like; “I am on a budget and would like to keep our meals under $XX dollar amount”? I think this is absolutely and perfectly acceptable!
The biggest area of concern for me is my fringe spending. These are things that are not on the necessary list, but the “nice to have” and the “don't really need” lists. For example, it would be nice to eat out at a restaurant a few nights each week, but that is not necessary when I know how to cook and have plenty of food at home. It would be very nice to get Starbucks coffee EVERY morning, but that is very far from necessary!
What I have been doing recently is tracking my spending very carefully. Once you become accustomed to talking more about your budget and drilling down into what you spend your money on, it starts to become a little bit easier to stop spending money and focus on financial goals.
To be entirely and completely honest, starting a business is not easy, and it is not cheap. So, my goal for myself is to drill down on what are my actual expenses essential to my life so that the overage of dollars can be transferred into my business accounts. This way I can do more things like advertising and marketing, which tend to have very volatile spending. Initially, I would like to see my spending down by 5% overall in the variable spending category. As I get a handle on spending less money, I do plan to continue to share this with you all.
I will go ahead and share with you what my spending has looked like in my variable category over the past few months in percentages. Hopefully, you will be able to see how it takes a lot of discipline to not only just stick to your budget but to fine-tune it each month these are very very important factors in your Financial Health.
A few things to note about the chart below. This is what the total percentage of spending in these particular categories for these months look like. This is NOT what I have allocated for my budget, that would have to be stated in a different type of chart and frankly, I did not want to muddy the waters too much! You will not see items like Rent, Utilities, Car, because these are taken into consideration under my “Fixed Expenses” category.
As you can see, May has the highest spending in the dining out line item. When I think back to May, I was really busy and did not have a lot of time for Meal Planning. Take a look at the Groceries line, which is very low for May. In June, I spent a lot of money on Household items. Partially because I needed more items to replenish what I had, and there are a few summer items included in that spending number as well. When I throw my categories into a chart like this it helps visualize where I am spending my money! Then, identify areas of concern and continue to address them moving forward.
I would also say that I have been trying my very best to put more dollars as much as I can into savings, stocks, and IRA. Now this is probably my area of weakness because I do not consider myself to have a huge amount of savings, and I would like to build it up as much as I can. But, it is challenging because I feel the push and pull out of do I put my money into savings or into my business. And since I have been more mindful about my spending and budgeting over the past few years I have seen my credit score dramatically increase. So that is also another measurement that I use to encourage and to challenge myself. Well, that is also a blog for a different day!
Now, you can see that talking about your budget actually really tells the story of your life, your priorities, and what has been getting in the way. It can be challenging, but there should be no need to be frightened about talking about your budget. Obviously, I do not have it all figured out at this moment, because there are many variables at play. But, at least you are able to tell what my goals are and how I plan to get there.
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My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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