We constantly hear about all of the things we “Should” be doing with our money. We know we should have an emergency fund, pay off our credit cards, and start saving for retirement, but what do we do? More often than not…we do Nothing because it all seems so complicated. We don’t know where to start. We don’t know where to put our money, what to invest in, or what credit card to pay off first.
Smart Wealth Hacks is about is about setting up systems to make saving simple, paying down debt, and putting your finances on autopilot, so you can get out of your own way and stop stressing about your money.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself…
- “I know I need to be disciplined with my spending, but…”
- “I just can’t stick to a budget…”
- “I make more than enough money, but for some reason I’m living paycheck to paycheck…I really just need to work on my self-control”
- “I know I should be saving…I feel so irresponsible.”
- “it just feels so hopeless, we need to tighten our belts, but we never seem to change anything…”
…then you are in the right place.
Dealing with money is psychological, not rational…just trying harder to stick to a budget and using your willpower day in and day out, expecting to force yourself to make good financial decisions is a losing game.
Budgeting is like dieting…it just doesn’t work and everybody hates to do it, but there is a better way.
The excuse, “I’m just not good with money,” is just that…an excuse. But it’s not your fault, most people get very little guidance on how to handle personal finances and consistently making the right financial decisions is difficult. That’s why you need systems in place to take the guesswork out of your finances.
If you are tired of worrying about money, keep saying you really SHOULD start saving money (but just never have anything left over), or just feel depressed when you take a look at your bank balance, I can help.
What can you expect from Smart Wealth Hacks?
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Strategies to take the pain out of financial decisions, allowing you to set up automated systems to make your money work for you.
Tricks and tools to make your financial life easier. Stop worrying about money and start living your life.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a drag, and you don’t have to deprive yourself of all of your guilty pleasures.
You will be amazed with how freeing it is to have your systems working for you, knowing you have an emergency stash socked away for the unexpected, and money just waiting to bring your dream vacation into reality.
You Don’t Have to get it All Right
Many money gurus make people think that there is just ONE right way to do this, and you have to get it ALL right or you are just not good with money, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Money is much more personal than just the numbers and you have to figure out what works for you.
There is no ONE right answer, and I think that this is where so many people just check out on personal financial advice. They think that it’s too hard, too restrictive, that they have to give up everything that they enjoy in order to save money, but that is not the case.
I used to think that people were stupid to spend money on some of the things that they do. How could they be so financially irresponsible…Why would anyone spend so much money on THAT! Yes, I was that judgmental asshole, but I’ve learned that there is so much more to our financial decisions than just the money.
Money, and our decisions around our finances are Emotional much more than rational or logical.
What do you Value? What does Wealth mean to you? What would make you feel Secure with your financial situation? What is the ONE thing that you wish you could do, if only you could “afford it”? How would your life change if you had the peace of mind of knowing that you don’t have to worry about your money?
Set systems up to allow yourself to spend money on the things that YOU find important, and cut back on all of the extra fluff.
Most people never really consider why they spend money the way they do, but when you actually take the time to figure out what is important to you, it becomes easy to see where the tradeoffs are. When you realize how much money you spend on the things that you really don’t care about, while other areas of your life that are important to you suffer, shifting your focus becomes effortless. Especially when you’ve got systems in place to ensure your money is going where you want it to go.
My Money Story
Most people categorize themselves as either spenders or savers, but it’s not that simple. I used to be a Hoarder when it came to my money. I was an extreme saver at one point, and I found it hard to part with money for anything regardless of the cost, how much I really wanted (or even needed) something, or if it would bring me joy in some way. I wanted to be uber responsible with my money and felt guilty any time I would buy anything outside of my strict budget, but my views on money have changed over the years.
I went to college for accounting and finance and learned some of the ins & outs of investing and how money could grow over time. The power of compound interest blew me away (I know, I’m definitely a nerd). I was hooked on saving every penny to grow my investments.
Because I was learning about business finances and investing in school, it made me more interested in personal finance. You know, the stuff they don’t actually teach you in school. I wasn’t making much money, but I scrimped & saved as much as possible.
Part of my hoarding ways came from a few major money screw ups during a time when I was discovering the world of personal finance.
Major Financial Fuck Up #1
I was always somewhat of a saver and was able to mostly avoid student loans in college through scholarships, grants, and working throughout my college years.
During my sophomore year in college my step father (who is a drug addict, but swore he was clean) started asking me to wire him small amounts of money, $50 here $150 there. Eventually the amounts got larger $150 – $300 and the transfer fees really added up. I “lent” him about $3,300 (a large amount for me then) over the course of 6-8 months as he called me every other week with one sob story or another. I just couldn’t tell him no, and he had always paid me back in the past so I trusted that I would get the money back.
I went from a full-time college student with a full-time job and a little money saved up for tuition, to a broke college student supporting my 50 something step father with a drug addiction, within the span of months. I haven’t seen any of that money after many promises of repayment. Not only was I broke, but I maxed out my 1st credit card during this time (also the first time living on my own) and just could not get out of this hole alone. Thankfully, my mom helped me work my way out of my first failed attempt at “adulting.”
But the BIG push to actually start budgeting & tracking my money didn’t come until Major Financial Fuck Up #2.
I made a huge mistake and got a DUI while in college. Besides all of the moral and ethical reasons that made this such a horrible screw up, it was a major financial hit. I was a full-time student, working full time, and paying for college mostly on my own (after “lending” away my small nest egg), the DUI cost me about $7,000 over the course of 3 years. Just as I was recovering from my first screw up, and had a little bit of money saved up, I did it again.
P.S. don’t mess with Texas…there are actually road signs on Texas highways with a big TX state symbol that say “DWI – You can’t afford it.” Boy were they right.
This was enough of a wake-up call to make me sit down and make a spreadsheet to figure out how I was going to continue to pay for college and this stupid screw up.
Moral of the story: You don’t have to get it all right. We all screw up, but you can recover. You can get out of debt. You can start to build an emergency fund. You can STOP constantly stressing about money, and feel the freedom of having your finances run on autopilot.
I have made really, really stupid financial mistakes, and I continue to make them from time to time, but I still have managed to set myself up for continued growth & financial wealth despite my screw ups.
You don’t have to get your money stuff “right” all of the time, but if you take care of the big financial decisions, consciously choose how you spend your money, and set up systems to help you stay on track, financial mess ups don’t have to be devastating.
With All of these Financial Mistakes – Why should you Trust Me?
This is where I’m supposed to impress you with my credentials.
I hold a Bachelors degree in Accounting with a Minor in Finance and Master of Business Administration. I am also a Certified Management Accountant. Ta da!!
The truth is, none of these things give me any special qualifications to give you financial advice. I am not a personal financial planner or advisor. I don’t hold any licenses to sell you securities or insurance.
So why trust me?
Because, as weird as it seems, I love this stuff. If I did have any of the above mentioned “legitimate” financial credentials, I wouldn’t have told my story with all of my financial screw ups. I don’t want this site to be stuffy and professional. I want to relate to you, financial fuck-ups and all.
What have I accomplished after all of my screw ups and many more after that?
- I’ve paid for fees & books not covered by scholarships with only $5,000 in student loans after 7 years in college.
- Paid those small loans off within 2 years of graduation
- Bought a small house 6 months out of college with a 20% downpayment while making around $15 an hour (which was probably the worst mistake I’ve made, costing me tens of thousands of dollars…but more on that later)
- Built up my emergency fund, with fun money to spare
- Paid off a vehicle a year after purchase
- Tripled my income within 5 years, but maintained a similar lifestyle to finally start ramping up investments
- On track to be Financially Independent by 45, but my goal is sooner (I use financial independence rather than “retire” because I don’t plan to run away to a beach somewhere and never work again, but I do plan to be able to live off of my investments by this time so I can consciously choose the projects I work on without money being the deciding factor)
My goal with this website is to share some of the lessons and strategies that I’ve learned along the way. If I can help one person get out of debt or have a sense of financial security because they’ve got a small stockpile of money set aside for emergencies, then I’ve succeeded.
Want to finally take control of your finances and stop stressing about money? Enter your email below.