Where To Begin – Personal Finance

Personal Finance is a tough topic to handle, mostly because people don’t like talking about money. Why? Because it’s embarrassing. According to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans (57 percent) have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. Virtually half, or 49 percent, of all Americans are still living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to the same survey. So the majority of Americans have a f_ _ _ _ _  economy. It’s normal to be poor

 

So chances are, the ones reading this are in the same situation. If you’re not from the US, then this still applies to you though.

Most people spend money they shouldn’t be spending instead of saving and investing. I could end it here, but I won’t. We have to go a little more in-depth.

There’s a psychological aspect to overspending and spending money we don’t have. Money gives us power, being wealthy is fun and it’s something we’ve been told to look for ever since we were in pre-school. Money is the goal. So when someone gives you your first credit card at the age of 18, it’s hard to fall in the trap of overspending. You have the opportunity to spend money you don’t have, and you’re too young & dumb to realise it.

Don’t get me wrong, I think most of us have spent a little too much on our credit card, me included, but here’s the thing. DON’T USE IT!

Most people start their unending debt-cycle the day they get their first credit card. There’s nothing telling you “you don’t have the funds to make this purchase!”. You start spending and spending and in the end you hit the limit, the minimum is too much for you now that you’ve grown accustomed to an expensive lifestyle and so you get another card to pay the premium on the first one. You see where I’m going with this? It’s never going to end unless you get a grip.

Credit cards are loans. We don’t like to think about it like that, but it is. Studies show that you’re overspending by a lot when you use your plastic cards rather than cash. I don’t care whether you’re paying it off at the end of the month. Credit cards is the most advertised thing in the history of humanity, you think you getting a few points mean you’re “winning” over a billion dollar corporation? Grow up. 

You’re loaning money, money you don’t have, to buy stuff you don’t need. It’s time you realise that you shouldn’t be using your credit cards. Pay them off, start with the one you owe the least on and work your way up.

Now we have to face the next financial catastrophe you might be facing, consumer loans. Refinancing these is the only way to get out of the worst interest-cycles at this point. You don’t want to be killed by the interest here, pay your minimum and wait for it’s time to be paid off.

Here’s the deal. We love money. We love money so much that we’re willing to jeopardize your future so that you can buy a $50 dollar pair of shoes. You’re sacrificing future wealth to buy stuff that is killing you slowly, cigarettes, snus, even alcohol consumption. All these credit cards, consumer loans combined with overspending means that it’s normal to be poor. Wake up. 

Pay your loans. Get a grip. Start seeing reality

Be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur

“It’s not about how many years of experience you have. It’s about the quality of your years of experience.”

– Jacob Cass, Logo of the Day

Being taken seriously is always difficult when you’re starting out. I remember some customers telling me that I need to find “a real job” or that “when you get older and get a real job …”. That sucked. It didn’t really budge me all that much though and I think that’s one of the big things to aim for. Don’t let someone older man or woman try to influence what you do. When someone told me stuff like that, I tried to act nicely and I’d curse at them in my head. I’d get my killer-instinct going and I would make sure I get where I want, just to prove them wrong and you should to.

One of the most difficult things is when you meet older people. It doesn’t matter the age difference, as long as they’re older, they can be difficult to deal with. Why you ask? It’s because they think they know more and chances are.. They do. So how do get around this? The answer is simple; show them they’re wrong.

This is easier said than done don’t get me wrong, but if you want to get somewhere, you’re going to have to show them what you’re all about. What you can accomplish and what you have already accomplished! 

We’re now in the process of starting our second business. The estimate is for it to close up on $5.000 just to get the plans ready, both the business and the tech side of things. We’re looking at a million dollar project. You think it’s easy going in to meetings as a 21 year old with no education and start “asking” for money from a bunch of old bankers? It’s not like I’m asking for small sums either. Hell no it ain’t easy. You know how I can actually get the funding though? I show them what I am capable off and what we’re capable of.

If you want to get somewhere as a young entrepreneur you have to work your ass off, fight the tough battles and create something that will make people have faith in you. Don’t let all the time you spend working or “working” leave you with nothing to show for your time invested. In our time time is limited, money isn’t though. You could go do anything and get money, you just need to be strategic.

Performing on a job interview

In my experience, job interviews either suck or they’re great. They’re hardly ever in between.

I went from having nothing on my curriculum vitae (CV) to getting hired after applying for over 115 jobs at the age of 19. I had no work experience, no courses, no references, no mentor, I had absolutely nothing. The way I got to the interview itself was through a few close connections. I bet you can imagine that when you’re 19 and have thousands of dollars of credit card debt, this job was essential. Any job was essential. I needed money and I needed it bad. 

So before the job interview I sat down with my dad who has been through this many times before and we had mock-interviews. One after the other, to the point where I basically had a script.

I thought I was really fucking prepared and I was.

The thing about interviews is that they’re usually pretty fixed. Most people are asked the same questions or variations of them. There are plenty exceptions to this rule. However there’s a reason for them asking all the questions they do, it’s often to make you reflect on yourself, your personality, your strengths and your flaws. So what is often asked?

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. And what are your weaknesses?

These two are always there. Hardly anyone goes through an interview without being asked it. For those of us who have been through an interview before, we know how difficult this can be to answer as well. My strengths? Well that’s always fairly easy, most of us have an idea of what we’re good at. When it comes to what our weaknesses are however, things get more tricky or at least people make it seem this way.

Job interviews aren’t a thing to make you boast about your accomplishments and how great you are at everything. The most important question is actually what your weaknesses are. Why? Because it’s what makes the interviewer know whether you’re real or whether you’re faking it on the interview. It’s the “make or break” question.

Be honest. I’m a structured guy, but sometimes I take on too much at a time. I run a company, starting the second, have two jobs on the side and a university course.. I have a busy life. I’m also very systematic and if things aren’t done according to how I do things I get anxious, less productive and annoyed. I also hate people who basically chew up their fork when they eat lunch.

These are all flaws of mine. Flaws I’m oddly enough proud of. The key to answering this question well is not to be as honest as an angel, you need to find the right thing to say. If you say you can’t work with many people at one project, you’re at a disadvantage. Yet if you say that your weakness is that you’re easily distracted in groups of many, you’re not saying something that bad. Find your flaws, but don’t make them seem like they’re horrendous. Don’t say you can’t write, say you sometimes struggle with writers-block.

The “tread carefully” questions

  1. Tell us about yourself
  2. Why do you want this job?
  3. What are your expectations of management and your co-workers?
  4. Why did you leave your last job?

These questions are scary, if you’re unprepared. Who you are as a person is a great way for your boss to check whether you’re a cocky asshole, a guy in the shadows or just a down to earth guy or gal. Don’t boast about your achievements, be humble.

You should have a clear vision of why you want the job you’re interviewing for. Through this you should have a good understanding of what the firm does and what your task will be. Through this you will also be able to answer questions such as “what do you think about your salary?”. You should know everything about the job. When answering about salary, try to find the median in your field. When answering about your co-workers you should explain that you’re someone who makes stuff happen, with others. Others can depend on you to finish your assignments, your boss for example, yet others can always know that they can come to you for help and vice versa.

So why did you leave your last job?

In my eyes, this is also about honesty. Don’t give them a poor impression of you, e.g say that you left because your boss was a cuck. Honesty goes a long way. If you were terminated and it didn’t exactly go very well, say that with some motivation for the future. Perhaps the past hasn’t been so great, but the future will. Tell them the honest truth about why you left, and then tell them how this job will be a better fit.

Lastly, be charming, be humble, be a person. People who do bad at interviews are usually not prepared and they can’t have a flowing conversation. My best interviews and interviewers have all included a hint of laughter, seriousness and enjoyment. Let your personality shine through and make them like you. You need to separate yourself from the hundreds of other applicants. Most people are stiff as an arrow, nervous, sweaty, sit incorrectly and have wrong body language. Don’t do that. Don’t be “just another guy”. Be the guy who was taken seriously, but with a hint of charm and enjoyment.

Why you can’t accomplish everything, only something

Starting a business is challenging, but the challenge is even greater when you’re young. Little no work-experience, life-experience or business experience you’re in for a real treat. You’re also somewhat looked down upon by the older guys who sit with the money you want, perhaps not without reason though. There has been some really successful young people in the past decade and we may be fooled into thinking that everyone can accomplish everything.

I’m going to be a tad pessimistic now

Contrary to what your mom and dad may have taught you, you can’t do everything. I get a lot of crap for saying that, but here’s why I do so. Yes you can go from singing like a dying animal to singing well. Can you become as good as Michael Jackson? Well I wouldn’t even know, because I’m still at the dying animal stage of my singing career. Thing is, if I wanted to learn to sing.. I would have to invest so much time into it. We’re not talking tens of hours, not hundreds, more like thousands of hours and you know what? I don’t think neither you nor I will do that any time soon. If you do though, let me know!

You see, when everyone says that everything is possible, they leave out one crucial little thing; the time it takes to accomplish that goal. You want to learn to sing, but can’t? Have fun spending the next 10 years learning it. Want to become an astronaut? Well you’re going to have to spend a lot of years with your face down in books studying shit that I couldn’t possibly understand. You want to become great? Then get ready to invest the time!

Perhaps you don’t have the willpower and the time to become the best in everything, maybe you won’t be a world class singer, run your business and be an astronaut as well. But you can be one of those things if you work fucking hard. That’s what I did.

Want to know why and how I started my own business? I put in the work. We’re talking the 10 hour days, 7 days a week learning economy, business, investing, public speaking and so much more. I invested all my time into it.

But here’s the bottom line. You can’t do everything, because you don’t truly want to do everything. When your mom told you that you’re special and can do whatever you want, she never told you about the time needed to do it. She didn’t talk about the shit you go through on the path to the end result you seek. No one told you about the 7 day work days, not eating Sunday dinners with your family for months on end and prioritising work over holidays time after time after time. If you want to become great in something you need to put in the work AND YOU DON’T IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT.

It’s perfectly fine to pursue something only to realise it’s not for you. That being said, if you don’t love the grind you won’t get the end result no matter what. If you want to create a business you better enjoy putting in the work, day in day out. This goes for everything.

You know why you can’t accomplish everything? Because you don’t truly don’t want it and you don’t have the motivation to put in the bonebreaking hours, day in and day out in everything.

Leaders Are Readers, SO READ!

When I was young I used to love to read. It was my way of getting away from the world I suppose. However when I started becoming a teenager I stopped. I stopped reading for my homework, I stopped reading literature and I didn’t touch it for years.

It wasn’t until 2 years ago that a quote made me change my ways and it is the following:

“Not all readers are readers, but all leaders are readers”

– Harry Truman

And it was this that made me actually start picking up books again. It was the thought that I wanted to become a leader. Not for the money, not for the power I would have over people, not the corner office with a few nor having the ability to push work on my “subjects”. I wanted to create a work environment that meant something to people. Where the boss wasn’t an asshole (me in this case) and the productivity of the employees was high, though not due to fear of being fired, but out of desire. The desire of actually contributing to a cause worth working for. The desire to help the fellow co-workers out of love, not steal credit from them to impress me. I also wanted an idea-meritocracy. I didn’t want to envision a meeting where I come in and say what the problem is and bring the solution. I wanted my employees, my co-workers, to tell me what they thought was wrong and their take on the solution. My job wouldn’t be to nod yes or shake my head to say no. My job would be to listen them talk about the issues we’re facing and at most ask clarifying questions. I would never dream to know everything. I am a flawed human being who needs help and I needed to create an environment where help was cherished.

I give a lot of credit to my success from reading. The ability to obtain a lifetime of knowledge from the most intelligent people that has ever lived on this planet in a matter of hours is undervalued. I can read about what made Ray Dalio the worlds most successful hedgefond manager after creating Bridgewater. I can read about the mistakes he did, the mistakes he had to suffer through, in a few pages. How amazing is that? I can read about Grant Cardones struggles, success and ultimately what made him a millionaire, in a day. We have the ability to prosper without falling in every pitfall. So many people have fallen through them already and have written about how they ended up there, what they did down there are ultimately what made them climb out. All of this could be the difference between success and failure. A leader is a true never-ending learner and the best way I know of to learn, is to read.

For Fuck Sake, Live Your Life

I won’t say I’m the perfect guy who has his life perfectly where he would want it. Who does? I’ve been through a lot of shit in my 20-something years aboard this space-rock. You wanna know some truth though? I live my life, the way I want it.

When you’re a dude up in your twenties, blogging isn’t exactly the most prestigious activity to be investing time in, however, I don’t care about that. I don’t really bother with all the norms that we have in todays society that affect the majority of the population. I live by the following quote

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
― Dalai Llama XIV

Live is too short. Don’t center your life upon the things that don’t matter. Your old fart of a grandmas perception of your work, doesn’t matter. Perhaps she has some advice you should listen to, but don’t let her dismay ruin ruin your life. When I went to study to become a real estate agent, I ended up quitting after half a year after being practically pressured out of it by my family who did not approve at all. That following fall I started studying to become a teacher, which I’ll admit I love. That being said, I’ll drop out.

When I was a kid back in high school my grades were shit. I did a lot of stupid things which I regret in hindsight. I finished with shit grades. At that point I realised that I’d probably never finish a degree any time soon. My family wouldn’t have approved though. Last year however I started my first business, which is doing well. I’m looking into my second and my third as we speak and it’s at that point that I will discontinue my education. It won’t be a popular decision, but in the end it is my decision to make. I won’t say I know it’s for the better. Perhaps the alternative is, a good education. However if I never tried to pursue my fond for entrepreneurship, business, finance, real estate, philosophy and life in general, I would be a miserable fuck.

So this is why I write to your dear world. Give less fucks about what doesn’t really matter.

“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s about giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

― The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Prioritise your life, according to yourself and your beliefs. Just don’t let anything change who you are and make you do stuff that you subconsciously don’t want. Remember that you’re the director of your own play that is your life. There is drama, there is happiness, there is sorrow and there is love. You’re the playwright who decides the fate of the main character, yourself. Would you want him to pursue his dreams or would you see him drowned like Atlantis? I think we all know the answer, so start writing.