Overcoming the Fear of Investing

Looking at that blue pool, you think you might drown…

But you get some help to put on those orange swim floaties & start kicking those legs in the water to complete a full lap

Staring at that big brick building called “school,” you wonder how you will do in a brand new environment for a day…

But your mom (or dad, brother, sister, nanny, babysitter, etc.) grabs your hand, walks you in, and your kindergarten teacher flashes you the biggest smile

Watching people cruise down the pavement on their shiny bikes, you contemplate how you will ever be able to learn to ride a bike without falling…

But you start by using those sturdy training wheels until you have the comfort to coast on down the park pathways

Checking out the full plate in front of you as you sit at the kitchen table at your friend’s house, you gulp because you have never tried this type of food before…

But you pick up that fork and manage to take a bite since it’s the polite thing to do, and now wonder why in the heck you haven’t been introduced to one of the best tasting foods in your life thus far

Pinning a number to your uniform as you look at the talented kids around you all preparing to try out for the (soccer, basketball, dance, tennis, track, etc.) team, you wonder if you’ve got what it takes…

But instead of running away, you muster up that confidence because you’ve been practicing day in & out for this moment to get a chance to make the school team

Buckling up in the seat of a car as the Driver’s Ed instructor takes the front seat, your palms begin to sweat as the heat of the dashboard makes the car feel like 300 degrees…

But you’ve been waiting for-ev-er to drive and know what type of freedom it can entail. You place your foot on the break, put the car in drive, press the gas pedal, and begin to steer

Sitting face to face with your interviewer, you hope that you will even just make it out of the room without passing out. This is the first time even exercising this question and answer process as your applying for your first job…

But you answer each question with tact & professionalism. Your interviewer was impressed and you receive the call a week later that you landed your first job ever

Feeling like you are in the midst of a giant as you stand staring wide-eyed at that steel structure. You hear the muffled screams as the next round of people take the plunge down the newest roller coaster in the theme park. You have never been on one before…

But your awesome friends convince you that the endorphin rush will be worth way more than chickening out. You take a seat, buckle on up, and hold on for dear life as you experience your first roller coaster ride ever

Combing through the forms you wonder how you’re ever going to make it just through the paperwork to apply for college. You mull over if all that you have worked towards will amount to being accepted to your school of choice…

But you power on through, crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s. There is going to be some admissions office out there that will accept you as a brand new student. It feels like forever, but months later you receive that acceptance letter marking the beginning to the next chapter of your life

Standing in the front of the office, your heart racing as your about to go before the panel of hiring managers. You know there’s a long list of applicants, and your nerves start to get the best of you…

But you’re here, in a new city feeling bold & ready to go. Instead of storming out that door, you walk into that conference room with grace. Even if you are not selected for this opportunity, there will be hiring managers from another company ready to offer you a job with open arms. Every application process regardless of outcome is a new experience to learn & grow

Reading through the words of that unexpected email, you can’t believe the opportunity that has just found it’s way to you. As thoughts come rushing to your mind, you question whether this is something you can take on…

But you put your doubts aside and reassure yourself that you’re more than prepared. Opportunities do not always find your way directly to you, and you hit that ‘Reply’ button to start this new venture

Staring at the lump sum of money you’ve been amassing over the last year, you commend yourself for having the willpower to not spend it. You’re ready to put your money to work, but you’re overwhelmed with what you can do to start building wealth…

  But you take the plunge and you set up your 401(k) through work, open an investment or brokerage account online, and start learning from money mentors, financial advisors, and personal finance resources around you. If anything, you know that investing will allow your money to grow and not just sit on the sidelines


We’ve faced fears in many areas of life since our very beginnings. The type of fear that kicks in your adrenaline where your body is contemplating fight or flight mode. Although doubts may find their way between our thoughts, the outcomes of such terrifying moments typically turn out to be some of the most positive experiences. You may even face situations where you have no knowledge, no expertise, no sources of help…but did that ever stop you from lacing up your cleats to make that soccer team for the first time, forgoing the chance to acquire your drivers license, miss out on the opportunity to receive your first job leading you to financial independence?

Just because we may not know everything, doesn’t mean we do not have the opportunity to try.  

Go for it. Take those risks even if they instilled a fear that originally made goose-bumps run up and down your arms. The outcomes will allow you to develop and prepare for the rest of the experiences in life to come. 

Learn along the way. Not even the people who are professionals in their field have mastered every bit of knowledge they can. If the idea of something gives you fear, get comfortable with it. Speak to those who can provide you with the knowledge you need. Reach out to multiple sources, and take bits that are applicable to what you want to know.

No matter how much investing scares you, just think of every other time in life that you felt scared.

And where those moments of fear led you. You are better, stronger, more brilliant. You are starting to master those skills, passions, and opportunities. Along the way you had friendships, family, support systems, and communities to aid you in your journeys. Independently you may have been able to take on your fears, but collectively you have been given opportunities to conquer them. Overcoming the fear of investing can be done, all you need to do is take the first step.


Does investing scare you? How did you overcome the fear to start investing? Do you think fears you’ve overcome in life have led you to where you are today? Let’s discuss below!

The Teeter Totter of Decreased Costs and Accelerated Goals

Alright, so admit it…you might have clicked on this link because you were overcome with playground nostalgia. That carefree feeling of the wind in your hair as you & your playground bud are bopping up and down on that incredible structure we like to call the teeter-totter (such a funny word whether you read it silently, or out loud). I’m feeling pretty audacious because I decided to write about this (incredible) playground feature to depict how decreased costs and accelerated goals can be feasible.


We each have several expenses that can be evaluated to determine areas we can save on. I’m not talking about breaking down your budget to bare bones, but simply determining additional ways to save can be pretty awesome. The reason it’s awesome? Decreasing costs can accelerate your financial goals. Generating more savings in one area of life, can allow for allocation of money towards increasing momentum for a money goal you have set for the future. The simplicity of this concept lies in the glorious teeter totter.


Here is an image for the teeter totter analogy:

teetertotter

(Shout out to my awesome fiance for taking 3 minutes of his time to generate the friendliest looking teeter-totter graphic ever)!


Think of it as when you save money on certain expenses, instead of spending that money you can take it and throw it towards a financial goal (i.e. paying down student loans, saving for a down payment, working towards a future travel adventure). Finding expenses to decrease costs on can actually get you to where you want to be faster. Or more-so, referring back to the teeter totter: flying high – because you know you always wanted to get that giddy, adrenaline rush of being up in the air instead of planted in the bark dust (yuck, who likes bark dust slivers getting stuck in their socks & light up LA gear shoes?! Which by the way, are WAY more snazzy now than when I rocked them as a kid).

Now on the contrary, the opposite can happen. If you so decide to increase costs in certain expenses, your savings goals may experience a decrease, or slow down. Thereby which putting those goals back to experience biting the (bark)dust. This is to highlight that really digging into your expenses and their costs can propel you, or ultimately keep you in place. Which part of the teeter totter would you like to be on?


Now, I know all of us aren’t visual learners. Some of us would much rather see the hard numbers. So let’s ditch the friendly teeter totter up above for a second, and break down how decreasing costs in one area of life can accelerate your financial goals.

Let’s take this one big, chunk-o-money that typically accounts for most of our monthly expenses: living costs.

Hypothetically, let’s say that Katniss & Peeta are living in an apartment in a central part of the city. They enjoy living in a bustling part of town, but Katniss would like to get back to her roots of being able to hunt in the wild in a more remote area (her bow is getting pretty rusty sitting in the storage closet of their small apartment). Moving to an area outside of city limits will decrease their rent expense, as well as move them both closer to their work offices. Katniss & Peeta also realized that moving to a new part of town will decrease their costs of utilities that this different apartment complex offers which creates even more areas of decreased costs.

Their current major savings goal is for a downpayment on a house for the future which they currently have a total of $8,000 saved for.

Check out how their decreased costs can accelerate their financial goal, numbers style:

Current saved downpayment for future home: $8,000

MONTHLY RENT-

Previous: $2,200
New: $1,325
Difference (previous – new) = $875

MONTHLY UTILITIES-

Previous: $350
New: $125
Difference (previous – new) = $225

MONTHLY SAVINGS TOTAL-

$875 + $225 (difference of rent costs + difference of utility costs) = $1,100

GOAL ACCELERATION-

In one month………..($8,000 + $1,100) = $9,100
In two months………($9,100 + $1,100) = $10,200
In three months……($10,200 + $1,100) = $11,300
In four months……..($11,300 + $1,100) = $12,400
In five months……..($12,400 + $1,100) = $13,500

How about in a few years versus months? I am now taking the monthly savings total of $1,100 and multiplying by 12 months of the year to equate to $13,200 worth of savings just for the first year!

In one year…….($8,000 + $13,200) = $21,200
In two years…..($21,200 + $13,200) = $34,400
In three years…($34,400 + $13,200) = $47,600

Now those…are some pretty staggering numbers! Just think about how much money you can put towards a financial goal just by decreasing the costs of 1 or more expenses you’ve got. I have to admit though, the teeter totter of decreased costs and accelerated savings is not for the faint of heart. But I have faith in you that your savings goals can absolutely soar! When decreasing costs, you have to make the effort to take that savings and put it towards your future goals. It may be challenging at first to not view that saved money as extra discretionary spending money. The way to think of it is, if you were paying that much for a major expense prior and living just fine, then taking that money you would have been paying prior can be put towards a financial goal without any issues. It takes the effort to move that saved money towards a goal, but just look at how much your savings can grow.


 

How do you accelerate your financial goals? Have you experienced the teeter totter explained above? Ever thought you would revisit the playground days? Let’s chat below!

LearnLux: A New Hub for Millennials to Take Control of Their Financial Future

I’m always blown away to learn about people putting their passions together to create something incredible. It turns out, many resources & places for Millennials to learn about personal finance are being created. For today’s post I’m pumped to share an interview with Michael Liebman, one of the Co-Founders of the start-up LearnLux: a new personal finance hub made for Millennials by Millennials. Learn more about Michael and what LearnLux has to offer below!


Tell us a little about yourself (background, hobbies, passions, etc.): How did you become one of the Co-Founders of the start-up LearnLux?

My name is Michael Liebman. I’m studying finance at Bentley University. I’ve been involved with business and finance since I was really young. I’ve been trading stocks since I was 16 years old, I worked at a bank from the age of 15 to 18, and I opened a Roth IRA at 17. I’m the opposite of our target market, as I’ve been super into my finances forever. LearnLux was an idea that my co-founder (and sister) and I have been working on for a long time. Before we started the company we were always conscious of the lack of the financial education that is offered and the lack of financial literacy that we all seem to have. We started a blog about 3 years ago and prided ourselves on the idea that we taught everything that they didn’t teach you in school, including entrepreneurship, personal finances, and similar topics. We realized that there was a need when we received really good feedback from our users. Besides being super into all things financial, I’m a huge Red Sox fan and I like hanging out with my friends in my free time.

Personal finance can be pretty challenging when you are feeling unsure where to start. How can LearnLux help people learn about personal finance?

LearnLux is built for the person who knows that they need to do something but don’t know where to start. We take all of the jargon out of personal finance and break down those hard to understand terms like “tax deferred growth” and “capital gains tax.” We know firsthand that people are already stressed out about their finances and we really want to empower our users to have confidence in their ability to make informed decisions regarding their financials. LearnLux is built by Millennials for Millennials. We are our own market, so it’s much easier for us to build the product exactly how we would want it to be built as users.

Give us a breakdown of how the site works. What services will LearnLux offer to people after they join?

LearnLux is a personal finance hub. We have brief lessons on all different aspects of personal finance, whether it be investing, taxes, or insurance we allow the user to go through different lessons and learn about their options and best practices for the industry. The site is extremely interactive and as you continue to the use the site it becomes more and more intuitive about you and your needs. Once you’ve finished different lessons we’ll show you different offers from financial institutions and if you choose, you can take immediate action by opening an account. We’re working on some other really cool features for our official launch at the beginning of 2016.

On LearnLux’s website it states: “Helping Millennials utilize their biggest asset: time.” Tell us a little more about that, how can time help Millennials strengthen their financial present and future?

There’s a quote that I really like that goes something like “It’s about time in the market, not timing the market”. The quote is really valuable, especially for the people in their 20’s and 30’s who have a lot of time to invest and a lot of time for their money to be in the market. Millennials need to know that time is their biggest asset and one of the greatest things that they have on their side. Even if you invest a dollar a day into an account you’ll be so much better off in the long run—and I don’t mean a savings account—I mean an investment account with Mutual Funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds and the securities that can actually earn a return for you. Debt is one of the biggest detriments to millennial investing and people need to learn about the resources that are available to them to try to mitigate their debt and then have the confidence to begin opening brokerage and retirement accounts to put their money to work for them.

What advice do you have for Millennials that are looking to/are learning about personal finance?

Stick with it. Personal finance can be a really hard topic to grasp and that’s mostly because the way that it’s presented is very boring and full of jargon. Talk to your friends about it and see if they know anything that could be of help to you. Talking about money is awkward sometimes, but your peers and parents can be some of the best resources when you’re just trying to figure out where you should start.

Give us one quote or lesson you’ve learned in life that you enjoy living by.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

This quote has always been motivating for me throughout my life. It’s helped me challenge the way things are being done and it helps me think outside the box on a daily basis. Innovation is key to our generation’s success and the quote really resonates with me because it makes you realize that the future is in your hands. There are two types of people, those who read about history in a book and those who go out and make their own. I wake up every day and think about the impact that I can make and it’s empowering.

A huge thank-you to Michael for stopping by & letting us know what LearnLux is all about! Sound like a place you’d like to go to strengthen your financial game plan? Head on over and sign up for the beta test here!

Malleable Money Mindset

Malleable Money Mindset

At age 5…

I didn’t quite know that money was even real. Life consisted of hanging out at the playground on the monkey bars during recess & learning to share brightly colored Crayola crayons with my classmates. Life just happened, and innocence carried all of us youngins’ along.

At age 10…

I surpassed the years of experiencing that it’s ‘great to be 8,’ and it’s ‘fine to be 9.’ Those years didn’t quite phase me anymore because I reached the big ol’ double digit ages. I couldn’t wait to become a teenager with a beeper on my hip, and take on a J-O-B. I completed chores around the house to earn an allowance from my parents. Most purchases were trinkets, toys, and posters to decorate my room (because boy bands were sooo dreamy).

At age 15

I landed my first job in high school. Wait, scratch that – two jobs! I finally hit that high responsibility phase I dreamed of when I was younger. I was earning my own money & learning the fundamental basics of how to utilize my checking & savings account. No credit cards yet, just a single debit card. Most of my money went to gas (to get to and from my jobs, as well as school) and well, let’s face it…shopping with my girl friends (especially on pay days).

At age 20... 

So this is what it’s like to live on a tight budget. Forget the fact that just one college credit was pretty much the cost of $150+. I had about $20 left in my account from my internship stipend that could help me go out to dinner with my friends! Savings…yeah, that just wasn’t an option. I was just coasting. Money responsibility was potentially the last thing on my mind next to studying, passing classes, internships/jobs, and participation in organizations.

At age 25

Time to kick it into high gear financially, and the main person who is going to make that change is me. For the first time ever I have a real world job with a salary offering more money than I have ever seen before. I’m experiencing what benefits are and what it’s like to start funding a retirement plan. After I paid off my student loans, I started jumping into the world of investing. There is so. much. to learn regarding finances it can be overwhelming, but I’m ready to build a strong foundation for the rest of my life, my family’s lives, my loved one’s lives, and even stranger’s lives.


The following five year increments throughout my life so far depict my evolving thoughts around money. A great deal may have happened in between, but the principals between each step of life continued to change. I was never stagnant, or stuck with the way I viewed my financial situation. I may have witnessed hard times (2008 recession), or glorious ones (the opportunity to work two jobs simultaneously)…

but the one element that was constant regarding my view on money was change. 

Each one of us can foster a malleable money mindset. Our mindsets can be pliable, without facing the threat of being broken. They are flexible and ever-changing. When doubt settles in because debt feels as if it is swallowing us whole, or we’ve experienced a job loss, endured a life changing event, received an unexpected windfall, or maybe even won the lottery…we have the ability to restructure our money mindset. How we view money now can indefinitely change and be refocused.

Life will not be painful forever. Times may not always be glorious. How we take on life situations with grace and certainty will allow us to progress to each new phase building upon our money mindset. So how would you like your money money mindset to be?

Is it a positive one where you can tackle all of your financial goals, and lead a life of financial independence?

Is it a strong one where you can provide for those around you because putting others before yourself does not phase you one bit?

Is it a peaceful one where solace allows you to accomplish your passions without stress? 

Whatever, or however you choose for your money mindset to be…just know it is a malleable one. Regardless of where you have been, or where you are going it can feasibly change. Begin now. Allow yourself to have a malleable money mindset that will allow you to accomplish your life goals and aid those around you.

What is your money mindset like? How has it evolved over time? How do you think your money mindset will change in the future?