How Your DISC Personality Affects Your Spending Habits

How Your DISC Personality Affects Your Spending Habits

The DISC personality assessment shows us that there are four main quadrants or variants of personality, consisting of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Which category do you fall under? More importantly, how does your DISC personality affect your spending habits?

The four main DISC personality types stem between two dichotomies: Active or Passive, and Task-Oriented or People-Oriented. When combined in different ways, you get a person who responds drastically differently to a particular conversation, assignment, task, environment, or anything else.

A research white paper done by Bill J. Bonnstetter, Dave Bonnstetter and Ron Bonnstetter, PhD examines 10 different countries and their DISC profile makeup. The following chart conveys how the United States DISC profiles have changed over the last 20 years.

United States DISC Profiles Over Last 20 Years

Though it may seem shallow and superficial to categorize all human beings into only 4 categories, it really is remarkable how the combination of nature and nurture effectively influences your overall behavior.

It’s also important to remember that the DISC personality is not meant to judge, but it is intended to be utilized as a useful tool to help you deal and work with others that may or may not have the same personality as oneself.

Let’s take a look at each personality style and how it affects your spending habits.

Dominance (D)

The D-personality type characterizes people who are Direct, Decisive, and Determined.

They are both Active and Task-Oriented.

D-types ask the “what” questions, “What is the bottom line?” or ” What is in it for me?”

Those with the D (Captain) personality type, also known as Type A personality, tend to be assertive, intense, and ambitious. They are usually pragmatic, results-oriented executors who work quickly and make decisions with firmness and objectivity. With a position on the top left of the DISC, Captains prefer more independence and may be drained when others expect them to be more collaborative.

The D-type of person is most concerned with deadlines. These natural born leaders are afraid of running out of time. It’s very important for them to feel like they are in control to get things done.

Core Belief: I’m valuable if I can produce.

Here are some examples of famous celebrities with the Dominance (D) personality:

  • Barbara Walters
  • Beyoncé
  • Charlize Theron
  • Donald Trump
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Gordon Ramsay
  • Helen Mirren
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Kamala Harris
  • Mark Cuban
  • Michael Jordan
  • Robert De Niro
  • Salma Hayek
  • Tiger Woods

Money Strengths: Dominant people love to take action. When you shop, you get things done efficiently. In-and-out. That’s also a great trait to have when others are fearful, let’s say, during a market correction. You’re not afraid to pull the trigger on buying an equity on-sale.

Money Improvement Plan of Action: You can be impulsive at times. Take a step back and take notes from observing your C-type counterparts. Do more research before blindly diving into investments you don’t fully understand. Take a breather and plan out a detailed budget. Once you lay the groundwork, you are ready to continue your “Go-Go-Go” attitude!

Influence (I)

The I-personality type characterizes people who are Interactive, Imaginative, and Involved.

They are both Active and People-Oriented.

I-types ask the “who” questions, “Who is at the meeting?” or ” Who else uses this?”

People with the I (Motivator) personality type tend to be enthusiastic, cheerful, and outgoing. They typically have an easy, relaxed, casual manner when speaking or interacting with others.

The biggest fear of each group can indicate a lot about that person. For example, the I-style’s biggest fear is rejection. It’s sort of an irrational fear because in many ways, the social butterfly I’s are the life of the party that bring a positive mood to the group or party.

Core Belief: I’m valuable if I can attract people.

Here are some examples of famous celebrities with the Influence (I) personality:

  • Bill Clinton
  • Britney Spears
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Elton John
  • Gene Wilder
  • Jack Black
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Jim Carey
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Justin Bieber
  • Taylor Swift
  • Robin Williams
  • Will Smith
  • Whoopi Goldberg

Money Strengths: Shopping is often a social activity for you. The positive spin here is that you know you’ll be making purchases you feel good about because you’ll have the affirmations of your friends, family, or significant other.

Money Improvement Plan of Action: Although, the 30% off deal on shoes may make you feel warm and fuzzy internally, you tend to go overboard and discover as many deals as you possibly can. Keep shopping a social event but bring a friend to hold you accountable to a limited number of purchases. Then, you will have leftover money to spend on other social activities that bring you joy, like a family-style dinner or even going out for a night on the town.

Steadiness (S)

The S-personality type characterizes people who are Sympathetic, Stable, and Sweet.

They are both Passive and People-Oriented.

S-types ask the “how” questions – “How are we going to do this?” or “How does this impact us?”

People with the S (Supporter) personality type tend to be calm, patient and respectful in their interactions with others. Rarely angered or excited, they are likely to work to maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment.

S-styles greatest fears are conflict and instability. In fact, S-styles worry about inconveniencing others or being a burden. Stability is important to S-style so it’s imperative to give them what they want. Contrary to how the S-personality thinks, conflict can be productive and healthy when working through prevalent issues.

Core Belief: I’m valuable if I can help others.

Here are some examples of famous celebrities with the Steadiness (S) personality:

  • David Beckham
  • Halle Berry
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Julia Roberts
  • Lana Del Ray
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Mother Teresa
  • Mr. Rogers
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Tom Hanks
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Susan Lucci

Money Strengths: You live and die by the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This is a great money-saving mindset when it comes to everyday consumer goods. Many highly regarded brands also reward these types of loyal customers with discounts and other types of dependable deals. The S-types are also aware that wealth building takes consistency – you invest periodically in the income producing assets, even when things get hectic and markets may be uncertain.

Money Improvement Plan of Action: Change can be hard for you. Although you like to stick to your guns, it can be advantageous to take the road less traveled sometimes. Look outside your comfort zones for other creative ways to invest and reduce your liabilities. And don’t be afraid to buy a new tube of toothpaste; no one should be putting in that much effort to squeeze out the last drop.

Conscientiousness (C)

The C-personality type characterizes people who are Calculating, Competent, and Cautious.

They are both Passive and Task-Oriented.

C-types ask the “why” questions – “Why does it work this way?” or ” Why is this step needed?”

Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being careful, or diligent. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly.

People with the C-personality type tend to be objective, skeptical, and logical in their behavior. They are usually fiercely pragmatic and frequently solve problems with an analytical, fact-driven approach. They are likely to be more reserved in groups and may take a long time before they build enough trust to open up.

A C-style person’s greatest fears are ambiguity and criticism. C’s are the biggest critics of their own work as they are often perfectionists. He or she always needs more time to perfect his or her craft. Make sure not to rush these C-types, as this is often their biggest pet peeve. Sometimes, it is necessary to constrain their time otherwise they may be working endless until the end of time. Prevent any distractions that may impede their ability to accomplish the desired task.

Core Belief: I’m valuable if I am competent.

Here are some examples of famous celebrities with the Conscientiousness (C) personality:

  • Al Gore
  • Alan Greenspan
  • Albert Einstein
  • Bill Gates
  • Diane Sawyer
  • Isaac Newton
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Jodie Foster
  • Kevin Costner
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Michelle Rodriguez
  • Richard Nixon
  • Tim Burton
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Warren Buffett

Money Strengths: You are thorough and careful, which helps to avoid falling for any get-rich-quick schemes. If there’s a stock you’re interested in, you’ve kept a watchful eye on the equity for countless days and have conducted all the research you possibly can conduct to minimize risk. You meticulously weigh the pros and cons before making any purchases.

Money Improvement Plan of Action: Your hesitance and precaution may be a downfall that leads to analysis paralysis. You may have missed a few once-in-a-lifetime shopping deals or stocks at an all-time low price because you were not 100% certain at the moment. While these regrets may haunt you, fret not as you can still adapt to be more decisive in the future. You always think you need more time to analyze the good and the bad. The truth is that there never is a truly “right time”. Don’t get caught up in the details; Carpe diem and chase your fiscal goals without delay!

 

How Do Personalities Differ at Work Infographic DISC Personality Spending Habits

From the above infographic, C-Suite employees have predominantly the same style personalities regardless of their country of origin. CEO’s and CFO’s in many different companies had D as their dominant personality style. Findings in the U.S. yielded similar results.

Albeit, D’s may be more geared to climb the corporate ladder, but every personality style has the capacity for excellent leadership. Moreover, every personality style lends itself to a different, but equally beneficial, leadership style.

COVID Effect on DISC Personality

The COVID-19 global pandemic is affecting every person differently. It can help to realize how you are handling the consequences.

For instance, an analytical C-style person may want to dive into the precise numbers and daily updated stats of the virus.

On the other hand, the I-style person may feel neglected and miserable from lack of social interaction with friends and loved ones.

Maybe the D-style person is demanding too much from his or her spouse and has too high of expectations of his or her kids to complete all of their schoolwork in a timely manner.

Finally, the S-style individual may have taken on a workload they can’t possibly handle, but will suffer in silence because they want to please everyone around them. 

Everyone has unique reactions to problems and issues they encounter day in and day out. It’s important to realize how we can help each other cope with the pandemic ramifications.

DISC Personality Interaction

As you would expect, the opposite personalities clash the most (i.e. D’s clash with S’s while I’s clash with C’s.)

Unsurprisingly, adjacent personalities get along more (D’s with I’s and C’s, I’s with S’s and D’s, S’s with I’s and C’s, C’s with S’s and D’s).

No matter how unique our parents or teachers tell us we are, each one of us can be categorized into four categories. At times, we may wander from one quadrant to the other depending on the situation or location (i.e. at work vs. at home), but our fundamental personalities are predominately anchored to one of the DISC letters.

Having the DISC personality information at your disposal allows you to effectively interact with different types of people as well as you possibly can. Once you can understand personalities, you can begin to depersonalize behaviors and realize a person is acting predictably based on the situation he or she is presented with.

As a result, one may decrease frustration, miscommunication, and error in judgement. This allows you to have more empathy and to improve relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.

Where Does Your DISC Personality Fit In?

If you want to find out what DISC personality you have, feel free to take a free 5 minute DISC test right here (No email address or personal data required).

The test only consists of 28 groups of four statements.

For each group of four descriptions, you should have one most like you and only one least like you. Very simple and fun!

Which DISC Personality style are you? Let me know in the comments below.

Top 10 Best Money Blogs To Improve Your Personal Finance Knowledge

Top 10 Favorite Money Bloggers To Improve Your Personal Finance Knowledge

As the holiday season is finally here, Fresh Life Advice is giving you all presents. I present to you my favorite top 10 best money blogs to improve your personal finance knowledge.

Collectively, these best money blogs incorporate topics on investing, retirement, estate planning, budgeting, saving, estate planning, mortgages, and many more money related subjects. Their articles are packed with information that keep you stimulated throughout your own personal finance journey.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

-Isaac Newton, Mathematician

What was Newton referring to?

He had the brilliant idea of using knowledge bestowed upon him by great thinkers of previous generations and utilizing their fundamental principles to propel his own understanding to a higher level.

We can apply this same philosophy to personal finance. As you read about me, you know that I’m always looking to learn and advance. Consistent success and growth stem from constant self-improvement.

As you follow FLA through my expedition to early retirement, I will make plenty of mistakes. Inevitable mistakes.

Expectations vs Reality Top 10 Favorite Money Bloggers

The wise ones with plenty of experience are aware that the path to success is not a straight line. It’s a zig-zag, circular, loop-de-loop type of path that will lead to failure after failure after failure. But the successful ones do not succumb to such intimidating obstacles in their way. They continually battle and never give up. This has been one of the most important lessons I have ever learned.

As I’m always learning and reading, I would like to share with you some of my favorite finance and money blogs that I religiously read. Some of these people have already achieved financial freedom. They represent role models that show you early retirement has been done before or will be completed. Myth debunked.

Fresh Life Advice, on the other hand, is trying to give you a perspective of the beginning of the journey. I want you to learn from my mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

 

Top 10 Best Money Blogs

Hopefully, I will be able to collaborate and work with these bloggers in some type of way in the future. The old adage claims that two heads are better than one. Without further ado, below are some of the best money blogs:

1. My Money Wizard – Sean

My Money Wizard commenced in 2015, and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. Sean works as a financial analyst so he does have a background in economics. Whether it’s touting index funds or analyzing the optimal order in which to invest your money, I see many parallels between FLA and The Money Wiz. Sean’s been tracking his net worth every month and is on track to retire by age 35. My Money Wizard is one of the most humble and down-to-Earth blogs you will see in the Personal Finance blogosphere.

2. Budgets Are Sexy – J. Money / Joel

J. Money was one of the first in the game to publicly track his net worth in 2008. With such transparency, this best money blog allows you to track your own net worth alongside J$ to see if you are on pace for your own goals. J. Money made downloadable Excel spreadsheets that will aid with budgeting and net worth tracking. In 2019, J. Money sold the attention-grabbing blog Budgets Are Sexy to The Motley Fool.

Joel has now taken over the blog in 2020 and is one of the most dedicated bloggers I’ve read. Joel wakes up every single day, weekday and weekends, at 5 AM to seize the day. Although this lifestyle may not be for everyone, including his own wife, Joel’s productivity in Los Angeles is through the roof.

3. Millennial Money – Grant Sabatier

Grant’s incredible claim to fame was going from being broke with a balance of $2.26 in his bank account to saving over $1 million in less than 5 years. Grant was earning $50,000 a year in his day job and saving about 20 percent, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough. So he launched a side hustle building websites for law firms, and invested the vast majority of what he made in index funds. Now, Millennial Money has appeared on every major news outlet, and Grant has even gotten to hang out with Rachel Ray to promote his book Financial Freedom.

4. Financial Samurai – Sam Dogen

In 2009, Sam began writing Financial Samurai. Sam did not graduate from any Ivy League school, but he still managed to outwork his competition and got a job for Goldman Sachs out of college. In 1999, he made a $3,000 investment in VCSY and was blessed with a 5,000% return from the Dotcom Bubble. Part of it was luck, but he had done his research, and the big risk paid off immensely. From there, Sam never looked back. He worked his way up the corporate ladder and became a Vice President of his company by age 27. After saving more than 70% of his after-tax income, he was able to retire at age 34 in San Francisco with a net worth of over 2 million dollars. Sam now writes via Financial Samurai for an audience of over 1 million readers every single month. As an expert in negotiating and wealth management, Sam always generates profound posts that make you truly think.

5. Mr. Tako Escapes – Mr. Tako

Mr. Tako is one of the wealthiest bloggers that discusses money. Despite what you would assume, his wife and him did not work on Wall Street, receive a large inheritance, sell stocks before the financial crisis of 2008, or flip real estate. No, in fact, Mr. and Mrs. Tako have just been disciplined investors that have weathered the uneasy storm of harsh financial markets and have worked hard to retire at the age of 38. They now enjoy cooking delicious meals and homeschooling their 2 sons in their home in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Mr. Tako often provides insightful commentary and predictions about individual equities. His whole reason for writing Mr. Tako Escapes is to document financial independence and provide a resourceful guide for both of his sons to use when they grow older.

6. Early Retirement Extreme – Jacob Lund Fisker

Jacob is not only the creator of Early Retirement Extreme but also seems to be the founder of the FIRE movement altogether. Mr. Fisker is one of the most frugal people you will read about with expenses so low that he will make you question your own annual purchases. After living a thrifty life as a PhD astrophysicist and biking to all of his destinations, he was able to free himself of Corporate America by the astounding age 33. In his book Early Retirement Extreme, he explains how his smart financial choices and simple living brought him financial freedom at such an early age.

7. Get Rich Slowly – J.D. Roth

Another one of the best money blogs is Get Rich Slowly, authored by J.D. Roth. He is a self-proclaimed “professional nerd, accidental personal-finance expert, dog lover, and whiskey drinker.” With so many personal finance sites on the web, J.D. stood out by documenting his struggles to get out of debt in 2006. The idea behind Get Rich Slowly was to convey that there are no shortcuts to achieving wealth. Everyone wants a get-rich-quick scheme, but J.D. exalted the idea of delayed gratification.

8. Mr. Money Mustache – Pete Adeney

When people think of the FIRE movement and best money blogs, usually Mr. Money Mustache is the first person that comes to mind. Many note Pete’s blog as the first website that got them hooked into the pursuit of Early Retirement. MMM developed an iconic yet simple chart that showed if you started saving more money, you’d be able to cut down your working years by a significant amount of years. This, in turn, saved many people the headache of continually slaving away in the office. Pete was a software engineer who reached total financial independence at the ripe age of 30. After he promptly quit his job, he started a side construction business as a hobby. The man with the wacky blog name now enjoys his freedom fully with his wife and son.

9. Go Curry Cracker! – Jeremy and Winnie

Jeremy and Winnie were able to hit financial independence in their 30’s. Go Curry Cracker and his wife pride themselves on traveling and exploring the world. The Go Curry Cracker site has many travel hacks, tax tips, and great insight to get you the best bang for your buck. By saving and resisting the splurge on unnecessary purchases, this couple now enjoys more annual vacations than they could ever imagine. With a playful yet analytical tone, Go Curry Cracker shows you how you can make the world your adventure too.

10. The Simple Path to Wealth – J.L. Collins

J.L. Collins is a FI blogger that is most noted for The Stock Series. Starting out selling flyswatters door-to-door, he is now an accomplished consultant, speaker, and author of one of the best money blogs. J.L. is also an avid index fund investor and world traveler. Based off of his blog, he’s written a book The Simple Path to Wealth, which chronicles his rags to riches life. J.L. Collins discusses controversial dollar cost averaging (DCA) and other interesting investment strategies on the honest best money blog.

 

Moreover, the Internet is a vast endless space so this list is ever-growing as I read and find more interesting sites along my journey. I’m always looking for new recommendations because an important part of life is the continual pursuit of education and self-growth. With that being said, I cannot limit the list to only 10 websites, so I must also present the honorable mentions for the best money blogs.

 

Best Money Blogs – Honorable Mentions

11. Tic Toc Life – Chris and Jenni

The story of Chris and Jenni stems all the way back to middle school, when they first met. After going to high school and college together, they eventually got married with similar financial goals. Chris and Jenni reached FI at age 33 to retire early at 35. Their goal became a reality. Chris and Jenni offer principals they learned along the way that readers could adapt to their own lives. They even started a Reader’s Fund, which generously donates monthly to non-profits of the blog readers’ choice! This Donor-Advised Fund is something FLA hopes to start too and something other best money blogs should mimic for the greater good.

12. Impersonal Finances – IF

Impersonal Finances is written by a man in his 30’s living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite what you may have predicted, he does not work in the tech industry. His blog chronicles how it’s possible to live in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. but still retire early through consistent investment and constant saving. IF has one of the best senses of humor around that makes personal finance enjoyable to read.

13. Happily Disengaged – Noel

Noel is 2nd generation Chicano union carpenter with a lot of soul. He is not only a veteran of the Iraq War but also has backpacked around the world…twice. Is there anything this blogger can’t do? His travel has given him and his wife a taste of retirement. The site Happily Disengaged talks about consumerism, the corporate rat race, and anything to do with commuting on a freeway. With the eventual dream of living in Spain full time, Noel writes this blog to make both of his daughters proud.

14. Physician on Fire – Lief

If you have a career as a physician, then the Physician on Fire site is for you. Even if you are not a physician, you can learn so much from Lief’s approach towards money and his financial independence journey. He is an anesthesiologist by day, but he makes sure family comes first. PoF is definitely not afraid to speak his mind, and that’s exactly what you want in lieu of the slimy financial advisors that beat around the bush to make a quick buck off of your ignorance. All in all, Lief covers topics from income earning to credit cards and much more. You can look forward to his weekly series The Sunday Best, where he features other refreshing reads from around the personal finance blogosphere.

15. The Savvy Couple – Kelan and Brittany

Founded in 2016, Kelan and Brittany have a mission as The Savvy Couple to help families learn how to budget their money, organize their life, and unlock the freedom to do more of the things they love! This pursuit is simple yet very admirable. Once children are introduced into the mix, expenses and budgeting are thrown to the side, but Kelan and Brittany are there to keep you in line using tools such as the Eisenhower Matrix, automating systems, and outsourcing menial tasks.

16. Financial Fred – Fred

Financial Fred is written by who else, but Fred himself! As a millennial in these fast-paced times, Fred advocates that everyone should become more financially responsible. He loves to read and write about finance, economics, and how emotions affect our decisions. Currently working on his CPA designation, he’s had several management and executive roles within the field of finance. Thus, you can trust that Fred knows what he’s talking about.

17. Reverse The Crush – Graham

In 2016, Graham took a year off from working as a stock broker in Toronto, Canada. He mused and took time to prioritize his financial goals in life. From then on, Reverse The Crush was born. If you’re looking to build income streams through blogging and dividend investing to reach financial independence, then Reverse The Crush is the place to start.

18. Our Intentional Farm – Sean and Simone

No, Sean and Simone do not currently own a farm. But the name Our Intentional Farm is “about planting seeds of intention to reap a well-balanced and joyful life.” With the hopes to inspire and encourage others in similar financial situations, Sean and Simone show you how to keep track and rid yourself of debt. These are compelling articles that are not hypothetical situations. Instead, they represent real-life struggles to learn how to manage finances. The style is relaxed, while the content is rich.

19. The Working At Home Man – Matt

The Working At Home Man name is pretty self-explanatory. Matt has been working from home ever since 2017 only to discover that working from home has many more benefits to working in the office. If you’re looking to live a similar lifestyle, then Matt has plenty of resources to help you on your path to financial independence. The Working At Home Man also publishes monthly updates along with his portfolio progress.

20. Common Cents Lifestyle – Ashley

Common Cents Lifestyle came to life after Ashley found her passion in helping others with personal finance. She currently holds an MBA and has spent her expansive career in the world of finance. Ashley has a great understanding of retirement accounts, insurance, and general business. She even has a successful track record of growing several small businesses to medium-sized business. In her free time, Ashley loves to travel and ski. Not a bad way to spend your free time.

21. Max Out of Pocket – Max

Max Out of Pocket is not just a fun pun. In truth, Max created this blog with a wealth of knowledge from both the healthcare industry and the personal finance space. Armed with answers to every medical question you may have, Max shares information from his experience of working more than a decade in the American healthcare system. Knowing how the corporate world can be rewarding, toxic, and addictive, Max is here to help make your mental and physical life easier.

22. Divs4Jesus – D4J

D4J has one of the most creative names on the list. Some live and die by stock dividends. Dividends have yet to fail D4J. D4J writes the Divs4Jesus blog, including some pretty good stuff about investing. I’ve learned a thing or two from reading this blog, which means it definitely merits inclusion into the best money blogs honorable mentions. He shows how a diversified portfolio of 33 stocks and bonds can provide considerable passive income. For those of you who didn’t know, Jesus’ age at the time of his death was also 33.

23. GenY Money – GYM

GenY Money a fun site that’s chock-full of great material to help you manage your finances. As you probably have guessed from the site name, GYM is a member of Generation Y. She’s here to prove that Gen Y is not entitled, spoiled, and lazy after all. Gen Y can be very good with money, and GYM has all the tips for you to learn. In her 30’s and living in one of the most expensive cities in Vancouver, British Columbia,  Canada, GYM shares net worth updates along the way to the target $1 million goal by age 40.

24. FIRE Your Own Way – Jordan

Jordan is the creator of FIRE Your Own Way. Discovering FIRE is life-altering for many, and the story was no different for Jordan. She was able to save over $200,000 by age of 30 and is now well on her way to retire by 40. As a fellow proponent of experimentation and optimization, Jordan continues exploring for different ways to Financial Independence. Whether you want to retire early or retire eventually, Jordan is there to shed light on the process.

24. Financially free in 10 years – Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot is not actually a robot. Artificial Intelligence running personal finance blogs may become the norm, but humans are still generally the faces behind these sites. Financially free in 10 years is exactly what it sounds like. A Dutch man in his mid-30’s using the pseudonym Mr. Robot works in IT by day and runs this blog at night. Mr. Robot aims to retire at age 55 to enjoy the most of his freedom with his wife Mrs. Robot and child Lil’ Bot in The Netherlands. Like FLA, Mr. Robot also enjoys sports and movies in his free time. Without fail, Mr. Robot is the go-to guy for an obscure movie reference or sound personal finance advice.

25. The Sensible Merchant – Kevin

When I read Kevin’s story, what struck me was the mentality he adopted to take control of his money. That is, he decided to look at his personal life as a business. He looked for ways to lower expenses, increase revenue, and pay down debt. It’s inspiring to read, and he continues to write insightful posts.

 

Fresh Life Advice will keep a running list of the best money blogs that will be continually changing, as this list is not intended to be comprehensive.

Fortunately, I have come to known some of these sites’ creators on a personal basis. I can assure you these people truly do want to spread financial knowledge to as many readers as possible. Readers that are earnestly searching for personal finance knowledge. All of these best money bloggers have a passion for helping others navigate the often confusing world of personal and business finances.

The aforementioned blogs should make for plenty of reading material to keep you busy during the holiday season!  I really hope you learn something interesting from reading all of those amazing money, investing, and personal finance blogs!

If you have any websites or niches that come to mind, please include them in the comment section below. I cannot promise to add them, but I can guarantee I will check them out and read as much as I can.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Which blogs do you frequently read?

How Much Did I Spend on Amazon Shopping in 2020?

Amazon Shopping Report Card Grade

What a year 2020 has been! This year has been tough for everyone across the globe. Despite the hardship, there is plenty to be hopeful and grateful for. Today, I will be exploring how much I spent on Amazon Shopping in 2020.

Your holiday shopping may look entirely different this year due to the lockdowns and quarantine in order. Or your holiday shopping venue may be the same as every year. Either way, more people will be shopping online than ever.

In 2020, I am projected to save a whopping 73% of my income. This is no small feat and certainly took immense discipline. Albeit, the restrictions on in-person gatherings have ameliorated the expenses.

Nevertheless, I was able to indulge on myself and others via online shopping. For such a grueling year, your family, friends, loved ones, and even that micromanaging boss of yours all deserve a nice gift.

You can expect delays around the country as shipping companies will be overloaded with orders so I would recommend placing your holiday orders as soon as you can.

*Disclosure: At no extra cost to you, FLA will receive a referral commission if you use the Amazon affiliate links below to purchase an item. Thank you!

Let’s get to the list. What did I spend my money on this year?

AMAZON ONLINE SHOPPING 2020 REPORT CARD

January 2020

Product: NutriBullet NBR-0601 Nutrient ExtractorNutriBullet NBR-0601 Nutrient Extractor Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $50

Grade: A+++

The year started out with one of my favorite purchases. I know the highest grade in school is an A+, but I use the NutriBullet almost every single day. It holds plenty of volume for my daily smoothies and shakes, is super easy to clean, and has never failed to blend. I was thoroughly impressed with this one.

 

Product: Compact Travel UmbrellaSY COMPACT Travel Umbrella Windproof Automatic Umbrella Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $12

Grade: B+

I’m naturally a prepper. No, not one of those doomsday preppers. More of a realist ‘what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong’ type of prepper. I was in need of a new umbrella, so I bought a standard, modern model in preparation for the rainy months to come. No complaints here.

 

Product: Marino’s Men Genuine Leather Dress Belt with Single Prong Buckle Marino’s Men Genuine Leather Dress Belt with Single Prong Buckle Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $15

Grade: A

I wanted a nice belt with a professional look. This was perfect and is at a bargain of a price. The leather is great quality and will last me a long time.

 

Product: Crest 3D White Dental Whitening Kit, Professional Effects Whitestrips Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips 20 Treatments Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $49

Grade: A

I pride myself on my smile. As a result, I feel more confident and this, in turn, has a compound effect in my life. For transparency, I typically use Whitestrips annually. Talk to your dentist for his or her recommendation.

 

February 2020

Product: Toshiba 32LF221U19 32-inch 720p HD Smart LED TVToshiba 32LF221U21 32-inch Smart HD 720p TV - Fire TV Edition Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $130

Grade: A

TV’s can be hit or miss in regards to picture quality. The Toshiba TV is so clear. I also needed a Smart TV to connect to all of my streaming devices. I’ve officially cut cable! Terminating  your cable bills is a great way to save monthly!

 

Product: Mounting Dream Full Motion TV Wall Mounts TV BracketMounting Dream Full Motion TV Wall Mounts TV Bracket Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $22

Grade: A

This was the first time I’ve mounted a TV in my life. I was blown away how easy it was to install. It’s fun and rewarding to accomplish DIY projects.

 

Product: Spectrum Essentials Organic Ground FlaxseedSpectrum Essentials Organic Ground Flaxseed Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $8

Grade: A

Flaxseeds are a great source of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in addition to vitamins and minerals. I typically add a couple tablespoons of Flaxseed to oatmeal, smoothies, and other quick meals. They are great for your heart, cholesterol, blood pressure, skin, hair, eyes, and brain.

 

April 2020

Product: HP EliteDisplay E223 21.5-Inch Screen Led-Lit MonitorHP EliteDisplay E223 22 Inch Monitor Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $160

Grade: B+

Once the world started working remotely, I knew I couldn’t stare a small work computer laptop screen all day. This large additional monitor relieved the tension on my neck, eyes, and back.

 

Product: Posture Corrector For Men And Women

Price: $20Posture Corrector For Men And Women Amazon Shopping in 2020

Grade: C-

Piggybacking off the previous purchase, I wanted to ensure my posture would not degrade while working remotely. The product was an idealized way to fix any hunches I had developed. However, it just was not practical to wear this every day, and I quickly stopped using it. Price was relatively cheap so wasn’t a big investment, but I still liked the idea of it.

 

Product: Power Systems Urethane Coated Dumbbell Weight SetsPower Systems Urethane Coated Dumbbell Weight Sets Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $56

Grade: B-

I was looking for a standard pair of weights to help with at-home workouts. These weights do the job. You can expect all workout equipment to be overpriced since gyms are closing down everywhere.

 

Product: Shentec 2-Pack 3000mAh 6V Battery Compatible with PaslodeShentec 2-Pack 3000mAh 6V Battery Compatible with Paslode Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $27

Grade: B+

Needed batteries for a nail gun. These worked very well and had plenty of battery life.

 

Product: Smead Poly Expanding File Folder, 12 PocketsSmead Poly Expanding File Folder, 12 Pockets, 12 Customizable Tiered Tabs

Price: $13

Grade: B

The key to success is to keep yourself organized. This folder serves its purpose adequately.

 

May 2020

Product: PBfit All-Natural Organic Peanut Butter PowderPBfit All-Natural Organic Peanut Butter Powder Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $13

Grade: A

Peanut Butter typically is high in fat. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking to put on mass, but I really enjoy the taste of peanut butter. This PB powder allows you to indulge without the extra calories.

 

Product: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin GrahamThe Intelligent Investor Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $14

Grade: A

I’ve heard so many good things about this book that I had to read it for myself. Warren Buffett touts it as the best investing book. After reading it, I’d have to agree. The sound investing technique of buying companies that can consistently post a profit every quarter will inevitably cause their stock price to gradually rise. The foundation of relentless innovation and a product or service in high demand has been proven over and over throughout the years.

 

Product: Happy 60th Birthday Toilet Paper Prank Funny Gag GiftHappy 60th Birthday Toilet Paper Prank Funny Gag Gift Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $13

Grade: D

This purchase was most irresponsible way to spend hard earned money in 2020. However, you can’t put a price tag on a practical joke. I’m sure this birthday gift got a laugh from a relative.

 

Product: 60th Birthday Gift Shirt – Vintage Aged to Perfection 196060th Birthday Gift Shirt - Vintage Aged to Perfection 1960

Price: $24

Grade: B

To compensate for the joke gag gift, I bought a nice t-shirt to celebrate the relative’s milestone birthday.

 

June 2020

Product: Stud Finder Sensor Wall ScannerStud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner - 4 in 1 Electronic Stud Sensor Beam Finders Wall Detector Center Finding with LCD Display

Price: $31

Grade: A+

My Dad has been using the same stud finder since I was born. I finally got him an upgrade. I was blown away when I saw this device is able to find the center of every stud behind the wall. It can be used for almost every type of wall you can think of too.

 

Product: Roku Express HD Streaming Media PlayerRoku Express HD Streaming Media Player Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $24

Grade: A

Roku’s stock has skyrocketed for a reason; they have a high demand. As I mentioned earlier, I cut cable this year. As a cord cutter, I wanted to enjoy streaming on any TV in the house.

 

Product: Pie-Cut Corner HingePie-Cut Corner Hinge Pair of Hinges

Price: $14

Grade: A

I needed a simple hinge to fix a door. This did the job.

 

July 2020

Product: Brita Everyday Pitcher with 1 FilterBrita Water Pitcher with 1 Filter Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $28

Grade: A+++

I can’t remember the last time I drank from a plastic water bottle. Using a Brita Pitcher and re-usable water bottles are such easy ways to help out the environment. I highly recommend every household get a Brita Pitcher.

 

Product: Kensun Durable Easy-to-Operate Dual Power Portable Tire Inflator Air CompressorKensun Durable Easy-to-Operate Dual Power Portable Tire Inflator Air Compressor

Price: $60

Grade: A

This air compressor is useful not only for car tires but also for sports balls and pool toys. It can conveniently be stored in your car trunk or garage. If you’re stuck on the highway, the compressor can plug in and get power from your car battery. It’s a very durable item.

 

August 2020

Product: RENPHO Body Fat Scale Smart Digital Bathroom Weight BMI ScaleRENPHO Body Fat Scale Smart BMI Scale Digital Bathroom Wireless Weight Scale, Body Composition Analyzer

Price: $22

Grade: A+++

I use this scale every single morning before I shower. It keeps me on track for my goals for weight loss or muscle gain. The scale connects with your phone via Bluetooth technology and will read out weight, body fat, water retention, muscle composition, etc. Lastly, it plots every metric imaginable on visually appealing graphs.

 

Product: Oral-B Pulsar 3d White Advanced Vivid Soft Toothbrush Twin PackOral-B Pulsar 3d White Advanced Vivid Soft Toothbrush Twin Pack

Price: $7

Grade: A

I was due for a new toothbrush. I really like these because they are very lightweight but also have the automatic electronic spin capability with the touch of a single button.

 

Product: Softsoap Liquid Hand SoapSoftsoap Liquid Hand Soap

Price: $15

Grade: A

As the Coronavirus got worse, the world was reminded how imperative handwashing was to our sanitary health. I stocked up on some hand soap.

 

Product: Hunter Dempsey Indoor Low Profile Ceiling Fan with LED Light and Remote ControlHunter Dempsey Indoor Low Profile Ceiling Fan with LED Light and Remote Control Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $143

Grade: B

This fan is one of the most popular models on Amazon for a reason – it looks modern and has a low profile. My only complaint was that the directions were not very clear. It took a long time to install even after reading the instruction over and over again. Seeing the final product made all the hard work worth it though.

 

September 2020

Product: Brita 35557 Replacement Filters for Pitchers and Dispensers, 6 CountBrita 35557 Replacement Water Filters, 6 Count

Price: $23

Grade: A

The Brita Filters need to be replaced every 2 months to ensure you are drinking clean water. I stocked up on filters for the year.

 

Product: Amazing Grass Green Superfood: Super Greens Powder with Spirulina, Chlorella, Digestive Enzymes & ProbioticsAmazing Grass Green Superfood Super Greens Powder with Spirulina, Chlorella, Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

Price: $35

Grade: A

If you don’t eat enough leafy vegetables, this is a great supplement. Again, this powder can be added to smoothies and topped off on other meals. There isn’t any added artificial flavoring that offsets the health benefits. It was more expensive than expected, but 60 servings in a container will last you a long time.

 

Product: FlexiSpot OC3B Ergonomics Executive Office ChairFlexiSpot OC3B Ergonomic Executive Office Chair Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $144

Grade: A

Many working from home are looking for comfortable chairs to promote good posture. Ever since purchasing this chair, I feel like an executive when I sit down. Nonetheless, I recommend getting up, walking around, and stretching as much as you can to get the blood flowing.

 

Product: Achiou Neck Gaiter Face MaskAchiou Neck Gaiter Face Mask Scarf

Price: $8

Grade: A

Wearing a mask during a workout is often tough and sometimes restricts breathing. I’ve found this gaiter to be a nice alternative during my outdoor runs, especially on cold winter mornings.

 

Product: Lauzq Fleece Ear Warmers/Muffs Headband for Men & Women & KidsWinter Fleece Ear Warmers Muffs Headband for Men Women Kids

Price: $7

Grade: A+++

My ears are one of the first parts of my body to get cold in the winter months. This was one of the best purchases I made this year as my face actually feels warm during frigid weather. I really enjoy this fleece material; it is not restrictive and very comfortable.

 

October 2020

Product: Numi Organic Tea Gunpowder Green, 100 CountNumi Organic Tea Gunpowder Green

Price: $34

Grade: A

Green tea has endless amount of health benefits. From improved brain function to fat loss to protecting against cancer, you really can’t go wrong with green tea, unless you’re drinking more than 5 cups per day. Plus, green tea has some caffeine (approximately 30 mg to 50 mg) to wake you up on mornings you don’t want to be at work.

 

Product: Log Cabin Sugar Free SyrupLog Cabin Sugar Free Syrup

Price: $14

Grade: A

I’m a big fan of pancakes, waffles, and every other great breakfast meal. Normal syrup has a lot of carbohydrates and sugars that will induce insulin spikes. I can drown my breakfast in this sugar free syrup without feeling any guilt whatsoever.

 

Product: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein PowderOptimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder

Price: $59

Grade: A

If your diet is lacking in protein from natural sources like chicken, fish, meat, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs, then Whey Protein Powder may help supplement with Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA’s) to assist with building strong and lean muscle.

 

December 2020

Product: Wireless Earbuds Bluetooth 5.0, GPED True Wireless Earbuds Headphones with Charging CaseWireless Earbuds Bluetooth 5.0, GPED True Wireless Earbuds Headphones with Charging Case Amazon Shopping in 2020

Price: $16

Grade: A+++

Why overpay for Airpods when you can get the same wireless headphones for a fraction of the price? This was one of my favorite purchases. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had earphones ripped from my ear because the wire gets caught on a desk, door, or chair. These wireless earphones connect to your phone, and you can listen and talk on the go.

 

Online Amazon Shopping Wrapped Up in 2020

All in all, the total I spent on 34 Amazon individual purchases was a mammoth $1,306.78!

Amazon no longer provides easy-to-use order report so you either need to:

  1. Manually add up your purchases from your order archive history

Or

Amazon Request Order Report Instructions

  1. Request a report from a designated time range. Amazon will email you confirmation and you’ll have access to a spreadsheet, where you’ll be able to add up the total.

Thankfully, my monthly side hustles have essentially covered all of these purchases, AND I still have plenty of cash left over to invest. If your annual Amazon spending is more than you anticipated, do not fret or beat yourself up over it. Just work towards bringing that number down lower the next year!

One of the beautiful things about starting a blog is that you now have the public to keep you accountable.

Last but not least, reviewing this list will also make you stop and think:

  • Were these purchases worth it?
  • Did these products bring me happiness?
  • Were the items worth the labor and time at my job? Were they worth the delay towards ideal retirement?

These questions are now somewhat quantifiable now that you have a running total of expenses.

Some of the few mediocre grades may make us cringe and regret. On the other hand, a list of A’s & B’s should take you back to the time in elementary school when your parents would praise you for an outstanding report card.

You decide for yourself: do you deserve an ice cream sundae for your 2020 Amazon report card?

Let me know how your 2020 spending compares to previous years in the comments below.

What Should You Do With Credit Card Debt When You Are Laid Off?

Credit Card Debt Unemployed

Welcome to the 1st FLA Guest Blog Post! Today we explore what you should do with credit card debt when you are laid off. Thank you to Bethaine from Debt Consolidation US for sharing these helpful answers to a frequently asked question.

She freely shares her magical money secrets to climb out of debt – which really aren’t too magical or secretive – that helped her build her net worth tremendously.

 

What Should You Do with Credit Card Debt When You Are Laid Off?

The first and most important matter is you need a good survival plan immediately when you are laid off and need to cope with the credit card debt.

In the case of the ‘Layoff’ scenario, the importance of a good survival plan is very necessary. Usually, the layoff order does not give you enough time to control your finances.

For the present condition, your goal must be to chalk out a survival plan for you and your family until you get a new job again. Along with it, you must check yourself from falling into a huge debt hole and take care of your credit score as well.

In this article, the intention is to brainstorm a plan for you so that you can survive your layoff as well as cope with your credit card debt.

1. You Can Pay Off Just the Minimum Amount Now

Usually, it is a bad idea to pay off the minimum amount on your credit card debt. Nonetheless, this idea will work for you when you no longer have a job.

Thus, the better option for you will be to pay off the minimum amount rather than paying almost nothing.

If you pay nothing, then the credit card companies may charge penalties, fees, and fines against you and it will most likely negatively affect your credit score.

It will be better for you to pay off at least the minimum amount for now. Further down the line when you can generate steady income again, you can then pay off more than the minimum amount.

By this strategy, you can salvage your credit score, get protection from late fees and fines, and won’t get any pesky calls from debt collection agencies.

2. You Can Negotiate an Agreement with Your Credit Card Firm

People often forget: everything is negotiable. After all, exchange of money is just a barter system.

You may contact your credit card firm and state your case to their representative regarding your present financial condition.

Nowadays, overseeing the current COVID-19 situation, many credit card companies are offering special assistance programs for those who are laid off due to Coronavirus.

With the special assistance program, you can come into an agreement with your credit card firm so that you can skip the monthly payment for a few months, waive your credit card interest and you may get other benefits also.

You have to get in touch with the credit card firm to get the special assistance that is only available in the pandemic time period.

3. You Should Try to Create a Family Budget and Continue Your Daily Expenses According to It

Creating a strict family budget and continuing your daily expenses according to the budget, can be a useful way to cope with credit card debt.

A strict family budget will decide for you what you need in your life now and where you can stop spending. This may, in turn, prove that some of your superfluous spending is surprisingly a luxury for you.

A budget may help you with some extra saved dollars that you can use to pay at least the minimum amount every month of your credit card debt.

4. You Can Consider the Credit Card Debt Consolidation Option to Tackle the Debt Burden

You can easily opt for the credit card debt consolidation to consolidate or merge all your credit card debts and make it into a single payment.

The balance transfer card can be another option for you that you can choose. You can transfer all your credit card dues to the balance transfer card.

With a balance transfer card, you may get a 0% interest promotional offer for 6 months to 18 months. You have to pay off your credit card dues with the benefit of a 0% interest rate and that is within 12 to 18 months.

Therefore, you can repay a major portion of your outstanding balance without paying any interest rate.

Thus, you can apply either the credit card debt consolidation method or the balance transfer card method to repay your credit card debt when you’re going through the inauspicious layoff situation.

5. The Wise Decision Will be to Shun Using Credit Cards for a While and Use the Cash Payment Option

In normal times, people use credit cards more than cash payment because, with credit card buying, you may get several rewards and points that are not possible with normal cash payment options.

But this restriction-free-buying mode has a negative side too. With the lure of rewards and offers, we sometimes spend more balance than our given necessity.

The ultimate result is you have to bear the debt burden on your shoulders.

So, when you are out of a job and your earning avenues are limited, return to the traditional cash-payment method.

It will keep you within a spending limit and you’ll be saved from any type of additional credit card debt burden.

These are the 5 ways that you can choose to take action when you are unemployed, concerned about your retirement, and the stress of how to repay your credit card debt is gulping you.

 

What Can Be Your Last Resort If You Are Completely Unable to Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill?

According to financial experts, when you are unemployed and don’t have enough savings even for paying off the minimum credit card amount, you can opt for the bankruptcy option.

You may get some immediate relief by choosing the bankruptcy option, but experts always recommend using the bankruptcy option as your last resort.

You may file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 under the bankruptcy act, but beware of the negative effect because bankruptcy may damage your credit for the long-term.

 

Final words:

The best option is at least you should try to pay off the minimum amount on your credit card debt. At this fundamental point, you can avoid any late fee charges, penalties, etc. You should not try to avail of the bankruptcy option as your first option. Later when your financial situation will improve again, the best course of action is to try and pay off your credit card debt in the standard way.

 

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5 Foolproof Steps for Early Retirement

Have A Plan

Many of us would like to build enough capital to prepare for the future and enjoy an early retirement.  However, this can feel impossible at times. What are the 5 foolproof steps for early retirement? How do we develop a solid plan?

Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can start taking today to help you achieve the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence Early Retirement) you’ve always dreamed of.

There are no secret tricks and tips. It mainly stems from discipline and consistency. You don’t need to be a Wall Street investment banker or a PhD scientist to outsmart the market. Here are 5 simple steps that will put you on the right path.

1. Increase Annual Savings

Everyone has heard the trite advice of forgoing the precious cup of morning coffee at your favorite hip coffeehouse to save money. This simply isn’t going to get you to retirement though.

You need to build habits of saving. Let me let you in on a little secret; successful people do not have greater will power and determination than your average Joe. The high achievers just remove temptation and practice consistent habits.

Save as much as you possibly can now, and I promise you will not be disappointed by the results in 10 to 30 years from today.

2. Decrease Annual Expenses

It may seem like common sense, but so many of us struggle to grasp this basic concept. Expenses add up very easily and very quickly. It’s important you perform monthly audits of your credit card statements to see how your spending has changed month to month.

It is okay to splurge every once in a while, but be sure to not make it a habit. It’s the same idea of eating healthy. You can stop by the fast food drive-through once in a blue moon, but if you continually practice this bad habit, you will gain weight without a doubt.

Furthermore, avoid consumer and other forms debt like it’s the plague. Even if you are indeed in debt, it’s still easier than you think to rid yourself of debt with the power of positive habits. Again, it may be daunting to turn your net worth from negative to positive, but if millions have done it before, so can you.

3. Make Steady, Consistent Investments

Now, there are some factors here that you have little control over.

Investment Growth Rate: How much your investments compound annually.

Investment growth rate is sometimes at the mercy of the stock or housing market, depending on the year. But overall, you can expect a rate of approximately ~6-7% (with inflation accounted for). Your income from your job may not increase much year over year, unless you pester your boss for a raise or a bonus.

Your neighbor, your co-worker, and even your family may argue with you about which stock will provide the best returns, but one thing is for sure:

Time in the market is way more important than timing the market.

Investment and financial analysts will always recommend buying low and selling high, but the truth is, humans simply aren’t robots. We will never be able to flawlessly invest, but we can get the best bang for our buck by letting our investments grow for as long as possible. Let your money do the heavy lifting for you.

Raven Monkey Money Manager Foolproof
Source: Guinness World Records

Even our cute friend, Raven, can predict stocks better than some money managers that possibly bring home a larger annual salary than both you and I.

4. Diversify Income Streams

The wealthy often have multiple streams of income. Whether this is from stocks, real estate, I.O.U.’s, or even intellectual property, the rich know how to maximize cash flow going into their bank accounts.

The book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a great fundamental novel that goes into detail regarding assets (things that make you money) and liabilities (things that lose you money).

Early Retirement Assets Liabilities
Source: Rich Dad Poor Dad Book by Robert Kiyosaki

Although we will not get involved in judging Kiyosaki’s character and other ventures, the financial community can agree the book is a vital tool to launch your net worth in the right direction.

Feel free to check out Fresh Life Advice’s Monthly Side Income Reports to see the current ways F.L.A. creatively supplementing a corporate paycheck. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to follow, but hopefully this can supply you with myriad ideas to implement in your own life.

5. Use Money to Save Time

Ask yourself, “Self, what is truly the point of early retirement?” To most of us, the purpose of early retirement is to use our time for the things we truly care about. There is no doubt about it; we all have limited time on this Earth. That is the limiting factor that puts the rich and the poor on the same level playing field. What is the difference between the rich and the poor?

Well, the rich are using their hard earned money (or lucky inheritance) to buy back time for the things that truly matter in life: family, friends, hobbies, etc.

The poor, along with a great deal of the middle class, misleadingly think that spending their money on impractical status symbols, such as fancy watches, luxurious cars, and excessive wardrobes will make other people admire them more, and thus increase their happiness. This is, of course, a fallacy as we know that most people only really care about themselves and are often too busy with their own problems to be concerned with what car you drive.

For example, the modern wealthy folks now spend money on nannies, gardeners, maids, and other services that allow them to focus less on daily household chores and more on the mysteries and life experiences that awaits them.

 

Why Should You Have a Plan?

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

-Mike Tyson, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Knocked Out
Ouch…

To the contrary, Fresh Life Advice has a formidable rebuttal to this famous opposing quote. F.L.A. would like to emphasize the importance of planning – specifically the right kind of planning. Everybody does have a plan until they get punched in the mouth — the key is planning for what you are going to do AFTER that happens.

One of the biggest reasons why I created a blog was to organize my thoughts coherently and offer advice to the general public. Again, I don’t claim to know more than you. I just hope you learn at least one new thing from me. Moving to different states and taking several different jobs, I’ve run into eclectic groups of people. Oddly enough, I observed that there was a constant underlying accepted corporate dogma.

People in the public and private sector both seemed to accept the standard way of life was to work until you’re 65 and then retire. This antiquated way of thought was hardwired into their brains either via their parents, boss, coworkers, etc. At times, I often felt like I was alone until I reached out to the finance blogging community. FIRE is becoming a modern mantra.

The first law in the United States that called for an eight-hour work day was passed in Illinois in 1867. In 1926, as many history lovers know, Henry Ford — possibly influenced by US labor unions — instituted an eight-hour work day for his employees.

Now, we can see this divergent fork in the road caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. The world’s workforce is now being split up into employees who can work from home and essential employees who must physically be present in the office, warehouse, hospital, etc.

Many predict that in the future, the office will function as a 3rd space (similar to your favorite coffeehouse): a hub, a town square, a neighborhood. Workers will decide when, how and where to work. People will flow in and out. Employees will be connected by social networks, cloud computing.

Which side of the spectrum will you end up as technology and artificial intelligence develop at an aggressively rapid pace?

If there’s anything that life and Darwin have taught me, the answer is simple: you must not only survive but also adapt.

So what does this all have to do with money?

Well, my point is that the world is a scary and unpredictable place. Most people enjoy their 9-5 jobs because it gives them the comfort and security they long for to help them sleep at night. I’m here to tell you it’s possible for a normal human, just like you and me, to leave the workforce way before age 65. In fact, I’m on pace to retire by age 38. Even if I miss that mark by a full 10 years, I’m still on pace to retire a full 27 years earlier than the average American! That’s an incredible amount of time of freedom.

 

Is This ‘5 Foolproof Steps Early Retirement’ Plan Actually Foolproof?

Of course not. No plan ever is. But I can assure you it’s pragmatically close to flawless.

Life almost never goes according to plan. And that’s totally okay. We will adjust and adapt.

Many fear an economic downturn or recession. Well, I’m here to shed some light on this fear.

Economic recessions [bear markets] generally do not last as long as expansions [bull markets] do. Since 1900, the average recession has lasted 15 months while the average expansion has lasted 48 months. The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, which lasted for 18 months, was the longest period of economic decline since World War II. If this happens, buy stocks or bonds at the cheaper price and retire a year later. There is nothing to fret!

The most important thing is to have a plan though. Be intentional with your thoughts and actions. It’s time to stop being reactive and start being proactive. Where’s a great place to start?

Well, think about your own retirement age. What age are you aiming for?

If you can control these 3 factors, you will be in GREAT shape:

Income: How much money you are making

Expenses: How much money you are spending

Savings: How much money you are saving

When people mention Savings Rate, they are simply referring to your Savings divided by Income. Don’t let terms like these confuse you.

Sounds obvious, right? It’s not rocket science, but Wall Street often makes it sound like it. There are only two ways to do increase your savings rate: earn more or spend less. That’s the basic rule of personal finance. Still, Americans significantly struggle with these aspects. F.L.A. will show you specific action plans to increase your savings rate.

 

Caveat:

Be ready for backlash when revealing your early retirement plan to friends, family, and loved ones. Even the people closest to you and the ones that you trust the most may project some negative feelings onto you. It’s completely normal.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

― Pursuit of Happyness

 

Will Early Retirement Guarantee Happiness?

Humans are terrible at predicting future happiness. In fact, there was actually a scientific study conducted by three established psychology university professors to prove this “end of history illusion.” No matter what age, humans underestimate how much they will change. Two different studies were conducted:

  1. A group of 18-year-olds was asked to predict what their lives will be like in 10 years. The 28-year-olds group reported significantly more changes than expected.
  2. This exact experiment was then conducted with 58-year-olds and the same result occurred when the subjects turned 68.

Conclusion:

Even with plenty of life experience, you have no idea what will happen to you in 10 years!

As a result, it is imperative that you have a plan in place to at least guide you in the direction you would like to follow. But more importantly, remember to practice gratitude and count your blessings every single day, because you never know what your future holds.