Welcome to my first ever blog post! While my fiancée is a professional at putting her thoughts about life in general on paper for the world to see, I on the other hand have been slow to adopt that side of things. That is why I am eager and optimistic about partnering up with her to share some of my views/thoughts on life including both the good and the bad.
A little about me: I was born and raised in one of Toronto’s suburbs (City of Brampton) and I am now living and working in Edmonton, Alberta for what is quickly becoming far longer than I had originally intended. Life has a funny way of taking me places I didn’t expect to be and for longer than I originally thought. I am working in the Commercial Real Estate Valuation field and with Kryzia’s help, we have been working away on building a real estate empire together. Over time I have felt a growing desire to share some of my insights on finances in a non-technical way to encourage people to use their money more effectively among other things.
This month, Jay-Z released an album that really resonated with me, as I believe it shared some major keys to financial success through a medium that is deeply influential in a way like no other: music. So I wanted to share my three favourite lines from the song “The Story of O.J.” and the way that I believe it fits into our everyday consumption habits.
THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT CREDIT
Want to know how Jewish people own all the property in America? Credit. That’s how they did itJay-Z
Most people don’t think about the importance of credit until the minute they actually need it. One of my favourite sayings is, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” About two and a half years ago, when Kryzia and I truly acknowledged that marriage was in the cards in the near future (once we put some details in order), we took a hard look at our finances, starting with our credit. From that moment, we knew that if we wanted to be able to buy a home once we got married and without parental assistance, we needed to take steps to improve our credit score and financial standing. After taking the necessary steps, we’ve been blessed to have purchased investment real estate and we’re in the process of purchasing our marital residence, which will be ready for us right after the wedding.
You may not need it today, but just a little bit of planning for the future can help out in a big way down the line. The best part is that sometimes with just a few tweaks you can see a huge improvement in your credit in a short span of time. I wanted to share two FREE resources that Kryzia and I used to evaluate our credit score and help our financial standing:
- Borrowell: This site will tell you your credit score for FREE once every 3 months, help you to keep tabs on how well you’re progressing throughout the year. We started using the site last year and we’ve been getting updates every 3 months. We’ve made it a habit to actually pay attention to the updates to evaluate how far we’ve come and where we can improve. I’m happy to report that our credit score has improved since we started last year.
- Mint: This is another site that we have been using regularly. It automatically keeps a very details record on how we’re spending each day. It helps us stay on budget and slaps our hand when we start to get out of line.
These tools alone can help you get started to improve your credit score, monitor your financial situation, and put you in charge of your money like the 1%.
DANGER: LIFESTYLE INFLATION
I bought every V12 engine
Wish I could take it back to the beginnin’Jay-Z
You just got a raise or a bonus at work, so do you:
- a) save/invest it? Or
- b) spend it to ” treat yourself” indefinitely?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not wrong to go out and celebrate the rewards of a hard day’s work. But it is equally important that as you see an increase in your income, that the expenses don’t tag along at the same speed.
When I was in the 10th grade, I worked at McDonald’s for a little over a year after school and on weekends. When I finally decided to quit, I came home with a new pair of Nike’s and was excited for my next adventure. My mother single-handedly changed my entire perspective on money with a single question: “You worked at McDonald’s for a year, so how much money do you have left to show for it?” Following that question was 30 seconds of awkward silence as I tried to come up with a smart/fake answer. The look of disappointment from my mom was enough to get me to realize: I screwed up. My expenses kept up with my income at a ridiculous rate of 100% leaving me with 0% to do anything meaningful with. I learned a valuable lesson since then: making more money doesn’t mean that your lifestyle and spending habits should increase with it. Let your income grow and keep your expenses the same (or lower) and you’ll be shocked at how your wealth significantly grows over time.
One way that we’ve found to be effective in building up a rainy day fund is to set up an automatic withdrawal on the day our paycheques come in, depositing a little bit of money into our savings account every month. Almost every Canadian bank will have this capability and it should be used as a tool in your kit to build up an “in case of emergency” buffer. Compare different banks and see which one is offering a decent interest rate for a savings account, so that the money can grow even a little bit just by sitting there. Interest bearing savings accounts are a small step towards the direction of making your money work for you while you sleep. By the way, we’ve been using Tangerine as our primary bank since our third year of university as we’ve found it is one of the few banks that do not nickel and dime us for everything and provide great service.
GLAMOUR VS. SUBSTANCE
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like 2 million
That same building today is worth 25 million
Guess how I’m feelin’? DumboJay-Z
The message in this line from Jay is straightforward: invest wisely in things that bring a return to your pocket and reduce the number of things that take away money out of your pocket. Simple. Oftentimes many people will say things like, “Just start a business if you want financial freedom,” which is certainly one key to success. But for many people the idea of that is extremely daunting and somewhat terrifying to engage in. Thankfully, today it doesn’t have to be that difficult to start small and add one additional source of income to your arsenal. Sites like Etsy, Fiverr, and Shopify provide excellent opportunities to have people pay you for doing your hobbies and very quickly turn them into cash.
The wisdom on how the wealthy operate was carefully packaged in a way that it could reach a younger audience. Taking these lessons to heart and refining them over time will undoubtedly help to change the way people understand money and wealth principles.