Development, Discipline, Endurance, Finances, FIRE, goals, Growth, Habits, Mindset, No Pain No Gain, Retirement, Savings, Uncategorized, wealth, Win

Habits tell a Story

Last book read: “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

Books I’m currently reading: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

On my mind: Listen.

Pause

There are so many distractions in our day. We have embedded habits in our mind that we engage in unconsciously. For example, today, I unlocked my phone 77 times and used it for 3 hours and 51 minutes in total. Can you relate?

Better Recognize!

Do you ever ponder why it seems so hard to stop your bad habits? Maybe you snooze the alarm 2 to 3 times before you wake up. The trick is to find the incentive for that bad habit or a certain reward you give yourself when you engage in bad behavior. Recognizing that is the first step.

You are what you EAT

Perhaps you are wondering why habits are the focus of a blog called “Stewarding Finances”. Habits form us and we become as the saying goes “what we eat” – this also applies mentally!

If you are like most people, you woke up and spent some time in the restroom then ate some food, got dressed and started your day. These behaviors, despite how basic they may seem, are vital. We take care of cleanliness: shower, brush our teeth, and wear appropriate clothing so that we can maintain the basic requirements for our job.

Well how about if you incorporated habits that can help you go beyond the minimum standard and bring you greater returns? Would you be willing to test these habits?

More than we can chew…

Can you guess what the average American’s debt is? drum roll… $137,063 (according to the Federal Reserve)! The average American rent is about $1,200 but in Los Angeles, CA it’s more like $1,700. Anyways, this means you could pay rent for 114 months or 9.5 years for the average American or 6.7 years of rent for the typical Californian.

Talk about a bad habit going out of control!

You might argue that a lot of that is going towards education and necessities as a home or car. Do you have to go into debt for education? For most occupations, NOPE. There are exceptions such as becoming a doctor due to the many years of schooling which is justified by the income eventually made. I would mention you can make this more affordable by seeking out scholarships or even joining the military.

I would say that education can be done without debt if you are resourceful and that a home or car is NOT a necessity and if you cannot afford it, don’t buy it!! This is actually the reason why we are in for a down market in this coming year. The Fed assumes due to job growth, it’s rainbows and sunshine but do they factor in the “sharp decline in oil prices as well as slowing in homebuilders, autos and retailers as signs?” (Jim Cramer).

Not only are the factors mentioned above playing into the harder times up ahead, we are also dealing with enormous amounts of student loans (which are NOT bankrupt-able) and car loans that are not being repaid. I will digress in future posts.

There is HOPE

Sam, what’s with all this doom and gloom you might ask? R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. friend. I don’t want to leave you hanging without actionable tips to guide you in your financial journey. It’s at times like this when you should be more intentional about how you spend your money or God’s money as how I like to see it.

Time for new financial habits! Try the following for the coming year.

  1. Budget
  2. Stick to the budget
  3. Save 15%+

Before your next purchase…

Simple things to consider before your next major purchase. Ask yourself, do I need this or do I want it?

Next, ask yourself, would the me 10 years from now appreciate that the present me bought X?

Replace bad habits with good ones and reward yourself! Until next time, learn, apply and share!

References:

https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/11/18/a-foolish-take-heres-how-much-debt-the-average-us-household-owes/107651700/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/16/cramer-blasts-the-fed-i-know-more-than-they-do–do-more-homework-on-the-economy.html

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Real Wealth through Real Estate
Finances, goals, making money, passive income, Retirement, Savings, Uncategorized, wealth

Real WEALTH through Estate!

FIRE!!!

Can you build wealth through real estate? Absolutely! I aim to reach Financial and Time Independence by 40 years of age (sooner if God allows) and plan on involving Real Estate in my investing. In particular, I aim to use sales, stocks, this blog and real estate to build wealth. Just last year, after discovering the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early; read more on FI here) community, I was off to the races for figuring out ways to optimize my income and wealth building. I met a financially independent blogger, Tim Kim, who shared publicly how he got to where he was and tips along the way. Through Tim, I discovered Bigger Pockets, where I found credible information on Real Estate investing.

Why Real Estate?

Diversification! It’s been said by Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewaters (world’s largest hedge fund) that portfolio of investments are at its optimal state at 15 streams of income. The wealthiest people in the world own Real Estate. Real Estate is a great retirement vehicle because it provides 1 of 6 of basic human needs for survival: shelter. We all need a place to live. When was the last time you paid for rent? Who does that money go to? For those who own homes, you understand this idea. Paying off your home is building your wealth (equity), which you could then use to invest in more properties.

3 basic ways to build Wealth through Real Estate

1. Own it. Even if you have a loan on your property, a portion of your mortgage payments each month is going straight to your equity. In other words, your home can be thought of as a piggy bank. If there is an appreciation or depreciation in your home value, you benefit even more. The concept of appreciation is clear; your home increases in value over time. On the other hand, depreciation can be written off on your taxes.

2. Rent it. If you own property, PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance), and other necessary expenses may amount to a sizable cut off your pay. Consider renting out a room either through Craigslist or Airbnb (this is an affiliate code that will give you a discount for your next reservation).

3. Keep it. Owning property should be a selective process. Therefore, choosing the right location is key to Real Estate investing. Consider buying a home in areas with low Capitalization Rates and hold on to your property, tend to it either on your own or through a property manager. If you chose a location near a college, an area with potential economic growth, and/ or you choose a place experiencing gentrification, you can benefit from property value increase.

Continue reading

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Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Finances, Retirement, Savings

Staying Crypto-Current


Banner Featured by my Financial Mentor Tim Kim

What is a Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is making the headline on news outlets all around the internet, but what is it? A cryptocurrency is simply a digital currency that is independent of centralized systems, namely banks. The very first cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. We still don’t know who created it, but his/ her/ their creation has amassed a huge adoption by many around the world. Having been introduced in 2009, it’s price was nearly nothing, fractions of a penny; then it jumped up to nearly $20k. Today, a single Bitcoin costs around $13k and is one of over 1,000 other cryptocurrency, also called alt coins. The mainstream media for the years since Bitcoin’s inception have portrayed it in a negative light; though it has its share of objections, many are starting to invest in it.

The top three Cryptocurrency in the world:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Ripple
  3. Ethereum

Uniqueness of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is decentralized, meaning that it is not controlled by conglomerates such as banks and government. In addition, it incorporates blockchain technology, which is an incorruptible digital ledger that keeps track of everything that has happened in the past and will happen with the coin in the future. The amount and the fashion in which the coins are distributed vary.

Ex) Bitcoin:

There are 7,200 Bitcoins produced per day, but there will be less and less as time goes by and will eventually halt in production at 21 million Bitcoins, in year 2140.

More Resources on Cryptocurrency

  1. Blogger Tim Kim: http://tubofcash.com/bitcoin-frequently-asked-questions/
  2. A list of Cryptocurrency being traded: https://coinmarketcap.com/
  3. Documentary on Netflix: Banking on Bitcoin

Buying Cryptocurrency

Coinbase is the most commonly used and user friendly platform for people to purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin (ranked in the top 6 cryptocurrency).

 

Word of Caution

Although Cryptocurrency may be popular and have extensive reach around the world, it is very volatile. It has also been used wrongly for criminal purposes. If you are considering purchasing coins, you are doing so at your own risk.

 

Sources:

https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#who-created-bitcoin

https://www.coindesk.com/price/

https://coinmarketcap.com/

https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/

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Uncategorized

Traveling Free Made Possible

Books I’m currently reading: “No Excuses” by Kyle Maynard

Biggest Investment Return: 2 Boeing (BA) $402.50 Call Options at $1,020/ sold 2 BA Call options for $2,372

Instagram: Follow me for updates as I make trades on Instagram @stewardingfinances

On my mind: Make my morning routine a habit

Do You Love to Travel?

If you do, we have common interest! Most recently, I’ve implemented 2 big travel hacks. I started listening to finance podcasts, reading books on business and mindset, and applying what I would learn into my daily living. I often listed to finance podcasts while I commute to/ from work and other times that I’m on the road. One particular morning, as I was driving to work listening to a podcast (episode 27) on the Bigger Pockets Money podcast, with guest Lee Huffman titled “How to Get Even MORE from your Travel Rewards Credit Card”, I learned about using credit cards to gain points to travel for free and it immediately sparked interest.

2 Travel Hacks

From the 2 travel hacks I will introduce, one is applicable to everyone while the other depends on your credit. When you think of travel, what are your highest expenses? Flight ticket? Housing? Food? I have found a way to cut costs from flight and housing. I’m a foodie and would love to know how I could apply travel hacking to food. Please comment below and share if you have any ideas.

Free Flights

I found there was a major airline that offered travel bonuses to those who would qualify for the credit card.

The deal was that I would receive 40,000 points for Southwest Airlines (an airline company that is exceptional in presenting their why according to Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why”) if I spent $1,000 in the first 3 months of opening a Chase credit card. I applied and the card arrived under 2 weeks after I submitted my application online. I then spent $1,000 in the first month and the 40,000 points were added to my account.

There was a conference in Austin, TX and I was going to attend in 2 weeks so I booked a flight from Long Beach, CA to Austin, TX for a total of 12,190 points and a $11.20 U.S. 9/11 Security Fee (TSA regulation). Not only did I benefit from this deal, I wanted to share with my friends how they could also participate.

I have a friend who travels at least once a month to San Francisco to see his girlfriend so I decided to share this with him. Here’s the amazing thing! Chase has a referral program that allows both the referrer and the referred benefit. The referrer – who was me in this case – would receive 10,000 bonus points up to 50,000 points per year and the referred – my friend – would receive the same deal as I did (40,000 points for spending $1,000 in the 3 months of receiving the credit card).

I was thrilled! Additionally, using the credit card for Southwest Airlines related purchases would give me 2 points for every $1 I would spend and 1 point for every dollar spent anywhere else. There is also 3,000 points awarded to all card holders annually for simply keeping the card open; a few benefits among several other great benefits. If you are interested finding out more, you can do so by clicking here.

Make Money While Traveling

Airbnb. Have you heard of this fairly recent phenomenon? If not, it’s worth looking into for 2 reasons: Free housing and income generation while traveling. It might be hard to believe but it’s easier than you might assume. Before I dive in, I am inclined to share what Airbnb and its function in society. Airbnb is a platform home owners and renters from all around the world can open up their rooms, homes and even backyards for rental, allowing those who stay a unique and personal experience. From my personal experience with Airbnb in the past, I can say that every stay has been exciting and memorable.

How can someone obtain free housing AND generate income while traveling? I, along with many others, have done it. There are 3 things you can do.

  1. If you have not created an Airbnb account yet, you can do so by clicking here and receive up to $55 for your next travel experience.
  2. If you enjoyed your stay and would like to recommend it your friends, you can get $30 (referral amount fluctuates) per referral and book your stays at no cost.
  3. Lastly, you can generate income while you are away by renting out your home or apartment (please check with your country and state to ensure you are allowed to do this as policy varies). You can even see how much your earning potential is depending on your location, which you can see using Airbnb’s database (click here to see how much you can earn).

Good Fit or Bad Fit?

I tend to promote ideas, services and products I believe in and use myself, in this case credit cards to travel hack and Airbnb to book my stays. However, I do not advocate those who are prone to debt or are financially unstable to apply for the Chase travel card. If you are currently in large amounts of debt, budgeting to track every dollar made and spent is a great start (to read more on why you should budget, check out my last blog post “Habit Tell a Story”.

A practical resource that is very easy to use is the Every Dollar app which is free, easy to use, and found in the apple app store or the google store! The creator of the app, Dave Ramsey is a finance mogul that helps the average American and many times, broke Americans come out of thousands to hundreds of thousands in dollars of debt. If you struggle with debt, watch his show on YouTube or check out his podcast, The Dave Ramsey show.

The guy knows what he is talking about in regards to debt! He is actually opposed to debt, whereas I see certain debt (I will elaborate in future posts) such as credit cards as a tool for those who are responsible. Yet it makes sense to have a radical mindset when paying off thousands of dollars in debt as quickly as possible. If the Chase travel card offer is not suitable for you, the Airbnb is practical and applicable to all.

What are some travel hacks you have tried? Have you used any of the hacks listed above? Share your experience in the comments below.

References:

https://www.referyourchasecard.com/m/223/6L5/FWFF/1554429719

https://www.airbnb.com/c/samuelk128?currency=USD

https://www.airbnb.com/host/homes?af=43720035&c=.pi0.pk46551338572_200915920443_c_502134331621&sem_position=1t1&sem_target=aud-298482270906:kwd-502134331621&location_of_interest=&location_physical=9031055&gclid=CjwKCAiAy-_iBRAaEiwAYhSlA_YtNt8q19qTljbFENzS28xjmdPBI-jCHmwO9p-a8B1q79jY7t-WEhoC8L8QAvD_BwE

https://stewardingfinances.com/2018/12/28/habits/

https://www.everydollar.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiA7vTiBRAqEiwA4NTO69OqRnndtyVaBrcdwz7jeTPivuzakwyDlb3luh3nkOTvzRJq3FbTCxoCPBQQAvD_BwE

https://www.youtube.com/user/DaveRamseyShow

https://www.daveramsey.com/show/podcasts

*Disclaimer: Though this blog post consists of referral links, the purpose of this blog post is to educate and to invoke meaningful and applicable conversation.

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Healthy Habits Win Results
Development, Discipline, Endurance, Growth, Habits, Health, Mindset, No Pain No Gain, Strength, Win

Healthy Habits Win Results

Last book read: “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss

Books I’m currently reading: “Principles” by Ray Dalio

Biggest Investment return: Tesla @ $66.61 (purchased at $286.28, sold at $352.89)

On my mind: Fail Better

Pause

Today, I want to share about mindset. Mindset to improve the ‘how to’ part of success: Healthy Habits Win Results. Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to make money but so easy to spend? Have you thought of the underlying reasons for your habits? How have you tried to deal with bad habits?

The 80/20 Principle

In my recent endeavors, I have been finding habits that distract and detour me from my goals (more on my goals here). With intention, I have made some drastic changes. Perhaps you have heard of the Pareto’s 80/20 principle, which states 80% of effects are caused by 20% of factors. Here’s an everyday example: we wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. Here’s another one: 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crime (Dunedin Study). Another one: 20% of employees bring in 80% of the results. You get the picture.

Poor Habits Poor Results

I applied the principle to my own life and found that a few bad habits formed over the years negatively impacted me in a big way. For one, I slept and woke up late, which affected the rest of my day. When I started working, I rushed from my bed to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to work. I found myself barely getting to work on time; 20% of my actions were causing 80% of my stress and frustration.

Parking at my work place is $95/ month! Yes, $95 for the convenience of parking in a structure. What’s amazing is that many people actually pay this amount to for convenience. I was taken aback by the number of people that chose to pay to park. Given the choice, I opted for street parking. I soon after discovered a gold mine, an all-day parking spot near work with the length of half a football field.

Glass Half Full?

However, the struggle was getting a guaranteed spot. In effect, many times I had to park in a 2 or 4 hour parking spot and move my car accordingly and the 2 times it slipped my mind, I paid for it. $98 to be exact at $49/ ticket. In addition, I found myself like many others, rushing into the office, tired and groggy. Thankfully, in my 6 months of working at this particular job, I have only racked up 17% ($98 in comparison to $570) of the price I would have paid if I had decided to pay to park. Ultimately, I didn’t want anymore tickets and all the other symptoms of poor decision-making. Frankly, I was fed up.

Healthy Habits Win Results

I came across a book called Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod, which was a collection of morning routines successful people practice, lumped into 6 components of an ideal start to the day. The idea is win the morning, win the day. S.A.V.E.R.S. is an acronym highlighted in the book which stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. More on the details of the acronym another time. In order to start my day right, I realized I would have to wake up over an hour earlier, sleep earlier, and proactively engage my morning. I took action upon reading the book but was faced with one of greatest initial barriers – my body viscerally opposed the change. It took some trial and error to get to a point of consistency.

“Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day” – Eben Pagan

I it took one day at a time to get started, which would turn into 2 days, 3, 4, 5, and so on. Now, I start my weekday mornings at 5am every morning and I can gladly say it’s a part of my daily routine. Finally, I have enough time to eat breakfast on the dining table, get the all-day parking spot every/ most work days, feel lively by the time I get to work, and am more focused as I start my workday.

Accountability And Commitment

It was difficult to start incorporating a morning routine for a night owl like myself but I managed. I’m grateful for my like-minded friend who came alongside and was willing to join me in building these morning habits together. We decided it would be good to call each other first thing in the morning and talk with one another until we were awake, then jump into our routine. In the beginning this was crucial but now, after 3 weeks of trial and error, my body is settling into the routine.

No Pain, No Gain

We hear it all the time, “No pain, no gain”, but I have found it to resonate deeply with me. The initial change was agony; to both my mind and body, but with changing my mindset and making better choices, I reaped the great rewards. Don’t get me wrong, the 1st minute of my morning is war. Yet, I’m failing better, one step at a time.

 

Let’s talk Habits

Do you have any unhealthy habits that causes you unnecessary stress? Have you made any attempts to change your habits? Are there healthy habits that you are trying to form?

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs” by Hal Elrod

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