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Financial Foundations – September, 2020

Best practices from Millionaires on day to day personal finance

While everyone wishes they could spend and save like a millionaire, very few actually want to put in the hard work.

That said, for those who are serious about building wealth, much like building muscle or losing weight, it is merely a process or a few easy disciplines repeated every single day.

Here, we reached out to a handful of self-made millionaires, financial advisors and credit industry specialists to get their top tips on how to manage your money like the wealthy do.

From getting real about your hidden debt to simply cutting back on spending, here’s how to spend and save your money like a millionaire.

Diversify your investments (beyond the stock market)

Most high-net-worth individuals invest in asset classes beyond stocks and bonds, allocating portions of their portfolio to the private markets.

“Private equity, art, and many other alternatives can provide returns that are uncorrelated with the public stock markets, with the cost generally being that they are less liquid (so it is harder to sell out of your investment),” explains Robert Blecher, CEO and Founder of

Get clear on your vision

“My one tip on how people earning average incomes can manage their money like a millionaire would be to be clear on their financial goal,” says Finance Expert, Jonathan Kellert.

“Having a goal to save $1,000,000 doesn’t really inspire anybody to make adjustments to their lifestyle. However, when they imagine what their life can look like once they have $1,000,0000 they can find the motivation to make the changes in order to accomplish the goal.”

Look into the property market

Millionaires make every cent work for them. By understanding the difference between assets and liabilities, you are one step closer towards behaving like a person who owns money, rather than feeling like money is constantly owning them.

“When you think about millionaires, you think about people who own a lot of property, right? So, look into it, you don’t need a great deal to be investing in real estate,” explains Andrew Taylor, Director at Net Lawman.

Spend less

“I made it a point to live on a fraction of my meager fellowship stipend,” explains  M. Reese Everson,Esq., author of The B.A.B.E.’S Guide to Building Wealth.

“I rented the most inexpensive apartment I could find and when I found an even cheaper place ($500 less), I moved from that apartment to the cheaper one to save even more money!”

Everson loved saving money, because she loved seeing the number in her savings account grow larger and larger.

“It felt good to see $10,000, then $20,000, then $30,000. I would look online to find the savings account that offered the most interest, and incentives. I’d open accounts just because they said if I did I’d get $250 for free. I loved knowing that I had options to use to build, when the time came.”

Create a cash flow plan
“Millionaires don’t have a budget, they have a plan,” explains Financial Advisor Jeremy Britton, who suggests tracking every single expense, no matter how small, for a minimum of 30 days, ideally 90 days.

“All successful millionaires do this for themselves and their businesses. A business or an individual who does not track their money will not be successful, it’s that simple.”

Treat your life like a business

“I was able to become a millionaire in my late 20’s because I look at my life like a business,” explains Neal Taparia, business owner and self-made millionaire.

“I modeled out how much income I was hoping to make in my twenties, combined with my expected expenses. Every month, I would evaluate if I was on track to meet the goals in my model, and make changes if I had to.”

According to Taparia, all of this gave him a roadmap on what he had to do to become a million by the time he was 30. 

Be honest about your debt

According to Credit Industry Specialist Mason Miranda, one of the best ways to manage your finances is to eliminate as much debt as possible.

Loans can rack up a lot of extra charges in interest, and carrying balances on credit cards can be even worse because of their generally high APR.

“To become wealthy, you may want to eliminate your debt completely, which would save you a lot of money in interest and fees,” Miranda explains, “If you choose to use short-term debt to your advantage, such as small loans and credit cards, make sure you’re responsibly paying them off and not missing payments.”

Treat your credit card like a debit card

Miranda also suggests treating your credit card like it’s a debit card. This means not buying something if you don’t have the funds to pay it off by the monthly due date.

“Pay off your entire credit card balance each month and avoid minimum payments,” suggests Miranda. “This will save you A LOT of money in interest.”

Three Ways to Simplify Your Household Budget

Customized Your Budget to Fit “You”

The standard approach to building a household budget is fairly simple: Know how much income you have available to spend each month, determine how much money goes into each spending category (groceries, utilities, housing and so on) and then track these categories regularly to make sure you’re not overspending in one place. When all’s said and done, you should have your expenses covered each month without racking up any debt — hopefully with a little money left over to put into savings.

That’s all well and good, except when the details of your budget get too complicated. Does each family member need a clothing category in the budget, or can you lump everyone’s clothing expenses into a single bucket? Should you separate the non-food items you buy at the grocery store into their own sundries category, or is that over-complicating things?

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity, especially when it comes to your household budget. Micromanaging your money can get messy, and if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up driving yourself crazy. Try these three solutions for simplifying your budget:

The 60 percent plan. One simple approach is to break spending into only five categories. Necessary expenses, such as your mortgage, groceries and insurance, automatically get 60 percent of the family’s take-home pay each month. The remaining 40 percent is broken up into four equal budget categories:

  1. Retirement
  2. Long-term savings for big goals (other than retirement) that require some planning
  3. Short-term savings for more erratic expenses, such as gifts and repairs
  4. Fun activities, such as dinners out and movies

The 80-20 plan. Another way to simplify your budget involves depositing the first 20 percent of your take-home pay into an investment account — the “don’t touch it account.” Stash the other 80 percent in a checking account. That’s the amount you have to spend every month on your regular purchases — groceries, water and electric bills, gas for your car, lunch money and everything else. Under the 80-20 plan, you don’t need to divide the money up into categories. However, the clincher is that when the money runs out, you’re done spending for the month, which can take some getting used to.

The balanced money plan. The idea behind this budgeting concept is that you’ll stay on target if you simply separate your spending into just three “big picture” categories: 50 percent for needs, 30 percent for wants and 20 percent for savings. If you look at your spending and see, for instance, that you’re dedicating a whopping 70 percent of your income to shelter, food, utilities and other needs, your budget is out of whack and something else (likely your savings) is probably getting shorted each month.

If you want a little more structure in your financial life — but don’t want to overcomplicate the budgeting process — give these approaches a try. One of them might be just enough to get your spending back on track.

Financial Foundation Workshop Series 2020

Financial Foundation Workshop Series:  Fridays, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Banking 8/21, Budgeting 8/28, Credit 9/4, Investing 9/11 and Risk Management 9/18/20

You have been invited to the following event(s).

Competitive Edge Education – Financial Foundations Series

Fridays, 08/21, 08/28/09/04, 09/11 and 09/18/2020 – 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Pacific Time – Los Angeles
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Event Contact: RSVP to: Renee Willis,, (626) 818-3631

Volunteer(s): Joanne DangananCurriculum Version: Financial Foundations – Banking

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