Finance

Tryna Get $aved

Wouldn’t life be so easy if we could all just sit around (on our private island) collecting checks?

 

Of course it would!

 

Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality most of us face. Especially at the ripe age of 25. Am I right? Instead, I live with roommates and spend my hard earned paychecks at Whole Foods and Bungalow (the contradiction of living in LA, eating all organic yet spending my entire Saturday at a bar…ooops).

 

Although I have built up a good savings in my almost 4 years in the working world and keep a close watch on my stock accounts I find it very important to keep my money working for me…rather than me working for my money. Which brings me to crowd-vesting (I may have just made up this term), anyways, what “crowd-vesting” is, is pulling together small amounts of money from multiple people that you can see a return on. While on my own I don’t have the capital to fund real-estate properties or fund loans, with the help of a group of my peer investors I am able to get in on these types of investments.

 

Today there are a number of different companies that offer the average young investor a way into the big leagues of real estate investing or loan funding. these all see returns better than your Bank of America or Wells Fargo savings account, and you don’t need a lot of capital to get started. With Lending Club the minimum investment is $1,500 and with RealtyMogul $5,000. This is a great way to get started investing outside of the stock market.

 

With crowd-vesting or crowdfunding it no longer takes a lot of money to make a lot of money, you can then re-invest any profits you make to continually compound your investment over time…and eventually end up collecting checks on your private island.
Savvy $aving!
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Finance

Why the Stock Market is Basically a Department Store

There are two things I feel like I have a good grasp on in life, one being fashion, the other being money (hence this blog). Another thing that I feel as though I have a slight knowledge in is technology. Maybe it stems from my upbringing in the Silicon Valley, or the fact that after deciding I wanted nothing to do with my Retailing and Consumer Sciences degree that I’ve worked my entire adult life in the tech industry. Anyways, where I am going with this is that this post is about to tie together money, fashion and technology. MIND BLOWN.

 

So to start, the technology sector took a big hit on Friday (along with the whole market in general). Facebook down almost 6% for the day, Workday was down a whopping 16%, and the cherry on top of the day which felt like an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day was LinkedIn, whose stock price finished the day at a 43% loss. Yes, you just read that correctly, a 43% loss in one day. excuse my french, but WTF?!? Talk about bad things happening to good stocks.

 

Ok so cool, the technology industry as a whole took a big hit on Friday, the markets are down in general, Kanye is in a feud with Wiz…why do we care?

 

We care, because whenever a day like this happens in the stock market we panic and act like the world is going to end, when what we should be doing is treating this as an opportunity. I like to equate a day like Friday as the sale of the century at Saks. Hmm, now the sell-off is looking a little more appealing right? The thing is here, is that all these great quality technology stocks just went on sale, and you now have the opportunity to snatch them up at a big discount. If we start to take a look at the stock market as a conglomerate of all our favorite stores, like Saks, Barneys, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, and the individual stocks as our favorite brands (for me that would be Reformation, Stone Cold Fox) sold at those stores. I’d for certain jump at the chance to get 40% off of Stone Cold Fox clothing (side note, their sale is poppin’ right now), wouldn’t you?

 

I know it can seem scary when the market has such huge swings, but if we treat it like the mall with our favorite stores and brands, we can start to distinguish the Forever 21’s from the Bloomingdales. When looking for the big discounts on stocks, keep in mind the quality of that stock, always do your homework, and look out for companies that have big swings on factors outside the realm of how their business is run. Finding these stocks are like finding a current season Chanel jacket at a bargain basement price.

 

Treat a stock that takes a huge price swing as a flash sale, and your opportunity to get a high quality stock at a great sale price.

 

$avvy $aving! 
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Finance

What Do You Mean?

What do you mean? First you’re up then you’re down and you’re between…I think Justin Beiber was really talking about the current state of the stock market in his song. The volatility we’ve seen over the past few weeks is enough to send any investor in to a state of complete confusion.

Do I sell? Do I buy more? Do I hold?

There is never truly a right answer, but in times like these it is important to protect what you do have. For a young investor like myself, I feel like I have the opportunity to hit some big wins based on how the market is moving, but I also know I need to protect my current positions.

 

A great way for anyone to make sure that they are protecting their money in the markets at a time like this is setting up something called a Stop Limit order on whatever assets they feel may not make a full comeback (I am an optimist, it always comes back, except for American Apparel–that was a rookie mistake of mine).

 

A Stop Limit is basically like a safety net, it is a price that you set the stock in question to sell at if it drops below a number you see favorable. For instance if you own a stock that you bought for $23/share back in 2010 and during the high of the market last spring it hit $50/share, but now it is back down to $42/share and you don’t want to risk the chance of loosing everything if it continues to trend down, then setting up a Stop Limit, say at $37/share will allow you to ensure that you will still have realized gains on that stock. Better yet, if it does continue to trend down, you can then use the earnings to purchase more shares at the lower price. CHA CHING!

 

On the flip side, this market is a young investors dream, because as fear from different avenues continues to cause the current volatility there is a lot of opportunity for upside to get a good deal on a great stock. I am a huge fan of Blue Chips with dividends because they continuously compound, and the Tech 2.0 markets could also be a great option. Of course, it is always important to do your homework on a company before purchasing any stock, but it is great to look at a market like this as an opportunity for a huge upside, you better Belieb it

 

$AVVY $AVING!
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Finance

25 Sittin’ on 25 bills?

Hey there, old friend.

I know it’s been a while, and although I wish my excuse was that I was working on being 25 sittin’ on 25 mil…I’m really about to be 25 sittin’ on 25 bills. Thanks Drake, you crushed my dreams. But your Coachella performance makes up for that. Anyway’s back to the main event, SAVING THOSE DOLLA DOLLA BILLS YA’LL.

Time to consolidate. Here’s my tips on how to understand where your money is going and how to save those extra hard earned dollars.

1. Take a peek into your credit card/debit card accounts to see if there are any auto-payments or recurring expenses that can be diminished. For me that includes $49.99 monthly for massage envy (I truly thought I would be getting more facials when I got the membership…whoops), weekly Uber rides, a strange addiction to iced coffee, and an overpriced yoga membership at $125 a month.  In total, my unnecessary expenses were adding up to about $300 per month that I could be instead investing into a high-yielding stock.

2. Find a way to manage your daily/weekly spending. Give yourself an allowance for all of your expenses and make sure to stay within your limits. A good way to figure out what your weekly spend should be is to calculate your monthly income, then subtract the amount that you want to save as well as fixed expenses, and divide what’s left by 4.5 to get  your weekly allowance. A great app to keep track of how much you  have in your allowance is Left to Spend, which keeps track of your daily spending habits and gives you an allowance to stay within. Gamifying your finances and turning it into a fun way to save more money. The only setback, the app costs $4.95, they had to get ya somewhere. Right?

These two simple steps will help to identify where the savings gaps are, and how to get back on track to maintain your dedicated budget. Now, while I’m thinking that on the backside of 24 I might be a little shy of 25 mil in the next 6 months, at least I have some tricks to pump up my savings and investments. I may also become a multi-platinum rapper on the side. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

$avvy Shopping!

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Finance

Getting Started With Savings

First off, I want to give a big thanks to all of my readers, I write this just for fun but I am so happy to hear that my words are useful in terms of helping others with their financial futures.

With that said, after yesterdays post, I got quite the out-pour of text messages asking for help getting started saving money. It is very important, especially at a young age to start saving; whether it be for a rainy day, for a home, or for retirement even, because the money you save now will compound over the years.

The best measure when getting started saving money is to start by putting away 3-9 months of expenses into a savings account, then building off of that with other accounts (i.e. stock, 401k, IRA, mutual funds, property investments) to compound your money after you have an initial emergency fund.

The million dollar question though…how to get started? As Drake would say, “Started from the bottom ($0 in savings), now we here (6 months of expenses in savings)”

 

Step 1: Take a look at how much income you have coming in vs. going out. This is your cash flow. For example, lets say you make $40k annual salary, this means your take home pay after taxes is roughly $33k. Divide that income by 52 and you have your weekly average is about $630 cash on hand or about $2,750 per month.

Now, lets say your rent is $1,000 per month and utilities are another $100. That leaves you with $1,650 left over for other necessities like gas and groceries. Both are dependent on how much you eat and how far you have to drive to work, I will use my own averages to give a good feel as to how much these may cost. I spend about $50 per week on groceries and $50 per week on gas, which ends up running about $450 total for the month. What is left is now $1,250 for the month or roughly $290 per week on non-essentials.

So, I have $290 per week that I could possibly put into savings. Now of course there are other expenses that come up, like going to restaurants, buying clothing, personal care etc., but if you put some of the $290 per week into savings first that money won’t be tempting to spend elsewhere.

Step 2: Figuring out how much exactly to save. When you are first getting started, it is important to try and save your 6 month emergency fund at a higher rate say 20% of your take home pay rather than 10% once you have that fund saved up. If you make $40k per year, and you save $125 per week of your take home pay, that is 20% and you will have saved $6,500 over the course of a year. Of that $290 you have in cash after necessary expenses, you still have $165 to spend on fun items.

If you want to be a little more aggressive with your savings, so that you have your emergency fund even sooner, I recommend trying to save 30% of your take home pay in the beginning, that would be about $190 per week, giving you $100 per week of fun-money. If you saved $190 per week, by the end of the year you will have saved $9,880.

 

There are some great resources out there to get started with creating a budget, so that you can reach your savings goals. Last year, I made a very detailed spreadsheet and tracked everything that I spent and everything that I made. I included my income, as well as passive income such as money back on credit cards (roughly $500 in cash back) and dividends in my savings account ($100).  I am a big nerd with numbers, especially the type with $ in front of them, so I enjoyed tediously tracking every dollar in and out of my accounts. Now, I know this is probably not the ideal for most, so I would suggest signing up for a free service like Mint.com, or tracking your spending by category through your credit card company. Once you are able to identify exactly where your money is going, you can develop a budget to fit your life style, and once you set a budget your savings goals will be reached with much more ease.

Saving can be tough, but once you get started and have a goal in mind, working toward that and then achieving it is so rewarding. And don’t forget about interest! Because, once you start saving money, your money starts to work for you!

 

$avvy Shopping!

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Finance, Uncategorized

Sub Savings

I finally have hit my target goal in my savings account that holds 6 months of living expenses and decided to open a Sub-Savings account for funds beyond that. 

Opening a Sub-Savings account is a great way to apply disposable income for a large purchase, as in a Travel fund (which is what I am saving for). Creating one of these accounts can also be used for things like buying a car, house or big ticket item. 

A great way to get started with a Sub-Savings account is to decide what large purchase you are saving up for and when the deadline is to purchase. This creates a savings goal and by committing to save a certain amount weekly or monthly you will hit your goal by the deadline.

I have decided to create a Travel Fund, I am not sure where I plan to go quite yet, but my friends and I know we want to take a trip that will cost around $2,000. My deadline is September 1st to have the money allocated for the trip, so I am saving $100 per week. 

By switching a relatively small amount into my Sub-Savings account each week I do not feel as though I am losing such a large lump-sum at one time. The great benefit of a Sub-Savings is that its monthly dividends are equal in percentage to a savings account, whereas in a checking account those dividends are usually much less.

I am in my second week of saving for my trip, and am on target for my savings goal…now the only issue, where in the world do I go?

 

$avvy Shopping!

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Fashion

Stone Cold Sale

One of my favorite brands is Stone Cold Fox, a brand that takes a fresh approach on vintage looks that amazingly flatter a womans body. Every piece that they make is uniquely made locally in the USA out of the best quality fabrics and patterns.

Unfortunately for me, looking like such a Fox comes at a high price. One that my little paycheck cannot afford.

A girl can dream though, right?

Recently, Stone Cold Fox began selling their merchandise directly through their online store, whereas before their site just provided links to other retailers websites. There is also a an icon that reads SALE.

HALLELUJAH! 

So of course I had to take full advantage of a few of the styles that I had been eyeing for the past few months. I bought the red Helmut Gown from the site, as well as the Mija Gown from Planet Blue which was half off the original price, plus an additional 10% since it was my first online order, Planet Blue also offers free shipping which was great.

the Helmut Gown on sale for $90, originally $264

the Helmut Gown on sale for $90, originally $264

Both of these dresses are wearable for almost any occasion, as I have already worn my Mija Gown out at night, on a plane ride, during the day, with flip flops, with booties. It is so incredibly versatile.

Mija Gown - On sale at Planet Blue

Mija Gown – On sale at Planet Blue

Overall, I am quite happy with my purchases and saved almost $500 in total!

 

$avvy Shopping!

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