What’s your sign? Does it matter? Maybe the constellations have more insight than you know…

The people who know me, know that I’m a bit…woo-woo. I burn sage in my home and office to clear it of bad energy. I’m a bit superstitious and would never walk under a ladder. Black cats crossing my path freak me out, and you could have a full conversation with me on the importance of people’s “energy” you know-how they make you feel when they are around.

So, when I was asked to explore how well my horoscope “knows” me I felt up for the task. But, I’ll be honest and say that I was a little reticent. Did I want people to know that I buy into this stuff? Would I be acknowledging that I was one of those weirdos who would ask people what their sign was, or at least, was able to figure it out without them telling me?

Well, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and talking about this kind of thing is not in the least bit unusual. I’m owning my woo-wooness. And, will admit that I find myself continuously amazed by how accurate, not so much my daily horoscope can be, but the characteristics that are associated with my sign. What’s that sign?

I’m a Leo, hear me roar.

I’m in pretty good company too. The following amazing, volatile, and high achieving people are also Leos:

  • President Obama – Love him or hate him (I love him) he has always been a great leader and brilliant all-around person.
  • Madonna – Of the infamous “Bitch-I’m Madonna” song, amongst others, that proclaim how amazing she is.
  • JLo – That’s Jennifer Lopez for the rest of us (and we have the same birthday – she’s older….but, in better shape).
  • JLaw – You know, Jennifer Lawrence the perpetually quirky, interesting, awkward girl.

Yep, I’m in pretty good company. I began to look at what are considered to be core Leo traits and see if they actually defined my being.

It was a little creepy.

Are the positive traits really unique?

Leos (like everyone else) have a number of wonderful traits. You could argue that these same traits could apply to anyone and you would be right. But, for the sake of my horoscope, I want to see if my horoscope is right about me?

Leos are said to emulate the lion. And, like lions, they are loyal and love fiercely. I would say that I’m pretty dang loyal…until you turn on me and then we’re going to have some problems. Likewise, in loving fiercely it’s also said that Leos would like the same intensity of being loved in return. While I would agree with this for me, I feel like that’s any person that wants to have healthy, happy relationships in their life.

Leos are also considered to be extremely independent. I’m very independent, but I also happen to be an only child so I feel like that’s also an only child trait as well. I’m not knocking the horoscope, but I think it’s important to bring up the fact that there may be other reasons why I’m so independent.

This one feels a little awkward to bring up but, it is considered one of the key Leo traits-the need to be the center of attention. Ahem. But, given the list I just shared, there may be something to it. I decided to look back at some of the things that I’ve participated in:

Blogging-umm, basically talking about my money situation. It’s not all moonlight and roses…but, it’s all about me LOL! Blogging also relies on social media, doing live videos etc. Awkward.

Cheerleading-So…all eyes would be on the squad when not watching whatever game we were cheering.

Various leadership positions-ok, maybe this one is on the money? Or, maybe I’m just a focused-driven person who enjoys opportunities to shine?

Leo weaknesses.

Now, it’s time to check out some of the perceived Leo weaknesses. Leos are said to be somewhat rigid, occasionally lazy, and maybe a wee bit arrogant. Ahem. I resemble these traits and it’s not a comfortable thing to admit.

It could be argued that my horoscope knows me well, or that I’m just a flawed human being that needs to work on myself-just like everyone else.

Horoscopes are fun to read and think about, just don’t get weird and let them dictate the actions that you take in your life. Read your horoscope at the end of the month to see how accurate it was. This keeps things light, fun, and out of the crazy zone.

Do you read your horoscope faithfully? Do you find it helpful, or think it can apply to anyone? Let us know your thoughts in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Leave the cat memes and gifs on facebook. If you’re serious about networking and growing your career, you have to get your LinkedIn game up.

The vast number of social networking opportunities can sometimes leave the people overwhelmed and confused about which social media networks to focus on and the best practices for each platform. What works on one platform probably won’t work on another.

If you’re a social media holdout, I get your confusion. It seems like almost everyone is on Facebook, but it’s a dizzying space with a mix of political rants, favorite recipes, pictures of babies, and vacations. If you’re looking to connect with people professionally, Facebook presents some very specific challenges that most professionals would be wise to avoid.

Twitter is the land of sharing the occasional crazy thoughts and funny memes. Again, professionals could set themselves up there, but the temptation to stray from professional decorum is too great, so again, professionals should continue to seek another platform to set up their professional profile.

What sets LinkedIn Apart.

Fortunately, LinkedIn provides a great space to set up business profiles that will hopefully resist the urge to descend into craziness and connect users with great professional opportunities.

First, users of LinkedIn need to be clear about what the purpose and goal of LinkedIn is: it’s a social networking platform that professionals use to connect with other professionals and companies. You typically will not see cat memes, baby pictures, or the other random-ass stuff that you see on other platforms.

These people mean business. I will be the first to admit that I find LinkedIn to be…aesthetically underwhelming. It is not a space that focuses on being pretty. It unapologetically focuses on the process of connecting professionals one connection at a time.

Building your profile.

That approach especially applies to the picture that you share on your profile. Again, it should be a professional picture. Your hair should be neat, your clothing unobtrusive (and, maybe a bit boring). Basically, think of it this way-you’re presenting yourself as a professional. You want a picture that screams “hire me” or “work with me.” Not, “I’m crazy” or “last one to play beer pong.”

Next, begin filling out your profile details-being mindful that these will be viewed from a business professional lense. People will look at your details with the thought of: would I want to work or collaborate with this person? As you fill out your profile be careful to avoid trite catchphrases, but figure out the best way to communicate:

  • Leadership roles that you’ve been in. Are you the president of your local professional association? Do you run workshops that help other business professionals? If you do you would be considered an influencer?
  • How you helped organizations that you’ve worked with. Did you help them make more money? Attract media mentions? Grow their clientele?
  • Or, are you an entrepreneur and have helped people grow their income? Find confidence to grow their own business, etc.

As you share your details, be a bit unemotional about it, but, do share the details.

Don’t get sucked into the great 3rd person vs. 1st person profile language debate. Every since LinkedIn was founded people have argued (sometimes in circles) about the choice of pronoun that you should use when working on your profile. My advice is to use the language that you feel will best highlight you and stick with it.

Master social etiquette.

Time to get social. LinkedIn has a feature where you endorse other people’s skills. Feel free to endorse your connections’ skills. Comment on people’s posts and projects that they’ve shared on their timelines. Be genuine in your interactions. You will find that your contacts will also share the love!

Don’t forget to share projects that you’re working on, resources that may be useful to your contacts, and connect people that you feel may be able to help each other in their business.

LinkedIn also has a pretty fantastic blog offering tips and ideas for users of the platform. It’s definitely worth a look. In fact, LinkedIn’s online resources are much easier to use than Facebook’s (which tends to be way too techy).

Finally, like all social media platforms, remember that LinkedIn functions like a search engine. What that means is that certain keywords and phrases will make your profile easily found by other professionals and businesses looking to potentially partner or hire people.

Spend some time typing in phrases that you would use to search for people or resources. Look at how those profiles are set up.

LinkedIn may be the “unsexy” social media platform, but it absolutely gets the job done.

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Rent due but bank account empty? Before you start packing your bags, let’s look at your options.

Sometimes there are moments when money is a little tighter than usual. A check is coming in late, your hours were cut unexpectedly, or an unplanned expense pops up. Typically, when those moments happen it’s at the most inconvenient time possible. And, it’s especially stressful when these situations crop up around the first of the month when rent is due.

If you’re finding that there is more month than money and that it’s painfully, glaringly obvious that you’re going to be late for rent, there are a number of actions that you can do to take control of the situation before the situation takes control of you.

Don’t panic.

First, and most importantly, don’t panic. I’ve made my worst financial decisions every single time that I’ve allowed panic to dictate my actions. One of the constants about money is that it ebbs and flows. If you’re in a low-income flow situation and you begin to panic, you will begin to make choices that will be more expensive over time. Some of those decisions include:

  • Borrowing money – If you’re already broke, borrowing money is just not going to work out for you in the long-run. Umm….because you’re already broke. You will then be on the hook for any overdue rent money and the money that you borrowed.
  • Payday loans – I’ve had these and it feels like they should be helpful. Basically, you borrow on upcoming income. But, you are also charged a ridiculous amount of interest that you already can’t afford because you’re broke. Just avoid these like the plague.
  • Shutting down mentally – This one is hard. I actually struggle with this a lot. Sometimes I will just shut down and kind of avoid what’s going on. Not good. Again, this will make a bad situation even worse. You have to be mentally present in order to deal with the financial issue at hand – you’re going to be late for rent.

Take control.

Fortunately, there are a number of actions you can take to take control of the situation and hopefully never be late again.

If you’re going to be late on your rent because you need an extra $100 dollars, spend some time thinking about where you can get that extra money and begin hustling. If you’re late because you just don’t have the entire amount…again, start hustling. The sooner you begin working to bring more cash in the sooner you can resolve the issue.

If you are one month out and you can already tell that you don’t have money for rent-you’re in luck. Thirty days out is plenty of time to focus on growing your income. Not sure what you could do to bring in more cash? Here are some ideas:

  • Animal sitting – I’m not a huge animal person, but if it came down to it, I could doggy sit for a couple of days. I can love on the dog and then return it to its owner and get paid to take care of it. It’s a win-win because I would get puppy time without dealing with all of the long-term stuff and get paid. If you live in an animal crazy city like Denver, you could get started pretty quickly on earning some extra cash in about a week.
  • Sell your stuff – Americans are notorious packrats. We have a ridiculous amount of stuff in our homes. Sell it via:
    1. Craigslist – But, do it at a safe location. There are many cities where you can do the pick ups and drop offs of items at designated safe areas (typically police stations)
    2. Have a yard sale – if it’s still warm enough to rock a yard sale, DO IT! I’m continuously amazed by all of the stuff people will buy.
    3. Sell your clothes – For this to work, you need to have really nice clothes with good resale value.
    4. Sell your bigger items – If your situation is especially dire, sell: your car, your high-end electronics, etc. If you sell your car, you will also free up additional cash because you won’t have to pay for insurance, car maintenance, or gas.
  • Sell your expertise – Necessity is the mother of invention. Sell your expertise. If you are looking to grow your income, think about what you are considered an expert at and set up a day to teach people how to do what you do.

Talk it out.

Review your rental agreement. Again, if you’re going to be late because you’re a little short of cash, also look at what you will be charged in regards to late fees. Late fees vary but could make a bad situation much worse really quickly.

Communicate. There is nothing worse than catching your landlord off-guard. If you’re hustling, and the money is just going to come in after your rent is due (and you know it) talk to your landlord and continue to hustle your ass off.

There is nothing worse than being late for rent, but, there are a number of ways to manage the situation proactively. Good luck!

Have you been late on your rent, or close to it? How did you handle it? Let us know over in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Don’t let the holiday music and parties get you off your game. Here’s how to enjoy the season while keeping things together!

I live in Colorado and as I’m writing this we are gearing up for our first snow day…even though the weather has been near 80 degrees for the past couple of days. Weather whiplash is a very real thing and so is decreased productivity during the holiday season and colder months.

This year has been epically crazy, so a lot of people will probably be caught off guard by the fact that the holiday season is just around the corner. OMG. You’re probably having a minor panic attack as you read that sentence and I’m right there with you. I’m freaking out because the holidays have historically killed my productivity if I don’t have a well-thought-out plan.

Let’s plan together and stay on top of things.

Work your schedule.

First, spend some time reviewing your schedule from October through January. Why those four months in particular? They are the four months where people begin to shop more, celebrate the holidays, and have a substantial uptick in personal plans.

Those plans may include: trips to visit relatives or friends, holiday parties, going to the theater, or hosting an event at your home.

Grab your planner and write down as many of those events as possible so that you have a clear idea of what’s coming up. Then, remove any event or activity that isn’t 100% necessary from your schedule. By taking the action of removing unnecessary events from your schedule you’re creating a buffer in your schedule and freeing yourself from obligations that will ultimately distract you from taking care of the things that are important.

Fall in love with the word NO!

The holiday season tugs on many people’s emotions. As a result, people may find themselves saying “yes” to activities that are a distraction. People may also need to say “no” when asked to participate in activities with emotional vampires.

You’re probably wondering how an emotional vampire affects your productivity? Well, they suck your energy dry. If drama ensues (and it typically does) with an emotional vampire, you’re getting sucked into calls recapping and discussing whatever imagined drama that the emotional vampire is upset about.

Saying “no” will be one of your most powerful productivity tools this holiday season. You’ll thank me later! On the flipside of this, say “yes” to activities with people that will lift you up and fill you with joy.

Shop from home.

In the age of Amazon Prime, Hello Fresh, Thrive Market, and Safeway grocery delivery, why on earth do you still insist on going to the grocery store several times a week? On Saturday or Sunday take some time to review your upcoming week. Create a meal plan and order your groceries or a meal kit service.

If you’re needing new clothes, order them instead of going to the store, and if you’re feeling especially focused on embracing systems to make your life easier, you may consider scheduling someone to help with cleaning during weeks when you have a ton of guests or just an especially hectic schedule. Don’t clean before the cleaners arrive – that’s a waste of your time!

Spend time getting ahead wherever you can. Here are some personal and professional examples:

  • If you celebrate Thanksgiving and plan on having guests that weekend, begin planning NOW. Start picking up non-perishable items such as: condensed milk, extra aluminum foil, the baking pan for the turkey, or canned cranberry jelly. Or, you could order a pre-made meal and save your time for spending time with friends and family.
  • Work backward on your projects. What do I mean by this? Look at the projects you’re currently working on and spend time getting ahead of those projects by looking at the end result you’re working towards. Figure out the deadline for those tasks and then work backward from that deadline. You’ll most like complete those projects faster and you’ll also create a time buffer because you’ll be ahead of your schedule.
  • Digital content creator? Blogger or Podcaster? Spend some time scheduling your content ahead (building a content buffer) similar to what was mentioned during the previous point.

Part of managing and maintaining your productivity is acknowledging that you can’t do everything and that the holiday season is a constant process of balancing:

  • Your expectations
  • Other people’s expectations
  • Social Commitments
  • Work

Maintaining your productivity during the holidays ultimately requires you to give yourself some grace, focus on one day at a time, and have realistic expectations of what you can do for you and what you can do for others.

Do you have any good tips to share? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Job interviews can be really tough. Interviewers are looking for someone outstanding and asking the right questions can make you stand out.

Have you ever sat down and created a list of all the jobs you’ve worked during your life? The number may astonish you. My number astonishes me when I look at my list!

But what also astonishes me is that the approach to finding a new job and getting hired has its own set of unspoken and somewhat complex steps that one must follow in order to be successful.

For the purposes of not driving readers and job-seekers crazy who are reading this post, we’re going to focus on only one of the parts of your interview: asking pointed and targeted questions during your interview that communicate three things to your potential boss:

  • You’re actually interested in the job and you’ve done your research on the role that you’re being interviewed for. This is important to show your potential employer because there are many job seekers who forget to research the roles that they are applying for.
  • You’re motivated on a professional and personal level. No one wants to hire a person who lacks motivation. They are annoying to work with.
  • You’re actively engaged in your interview. Basically, you’re not going to sit in the interview and say nothing to the interviewers.

There is an art to asking the RIGHT interview questions and not alienating or freaking out a potential new employer. Before you begin asking questions, remember that each job has its own specific set of questions that you should ask.

Questions for a leadership role.

If you’re applying for a leadership role, then the questions you ask should also include things such as:

What leadership style are you looking for?

How many people would the person in this role be supervising?

But, to keep things simple, in this post we’re going to assume that everyone is applying for mid-level administrative/management roles without supervisory duties.

First, be aware that there are some questions that you do need to be cautious about asking when speaking with your potential new employer during an interview.

If you’re aware that you’re interviewing for a role that you consider to be a short-term opportunity, and only have plans on working just for 2 or 3 years in that role, don’t let it slip that you’re not going to be there for the long-run. Most employers expect potential employees to leave within two to three years, but they like to pretend otherwise.

Questions for entry-level positions.

If you’re applying for an entry-level job here is a list of questions that may be appropriate to ask your interviewers. You do have to feel out the energy of the interview before asking them. Each interview has its own dynamic so you will have to play this by ear.

Examples of questions to ask include the following:

How do you see the person in this role supporting the overall mission of the department that they are in and the mission of the organization?

This question is important to ask because it helps you know where you stand in the organization AND it helps you know how the tasks you may work on are viewed by your potential colleagues.

What opportunities are there for advancement for the person in this role?

There is nothing worse than being hired for a job and there is nowhere to go in the position. If that’s the case you as the interviewee may make the decision that this is not the role for you OR that it’s a short-term opportunity until you find an opportunity in another organization.

How do you evaluate people in this role?

Job evaluations are a huge part of how you get raises, promoted, and get the feedback needed to better your job performance.

If the organization gives feedback in a way that you’re philosophically opposed to, such as having your colleagues’ give input on your performance evaluation or a scoring system, you need to know so that you can strategically work in such a way to earn positive reviews because you understand how you will be evaluated.

By the way, I absolutely hate having colleagues comment on your job performance because more often than not, you may have a colleague who can’t stand you. And, if a colleague can’t stand you it makes sense that they may be less inclined to give you a fair job assessment.

Do you know your non-negotiables?

What benefits do you offer?

Is flex-time important to you?

Life insurance, health insurance, etc?

What’s your maternity/paternity leave like?

Be careful with this question because potential employers may worry that you’re about to have a baby. Is it the type of organization where there may be the potential work from home? If the interviewer hasn’t answered these questions, it’s reasonable to ask them.

What is the company culture like?

Do you have to wear suits/dresses?

Have casual Fridays?

Are there events after normal business hours and do you have to show up?

But, before you begin asking these questions make sure to do your due diligence and research the organization as much as you possibly can. Then, be honest about what you’re looking for in any future role you may be interviewing for. What is a non-negotiable for you? What are you willing to compromise on?

Knowing your non-negotiables will create a framework for which questions you should be asking during your next interview.

Have you used any of these questions in a job interview? Do you have any other good ones to add? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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While fun, dating isn’t just about playing around. Life’s too short to entertain situations that aren’t right for you. Say what you mean so you can find who you’re looking for.

I’m currently dating (again) after a much-needed break from the single’s scene. This time around has been a lot more fun because I’ve removed a lot of the pressure that I was putting on myself to “meet the one.” That pressure caused me to say “yes” to a lot of dates that should have been immediate “no’s.”

As I navigate the murky dating waters of 2017 I find myself becoming more and more confident about when I need to say “no” to a date and pass on what, at the time, feels like an opportunity that can’t be missed.

In fact, after I finish this post I need to text a guy that I originally connected with on Bumble. He seems pretty nice and if pictures are to be trusted…he’s handsome. But, we originally connected at the beginning (or was it the end?) of July. It’s now August 31st and we still haven’t gone out.

The reason was pretty reasonable. At the time we both went on vacations and were out of town for a couple of weeks. In fact, when he contacted me last week, I had basically forgotten about him because it had been so long since I had heard from him. When he reached out I was actually confused and surprised. But, I decided to say yes to meeting up the following week. But, to be honest, I wasn’t excited.

Are you on the same schedule?

That “yes” left me with that feeling when you want to say no to a date and don’t trust your gut. Originally I was concerned about the amount of travel that this particular gentleman enjoys. I love to travel too, but, what’s the point of starting something with someone who has basically indicated that he won’t be around that often? In fact, he’s heading to Latin America in a few weeks and who knows when he plans on returning.

I’m not looking for a booty call, those are easy, I’m looking for someone to get serious with. In fact, my initial thought was to pass on this guy because he’s just not around enough for what I’m looking for.

My initial “yes” made me feel a little desperate as if there weren’t enough matches out there for me. So I said “yes” to a guy who just isn’t that into being in town.

The thing is, saying “no” to a date doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have another date again. It just means that you’re sending out consistent signals to the Universe about what you will and won’t accept for yourself.

Do you need a break (up)?

Now, if you have been dating your person for awhile and you say no to a date, that action is filed under healthy communication and potentially setting boundaries, depending on why you said “no.” Sometimes you just need to take a break from people-even from your lovers.

When you are honest and kind about why you need space, that is part of establishing honesty and respect within your relationship. Because, in all seriousness, who wants to hang out with someone who needs space or just is not in the mood? I don’t.

Are your beliefs aligned?

Here are some other moments when you should feel confident about saying “no” to a potential date. If you had a first date and you discover your would-be new person has habits or belief systems that are out of sync with yours. Remember the post that I wrote about being ghosted?

Well, when we initially met, that guy shared some political views that are a complete 180 degrees from what I believe in. In fact, we had a really good conversation about all of the things that you never talk about on a real first date. And, during the course of that conversation, I kept thinking…seriously? You believe this sh$t? So, why on earth did I say “yes” to that date with him? Desperation.

I’m trying to meet the one…but, the one will have to be a heck of a lot more aligned with my belief systems than that guy was. If we had gotten serious we would have had problems every time the t.v. was turned on! And, no amount of makeup sex would have fixed those problems.

To be clear, here is a list of reasons why you should say “no”.

  • There is way too much time between the time you initially connect and your actual date. The only exception to this if you bump into each in person and sparks fly like in the movies.
  • Your initial gut feeling tells you that it would be a good idea to pass on this person. Not because they are good or bad, but, because they aren’t the right person for you.
  • You don’t have to agree on everything, but, if your personal belief systems are so out of whack that you will potentially argue every time the TV turns on, you probably should pass on that date.
  • If there are feelings of desperation connecting to your “yes” that should be a solid “no.” You will act crazy and clingy in this situation. Don’t be that person.

Dating can be stressful, exhilarating, and fun. Avoid unnecessary drama (and the appearance of leading people on) when you say yes to a date that should be a solid NO!

Have you ever said “yes” when you knew you should have turned a date down? Any interesting stories about that date that shouldn’t have happened? Tell us over at #Adulting Facebook community.

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Your retirement plans may be a bit different than your parents’ and you’ll probably need more money than they’ve saved up. It won’t be easy but here’s how to get there.

For many of us, retirement seems a million miles away. And, with more and more companies handing retirement responsibilities into the hands of their employees, many of us are wondering: how on earth do I retire with more than my parents?

Fortunately, it is possible to retire with more money than your parents-if you have a financial plan that you work ruthlessly.

Let’s be clear, your parents may have a completely different vision about retirement than you do. When conceptualizing your own retirement, you need to be clear on what retirement will look like for you and an understanding of what your monthly expenses will entail during the duration of your retirement.

Are you just dreaming about golfing or fishing in your old age?

Retirement in 2017 has become somewhat sexy and there are a ton of different ways to create the perfect retirement that reflects both lifestyle and your future finances.

You may want to embrace FIRE (financial independence retire early) and retire in your thirties. Your retirement may be on a boat sailing around the Caribbean. Or, you may want to live in a large house in your hometown.

Own your vision for retirement and then begin working a plan to move you towards that vision.

Look for ways to save more.

For those of you who are younger and are currently  in the process of deciding where to go to college, double down on going local. Local tuition is always cheaper than out of state. In fact, if you’re still in high school, earn college credits

In fact, if you’re still in high school, earn college credits at  a discounted rate before going to college so that you can decrease your time in school. With the money that you save on tuition, begin saving for the future.

Negotiate every financial expenditure with the idea of investing your savings for the future. Keep your housing costs as low as possible and work hard on keeping your overall monthly and yearly operating budget as low as possible.

Currently, I have a budget of $2500 for both my personal and business expenses and I’m aggressively working hard to lower that number. It took awhile to lower my expenses, but once I did, I’ve been able to reallocate my money towards financial choices that will serve me well in the future.

I also embrace the “keep it small” philosophy.  You’ve probably heard the buzzword “minimalism” and, in my view, keeping it small and simple is basically the same thing without the snazzy  black t-shirts that minimalists always seem to wear.

I’ll be honest and say that I have no interest in super sizing my home and having a larger mortgage. Keep your housing and car expenses low so that you can invest your savings for your future.

Finally, don’t drive away your savings by purchasing too much car for your needs. In 2016, CNBC reported that the average monthly car loan payment was $503. Imagine if you paid cash for a used car and used the money that you saved on transportation costs towards retirement savings?

You also need to earn more.

Look at every opportunity to earn more money and to save money on every financial transaction you find yourself in.

Earn more money.  Let’s be frank, financial conversations seem to always cover: paying off debt, spending less, and changing your habits, but never seem to cover earning more money.

As you look at your career and your earning capability, focus on careers that start with higher earning potential.

Don’t mind dealing with blood and can get scholarships? Think about becoming a nurse or doctor.   Do you love teeth? But, you don’t want to take on student loans to become a dentist? Become a dental hygienist instead. Do you love science and computers? Become an engineer of a highly specialized field or a computer coding badass.

Embrace a financial strategy that includes finding employment with an organization that matches your retirement savings. Increase your savings as you earn more (while being mindful of savings limits). Don’t let your lifestyle costs creep up, just bank your earnings so that you save more over time.

If you want to retire with more money than your parents, keep your eye constantly on your ultimate retirement savings goal and work your plan unapologetically.

Start a business. One of the best things about becoming an entrepreneur is access to retirement savings tools that enable consumers to save substantially more than for someone who is employed.

It’s not too late.

And, for those of you who started late, all of this advice still is applicable to you. But, in all honesty,  you’ll have to double your efforts and approach your long-term retirement goals with a single-minded focus and tenacity that someone who started early won’t have to deal with.

Have you begun mapping out your retirement plan? Are there any helpful methods you could share? Please join us in #Adulting Facebook community

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Jobs can suck hard. Don’t be the person that makes it worse. Get your co-workers on your side.

It has been awhile since I’ve worked in an office, but I still remember the people that I truly loved working with. And fortunately for me, I’m still friends with a large number of those amazing people.

It’s not easy becoming the co-worker that everyone loves. There are so many landmines to avoid when you’re in the workplace, and being “the co-worker that people love to hate” is not the title that you want to wear at work.  Let’s talk about all of the ways you can get your co-workers to love you without becoming the office brown-noser.

Always remember to respect other people’s time.

You don’t have to watch the clock obsessively, but be aware that people notice when you’re constantly late for work, meetings, or keep them waiting in general. After a while it stops being funny and just makes you look like a douche and unprofessional. And, seriously, those are two labels you want to avoid at work.

It doesn’t matter if you run constantly late for everything and everyone else in your life (even though it’s still annoying). Be self-aware enough to know that disrespecting other people’s time will ultimately make them dislike working with you.

Create a plan so that you’re on time and stick to it.

Can you hear me now?

Practice active listening whenever you’re in a conversation or meeting with your colleagues. I remember being constantly frustrated because I felt like people weren’t listening to me.

We would have discussions in one of the endless meetings that could have been an email. I would pipe up to make a point and then people would talk over me or ignore what I said – all the time. They clearly weren’t listening to me. It was so annoying and I felt disrespected.

Be the person who truly listens to others. We notice when you do. Offer thoughtful and kind responses to whatever proposals or questions that your colleague brings up. If you’re in disagreement with their comments, be kind when offering point of view.

It sometimes feels like people have forgotten the art of being tactful. At work, it still reigns supreme.

Don’t eat other people’s food.

They always find out who does it.

I’ll never forget the drama that ensued one year because one of our colleagues kept eating everyone’s lunches. I worked in education so it was normal for  everyone to bring  their lunch. We also had a ton of community food for everyone to take if they were hungry. So it baffled me when this person would eat the food that other people brought…but, they did. On and off for a year.

The worst part…it was just too awkward to call this person out. Instead, everyone gossiped about the fact that they were eating everyone else’s food. That person even helped themselves to  my Perrier and that was the end for me. Fortunately, this person left and things got back to to normal.

If you have nothing nice to say…

Gossiping will also get you shanked professionally. The thing about gossip is that even if you’re telling the truth about a person or calling out a situation, if you’re constantly gossiping, people will wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

I have a very firm policy of whatever I say – I will say to your face. It makes life easier. But, at work you really should avoid gossip in general. If you find yourself in a group of people and they start gossiping just float away and say you have something else to do. If you still find yourself sucked in, just joke and say that you’ve got nothing to say and move on.

Know which topics are off limits.

For the love of all that’s holy-be self-aware enough to avoid talking about how young or old you or your colleagues might be. For some people it could come across as talking down to others (if you’re older) or, it could be perceived as disparaging other people’s age if they are older than you.

I’ve literally cringed when people begin talking about age at work. Just do your job and move on.

It feels like it’s obvious but for the sake of just stating the obvious-avoid talking about religion, race, or politics as much as you possibly can. Discussing any of those topics almost never ends well.

At my old job we actually were able to talk about these issues because we were all almost of the same mindset regarding all of those issues. But the typical workplace won’t have that high a level of value alignment. Leave the talk at home for people who have no choice but to listen to you.

By no means am I saying that you have to stop being yourself, never say what you mean, or pretend like you don’t have an opinion. But, what I am saying is that the self-aware worker is the one who is well-liked, listened to, and promoted in the office space.

Be that guy or gal. It’s not that hard.

Do you have any other tips for being a good co-worker? Or any stories about bad ones? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Intrigue leads to date number one. It should take more than that to get a second chance. Are there signs it’ll be a waste of time?

It was the end of a great date and I needed to pop into the restroom before we went on the Cruiser Ride. I had some reservations about him, but he was so cute! He was into me, leaning in, and talking about later (ahem).

But, when I returned, he wasn’t there. I had been ghosted, but at least he had paid the bill. Now, this was the first time that happened to me. You’d think I’d be upset about it. But I wasn’t.

He didn’t leave me with the bill. Besides, I should have listened to my reservations in the first place.

Let’s be honest. Should there even be a first date?

The first time we met was at a brewery.

I was with a group of friends and he was by himself, having a drink (or two, or three). This guy, like many people in Denver, was a new arrival. Somehow we ended up having a pretty lengthy conversation about the things that you’re not supposed to talk about when you first meet: politics and money.

I was surprised when he asked me out before I left, but I agreed to connect later. I didn’t think about it deeply because clearly we were too different. The initial conversation we had revealed the following:

  • He was way more conservative than I
  • He felt conflicted about life
  • He was prone to drinking way too much while out on his own

In fact, I was amazed by some of the things he said and believed because they were the polar opposite of my own personal belief system.

In reality, I probably shouldn’t have gone on a first date with him. But I loved that he worked in the financial industry. I’m a money blogger, so I find finances fascinating. He loved to travel and so do I. He loved his family and I do too.

And, hell, he was really cute. Seriously. Really cute. I was so enamored with the fact that I met someone in real life versus online that I ignored the red flags.

He made the decision for me about the second date.

Are you sticking to your standards?

When deciding on a second date, there are a couple of things you have to get real about. Those were the things I initially ignored in my first (and only two) meetings with Hot Finance Guy.

He drank. Like, a lot. I come from a family with relatives who died from the affects of alcoholism. I am not a big drinker. The amount that he was drinking made me uncomfortable. (And I’ve lived in Paris where they drink a lot more than in the U.S.!) This was actually one of my non-negotiables. I don’t want to be with some guy who drinks like a fish. In fact, I’m amazed that he looked as good as he did, drinking as much as he seemed to.

Ask yourself the following question before agreeing to a second date: would this behavior bother me if we got serious? For me? Hell, yes! This was already an issue. And it was never not going to be an issue for me.

The second way to assess if a second date is worth it is to ask yourself if the most important parts of your values and perceptions about people are in alignment. When we first met, he shared views with me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. He wasn’t going to change and neither was I. No amount of good nookie would change how we view the world.

He had, to me, a lack of compassion towards others that I shouldn’t have ignored in the first place. Maybe I just appreciated the fact that he was upfront and honest about how he views the world. But we didn’t agree in our worldviews. Even if we had continued dating, this would have become a HUGE issue moving forward. I was already concerned about it.

He seemed conflicted about his life in general. Who needs a conflicted grown-ass man?

Finally, he didn’t seem as interested in asking about what who I was and what I was into. I actually thought this a little bit in that first date.

As I asked questions about his likes and interests, his questioning of me didn’t seem to match. Especially after I mentioned my training to do the Colorado Trail (too much walking I think?).

If you’re debating whether or not you should go on that second date, pay attention to the other person’s interest in you. Yes, he was physically interested (I could tell) but not beyond that, and that’s ok.

Pay attention to the clues.

Being ghosted was lame, but we weren’t going to be a love connection in the long-run because we were too different. I knew that I probably shouldn’t have bothered with that second date.

I’m not saying that the people you date should be exactly like you. But if the red flags are popping up everywhere, and you’re concerned about non-negotiable habits, then it’s obvious that it’s a one-and-done situation.

At least he paid for dinner before he left.

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You could spend your whole life chasing the dream of more money. But to what end? Figure out how much is enough – and be happier for it.

Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to acquire too much money? I haven’t had that problem, but do plan on discovering what this problem feels like in the future.

But, in all seriousness, how on earth do you decide how much money is enough for you? I have some ideas and thought I would share so that you can have an easier time figuring this out when you have this issue.

Consider your current life circumstances.

I thought I would approach this problem with some Michelle logic. First, it feels obvious the amount of money that you need will change given your current life circumstances. If you’re single and debt-free, the amount of money that you may need and want may be significantly different from a person who is in a relationship, has kids, and a few bills.

Likewise, your past and current life experiences may have a direct effect on how you arrive at the actual number that is your financial sweet spot.  For some of you, early childhood experiences of not having enough money may make it difficult for you to  imagine ever having enough. In fact, your childhood financial experiences may resonate through future decisions such as: the type of work you may choose to pursue, the way you would like to live your life, and even who you plan on marrying.

Figure out your financial sweet spot.

Here’s some general guidelines on figuring out how much money is enough for you.

Ask yourself, are you sick of your job and have lost interest in earning money in the way that you currently are? Yes, this seems a bit counterintuitive, but stick with me. Before I began working for myself, I worked at a university making decent money (especially when you factored in the benefits).

But, there came a point when I just wasn’t interested in earning more money. In fact, while I want to experience earning ridiculous amounts of money in the future, at that specific moment in time I just wanted to change my life. So, I focused on figuring out my lowest earning threshold. What was the bare minimum I need to make in order to live without eating ramen noodles?

I started crunching numbers and figured out what I could live on and still manage paying on my obligations. It was glorious….until, it wasn’t.

Don’t be afraid to shift your goals as your needs change.

My needs had changed. I now find myself looking at future financial goals and have realized that I want to make a lot more money than I currently am. And, I definitely don’t have a maximum earnings threshold. In fact, I felt like I wanted to earn as much money as I could possibly earn without burning myself out. I don’t want to place limits on my ability to earn.

I can honestly say that I look forward to pushing myself as much as possible to see how much money I can earn. In fact, for the next 12 months in my mind there is no “enough” it’s how much is possible? I spent time frantically crunching numbers, I looked at my goals and figured out daily earnings goals. Then I focused on how to achieve those goals.

Finally, spend some time focusing on what makes you happy? There are various studies that have linked happiness to money and studies that have found the exact opposite. There’s also a widely reported study that noted that people weren’t significantly happier when they earned beyond $75,000 a year.

Recently, I’ve gotten very clued into what makes me happy. And, knowing this has helped me zero in on how much money is enough. Some examples of what makes me happy include:

I’ve discovered that my needs aren’t that complicated or expensive.

I took a numbers and heart-based approach to deciding how much money is enough for me. Ultimately, I just want enough money that gives me stability and freedom. And, yes, more money is always better than less.

What are some considerations you use in determining how much money you need? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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