More formal education isn’t always better. Before you take on even moar student loan debt for a graduate degree, stop and run the numbers.

The only thing better than bigger is more, right?

Depending on what we’re talking about this is arguably true.

When talking about a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with a dose of Golden Girls, more is better.

When talking about the housing bubble, student loan bubble, and Taco Bell, not so much.

Moar student loans? Maybe not better.

College tuition has been on a steady increase since the 1990s, and college graduates are graduating with more debt than ever. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of students to graduate with debt increased from 1.1 million to 1.3 million.

Too often now, college students graduate with a mountain of debt. They’re forced to move back home with mom and dad and take a job with pay not commensurate with their student loans. Many graduates are underemployed and are seeking a better future.

The daughter of a good friend of mine recently graduated with $100,000 in student loans with a degree in social work from a premier college in a major city. She moved back to her small hometown and took the first job she could get because she was afraid not to have money to pay her student loans. She currently earns $13 per hour. She’s now considering graduate school to increase her opportunities because her big city degree is too expensive for her little city job.

For many, the logical next step is to either kill time or make a better future is to get their graduate degree. This, often, requires taking on more student loans – and the cycle continues.

Is a graduate degree worth it?

As with any investment, one must look at the potential return on that investment. About 70% of undergraduates already have about $30,000 of student loans to repay. The cost for graduate school on the low end for public colleges is another $30,000.

Will $60,000 in student loans do for a student what $30,000 can’t?

One way to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of a graduate degree is to look at the potential increase from a salary with an undergraduate degree to a salary after a graduate degree.

Considering that many employers pay employees just enough to get them to stay and that wages have been stagnant for decades, there’s a good chance a salary increase won’t help you pay off your student loans faster.

The second way to evaluate the ROI of a graduate degree is to compare the maximum salary potential with an undergraduate degree and the maximum salary potential with a graduate degree.

For this method, a 2015 study done by SoFi that compared the ROI of earning different graduate degrees based on wage increases for each of the first 10 years after graduation from graduate school may help.

It’s also important to determine if you have the stamina to complete a graduate program when your primary driver is income. The benefits of credits obtained for graduate degrees are reduced when the graduate program isn’t finished.

How can you keep your cost low if you must go?

If graduate school is in your future, it helps to lower your costs of school. If you’re considering graduate school and already have student loan debt from undergraduate school, you’ve likely exhausted all education savings and gift accounts, such as 529 Plans and Uniform Gift to Minor Accounts. However, it may help to find out if you have relatives or even friends with money in 529 Plans that aren’t completely used.

One benefit of 529 Plans is that they may be transferred to another beneficiary if the original beneficiary doesn’t pursue a higher education or doesn’t use all the money in their 529 Savings Plan.

It’s also helpful to exhaust grants and scholarships offered by the federal government, state governments, and schools.

Research www.grants.gov and apply for grants that are appropriate for you. You’re likely already familiar with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Complete an application at www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply for federal student loan assistance authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to help subsidize your graduate degree.

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 covers Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and the Federal TEACH Grant, along with other grants, loans, and work-study programs. Research www.ed.gov to find additional grants for which you may qualify. Simple ways to search grants and scholarships available through your state are through your state’s Department of Education or state grant agency website or with Scholarships.com.

Get that (scholarship) paper.

A trick to get the most money available through grants and scholarships is to be a bottom feeder.

Most people shoot for the higher, five-figure grants and scholarships. The competition for these higher-dollar grants and scholarships is stiffer. Fewer people apply for lower dollar scholarships and grants, which makes them relatively easier to win.

By creating systems and standard responses that just need to be nuanced from application to application, acquiring the lower dollar grants and scholarships may be your best strategy for keeping your costs low.

Get your employer to invest in you.

Finally, get an employer to pay for all or some of your graduate degree. If you’re currently employed, contact your human resource department to determine how your employer may be able to assist. Reimbursement usually covers up to a certain dollar amount in each year and doesn’t require repayment. It does typically require that the student meet a minimum GPA.

Tuition reimbursements over $5,250 a year may generate a tax payment for the employee. This will likely require that you work full-time and go to school part-time and will take you longer to complete graduate school, but it will mean less student loan debt for you.

If you aren’t currently working for an employer that offers tuition reimbursement, consider finding a job with a company that does. UPS, Home Depot, Starbucks, and Apple have businesses in most parts of the country and all offer excellent incentives, including tuition reimbursement.

It may be that more is better for your situation. If so, be strategic with how you get more because at some point it may get cost-prohibitive. It may be that more school isn’t necessary if you’re creative or strategic with your career planning. Don’t get so wrapped up in the “more mentality” that you don’t see this.

Have you gone back to school? Did it work for you? Or was it an unnecessary expense? Join the conversation in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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You work too much for too little pay. It’s time to ask for a raise. But you have to do it right.

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You work hard. You provide value to the company. But you’re still being paid like a noob. How do you ask for a raise?

Because it’s not going to just show up for most of us. Most of us have to ask for more money. It’s never fun, but it needs to be done.

If you want more from work — whether it’s a raise or a promotion — you need to prove your value and then take your evidence to the boss. In this episode, we’ll talk about how you can do that.

Concepts

  • How to recognize that you actually deserve a raise or promotion.
  • Tips for figuring out how to quantify your contributions.
  • Reasons it’s time to ask for a raise.
  • When to approach your boss about a raise.
  • What you need to know about the process of asking for a raise or promotion.
  • How to make a presentation to your boss.
  • Suggestions for what to include in your presentation.
  • How to focus on your value to the company.
  • Tips for compromising on the amount of the raise.

Our “do nows” this week are all about reflecting on the reality of your situation and paying attention to the value you offer. We also take a look at how you can assess when the best time to ask for a raise is.

A listener also has a question about how much work has been piled on. We talk about what you can do if your boss isn’t willing to acknowledge your work, even though it’s the right thing to do.

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Resources

When to approach your boss to ask for raise
Are you ready for a raise?

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O.K. That seems a little crazy. But does it really matter how messed up it is if you make some extra money?

Whether you want to pay off debt, save for a new car or travel around the world, one of the best ways to fulfill your financial goals is to earn more money.

But if you’ve asked for a raise or tried to look for a new job without success, it might be time to start a side hustle.

A side hustle can help you earn money while allowing you to maintain your regular job. Plus, many of these gigs have flexible hours so you can work around the schedule you have at your real job.

If you need more money, you can ramp up the work. If you want to take a break, you can do that too.

And if you’re ready to make bank, you might be surprised at how many strange niches you can fill. Here are some of the weird side gigs you can do and still make decent money:

Give plasma.

I started selling my plasma in college when I was a senior.

Graduation was near, and I needed money so I could afford to stay in town while doing an unpaid internship.

It was easy work. Lay down, get poked with a needle and sit for an hour while the machines collect your plasma. The room was cold, and even though I never did anything productive while I was in the chair, I made decent money.

Most plasma centers offer between $20 and $50 per donation and some even provide bonuses if you come at least a certain amount per month. They usually require that you weigh at least 110 pounds and have no major health issues.

Sell used underwear.

Ever have a pair of used panties that you throw away because they’re too small or because they have holes in them?

Instead of tossing those undies, try selling them online. There’s a huge market for used underwear.

It’s true.

Costs can range from $30 to $75 depending on the type of underwear, how long you’ve worn it and whether you’re willing to include photos of you wearing it. Some girls buy briefs in bulk so they can maximize their profit.

Everyone has their thing. If you aren’t creeped out at the thought of someone drooling over your undies, this can be a legit way to make money.

Yard sales.

When was the last time you went to a yard sale? If you’ve been to one recently, you were probably looking for something you could buy for yourself. But some people go to yard sales to shop for items they can resell elsewhere.

It might seem like a little bit normal in terms of other weird side gigs you could be doing, but going to yard sales as a business can still raise a few eyebrows.

Your possible profit depends on what you find, the condition it’s in, if you can fix it, and what it’s worth now. Finding a Waterford crystal vase is unlikely, but you can score some kid’s football gear that can be resold.

Rent out a room on Airbnb.

Many people have made renting out their house on Airbnb a successful side hustle. But most do it when they’re on vacation or if they move out.

What about renting out a room while you live there?

It seems a little weird to let strangers hang with you while you’re at home, but it’s a way you can make money all the time — not just when you’re out of town.

Having a boarder was common a few decades ago, when being single meant you couldn’t afford a whole apartment or house. Nowadays, you can rent out a spare room, air mattress, or couch on Airbnb and similar sites.

Depending on your location, city, and amenities, you can make more than $100 a night.

Not bad for one of those weird side gigs that requires you to entertain complete strangers.

Thumbtack.

Everyone has a skill. Some people like dog sitting, others are champion green thumbs. No matter what you specialize in, you can find a gig on Thumbtack.

Thumbtack is a hub for anyone peddling a skill. My husband found his piano teacher on Thumbtack by posting what he was looking for. I found suggestions for house cleaners.

To start working, you have to create a profile and respond to jobs when they’re posted.

It can be hard to get started if you have no reviews, so I recommend charging low prices until you get a few solid testimonials. It sucks, but you can start raising your prices as soon as you are recognized as an expert.

Online surveys.

This option is best if you work at a job with computer access and lots of downtime, or if you want something to do at home besides browse Netflix.

I did this while I was paying off my student loans until I found more profitable freelance work.

I used a Reddit forum to find the best surveys, usually $1 for a few minutes. This sounds paltry, and it was. But there are no requirements for startup money, no huge time sink, and no restrictions.

According to Amazon’s reports, I made $242 in 2012. If you work a job where you have lots of downtime and computer access, it’s not a bad way to earn a few bucks.

Plus, there are ways to make even more if you join a site like Inspired Opinions. Sometimes, you can qualify to take part in focus groups for $50 to $75 an hour.

Sell advertising space on your car.

Ever seen those cars with tacky ads plastered all over them?

Well, some of those are business owners trying to drive their brands, but sometimes it’s regular people trying to make a buck. Carvertise is one startup that pairs companies with eligible drivers.

In the realm of weird side gigs, this one can be a bit taxing. After all, your car is an extension of who you are. It’s hard to plaster it with ads.

You have to be at least 21, drive 800 miles a month, and have a 2005 car or newer. According to the FAQ, you could make $100 a month.

That’s not bad, for just doing what you normally do around town.

What other interesting ways have you heard of to make money? Let us know about your favorite weird side gigs in the comments, or by visiting the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Eva Baker from Teens Got Cents and The Teenpreneur Conference shares how being an entrepreneur while in school gives you valuable skills.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Eva Baker from Teens Got Cents and The Teenpreneur Conference join Harlan and Miranda today to talk about the experience of being an entrepreneur while in high school and/or college, and why entrepreneurship is an important piece of educational development.

Watch the live video above or listen to just the podcast audio by using the player below.

Hosted byMiranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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A better job that makes more money won’t solve your problems. Until you change your mindset, you’ll neve actually be happy.

No.

As my editor won’t publish one-word articles, please allow me to elaborate.

In our teens, we’re learning the board game of life. In our twenties, we’re going to rule Boardwalk and Park Place. By our thirties, we’re feverishly jumping over chutes and trying to climb ladders. By our forties, we’re only trying to cling to our last remaining territory wondering if the other players are on a secret mission.

It’s tempting to want to be king of the hill. You make all the decisions. You have no one to be responsible to but you. You make all the money. You come and go as you please.

Is that really what it’s like at the top of that ladder or just how it looks when you’re standing at the bottom?

Being the boss isn’t always the best.

Comparisons of being the boss and not being the boss are not like Sophia Tucker’s quote of comparing being rich and being poor: “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”

To be sure, shit runs downstream, but it’s also lonely (read stressful) at the top.

Once upon a time, I was a tiny cog in a wheel. I put in my 9-to-5, clocked out, and then my day and thoughts were mine. When I became a slightly bigger cog in that wheel 9-to-5 became 7-to-7. Monday through Friday became “and some weekends.” I had more responsibility, more to lose, and more ways to lose.

In an interview for his book, “The Secrets of CEOs,” Steve Tappin said, “The major emotions a CEO has are frustration, disappointment, irritation and overwhelm. There should be a health warning. If you have those emotions for 80 percent of the day, they lead to stress and cortisol in the body, which leads to accelerated aging, heart attacks, and cancer.”

We all know how I feel about cortisol.

When I was a kid, my father was promoted to vice president of sales for a steel company back when vice president wasn’t just a title and selling steel made a living.

He quickly gained weight, was gone a lot, and wasn’t happy. It wasn’t too many years afterward that he quit his job, moved us out of the big city back to his small hometown, and took a role that had a less glamorous title, much less stress, and much more happiness.

“Rich” people are often broke.

It’s a fallacy that more money will alleviate all your personal and financial concerns. For most people, not having enough money isn’t the problem. It’s not spending wisely the money they have that’s the problem.

“Unless you change how you are, you’ll never have more than you’ve got,” said Jim Rohn. People who don’t change themselves often return to their current state no matter what life gives them. This is why 70% of lottery winners go broke after winning their winnings. They had a losing money mindset, and their winnings didn’t change that.

No raise, promotion, or windfall of money will fix your financial problems until you change your money mindset and keep more money than you spend. Just as more money won’t necessarily fix your financial problems, it won’t help with your other problems in life.

Bob Proctor often says that thinking money will make you happy is as misguided as thinking a refrigerator will drive you around town. To think a refrigerator can assume the characteristics of a car is preposterous and so is thinking money will help you acquire happiness.

Climbing the corporate ladder and making more money won’t solve anything unless you know what to do with it.

Happiness isn’t a goal.

If you live in the United States, you’re wealthy compared to the rest of the world. You’re already winning.

If you aren’t happy with what you have today sitting in a cubicle, don’t expect to be happy with what you have tomorrow sitting in the corner office or even The Oval Office. Climbing the corporate ladder can’t make you happy.

Happiness isn’t a goal. We should strive to make happiness a constant state and not a constant goal. The search for perpetual happiness despite our conditions is why my husband and I have adopted a new exercise.

Every time we have a negative thought about any and everything, we must tell or text the other two things we’re happy about to counterbalance that one negative thought.

This is the “yellow car effect.” The yellow car effect happens when you realize how many yellow cars are out there when you start looking for yellow cars. Until then, they seem nearly non-existent.

When you start looking for more happiness in your life, you notice more happiness. When you see more happiness, you receive more happiness in all its shapes and sizes.

There isn’t a template for happiness.

Another fallacy in today’s thinking is that one size fits all. Some people want the house with the white picket fence, 2.2 kids, and a dog. To others, that sounds like a fresh hell.

Some people want the security of a 9-to-5 job, two weeks, vacation, and healthcare. To others, that’s a prison.

There’s nothing wrong with any version of happiness.

Joshua Field Millburn of The Minimalist said, “There is no template for happiness.” It may seem like the CEO has the glamorous life, rich people on television may seem more impressive than you, celebrities may look like they have it all, but everyone’s living their lives like they manage their Facebook feeds.

I had a director of a financial services firm, someone I thought “had it all,” once tell me that no promotion or title ever alleviated the constant concern that he was expendable and that there were dozens of people just waiting to fill his roles. He was climbing the corporate ladder and was miserable.

Without an innate ability to be happy, such stress will make an unhappy person even more unhappy.

So, no, climbing the corporate ladder is not the answer to all your financial and life problems. You are.

You are.

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Living the dream as your own boss? Don’t let it become a budgeting nightmare. Stay on top of things when you have a variable income.

When former cubicle-jockeys switch to a freelance career, it’s almost always in pursuit of one elusive goal: freedom.

But with that freedom comes uncertainty. Many newly self-employed individuals find themselves missing the income consistency that came with their old gig.

But variable income doesn’t have to mean a dubious financial situation. There are a few methods you can use to create the consistency you’re looking for. This allows for the kind of stability you’d enjoy at an office job.

Here’s how I manage my own variable income:

Calculate how much you need.

Living on a variable income is stressful if you’re also living in the dark. If you don’t know how much you need to survive, how can you know if you’re budgeting correctly?

Go through your spending and add up your necessary expenses, including rent, groceries, gas, utilities, debt payments and other bills.

Then divide that number by 75% to calculate your target income.

That will be the minimum you need to earn each month. Anything left over can be used for discretionary spending or saving.

Live on last month’s revenue.

While salaried individuals know how much they’re going to bring in every month, people living on a variable income have no clue.

A long-term client could take an extended vacation or an assignment might be delayed indefinitely. One of my favorite ways to combat this uncertainty is to live on last month’s invoices.

If you grossed $3,000 last month, then you can only spend $3,000 this month — even if you project to make $4,500 this month.

This budgeting philosophy is all about spending the money you have, not the money you think will have. After all, things can and will go wrong every month. The technique also eases your cash flow, since many freelancers don’t get paid until 30 days after they’ve submitted an invoice.

Save most of your surplus.

A friend of mine who worked in the dance industry once told me about a mentor who would go designer shopping every time she got a choreography gig. These jobs paid exceedingly more than teaching gigs and left her with more cash than she was used to.

Instead of saving that dough, she’d go shopping for name-brand purses and clothes. I was shocked when I heard that story, but not surprised. It’s human nature to go on a shopping spree when you land a big windfall. However, budgeting responsibly (especially on a variable income) is all about denying those urges.

It’s ok to celebrate a new client or big project as long as you’re tucking some of it away for a rainy day. Try to save between 70% and 80% of your surplus income and enjoy the rest responsibly.

Keep an emergency fund.

Everyone who works for themselves has a slow period where the work seems to dry up. You can plan ahead for these months by having a larger-than-normal emergency fund.

I keep a six-month emergency fund since my husband and I are both self-employed. Having half a year’s worth of expenses keeps us afloat during the off-season. It’s a good buffer to have and prevents me from picking up a McDonald’s application when the work starts to dwindle.

Multiply your baseline income by how many months you want to save for. Most people with variable income should have between six months and a year’s worth of bills saved in an emergency fund.

Make your expenses the same every month.

One of my favorite ways to regulate my finances has been budget billing for our utilities. Most gas, water, and electric companies allow you to pay the same amount every month instead of the amount you use.

Having budget billing has simplified my finances since I know our water bill will be static, no matter the season. I don’t have to worry about high gas statements in the winter or AC costs in the summer. Contact your energy company to see if they offer this service.

Look for other ways to normalize your bills so that you have the same expenses each month.

Save by percentage, not dollar amount.

Writer Jackie Lam of Cheapsters became a freelancer after she got laid off at her full-time gig. To make the transition smoother, she started saving a percentage of what’s left over after she’s paid the bills, instead of a specific dollar amount.

For example, instead of saving $200 a month for a vacation, she sets aside 5% of her budget. Using percentages makes it easier to hit her savings goals, even if she hasn’t had the most productive month.

In busy times, she might save more than $200, and during slowdowns she might only save $100. That percentage tends to average out over the year.

It’s a way to feel a little more secure and avoid feeling like a failure if you don’t hit a set dollar amount.

Be your own CEO.

If you really miss the stability of office life, consider paying yourself a salary. Once you’ve calculated your baseline, it’s simple enough to choose a stable wage to take going forward. Overage income can be applied to your savings, while consistently coming in under budget can be a warning sign that it’s time to take a pay cut.

This isn’t exactly the most efficient method listed, but it can take a lot of psychological weight off of planning your finances. It’s simple. Pay yourself a little less than you typically make and save the rest.

Do you live on a variable income? How do you make it work? What’s your favorite budgeting technique? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Financial stability is a requirement for successful adulting. Here’s how you achieve stability and recognize it when you are stable.

If financial independence is the dream, financial stability is the first adult step along the path towards that vision.

On the final day of the year, fifteen years ago, I returned home from a weekend away to find my belongings on the lawn in front of the house I was renting. (I used the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to fact-check myself using my old, anonymous personal blog, my first time reading those entries in over a decade.)

My roommate thought I was moving out at the end of December, and when I wasn’t around, she moved two people into the room I had been occupying for several months. I had been planning to move out at the end of January, and the roommate knew this. But my name wasn’t on the lease, so perhaps she thought she could do whatever she wanted.

A later entry brought back the memory of a related event: I visited that apartment again ten days later to pick up a few remaining items, and the new occupants were moving out because that roommate committed some kind of check fraud. But I digress…

Being forced out of my living space with no notice on New Year’s Eve was the end of a particularly bad year. I lost a job, lost my car, and lost my girlfriend. I had moved to northern New Jersey for a job I no longer had. I was in my mid-twenties, but I wasn’t financially an adult. I survived by spending on credit cards, avoiding student loan bills, and accepting help from parents.

With the necessity of moving in with family as 2001 became 2002, I vowed to turn things around for myself.

I wasn’t necessarily aware of the idea of financial independence, but thankfully, that is how I can describe my situation today. In early 2002, I just wanted financial stability. And I had to figure out how to get there.

How I became financially stable.

After college, I chose a career somewhere between education and nonprofit. The organization I was working for was meant to be a stop-gap while looking for a teaching position, but I did enjoy it, and I didn’t put enough effort into moving forward. It cost me more to work as a nonprofit employee than I was earning — and I wasn’t even spending a significant amount of money.

1. I found a new job.

Instead of looking for my ideal career, my priority was earning money and getting back on my feet, taking control of my situation. Nothing is permanent. I could work on my loftier life goals while at least working somewhere during the day that would allow me the flexibility to plan for the future.

Without a car, I was limited to jobs that were accessible by walking or by traveling on the train. I turned to a technical temp agency. That’s how I earned money over breaks during college, and I knew I had many skills that would serve me well in corporate settings. I found something right away — an executive administrative assistant at a major financial firm.

This had no relation to my degree, but it was a job. And it paid 50 percent more than what I was earning at the nonprofit organization. Theoretically, I could even stay involved with the activity I was passionate about on weekends while working a “regular” job.

2. I designed a budget.

My dad helped me brainstorm a basic budget on the back of an envelope. That’s how I remember the situation. This budget had to take into account paying off a cash advance from my credit card, consumer spending on my credit card, and my student loans. I intended to move out and be less of a burden on family as soon as possible, so I budgeted for rent, as well. And savings for the future.

Partly because I wanted to stick to my budget and partly because I needed some self-reflection time to recover from bad choices, I also saved money in the first few months of my new job by staying in a fortress of solitude.

The budget was essential for setting myself up for financial stability.

3. I tracked every penny.

I used free software to meticulously track my spending, making sure I was staying within my budget and paying my bills on time.

You can only have a clear picture of where you’re going financially if you know where you are. It is incredibly easy today to get a full snapshot of your finances at any time thanks to technology. Apps communicate directly and securely with banks, so you all you need to do is check your phone to see where you stand. The app adds your bank balances and subtracts your debt, and the result is your financial net worth.

And beyond your net worth, you need to know how that changes over time, so you track your income and expenses, too. Today, I use Personal Capital and Quicken.

4. I started saving for the future.

It wasn’t enough to have a bank account whose balance was increasing every month. My new job offered a retirement plan with a matching contribution. Always say yes to a matching contribution. It’s free money.

How do you know when you’re financially stable?

To be considered financially stable — a true sign of adulting — you must meet these criteria.

  • You must be spending less than you’re earning. It doesn’t matter which side of the equation you try to improve, but it helps to focus on both your expenses and your income. You can only cut your expenses back so far — but income potential is unlimited. When you spend less than you earn, you have a surplus. The surplus allows you to have some control.
    • Living paycheck-to-paycheck — spending every penny you earn — means you have no surplus and you are not moving towards flexibility or control.
  • You don’t have to be debt-free, but you must be paying down your debt and not accumulating any more. If you’re able to make your minimum payments on your debt and then some, you’re in good shape.
  • You’re not relying on loans or gifts from family. This is the cornerstone of stability. You can make it on your own, just with your income and your expenses. It’s true that you may be in financial trouble if your income disappears, especially if you’re only beginning to establish savings, but for now, you are making it on your own.
  • You are building your future through savings and investment. Your nest egg might not be too big just yet, but it’s growing. You’re putting aside extra money to create an emergency fund and you have a systematic transfer to an investment account, preferably a low-cost index mutual fund.
  • Your friends support your goals. Don’t waste time around people who give you a hard time for being responsible. Often, when one starts acting more grown-up, the friends still wading through adolescence grow bitter. Or maybe you’re the last one to cross the threshold into actual adulthood.
    • People reach this point at different times in their lives. I wasn’t financially adulting until I was in my late twenties. Some start when they’re 40. And I’ve seen some sixteen-year-olds who are taking control of their future I never would have considered.
  • You’re moving forward steadily in your career. How you progress is often up to you, even when are faced with resistance was you’re trying to gain more responsibility, authority, and compensation at your job. You do know that often you have to accept more responsibilities before being granted more authority and increases in compensation. This type of success proceeds at different speeds, but you should always be aware of where you stand, and you make decisions that move you forward.
  • You have health insurance and you take care of yourself. Your health and well-being affect your ability to have a life of any sort in the future, so you watch your health and have an appropriate health insurance plan. You see a doctor once every one or two years, at least, if you’re otherwise healthy, and you see a dentist and dental hygienist every six months. If you need work, you get it done.
  • You pay your credit card balance in full every month. Credit cards can be great tools for people who are financially stable. They allow you to time-shift your spending, just like the DVR time-shifts The Walking Dead. They allow you to collect cash back and points that can be used for travel. But only if you avoid interest charges, late payments, and pay your balance in full every month.
    • This could be considered an “advanced technique,” and many people start messing with credit cards before they are prepared to handle the responsibilities. So watch out.

Financial independence is the next step after financial stability, but it could take a lifetime to achieve. Imagine if you no longer had to rely on your job. Imagine if you could live the life that you wanted to live, go where in the world that you wanted to go, and do anything that you wanted to do — without any concern about what the financial consequences would be.

That is financial independence. And you can’t get there without financial stability first.

Are you financially stable? If so, when did you finally achieve it?

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