Saving is a finite solution. You can only save so much, can only be so frugal. Your power for earning is unlimited with the right resource (you), the right tools (knowledge), and the right force (hard work). That isn’t to discount saving. Saving is an important part of the equation too. But, because of it’s limited ability, it can only be so much a part of your overall wealth and financial independence equation. Do you know what limits savings’ ability? Your earnings. You can only save so much as you earn. If you only earn $8 an hour, you can only save $8 an hour. Far less, really, because who can live on $0 an hour? Not many. So, the more you make, the more you can save.
There’s another side to that, even. The more you make, the more ability you have to make more. That’s the root of the old saying, “It takes money to make money”. While you can actually make money without having much money, the more money you have, the more opportunity you will find to earning more money.
Increasing your earnings isn’t always an easy equation to solve, though. Many people feel like they’re trapped in the job they have, the payscale they’re in, and the life path they’ve chosen. Not at all true! Your earning potential is unlimited if you combine the resources at hand and improve the ones that aren’t. You’ve already got you. Increasing you knowledge of the work you want to do is pretty easy as well. It just takes a bit of time, and some crafty searching online. Pretty much anything you want to learn about is available online. Heck, there are even entire sites dedicated to free college courses. All you need is to dedicate some time to learning whatever it is you want to learn. You can find that time by taking it from some of your TV watching time.
Follow all that learning up with some good old fashioned hard work. That’s it. Just hustle a little. Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic formula for that one. I don’t know how to motivate you to work. I don’t know the right things to say to you to make you want it. You’ve got to provide that part. If you can’t find the motivation to pull yourself away from American Idol for an hour to learn something, or work on making yourself a better earner, there’s just nothing that I can do for you. You’ve got to find that part for yourself.
But, listen. If you’re capable, like me, of getting your finances under control; of learning how to keep a budget, pay your bills on time, and learn from mistakes, there’s no reason you can’t learn how to earn more. You CAN learn how to do something you want to do. You CAN learn how to make yourself more marketable. And you CAN earn more. And, if you do, you WILL tip the scale in your direction. You’ll start to earn more. You’ll be able to save more. And you’ll find that opportunities will present themselves to you.
How are you going to improve yourself today?
Be warned. This post has absolutely nothing to do with personal finance. It does have to do with how some of you get your personal finance articles from Beating Broke, however.
More specifically, with those of you who use Google Reader to read the articles here on Beating Broke. The latest stats show that there are a couple hundred of you or so. Last month, Google announced that they would be discontinuing the Google Reader service on July 1st, 2013. As a result, if you use Google Reader, you will no longer get updates from this and other websites.
Now is the time to make a few changes to make sure that you can keep updated. Lifehacker has a good roundup of some other popular RSS readers that serve as replacements for Google Reader.
There are a couple of other ways that you can make sure you don’t miss any of the content from Beating Broke. Use one of the services listed in that Lifehacker article, or subscribe to receive new content via email by clicking this link (Subscribe by eMail) and then entering your email and clicking subscribe. You can also subscribe to the Beating Broke newsletter for additional content (it doesn’t include the regular articles).
You’ll likely want to rinse and repeat that for each of the sites that you currently subscribe to through Google Reader. Be sure to do it before July 1. I’m not sure what their plans are for after July 1, or if you’ll even be able to access the site, so getting it done earlier is better.
We’ve all heard about the many different crowdfunding organizations out there. Probably the most famous of them is Kickstarter. Or maybe Indiegogo. Adam from Man vs. Debt recently crowdfunded his documentary “I’m Fine, Thanks” through Kickstarter. Using crowdfunding sites has become pretty popular. It’s a great way for artists and creators to fund the products that they are creating through the fans while still giving something back to the fans.
Recently, I found a site called GoFundMe. It’s another crowdfunding site. Except, in this case, it’s more of a crowd fundraising site. Personal crowd funding if you will. Individuals and organizations can post a need, and then share it with friends, family, and the public through social sites and links that they can share. Their friends, family, and anyone else interested can then go and fund the need. Best I can tell, there aren’t many restrictions at all as to what it is that you can post as a need. Want to use it to fund the down payment on a house? It’s been done. Want to use it to pay for a wedding? Been done.
Anytime I see something like this, my mind starts to wander about and find stuff that’s a bit “funny.” I can see the good of a site like this. It only takes a few seconds on their homepage to see that there are lots of people using the site to help people in need. People who have medical issues. People who have had house fires. People who want to set up memorial funds. I can even see how it would be kind of cool to create one to have people contribute to a wedding fund or honeymoon fund instead of buying wedding presents. But, with every one of those that I see that seem to be legitimate things that people might want to create a fund, I see ones where you really have to wonder what some people are thinking.
For instance. I ran across one that was a fund to help with the down payment on a new car. Another asking for help with a down payment on a house. It’s ones like that where my cynical side really comes out. I’d like to think that the people really have just had a bit of down luck and just need that little bit to dig themselves out of a hole. Or that little push to keep going to work. Or whatever. But, there’s that personal finance blogger side of me that wants to know why, if you knew you were going to need a car, or wanted to buy a house, weren’t you saving in the first place?
I guess there’s a small chance that the fund wasn’t intended to be seen by anyone more than the persons friends and family. But, it is public. And then there’s the question of taxes. If I go create a fund, call it my retirement fund, and then raise a million dollars, what does Uncle Sam think of that. I did a little digging, and, according to the sites FAQ section, they state that “most donations on GoFundMe are simply considered to be ‘personal gifts’ which are not taxed as income in the US.”
Which makes me wonder. Maybe I should create a “don’t want to work anymore” fund. Set a goal of about $45,000 and see if I can’t take a year off work…
What do you think? Am I being too hard on this? Are you going to go out and give it a try? Would you give/donate to someone you knew who used it?
Gary Dek is a contributor to Gajizmo.com and is always looking for ways to make and invest money. Gary previously worked for an internet company on their M&A team, as well as investment banking and private equity firms in California. Some of life’s necessities, like homes and arguably cars, cost more than most people can save in 5 [...]
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