When Reality Sets In…

In starting off the New Year, and approaching my 27th birthday, I began reflecting on the day I began my first “real” job as I call it here at a Consultant. I was pretty convinced that I had figured life out.  For the last 18 months of college, I stayed alone and was very familiar with what it took to handle “responsibilities” and balance a difficult “work” load.

However, as those years have swiftly passed I’ve come to realize a few things that I THOUGHT I knew, and really didn’t know until Life happened.

So yea, reality sets in very quickly.  Below I captured a few lessons that I’ve become aware of either voluntarily, or involuntarily.  Enjoy!

 

$1,000 is NOT a lot of money:

You know growing up seeing a $100 bill was foreign to me, we’d be happy to have a 20. Even though I was exposed to some ‘pricey’ situations with tuition and board, I never really experienced how much money was truly in circulation. When I received my first bonus, which was just short of the $1000, and was hit with a tax that nearly cut it in half, I quickly learned:  This is really not a lot of money. Thus, it was time for me to set my aspirations and financial goals to a higher standard.

$700 a month for all bills paid full furnished apartment wasn’t really that bad:

My, in college I consistently complained about housing prices sky-rocketing each and every year. Upon graduating I was paying about $750/mo for a 2 story townhome which included cable and internet. I was complaining until I began looking for apartments in Houston, and to be close to my job was paying nearly $900 a month. Not to mention, that only included the roof.

Your Credit Score is EVERYTHING:

One fundamental to financial management that isn’t really taught in many households, and most definitely not in school. “Credit is KING”, as my father put it. Protect your credit, like you would your own life. I was blessed upon graduation not to have any loans, so my debt was pretty low. However, I was always a believer in paying my credit cards off EVERY month. If I was going to be stupid, and charge up a lot of merchandise, or go shopping; I made myself sacrifice with a dusty dessert checking account. Though it caused some painful times, it works. Never charging more than I have has kept my credit usage down and helped to bump my credit score.

It’s so many people making 6 figures, and have a terribly lonely and depressing life.

I.Could.Stay.Here.All.Day : In my line of work of consulting I’m exposed to many different types of people, at various stages in their careers. From Partners, to entry level, I’ve seen how as the pay increases more of your time is demanded. And for many (not all), this results in a work-centered lifestyle with a lot of money, but no time to disconnect and focus on what’s really important to you.

I can’t believe that 4 years for me has come and gone, and some of the depression that I’ve watched others go through was enough for me to say… “its not worth it.” Now, am I telling you not to aspire to great wealth? Absolutely not. “Get Yo Money.”  However, never get to busy making a living that you

 

forget to live your life.  Find out what’s important to you, pick up new hobbies, create and strengthen relationships, rest, and most importantly have fun!

You have to do things that scare you every day. (Overcoming the Fear of Failure)

In 2012, my theme for the year was “living uncomfortable.”  All throughout the year, I adopted my “why not” attitude to living. Why not travel, why not try new foods, why not , why not, why not! I realized for the first time in my life, I was working full time, living alone, and able to do so many things that my time or resources wouldn’t allow.  Now this doesn’t mean go spend money you don’t have for “experiences,” but definitely don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people, and get some “substance” to your well-being. In that year alone, I came to find out that what differs most people is not their financial status, race, or college affiliation, but simply the opportunities to be exposed to people, places, and things outside of our personal social norm.

 

Travel the World, not just Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Don’t get me wrong, Las Vegas and Atlanta are great places. And I rarely visit either and have a bad time. As someone that has traveled to over 60% of US states, I’ve come to learn that it’s the international travel that will really help to put things into perspective. Find you some friends willing and ready to travel, search for deals and GO.

Start the business now, follow your dream NOW, start the book NOW, transform the world NOW.

This can be rephrased as “It’ll never be the right/perfect time.”   For those of us that allow our minds to dream and imagine greater things in store for ourselves, we sometimes become our worse critics. Most businesses that are started fail, but ALL of ideas never acted upon fail. It satisfies us to know it’s still a dream, and that we didn’t try it and fail.  It’ll never be the right time. Pray about it, plan it out, and go try it out. You might completely succeed, you might completely fail. However, either way you will learn and readjust as you go along!

 

Taxes can really skew how you look at a Salary pay.

I’ve come to learn more about taxes as I looked at my first pay stub for work. Of course I paid taxes with odd jobs growing up, but now that I had a full salary things looked a bit different on that earnings statement.  Though I was making a certain amount of money as per my offer, I wasn’t going to see all of that money because of Uncle Sam. Moreover, learning how to work with and around taxes is the game that the wealthiest of the world have become masters of.  Saving is not how they become rich,  multiple income streams and properly placing their profits in tax deferred or tax free vehicles is what sets the 1% apart. (This will be another blog.)

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

 

Trent J ACEO

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