Based on a 2019 Experian Consumer Debt Study, total consumer debt in the U.S. is at $14.1 trillion. Generation Z, or people between ages 18-23 years old, have an average debt of $9,593. Millennials, or people between ages 24-39 years old, have an average debt of $78,396. Generation X, or people between 40-55 years old, hold an average debt of $135,841. So what are some ways you can avoid these pitfalls?
If you have debt from student loans, car payments, or the biggest one, credit cards, you can try paying off the lowest items first. For example, if you have $1000 of debt from Credit Card A, $2000 of debt from Credit Card B, and $3000 of debt from Credit Card C, pay off the $1000 first, then the $2000 and $3000. What does this do? It may help you psychologically because it’ll motivate you to get into the habit of paying off your debt and reducing your debt checklist.
You can save more money by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. So if Credit Card A has the highest interest rate, focus on paying that one off first.
A great habit to get into is to take 5-10 minutes every week, maybe on a Saturday or Sunday, and look at your bank statements to see how much you’re spending and if it was even necessary to spend that much.
Have around 3-6 months of funds saved up in a high-yield savings account, just in case something happens. You can start saving for your emergency fund step-by-step by maybe depositing $150 per month into your savings account, which ends up only being around five bucks a day. As you get more comfortable and disciplined in building your savings account, you can increase it to $6 or $10 a day. From a 2020 survey from Bankrate, only 4 in 10 Americans can cover a $1000 unexpected expense. And typically what happens for the people who can’t cover the expense, they borrow money and put themselves in deeper debt with their credit cards.
2. Be mindful of and improving your mental health. Try starting each day by saying something positive about yourself.
As we all know, words are extremely powerful. They can be destructive and tear someone down. Or they could be constructive and build someone up. Words can cause wars. Words can cause peace and unity. Words can be used as a weapon, or words can be used as a positive tool. Psychological research has found that your subconscious interprets what it hears pretty literally and your mind and body will manifest the words that you say about yourself. So if you want to bring more joy and confidence to yourself internally, begin with choosing to say positive, uplifting words.
Another thing you could practice to improve your mental health is being more grateful and seeing the grace that surrounds you. What is grace? It’s something that exists and is given to you for no reason at all. When you wake up and see the beautiful sunrise, that’s grace. If you feel a gentle breeze blow across your face on a hot day, that’s grace. Regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, if you deserve it or not, the sun still rises and you feel the gentle breeze on your skin. We can’t explain grace. We can’t control it. However, what we can do is appreciate it.
Many studies have shown that gratitude is positively correlated with improved well-being, mental health, and happiness. One method to increase your feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, write a daily gratitude list, or even say what you are grateful for out loud. So take a moment before you sleep tonight or before you start your day tomorrow and write down or declare something you are grateful for.
The last thing you can do to improve your mental health is to do something kind for other people. Research has shown that kindness is linked inextricably to happiness and contentment, both on a psychological and spiritual level. Why do acts of kindness increase your sense of happiness? Again, this links back to kindness promoting gratitude. If you are kind to others in need, it helps you with your awareness and heightens the sense of your own good fortune. Kindness builds empathy and compassion, which then leads to a sense of interconnectedness with others. Kindness can increase the will to live in depressed people who feel isolated, which is why performing volunteer work is so powerful. When you feel connected with others, you decrease your sense of alienation and increase your sense of connection, community, and belonging.
On another scientific level, compassion and kindness also reduce stress, boost our immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which are all chemicals in our bodies that promote feelings of happiness, love, social bonding and well-being, are released by kind behavior. One act of kindness can turn into a chain of positive events, making kindness contagious and something we should all strive to pass to others.
There are so many things you can invest in. However, I believe that the stock market is the easiest way for anyone to start investing. Why? It’s because you don’t need a lot of money to start and you can literally just do it on your phone right now. If you’re just beginning and have no idea how to invest in the stock market, it’s no problem at all. We all have to start somewhere!
The first reason to invest in stocks is that it’s the most powerful vehicle to help you grow your wealth. If you don’t know, the stock market has grown on average around 7-10% every year for the past 30 years. That means that if you invested in the S&P500 or DOW30 30 years ago, you would now have more than 7 times the amount that you invested. 7 times! So if you invested $100,000, it would now be more than $700,000, which doesn’t even include dividends and you depositing money on a monthly basis. This is what all millionaires and billionaires do, yet this is something that we don’t really learn in school, which coming from me being a former public school teacher, completely boggles me.
The second reason to invest in stocks is that many companies pay you dividends. If you don’t know what a dividend is, it’s basically you getting paid a little bit of money every quarter for each share you buy. For example, some companies pay you around $1 per share. Now can you imagine if you had 10,000 shares? That means you would get paid $10,000 every 3 months just by being a shareholder! This is what many millionaires and billionaires do, which is why the wealthy get wealthier.
And for my last and favorite reason to invest in stocks, is that many stocks are optionable, meaning that you can use your stocks to generate income on a consistent basis. This is a little bit more on the advanced side, but if you already have been an investor for some time or might even know a friend or family member who trades options, you may have heard that this is what a lot of people do to generate side income and support their lifestyles.
When I found out about options, I learned about the strategy of selling covered calls. I was blown away because I was able to consistently make a couple hundred bucks a month. And, as I got better at selling covered calls and my account grew, I was able to consistently make around a couple thousand dollars each month, while still having a full time job. If you guys already know me, I became financially free this year, meaning that I didn’t need to rely on my 9-5 job, and could pursue another thing I was passionate about, which is me teaching and sharing ideas with the world on how to become financially free too.
My team and I have developed this course on how to sell covered calls on this site. If you’re interested, feel free to check it out! You can also do your own due diligence and research about selling covered calls online too.
You can continue to educate yourself by reading the articles in our archive. And you can even join our membership. With our premium membership, we’ll teach you not only how to invest in great long-term stocks, but also sell covered calls and cash-secured puts, trade LEAPS options, and generate a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars each month. You’ll have exclusive access to our community of wealth builders & all our content, which teaches you step-by-step on how to use these strategies. You’ll also be able to ask me & our team any questions you have & we can coach you each week!