When my father encouraged me to study finance in college (because it seemingly offered the best return on investment), I had no idea how far that path would take me.
While I didn’t end up working behind a trading desk or managing portfolios, my career as a financial journalist and now speaker, author, and podcast host provides me with the most incredible experiences and relationships.
Along the way I’ve discovered several unshakable facts and words of wisdom that have helped carry me through my life with financial success.
You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.
I live by these words each time I strive to earn and save more. A story I often share is the one about doubling my salary when changing jobs back in 2006. I was up for the senior video correspondent role at TheStreet.com.
At the time, I was earning around $45,000 at my TV news job as a producer and sometimes-on-camera reporter. And, crazy as it sounds, I asked to more than double my salary with the new gig. I asked for $100,000.
My manager offered $85,000 (which would have been an incredible raise!). But I replied, “How about we agree to $90,000 right now and I don’t bother you in six months?” Next thing I heard? “We’ve got a deal. Welcome to TheStreet!”
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Nobody cares more about your money than you.
Not your financial planner. Not even your family. And it’s not because the world is against you. It’s not because they’re out to get you. It’s for the simple fact that money is personal. The depth of pain and excitement around your money is yours and yours only. The difference between making money and losing it is in your hands, which is pretty empowering.
This is a major financial philosophy of mine. It encourages me to speak up, ask questions, negotiate, and take responsible steps to protect and grow my hard-earned money.
Ask questions. Even the dumb ones.
I learned from life and business strategist Tony Robbins a vital key to success: staying curious. Embrace the fact that you don’t know everything and always seek answers, he told me.
Even as I surround myself with talented, smarter individuals who help me with decisions related to my investments, taxes, and real estate, I never trust they have all the right answers. In fact, their ability to give me sound advice depends on me constantly asking “Why is this like that?” “How come we can’t do this?” and “Can we save more money somehow?”
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Take care of the boring stuff first.
My husband and I make sure that with every paycheck we address our basic obligations first. That stuff isn’t really fun or sexy, but without covering those bases we couldn’t go on to spend on or wants freely.
In fact, by taking care of our retirement, rainy day savings, college fund, insurance and bills at the top of the month, we know that whatever money is left in our accounts afterwards is more or less our “fun” money and we are free — with peace of mind — to spend it accordingly!
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