FIRE: How to Find Your Aha Moments and the Key to Achieving FIRE

Although enduring the pandemic has been stressful to say the least, I have learned a multitude of lessons I’ll never forget. One of the biggest is that, like it or not, I’m not cut out to homeschool four kids while trying to work at home. Most of all, though, the pandemic has reinforced my feeling of gratitude for the life I live — and the life my family lives.

For example, when schools began shutting down and the whole country went into lockdown, neither my wife, Mandy, or I had to miss work or struggle to find childcare. When I work on my blog, my podcast, and other ventures in my home office, my wife already stays home with the kids and has done so for several years. 

And when the economy stalled and the stock market dropped like a rock, we never had to wonder how we’d pay our bills or what the future might hold. After all, we have a fully stocked emergency fund, and have plenty of passive income streams that aren’t tied to an employer or the stock market on any given day.

The bottom line: The pandemic has reminded me all I have to be grateful for, including the peace of mind that comes with financial independence.

Teaching My Kids About Financial Independence

Anyway, part of me has always worried that my kids wouldn’t get to learn the same financial lessons I did — at least, not in the same way. Because of the situation we’re in, my kids have never really lived in a modest home, and they have never had to go without. They have never been in a situation where we are trying to stretch the groceries for another week until payday, and in fact, the pandemic has made us rely a lot more on takeout and food delivery than we normally do.

Regardless, I recently took some time on one of our homeschool days to map out what it takes to run and pay for a household for my kids. 

Writing It All Out

On a giant whiteboard in my office, I created a list of most of our household bills — our mortgage payment, transportation expenses, phones, gas, insurance, utilities, and all of the taxes we pay. In another column, I wrote out a rough example of the amount of income it would actually take to cover those bills. 

From there, I talked with the kids about our household wants, or stuff they prefer to have. My kids went ahead and added shoes to the list, an Xbox and some dolls. 

At one point, the kids started asking questions about where the money for our bills actually comes from. I explained that, while I continue working on my podcast and blog and other business ventures, the majority of our income is mostly passive — as in, I am not actually working for it and I am no longer getting paid by an employer.

And in that moment, I began explaining to them my thoughts on financial independence — what it means to me, and how we actually got to that point. 

While my kids were sick of dad teaching and barely listening by then, they did have some thoughts on financial independence. I explained to them that, if they could save a ton of their income in their early working years, they could invest in passive income streams they could rely on for decades after that. 

We also talked about how secure it can feel to have enough money stashed away to get by, and to not have to rely on the whims of an employer or a J-O-B to stay alive. 

How I Realized We Were Financially Independent

All of this got me thinking about when I knew we were financially independent, and the “aha moments” I had along the way. After all, our journey to financial security didn’t happen overnight, even though sometimes it does feel that way.

But before I share how I knew we didn’t need to worry about money, I want to explain what I think financial freedom really is, based on a note I wrote on my whiteboard for our kids. 

What Financial Independence Is (and What It Isn’t)

For me, financial independence is not about making the most money you absolutely can, and it’s not about how much is in your bank account, the car you drive, or the size of your home. 

Instead, financial independence is about choice. 

Based on the way I interpret the FIRE movement, financial independence is about being able to choose where you work and what you work on, having the ability to spend your free time how you want, and living life on your own terms. It’s about not having to go to a job you hate, and to still have the money you need to pay bills and live comfortably, regardless.

Further, financial independence means being able to have the freedom of choice without any worry, without any stress, and without any anxiety — at least when it comes to paying bills.  

My Aha Moments

So, what are the “aha moments” that helped me realize we had been blessed with all we need — that we are financially independent?

In reality, it has been a lot of small things over the last decade or so — things like being able to rent two hotel rooms or a large Airbnb each time we travel, and not having to worry whether we can afford it. After all, I have four kids, and my wife and I don’t want to sleep in a hotel room stuffed six-people deep. 

Another big moment we had was the first time my wife and I maxed out our old Roth IRA accounts while also fully funding our 401(k)s, which happened early in our marriage. 

Then there was the year we started building our first “dream house,” which we lived in before the one we live in now. Our “starter home” was around 1,900 square feet and we lived there for quite a while. But we started building our 5,000 square foot dream house right before the birth of our second son — we even put in a pool shortly after that. 

This was when we were in our early 30’s, and building at that time just seemed like a dream come true. We even started building our new home before we sold our old one, which was only possible because we had our financial ducks in a row.

Other key “aha” moments along our journey to financial independence included:

  • The many times I turned down lucrative job offers and opportunities so I could continue pursuing my own dreams
  • When I realized I could take two weeks off to drive my family to the Grand Canyon in an RV — and I did it!
  • When I’ve made more money in a month than my parents used to earn in a whole year (since my parents topped out at around $40,000 to $50,000 per year during their working years)
  • Realizing I had the cash savings to purchase my childhood dream car (a yellow Lamborghini!), if I really wanted to
  • The time I sold a minority stake in one of my businesses and was handed the largest check I have ever received to date
  • The first time I paid $400 for a pair of Jordan shoes with no regrets or stress, which actually happened just a few years ago!

Funny enough, I sent my wife Mandy a text, for research purposes, asking when she first felt financially independent. Her answer was totally different than mine. 

Mandy says that she felt like she no longer needed to worry about money when we reached one year of expenses in our emergency savings account.

I have to agree with her, because that milestone did give me a lot of peace of mind. After all, having 12 months of expenses in an emergency fund means a lot could go wrong with our finances and we would still have the time and space to figure it all out.

3 Key FIRE Principles and How You Know You’re On Track

If you’re pursuing financial independence but progress feels slow, know that your path to financial freedom will have a lot of bumps along the way. If you’re like me, you might also find that you’re inching toward financial freedom in spurts, and that it doesn’t all hit you at once. 

The key for those seeking FIRE is being on the lookout for those “aha moments” that tell you you’re on the right path. No matter what anyone says, you won’t become financially independent overnight. Instead, you’ll probably hit several different stages over the months and years it takes to get there.

Not only that, but you should strive to adopt the right mindset for FIRE. For the most part, this means being willing to think differently about how the world works and how it should work, and being open to going your own way.

What are the key principles of FIRE — or the key mindset changes that can get you there? Based on my personal experience, here’s what I think they are.

Key Principle #1: Gratitude for What You Have

In my opinion, being grateful for what you have (and what God has provided) is one of the most important steps anyone can take. Even if things aren’t really going your way, and if life seems bleak and miserable at times, there is always something we can be grateful for. 

With that said, I recommend being grateful and hungry — as in, don’t be so grateful that you become complacent and stop pushing for more in your life. 

Continue to entertain the idea that there is always something else you can learn, more experiences you can have, and more wisdom to obtain by trying new things. And if you try something and fail, look for the lessons you can find in that failure and be grateful you had the chance to learn them. 

Key Principle #2: Flexing Your Bold Intentions

Another key principle of achieving financial independence is being willing to share your goals with the world — loudly and without hesitation.

In your own life, you might’ve noticed that people who are pursuing FIRE can’t stop talking about it. This is because FIRE enthusiasts usually have one important thing in common: they’re brave enough to put their bold intentions on display no matter what anyone thinks.

Let’s say you have the bold intention of achieving financial independence and retiring at 35. Why not take that goal and post it to your Facebook page? Start sharing it with your family, and don’t forget to tell your friends. 

Chances are good that you’re probably going to get a lot more criticism than support from your peers, but who really cares? 

Most people who pursue FIRE actually don’t care at all what other people think. That’s part of the reason they’re able to live differently, save a large percentage of their income, and stop trying to keep up with the Joneses in the first place.

Key Principle #3: Full Release of the Past

Finally, you have to make sure your future is bigger than your past — as in, don’t let your past mistakes define who you are today and who you can become.

I know from experience that it’s far too easy to focus on all of the mistakes you’ve made and opportunities you’ve missed out on. Trust me, I’ve made more than my share of bone-headed mistakes that could’ve easily derailed me, yet here I am. 

The key for anyone pursuing FIRE is having some humility for the situation while never letting your past mistakes hold you back. You have to be willing to put yourself out there again and again, knowing you might fail. The thing is, every failure has a lesson, and sometimes those lessons lead you to something great right around the corner. 

Maybe you skipped saving for retirement early in your career, and you feel behind from where you should be. Although you definitely missed out by not getting started early, you can only control the steps you take to reach your goal right now.

Perhaps you made a poor investment and lost money at one point, which is something most investors have done at least a few times. Instead of dwelling on that mistake, you have to learn to cut your losses, find the lesson in the mess, and move on. 

Why? Because the alternative isn’t moving forward, and that won’t get where you want to be.

The bottom line: Let go of the past and take stock of where you’re at now. From there, figure out a plan to reach your goals, and don’t stop until you get there.

The post FIRE: How to Find Your Aha Moments and the Key to Achieving FIRE appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

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27 Fun Jobs That Pay Well

There are plenty of jobs that provide excellent income potential while also allowing you to enjoy your work. Here are 27 fun jobs that pay well.

The post 27 Fun Jobs That Pay Well appeared first on Bible Money Matters and was written by Marc. Copyright © Bible Money Matters – please visit biblemoneymatters.com for more great content.

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The 15 Best Jobs for Young People All Pay at Least $40,000

CareerBuilder ranked the top 15 best jobs for people between the ages of 19 and 24, based on the share of young workers in the field, average wage, and projected job growth.

You might love watching reruns of Law & Order, but just because you get a kick out of watching people duke it out in a courtroom on TV doesn’t mean you should go to law school. Yet 25% of high school students choose their future career based on something they saw on TV or in a movie, according to research from CareerBuilder.

Choosing a college major or career because it seems cool can backfire. A third of full-time workers come to regret their college major, CareerBuilder found. But by the time they realize they’ve made a mistake, doing a career reset is costly and complicated. Better to pick right the first time than have to start all over again in your 20s or 30s once you realize you’re not really cut out to be (or can’t make it as) a software engineer, salesperson, or screenwriter. But how to choose?

“There is a world of opportunity open to younger workers in business, technical and creative fields,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement. To narrow down the choices, you need to consider both your own passions and the potential salary and available job opportunities, Haefner added. “The more informed you are about your options and what it takes to get to where you want to be, the better the outcome,” she said.

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To help college and high school students choose their path in life, CareerBuilder ranked the 15 best jobs for people between the ages of 19 and 24, based on the share of young workers in the field, average wage, and projected job growth. All pay about $40,000 – or more – annually, and they include jobs in tech, healthcare and the arts. Some require a bachelor’s degree, but others you can get with just a certificate or associate degree (check out numbers 12 and 4 on our list).

First up, a career for anyone who’s always glued to their laptop screen.

15. Web Developers

You wouldn’t be able to read this article if it weren’t for web developers, the people who design and create websites. It’s the perfect job for tech-savvy young people, especially since you don’t always need a bachelor’s degree to get your foot in the door. Many web developers have two-year degrees, while others are self-taught. More technical positions might require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Web developers earn an average of $34.09 an hour, or $70,907 per year. The number of jobs in this field grew by 19% between 2013 and 2017, and 8% of people in the field are younger than 24.

14. Public Relations Specialists

After presenters at the Oscars mistakenly handed the Best Picture statuette to the wrong film, you can bet there was a team of public relations specialists working behind the scenes at damage control. PR pros work to shape public opinion about the organizations for which they work, collaborating with journalists, managing social media and more. Most have a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications or a related field. Entry-level PR specialists might write press releases, field media requests and help organize events. As you advance, you might be put in charge of managing public relations for an entire company or brand.

PR specialists earn $31.66 an hour, or $65,853 annually. The number of jobs increased by 7% over the last five years, and 9% of PR pros are under 24.

13. Sound Engineering Technicians

Did the band sound great at the last concert you went to? Thank the sound technician. They’re the ones responsible for maintaining and operating the sound equipment for concerts, radio shows, recording sessions and more. Some people land a job in this field and learn while they work, while others complete non-degree training or earn an associate degree. People with experience may be able to move up to bigger jobs (say, from a small local radio station to a bigger market) or to supervisory positions, according to the BLS.

Sound engineering technicians earn $29.87 an hour, or $62,130 per year. The number of people working in this field is relatively small – a little more than 15,000 – but the number of jobs increased by 8% from 2013 to 2017. Eleven percent of sound engineering technicians are under 24.

12. Surgical Technologists

When it comes to job growth, healthcare may be the hottest field. The U.S. added 374,000 healthcare jobs in 2016 alone, according to the BLS, and many of them don’t require a college degree. Surgical technologist – aka a scrub tech — is one. You can get a job in this fast-growing field after earning an associate degree or completing a certificate program from an accredited school.

Surgical technologists earn $22.17 an hour, equivalent to $46,114 per year. The number of jobs grew by 7% over the past five years, and 11% of people working in the field are between 19 and 24.

11. Automotive Service & Maintenance Technicians

Given that more than half of Americans don’t know how to change their car’s oil or fix a flat tire, let alone perform more complex maintenance, it’s no wonder that the number of jobs for automotive service and maintenance technicians is growing. These car repair gurus keep vehicles humming along, and they don’t need a degree to do it. Vocational training combined with on-the-job experience gets you in the door, making this field a good choice for people who don’t think college is the right choice for them.

Automotive service technicians earn $19.65 an hour on average, or about $40,872 per year. More than 650,000 people work in this field, and the number of jobs grew by 7% in recent years. Twelve percent of automotive techs are younger than 24.

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10. Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Installers & Repairers

Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers install and repair home sound systems and entertainment systems. You don’t need a college degree to do this job, though you will need to complete some specialized training, usually at a community college or technical school.

Electronic home entertainment equipment installers make $19.12 per hour, or about $39,770 per year, just under the $40K threshold. The number of jobs grew by 7% from 2013 to 2017, and 13% of people in this field were 24 or younger.

9. Film & Video Editors

If you watch television or movies, you’ve benefited from the work of a film or video editor. Film editors assemble footage into a coherent sequence. The job typically requires a bachelor’s degree, and it’s one of the best-paying creative jobs out there, with top film editors earning more than six figures annually.

Film and video editing is a small but growing field. The number of jobs grew by 18% from 2013 to 2017, and there are now roughly 30,000 people working in this industry. With an average wage of $38.89 an hour, or $80,891 per year, it’s also one of the best-paying jobs for young workers. Thirteen percent of film and video editors are younger than 24.

8. Biological Technicians

Science-loving college students might want to consider a career as a biological technician. This job involves helping scientists conduct lab tests and experiments. Most have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a similar field, and they need hands-on lab experience to get the job. Some biological technicians become full-fledged scientists after earning a master’s or doctorate degree, according to the BLS.

The number of jobs for biological technicians grew 5% from 2013 to 2017. Of the roughly 76,000 people in this field, 14% are under 24, and they earn $21.77 an hour on average, or $45,282 a year.

7. Physical Therapy Assistants

Physical therapy assistants, or PTAs, work with physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries. To land the job, you’ll need an associate degree from an accredited program. You’ll also need to be licensed. A minority of PTAs eventually go back to school and become physical therapists, a job that requires an advanced degree, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.

Jobs for physical therapy assistants increased 13% over the past five years. About 15% of the 87,000 people working in this field are younger than 24, and they earn an average wage of $26.59 per hour ($55,307 per year).

6. Camera Operators

Camera operators capture images for television, film, and video. Most camera operators earn a bachelor’s degree in film or broadcasting. Roughly half of camera operators work in either the film or television industry, but others might film weddings or corporate events. Thirty percent are self-employed.

The nation’s 20,616 camera operators earn $27.85 an hour, or $57,928 per year. Jobs in this specialized field grew by 7% from 2013 to 2017, and 15% of workers are younger than 24.

5. Forensic Science Technicians

On shows like CSI and Forensic Files, forensic scientists solve crimes using DNA, fingerprints and other evidence. While the real-life job might not be as dramatic as it is on TV, there’s a growing demand for people trained in forensic science. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a field like chemistry or biology, and you might take specific courses in forensic science, according to the BLS. In addition to being able to analyze evidence, forensic scientists need to be very detail-oriented and good communicators, since they’ll sometimes have to testify in criminal cases.

Forensic science technicians earn an average of $29.04 per hour, equivalent to a salary of $60,403. Eighteen percent of the roughly 15,000 people working in this field are under 24. The number of jobs for forensic science technicians grew by 12% from 2013 to 2017.

4. Environmental Science Protection Technicians

You can thank environmental science protection technicians for the clean water you drink and the fresh air you breathe. These professionals monitor pollution and contamination and inspect businesses and public spaces for environmental hazards and violations. To get the job, you’ll need an associate degree or other post-secondary training in environmental health or sciences.

Environmental science protection technicians earn $22.28 per hour, or $46,342 per year. A fifth of the 35,352 people in this field are between the ages of 19 and 24, and the number of jobs grew by 7% over the past five years.

3. Adult Education & Literacy Teachers

If you have a passion for teaching but can’t picture yourself in an elementary or high school classroom, a career as an adult education or literacy teacher might be a good fit. These educational professionals work with adult students to help them master the English language, earn a high school diploma, or acquire other basic skills. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to get a job in this field, and some people go on to earn master’s degrees in adult education or English as a second language.

People younger than 24 make up 22% of all adult education and literacy teachers. They earn $25.90 an hour on average, or $53,872 per year, and the number of jobs grew by 5% from 2013 to 2017.

2. Coaches & Scouts

Sports fanatics may find success as a coach or scout. To coach at the college or professional level, you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS, as well as playing experience. Scouts may have a degree in sports management or business. Younger people looking to break into the field might have part-time or summer jobs coaching at camps or youth sports programs.

Young people are well represented among the nation’s 233,107 coaches and scouts. Twenty-two percent are 24 or younger. They earn $19.50 an hour on average, or $40,560 per year. The number of jobs grew by 7% over the past five years.

1. Social Science Research Assistants

Social science research assistants help more senior-level scientists with surveys, data management, and preparing finding for publication. Many work in colleges and universities, others in the private sector. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to get one of these jobs.

Twenty-eight percent of social science research assistants are younger than 24. They earn $21.96 per hour, or $45,677 per year. The number of jobs grew by 5% from 2013 to 2017, to nearly 30,000.

This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.

Image: kali9

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Why Everyone Over 30 Should Start Thinking About Life Insurance

Why Everyone Over 30 Should Start Thinking About Life Insurance is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

I don’t like to make generalizations too often, but I do feel that everyone over 30 should start thinking about the importance of life insurance. That is, if you’re 30 and over and don’t have any life insurance.

No one likes to think about their demise, but life insurance is an extraordinary product that can be used to reduce the financial burden you could leave behind for loved ones. Plus, different types of life insurance can even help you build wealth and diversify your assets.

Here are 4 important reasons why everyone over 30 should start thinking about life insurance.

The Insurance At Your Job is Probably Not Cutting It

By now you probably realize the life insurance coverage that your job offers is not enough. Some employers include life insurance in their list of benefits which is great, but the coverage amount often doesn’t come close to your insurable need.

Your insurable need represents how much life insurance you should hold depending on factors like your age, liabilities, health conditions, and so on. One common rule of thumb is that your average life insurance coverage amount should be 7 to 10 times your annual income.

So if you’re earning $60,000 per year, you might want to consider a policy of $420,000 to $600,000 depending on your needs. However, the average employee life insurance policy amount is only around $25,000 to $50,000 or one years’ salary. This is not nearly enough.

Plus, when you leave your job, you’ll lose your insurance benefits too. This is why it’s always important to consider having your own life insurance coverage independent of your employer. So many people are switching jobs every 2 to 3 years so you may not want your life insurance benefits to be tied to your employer anyway.

Term life insurance is pretty affordable and you can get a free quote in just a few minutes from Bestow.


Here are 4 important reasons why everyone over 30 should start thinking about life insurance.
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You Want to Protect Loved Ones From a Financial Burden

You don’t have to be married with kids and a house to want to consider life insurance. However, more people in their 30s do focus on settling down and working toward some of these milestones.

If you do have kids, a mortgage, etc. you’ll definitely want to consider how your partner would get by if anything did happen to you. Would the kids still be able to go to college? Would your spouse be able to keep the house? These are important questions that life insurance can help you answer.

Even if you’re single and at the height of your career. More people in their 30s are carrying debt like student loans and personal loans. Did you know that some types of student loan debt can not be forgiven even if you died? You probably don’t want to pass on any financial burdens to your parents or other loved ones who would have to fit the bill.

Life insurance provides a tax-free payment to your beneficiary which can help cover everything from debt payments, loss of household income, funeral arrangements, and more.

RELATED: How Much Life Insurance Do You Really Need

30 Is Still Young Enough to Lock in Affordable Rates For Whole Life Insurance

Let’s say you’re considering the importance of life insurance. Whole life insurance in particular. Whole life insurance is permanent insurance that builds cash value as you continue to pay your premiums.

Other types of insurance, like variable whole life, even allow you to invest some of the cash value and grow the amount faster. You can borrow from your cash value, use it to pay your life insurance premiums, or even withdraw it while you’re still alive and well.

While whole life insurance is cheaper than term life, costs increase around the board as you get older. If you’re considering whole life insurance, the best option is to get a policy while you’re younger. Thirty years old is not too old to still get a decent rate for your life insurance premiums. Plus, it allows you enough time to build cash value that could be put to use in the future.

Get Insured and Protected From Medical Issues

Yes, life insurance is geared toward providing financial relief for your loved ones. Depending on your policy, you may be able to obtain something called ‘living benefits’. Living benefits are an insurance rider (which means it’s an added on feature) that can be added to your term or whole life insurance policy.

Living benefits can allow you to use some of your life insurance coverage amount to pay medical expenses for a serious illness or condition. Of course, this will reduce the benefit provided to your beneficiary, but it can still be a helpful feature to help you cover medical bills that could otherwise be left for your loved ones to deal with anyway.

No one likes to think about getting sick or becoming terminally ill, but planning for the best and worst is just a part of adult life. As you get older, your health tends to decline but if you’re still healthy in your 30s, it’s the perfect time to lock in a life insurance policy and consider adding a living benefits rider.

RELATED: Should You Get Disability Insurance? 4 Ways to Decide

Summary

Life insurance should be apart of everyone’s financial plan. Knowing the importance of life insurance can be life-saving information. If you’re over 30 and still don’t have coverage. Consider all the reasons to get a term or whole life policy. Consider your current future needs and carefully weigh the pros and cons.

Remember, you can get a free no-obligation quote from Bestow in just two minutes.

Why Everyone Over 30 Should Start Thinking About Life Insurance is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

15 Top Income-Earning Blogs: Make Money Online Blogging [Infographic]

The World’s Top-Earning Blogs Are Making Serious Money Online What are the top income-earning blogs? It’s not an easy question to answer. For one, most of the top paid bloggers don’t disclose how much their blogs make.  If they did, this list of profitable blogs might look much different. Another reason it’s hard to rank […]

The post 15 Top Income-Earning Blogs: Make Money Online Blogging [Infographic] appeared first on Incomist.

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16 Best Survey Sites

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Sharing your opinions by taking part in surveys is a great way to influence products and services and make some cash at the same time. The best survey sites work with companies to get consumer thoughts on current and future products and services….

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Why It’s the Year of the Side Hustle

Side hustles have always been a good way to earn more money and better your finances. With so many people in debt while wages have fallen flat, they’ve become especially popular over the past decade. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen them shoot ahead in popularity even further. 

According to a recent survey by credit-building platform, Self, just over half of Americans plan to start a side hustle as a direct result of the pandemic. The numbers get really interesting when you break them down by age, too. The majority of Millennials (around 70%) plan to start a side hustle, while only a few — around 20% — of Boomers have the same idea. 

Coronavirus and Unemployment: Changing How People Earn Money

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you already know the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on the economy. Still, it’s worth taking a second look at the numbers. By May 2020, after everything shut down, the number of unemployed people in the U.S. shot up even higher than figures during the Great Depression. It ranged higher than 14 million unemployed people, compared to the Great Depression’s peak of 8.8 million unemployed. The unemployment rate at its peak in 2020 was 16%. 

Today the economy is reopening and the unemployment rate has gone back down, but still stands twice as high as normal — 8% — as of August 2020. Even if you are lucky enough to be back at work today, chances are good that you’re still not earning as much as you were before. Your hours might’ve been reduced, you might’ve missed out on pay raises, or you might’ve suffered a pay cut. 

If you’re still unemployed, the picture isn’t any better. The extra $600 weekly unemployment assistance dropped off at the end of July, leaving many people with normal piddly paycheck amounts. 

Finally, even if you’re one of the lucky ones who’s been totally unaffected by all of this, at least you’ve seen the devastation that can happen and maybe you’re spurred on to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. No matter which segment you fall into, everyone’s seeing how important diversifying your income with a side hustle is right now. 

12 Most Popular Side Gigs of the Year

Whether you call them “side hustles” or not, people have been finding creative ways to earn a little extra on the side ever since economies have existed. But today, with COVID, some side hustles are more popular than others. Here are some of the most popular side gig options this year:

1. Deliver Groceries and Food

With so many people trying to keep their distance, one hot job that’s been booming is food delivery workers — specifically, through apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, Instacart, Shipt, and more. All you need is a car and a smartphone. And while your chances of being exposed to COVID are greater than if you’d found an online gig (please, avoid this one if you’re high-risk!), contact-free delivery options are making it a bit safer. 

2. Transcribe Audio Files

If you’re looking for a good way to boost your typing speed and listen to (potentially) interesting conversations, give transcription a try. You can find partner websites that’ll send you audio files or advertise your services in writer’s groups. All you have to do is type out the audio accurately and send your transcription back to the partner. 

The startup cost on this side gig is low — all you need is a computer and internet, which you might already have if you’re reading this. Beyond that, a small investment in a foot pedal — a hands-free way to start and stop audio — keeps your hands on the keyboard so that you type faster and earn more money in the process. 

3. Tutor a Student

The education system is a mess right now. Many kids are stuck at home and are falling behind in their studies. Parents are at their wit’s end, and looking for ways to help their children grow and stay entertained. That’s where you come in. There are many opportunities to tutor students online, and if you and the other party is comfortable, you can even meet up in person for socially-distanced learning.

4. Pet-Sitting and Dog-Walking

Even though normal travel isn’t really a thing right now, there still are more people than ever travelling locally. Many people can only stay in their home so long without going stir-crazy, after all. A lot of pet sitters are finding that business is booming right now, and you can get in on the action, too. 

Apps like Rover and Wag! make it easy to get started. Even if you can’t watch someone’s pup for them, you can still offer your services as a dog walker and get out of the house while still distancing yourself from other people. 

5. Freelance Writing or Starting a Blog

Do you have an interesting story? Would you like to write about other people who do? If so, now’s a great time to start your own blog or freelance writing side hustle. Blogging takes a lot of work and time before it really pays off, although if it does, you can earn a lot of money. Freelance writing might be more lucrative right off the bat, and you can even leverage your new blog as a way to showcase your writing to earn work with paid clients. 

6. Become a Virtual Assistant

With so many people working entirely online these days, an entire new industry of workers have cropped up: virtual assistants. As a virtual assistant, your job may be as varied as the people who hire you. You might find sources for interviews, keep track of tasks in a database, answer reader emails, make graphics, write blog posts, and more. And since it’s entirely virtual, your potential client list is global. 

7. Take Surveys

This side hustle might not replace your day job, but if you have a few extra minutes while you’re watching TV, baking, or spending endless hours listening in on Zoom meetings, you can earn a bit more cash. There are a lot of places to earn money with surveys, so be sure to try your hand at more than one. 

8. Web and App Development

Techy skills are in demand right now, especially with so many people working online. If you know a bit of code — or want to learn — now’s a great time to get started with this side hustle. You can find work through Fiverr and Upwork, or advertise independently elsewhere. If you know how to develop apps, see if you can come up with any ideas to make quarantine life easier for everyone — that would be a hit for sure. 

9. SEO Developer

The only option most local businesses have to reach potential customers these days is online. But the mom-and-pop pizza shop down the road probably isn’t up to snuff when it comes to advertising on Google and social media. These skills are especially in demand right now, and there are many courses you can take to learn more and start this side hustle immediately. 

10. Write eBooks

Are you good at coming up with stories? If you’ve got some time on your hands and you don’t have any pressing money concerns, writing ebooks can be a great way to set up a passive income strategy that’ll keep paying you throughout the future. Just like with blogging, it can be a risky strategy since it may not pay off immediately. But if you have a passion for words, a creative imagination, and an entrepreneurial spirit, this could be a great side hustle for you.

11. Social Media Strategist

Companies often aren’t SEO experts, and they aren’t social media experts either. But if you were raised alongside Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and love mastering the newest social media channels, this could be a great side hustle for you. You’ll need to learn how to work with brands and companies to represent them online so that they sell more products — and in turn, can pay you the big bucks. 

12. Do Odd Jobs

We’ve covered some of the websites you can use to earn money during the pandemic right now, but it bears repeating here. Websites like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, and Upwork have many more opportunities than what we’ve listed here. 

For example, you could help with mowing lawns, helping someone move to a new house, delivering things from stores, designing printable PDFs, teaching someone how to play guitar, and more. The opportunities are endless, and it’s free to browse and see what small odd jobs are available in your area. 

The Bottom Line

The year 2020 will probably go down in most people’s books as one of the worst on record. It’s important to acknowledge the bad that’s happening, but it’s also important to look forward, too. Even in the midst of all of this craziness, there is an opportunity for growth and a way to better your finances. No one can pinpoint when a pandemic will happen, but you can plan your financial response to big events like this. 

The post Why It’s the Year of the Side Hustle appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

24 Surprising Jobs You Can Do From Home

excited woman looking at laptop
Photo by fizkes / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com. At FlexJobs, we post thousands of remote jobs in areas that may not be particularly surprising, such as writing, software development, or graphic design. But we also offer surprising jobs for people looking for work flexibility in unconventional fields. Keep reading for examples of 25 surprising remote jobs. These jobs demonstrate the great breadth…

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Seven things college freshmen don’t need — and ten they do

This article originally appeared on NerdWalletThose ubiquitous checklists of “dorm room essentials” for college freshmen are filled with items that will be ditched by the end of first semester.

Some parents “go to the store and grab a list like they did when their kids were in elementary and high school and just go straight down the list,” says Lisa Heffernan, mother of three sons and a college-shopping veteran. Or they buy things they only wish their students will use (looking at you, cleaning products).

You can safely skip about 70% of things on those lists, estimates Asha Dornfest, the author of Parent Hacks and mother of a rising college sophomore who’s home for the summer.

What Not to Buy or Bring

Freshmen really need just two things, says Heffernan, co-founder of the blog Grown and Flown: a good mattress topper and a laptop.

Here are seven items you can skip:

  • Printer. Don’t waste desk space or, worse, store it under the bed; printers are plentiful on campus.
  • TV. Students may watch on laptops or on TVs in common areas or in someone else’s room. Bonus: Your teen gets out and meets others.
  • Speakers. Small spaces don’t require powerful speakers; earphones may be a good idea and respectful of roommates.
  • Car. Some colleges bar freshmen from having cars on campus or limit their parking. You also may save on insurance by keeping the car at home.
  • Luggage. If you bring it, you must store it. Heffernan suggests collapsible blue Ikea storage bags with zippers.
  • Toiletries to last until May. Bulk buying may save money, but you need storage space.
  • Duplicates of anything provided by the college, such as a lamp, wastebasket, desk chair or dresser.

Items left behind when students pack for the summer are telling. Luke Jones, director of housing and residence life at Boise State University, sees unopened food — a lot of ramen and candy — and stuffed animals and mirrors.

Jones says many students regret bringing high school T-shirts and memorabilia and some of their clothes (dorm closets typically are tiny).

What Can You Buy, Then?

Before you shop, find out what the college forbids (candles, space heaters, electric blankets and halogen lights are common). Have your student check with assigned roommates about appliances (who’s bringing a fridge or microwave?) and color scheme if they want to set one. Know the dimensions of the room and the size of the bed. And most of all, know your budget. Not everything has to be brand new.

Ten things — besides the all-important mattress topper and laptop — that many students consider dorm room essentials include:

  • One or two fitted sheets in the correct bed size, plus pillowcases. Heffernan says most students don’t use top sheets.
  • Comforter or duvet with washable cover.
  • Towels in a distinctive pattern or light enough for labeling with laundry marker, plus shower sandals.
  • Power cord with surge protector and USB ports.
  • Basic first aid kit.
  • Easy-to-use storage. If it’s a lot of work to get something out, your student won’t, Heffernan says.
  • Cleaning wipes. Students might not touch products that require multiple steps, but they might use wipes, according to Heffernan.
  • Reading pillow with back support for studying in bed.
  • Area rug. Floors are often hard and cold.
  • Comfort items. Dornfest says it could be a blanket or a picture of the dog — something from home that will make the space a bit more personal.

Afraid you’ll forget something important? You might, Heffernan says. But chances are, you or your student can order it online and get it delivered. Consider doing this with some items simply to avoid the hassle of bringing them yourself, and remember that “dorm necessities” often go on sale once school starts.

Do a Reality Check

If you or your student still want to replicate the rooms you’ve seen on Instagram and Pinterest, think about how the room will actually be used.

Once your son or daughter moves in, the room will never look like that again. Opt for sturdy items and be realistic. Will throw pillows make the place look more homey and inviting, or will they be tossed on the floor until parents’ weekend?

Dornfest, a co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, offers a compelling reason not to make things too comfortable. “A freshman needs to be encouraged to get out of the dorm room,” she says. “Anything that pulls you into campus life can be good.”

She’s not advocating a monk-like environment, but rather one that encourages breaking out of routines. College should be a time to try new things and meet people from different backgrounds. Dornfest advises making the bed as comfortable as possible and keeping a few reminders of home. The ideal dorm room is more launch pad than cocoon.

More from Nerdwallet

  • Budgeting for College Students
  • How to Build Credit at 18
  • How to Choose a Student Credit Card

The article 7 Things College Freshmen Don’t Need — and 10 They Do originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Source: getrichslowly.org