How You Can Avoid Becoming Another Statistic With a Heartbreaking Story

After reading this you’re going to be ready to do whatever it takes to not become another statistic with a heart breaking story about a life filled with regrets.

My favorite article of 2014 was the one about the man who wasted his life. You may have seen this story on social media. I shared it because it lit a fire under my ass. I want you to check out it out.

The article begins with an agonizing statement:

“All my dreams, my passion, gone. In a steady 9-7 job. 6 days a week. For 26 years. I repeatedly chose the safe path for everything, which eventually changed who I was.”

Before you judge, remember that time flies. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Look at how far you’ve already come. Think about those failed plans to get in shape or plans to save up for a trip.

The man concludes with:

“If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions.”

Powerful. How did this make you feel? Did it remind you to take control? To keep the momentum going, I want you to check out this video:

I personally experienced a similar moment…

“Aren’t you too old to start out in pro wrestling?”

To be brutally honest, I started wrestling way too late because I was a coward. I always did the safe thing. Went to school and did as my parents wanted me to. I never chased after my wildest dream of pro wrestling.

Sure, I saved money and start blogging, but those were safe for me. Wrestling topless in front of people with no guarantee of any pay, well, now that’s risky.

It wasn’t until I was 25 years old that I became a brute that does this…

Chasing a dream

Better late than never. I follow this philosophy for everything. It’s never too late. It’s only too late when you’re dead!

I could relate to the gentleman in the article because I’ve felt the pain of “what if?”

How can you avoid wasting your life?

We already looked at why you need to stop reading motivational quotes 24/7. That’s critical because inspiration fades. Long after you finish reading this you might totally forget about how you felt.

How does one avoid waking up one day and realizing that they wasted their life?

First, you need to stop talking about how hard you work.

Too many of my friends complain about work and how they’re stressed out. Nobody cares. Everyone works. Get over yourself. You don’t work hard enough. I’m calling you out because I see all of you slacking off and watching sports.

Then you need to ditch the distractions.

I don’t care about your video games or your stupid sports. I don’t even know the rules of football. I don’t care who wins a game. Why would I care? The athletes are getting paid millions of dollars and you’re not.

I’ve seen far to many friends fall behind because they’re so concerned with the next game, the next movie, the next release of a video game, and the next excuse to waste life away.

Once you stop complaining and you ditch the distractions, it’s time to forget about the fear of failure.

It’s okay to fail. It’s pathetic to not even try. You’re going to regret all of the things that you didn’t do when you’re in your 50s. You won’t regret the chances that you took and the way you felt when you put it all on the line.

Finally, I want you to remember that it’s not always all or nothing.

You don’t have to quit your job, travel the world, or invent the next Facebook. You can chase dreams on the weekend, you can try that new sport after work, you can plan an annual adventure with your family, or you can just be more open-minded to new ideas.

[Must read: How-to Plan Your Epic Adventure.]

What are you going to do?

There are those that are willing to do whatever it takes. Then there are those who just settle. Even worse, are those who lie to themselves!

I never want you to lie to yourself. You can’t delay your goals. Today’s the best day to start doing any of the following:

  • Start freelancing.
  • Going out sober.
  • Paying off debt.
  • Saving more.
  • Planning trips.

You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to get started.

[Helpful article: How-to Start an Online Business in Five Minutes.]

It’s your life. You came here because you were tired of being broke, you wanted to save more money, you wanted to start freelancing, or you just wanted to figure out how to survive your 20s. Now it’s your turn to put in the work. I’ve already given you all of the tools possible. If you don’t try you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” — Neil Gaiman

Should You Get a Structured Settlement or a Lump Sum?

This may not be a super common problem, but it came from one of my readers so it bears mentioning.

Should you get a structured settlement or fight for a lump sum payment?

This might need a little context and explanation, if you’ve never been in this situation yourself. I’ll try to make it clear. First of all, you’ll only be in this situation if you’ve ever taken someone to court. That makes you the plaintiff, one who complains. You want justice. The defendant, in this situation, knows that you are in the right, that there is no way he/she/they/it will beat you in court. So rather than go through the whole ordeal, facing the costs, reputational toll, and time that this takes, the defendant will try to settle with you out of court.

This is good for you. You don’t have to waste time in a court case either, and you can get back to your life. The defendants’ lawyer(s) will sit you down and give you an offer. You will then agree or make a counteroffer through your lawyer. Once you’ve agreed on a price for your pain, suffering, or inconvenience, they will present you the monies in the form of a lump sum or, much more commonly, a structured settlement. Both have their benefits, but your defendant doesn’t want to have to pay you all at once, so they’ll post likely opt for the structured settlement.

In most cases I would fight for the lump sum. After all, you get it all at once, and you may have some serious material needs if you’ve been driven to sue someone. You may have been in some kind of accident or other injurious circumstance. Maybe you’ve got hospital bills to pay off. Maybe you lost your job or are just unable to work. Maybe you’ve gone into debt recently, or you have household or student bills to pay. The scenarios are endless, but suffice to say, the time around a lawsuit is typically the time when you are most financially prone in your life.

But the other party doesn’t want to have to pay you all at once, so they fight for a structured settlement. You say OK, because steady income, paid out over time, is actually a really nice thing.

And that’s a great decision to make, as long as things go as planned. But what if you part ways with your structured settlement in hand, and you are unable to get back to work. Bills pile up, and your little dribble of income from your structured settlement isn’t enough to cover it. Or maybe you want to buy a house, and you can’t afford the down payment. In this situation, some people sell their structured settlements, to a company like 1 2 3 Lump Sum. Companies like this won’t give you the full value of your settlement; this is how they make money after all. But the convenience of a lump sum payment may be worth the loss of some of your settlement. That’s what keeps this business rolling, anyway, and you may find yourself in just this circumstance.

If you opt to sell, you’re going to have to check with a state court. They won’t let you sell if they think the thing you’re going to spend the money on is frivolous. But if it’s not a vacation, but more like an investment, they will probably let you do it. My advice? Shop around for the best offer when you sell your settlement, and use the money to pay for something that will make you more money in the long run.

Tips for Choosing an Auto Insurance Company

Every vehicle on the road is required to have insurance covering it. With so many companies offering auto insurance, how can a person go about choosing the best one? This is an important decision because choosing the the wrong provider could cost you literally thousands of dollars in premiums over the lifetime of the policy. Here are some tips that will help you make a good decision when it comes to choosing a company to insure your vehicle.

1. Know what you want.

Before you start to contact any companies, it is important for you to have a clear idea about the various amenities and coverages that you are interested in. Is price your only real concern? Do you just want to get the minimum amount of coverage required by law? Are you going to consider the customer service provided by the company as a factor in deciding which provider to go with? Knowing these things prior to contacting insurance agents will help the process go much smoother. Ideally, you should try to find a provider that offers the most comprehensive coverage at the lowest rate.

2. Reputation.

After you have located some companies that seem to offer what you are looking for, you need to begin doing some research into all of them. If you are not dealing with the large insurance providers that are famous around the country, you will need to contact the Department of Insurance in your state to find out if the company is licensed to sell auto insurance. It is also a good idea to contact the Better Business Bureau. Find out if the provider has had a significant number of complaints filed against it. They also give a letter grade from A+ to F for each provider. This information is very valuable to people trying to choose an auto insurance provider.

3. Compare car insurance quotes.

Obviously, the price of the auto insurance is going to be a huge consideration for most people, even if the company has a great reputation and offers the exact type of coverage you are looking for. With so many auto insurance companies out there, it is in your best interests to contact as many providers as possible. Get a quote from each one and find out which one is the cheapest. When you contact each provider, tell them you are contacting many other companies. This might cause them to lower their rates slightly to attract your business.

Update From a Reader Working Towards Financial Freedom [Student Case Study]

Studenomics is all about the community. If I don’t help you guys get to financial freedom, then I have failed.

Help a reader pay off debt

One reader is working towards freedom by trying to pay off their debt. In September we touched base with Jacquelyn to help her become financially free.

[Check out: Help out Jacquelyn.]

Let’s check out the update for January 2015!

Help a reader

What are the financials like?

Let’s start off by seeing where the financials are.

  • Income is the same at $55,000 annually.
  • Take home monthly is $2,954.
  • Our combined take home (until she gets the promotion) is 4156 with shared expenses.
  • Rent at 1515 a month. I have $450 in monthly expenses outside of shared expenses and she has $250. With all of that, it leaves us about $1,914/month to send to debt, not quite the $2,800 I need to get myself out of debt but it put some things into perspective. Her tax refund is going to clear out the rest of her credit card debt, which will help a lot.
  • I got a $732 bonus because it was the New Year. That was a nice surprise. I’m expected to obtain a bonus in June but it is set up in a jaded way, so that the bonus is spread out over the course of the year instead of as a lump sum. I don’t know what my bonus structure is yet.
  • I cannot partake in the employment 401k until I have been there for a year but they only allow enrollment twice a year: June and Dec. I started in July so I will have to wait until December. I’m trying to find the best place for me to begin a 401k or IRA, eventually both as my knowledge expands so that I have the best form of savings no matter where I land on the employment scale.
  • My savings plan is $20/week for now as direct debit to an account I don’t touch with a decent APR (once the value is substantial).

What are the biggest financial concerns right now?

My biggest fear is our lack of any back up for emergencies, it makes the debt paying even more stressful as we want to make sure we pay our bills/debts and selves first but don’t put ourselves back into a credit card pickle.

I was able to transfer the remaining $2,000 on my capital one to my CUD card with no balance transfer fee and a 4% APR decrease, leaving that amount with an interest rate of 4.24%. There was $1,500 on my CUD card already so that portion will maintain the 8.24% APR.

I’m still learning how that changes my payment schedule and how interest is actually accrued with a balance greater than $0 when the payment date passes. For me, this was a great choice because my credit card debt is consolidated and once that balance is gone, it’s gone. My next step will be my loans, which actually have a higher interest rate but I want to be out of CC debt first.

I have to figure out the best way to leverage my payments into my student loans. That’s a bridge I’ll cross as it gets closer in the next few weeks. Essentially, just putting my payment to the loan that will bring me the greatest return, considering they all share the same interest rate.

I also figured out how much I pay on student loan interest monthly, if you want that. As far as I can tell my Fed loans were “consolidated” on the site but not by interest as I pay about $35-40 per loan in interest every month, totalling about $120. I pay $201.03 a month on those loans because they messed up some of my payments when I changed to lower my monthly amount and I didn’t foresee it getting better especially knowing I would be done with CC debt sooner.

The other loan I pay about $21/month of interest with a payment of $55.

My next big venture is to figure out the most effective way to pay those down.

What are the future plans with income and life?

Side income is currently random dog watching jobs, the last one landed us about $1200 but was a nightmare having six dogs. However, managing 2-3 dogs and making an extra 200-500/month would help A LOT.

The biggest step for me is just working my ass off.

If I want to avoid a part time job to focus on my online business, then I need to hold myself accountable because I won’t leave a job without solid income in place.

I’m working with Martin, a few writer mentors and ABM actually to build the business and gain different perspectives. I really have no excuse to not have my name out there. I have an ass ton of time and just need to develop habits, not routines.

Mostly, just trying to create an audience, be visible and reach the people I want to reach so I am not sitting in an office wishing I could be home doing what I know I’m supposed to.

What’s stopping Jacquelyn from her goals?

My fear is not the big dream, my fear is all the little things I have to give myself to in order to get there.

It’s the wishing and wanting without the drive to get it. A lot of me is driven by proving that I can be who I want and not feel like a total disappointment, but that’s what my story is all about. Defying expectations that have been placed on me by others or by a result of my experience with others.

This is my story to financial freedom and I no longer have to live shackled to a life I thought I was supposed to hold.

A personal update from Jacquelyn…

So this is a brief synopsis of where I’m at, not much has changed with my actual income or side income. The dog sitting was my partner’s idea. We are working on a way to shuffle the money to the appropriate places. Her income and debt is about 1/3 of mine.

We are hashing out specific budget numbers to make our decisions for us, so when we feel like we going out or spending money that doesn’t align with our goals, we have a reminder that says :

Just because you have the money in your bank account does not mean it needs to be spent…at least not there.

Most the time, the money is just in my account as a safety net until the next paycheck so that I have an easier time paying debt right away.

What are some must read articles from Martin?

It’s time to go back to school if you’re not 100% on top of your finances. Actually, this is the opposite of school. Lame personal finance advice comes to Studenomics to die.

I didn’t want to repeat myself so I’m sharing the must read articles for Jacquelyn and all readers in a similar situation.

How-to drink without going broke — This is key. I can’t tell anyone not to party. I would be the world’s biggest hypocrite. I can only suggest ways to save money on this expense and to not let it consume your life.

Start an online business in 6 easy steps — You can start your own online business and make money in the future (it won’t be easy). This is a fun hobby that could POSSIBLY lead to money down the road.

How you can save $25k by 25 — Proven tactics that have worked for me. No excuses! The title says it all and it applies to every age.

The ultimate guide to crushing your debt — Over 2,000 words on destroying your debt. The best possible guide on the whole damn web. You’ll find a strategy that works for you in here.

Add play to your life and never feel miserable again — A quick guide to helping you feel good. Being in debt can really bring you down. You need to do everything possible to stay positive.

Do you have any advice, tips, or praise for Jacquelyn?

Motivational Quotes Don’t Pay The Bills

I’m going to snap if I see another slacker post a motivational quote on Facebook.

As you know, I love my quotes. I throw them into articles when I think that they’re going to help. I enjoy a good quote when I’m feeling down. I don’t just aimlessly post quotes.

I just can’t stand the same useless quotes from the same people. Today I woke up to two motivational videos. One guy recorded himself giving motivation and he tagged like 4o people in it.

My favorite gimmick is the quote attached to a half-naked picture to deflect blatant narcissism.

Someone has to be the bad guy and I’ll gladly do that.

I hate to break it to you, but the following is a harsh reality…

Motivational quotes don’t pay the bills.

You can post all day and then wait for new quotes to come up to post. That won’t do anything to improve your situation.

Motivational quotes will never pay your bills unless some fool pays you to post quotes!

You need to do something more than just devour quotes all day. You need to get paid for your work. You can’t read The Secret and sit around hoping for the best. That’s not how it works.

[Check out: The Ultimate Guide to Investing in Yourself.]

Here’s another harsh reality…

Your friends don’t want what’s best for you.

Your friends aren’t bad people. They just don’t know what’s best for you. Your friends are going to like your stupid post and the cycle will continue. You’re going to continue “motivating” your friends with useless lines that won’t do anything.

You should never listen to your friends when chasing goals. You have to accept objective advice. You can’t dismiss critics as “haters.” You can’t think that you’re the best just because your friends feed your ego with social media attention.

You have to do what’s best for your situation.

You can’t just keep on keeping on, hoping for things to change. Nothing will ever change if you don’t change your attitude.

What’s the best thing that you could do right now to improve your finances?

“So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.” — Steven Pressfield

You stuck for an answer? Cool. I’ll give you some ideas right now:

  • Take a step in the right direction.
  • Put up a sales page.
  • Start a blog.
  • Find a freelancing client.
  • Volunteer.
  • Pick the mind of a successful person.
  • Take someone out for lunch.
  • Apply for a new job.

All of these will help you out much more today than entreporn and sharing memes with your buddies.

[Mandatory read: How to Invest $1,000 to Skyrocket Your Freelancing.]

There’s one last little point I need to touch upon in this little rant…

Get the right people on your team.

Your drinking buddy can’t also be your training buddy, your business partner, your life advisor, your nutritionist, and your counsellor.

You need the right people on your team if you want this to work.

You can’t just rely on the same old friends on Facebook to help you out. It’s okay to branch out, try new classes, attend events, go to seminars, and meet different folks. You can’t be around the same people forever.

At the end of the day, you already know that motivational quotes don’t pay the bills. If you change anything this year, it better be removing your failure to launch.

If you want to start freelancing right now and make more money to do cool stuff, then you need to get your hands on a copy of my book off Amazon.

You can post quotes all day when you make enough money to take that dream vacation!