“One day you are going to either wish you had been smarter about how you worked, lived, and saved-or be incredibly glad that you were so savvy while you were young.” -Chelsea Fagan
The Financial Diet has advice that helps navigate the journey that comes with “adulting”. However, for those who are financially savvy, I would say this book lacks an in depth view of each section. Each section could literally be its own book. Regardless, I found learnings that are great for young adults.
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
The prominent culture of self-care has influenced people to spend recklessly. Some use self-care to excuse their expensive habits that are quite frankly out of their budget. In reality, true self-care is adopting practices that will preserve holistic health.
“Don't exceed your ability to pay shit back within a month.”
Cait Flanders said you should trust your gut when spending money. You know in your head and heart when something might not be financially sound. When she would spend money on something she couldn't afford, her body warned her. I know this feeling all too well. I used to spend a significant amount of money on my irrational weekly shopping sprees. It was not my finest moment, but I eventually got tired of feeling guilty.
Instead, I indulged in DIY's that satisfied the luxurious feeling I was craving.
I started incorporating "spa days". On those days, I put on a face mask, took a bubble bath, and listened to jazz music.
Chelsea says that not everyone is going to have the same financial goals, but everyone can use a program to track their spending, set reasonable goals, and hold themselves accountable. Make sure you are being honest about what your weaknesses are, where you could be saving more money but aren't, how you could be earning more, and what you have a tendency to lie to yourself about.
Chelsea uses the financial tool mint to track her finances. This tool is useful because you can have your student loans, credit cards, investment accounts, and financial goals all in one place. A popular system many financial planners bring up is the 50/30/20 system: 50 percent of your income going to fixed costs, 30 percent of your income going to variable/lifestyle-based costs, and 20 percent of your income toward savings goal.
The book offers a whole list of budgeting questions to ask yourself and a 4-step guide:
"Your ability to cut expenses is limited; your earning potential is not."
Always remember, wealthy people don’t rely on one source of income. Stephanie Georgopulos says, "having multiple streams of income doesn't just mean money, it means no one employer is your professional destiny."
Although stocks may sound exciting, 'The Financial Diet' suggests focusing on these before investing in stock:
Emergency fund (3-6 months worth of living costs)
Pay down debts (create a schedule that minimizes interest)
Retirement account (401k/IRA)
Explore other investment (mutual funds)
Invest in stocks
I used TD Ameritrade to invest in VGT, Cisco, and Beyond Meat. I set aside a specific amount of money and chose my 3 stocks based on different criteria. One was practical, the other was because of a trend I noticed, and the last one was because I believe in the company’s mission.
Additionally, set your future self up for success by contributing to your retirement accounts. Take advantage of employer matching on your 401k. Kristen Robinson, SVP of emerging investors at Fidelity, says to supplement your 401k by also contributing to a ROTH IRA.
BUILD YOUR CREDIT
If you're starting to build your credit, but are struggling to get approved for a credit card, you can get a secured card. This is what I did when I was 18, and over time, I was able to raise my credit score. Different components determine your credit score, but some of the most important is paying your monthly payments on time (obviously) and spending less than 30% of available credit.
This book doesn't go into much detail about building your credit, but don't overlook this section! I know it sounds boring, but by having a credit score of 740 or higher, you'll get good interest rates, higher credit limit, better home loan deals etc. You'll thank yourself in the future.
"Put a value on your time, and start measuring your wealth not in money but in freedom."
Negotiating for a fair compensation is a skill that everyone has to learn in their own way-the sooner you get used to demanding proper payment, the more money you will have in the long run.
Figure out appropriate compensation for the job you are doing. I personally use Glassdoor
Go in prepared to negotiate (you can also negotiate things other than money)-always take time to think about the counteroffer and never be overly impressed with an initial number they offer.
Compensation should be based on your performance. DON'T COMPARE yourself to others
Before you go in to talk about promotions, demonstrate that you can definitely execute the higher-level job you want
Invest in yourself and in building your career skill set an online class, attend a workshop, invite someone senior for coffee
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Shortly after high school, I watched a movie that shaped how I wanted to be seen in the world. The inspirational movie that opened my eyes to beauty and class was none other than, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I admired Audrey Hepburn’s classic beauty and mannerism in the movie. At the time, I had the rebellious ‘wannabe punk’ look going on. So, from one day to the next, I removed my plugs, and decided on a new look. Classic, Classy, & Chic! With time (& money), I had wardrobe staples I think every woman needs:
A well-tailored blazer
A faux leather jacket
Classic heels in black, white and nude
I learned not to be afraid to invest in good signature/classic pieces that cost a little more. Investing in good pieces versus only buying Forever 21 clothes (that will disintegrate in a month) will be worthwhile.
FEELING GOOD IN YOUR HOME
"Creating a home that makes you feel wonderful is a gift you give yourself that echoes through the rest of your life.” Although you might be tempted to upgrade once you have a well-paying job, you should consider Chelsea's "should I rent" checklist. You can always make your home feel more chic and expensive with these tips:
Take your time decorating
Stick to a strict color palette
Make your own wall art
Buy only what you love