Yes, credit has officially dethroned  cash as king in America. I know, I know… You’re thinking I’m out of my mind right now, but hear me out. In today’s economy there are very little things that using cash will save you more than using credit. We all have realized by now that the better your credit score is, the better the terms of credit you’ll receive from lenders.

We’ve been taught for generations now that cash is king and will save you the most money. Sorry to inform all my strictly cash buyers out there, but that’s no longer the case. Today’s world is rapidly speeding toward a digital society and the exchange of actual paper currency is becoming a lost art. Plus money is just dirty anyway, you have no clue where its been before it touched your hands!

So I’m making another list for the sake of informing you how credit has become king. I’ll also provide you with some helpful tips to help you save the most money. Without further delay, here are 4 ways credit is now king.

1) Cash Back Cards

Have I ever told you guys how much I love these cards? Well if I haven’t, I absolutely love these cards! Like I love these cards so much that my wallet is full of them! I love them so much that I personally have 5 of them! Oh, and I’ll be adding more over the years.

Anyway, cash for everyday purchases is on life support because of this new phenomenon called cash back cards. If you use these cards properly then you can honestly save a large amount of money over a years time. We personally saved $1,000+ in 2016 by using these cards over cash. Yes, I actually said over a thousand dollars saved by using a credit card over cash.

That’s because these cards give you 1% to 5% cash back on all of your purchases. Then when you pay them off in full every month, you don’t get charged a penny in interest. Therefore, a little bit of discipline and receiving at least 1% cash back for every item you buy over a years time equals huge savings for just swiping a credit cards!

2) Specialty Cards

So for those that are wanting more than just 1% to 5% cash back and do the majority of your spending on one thing or one place, these cards are for you. These cards are geared more toward people who fly a lot, are living in and out of hotels, or buy with one specific merchant on a regular basis. You’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you didn’t have one of these cards!

If you have a travel rewards card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll be racking up a ton of free miles and travel rewards points just for booking your travel with the card. You’ll also be saving money by not paying for TSA services and memberships to airport lounges because they’re complimentary with the card. This will result in saving thousands in just free membership perks alone.

Store cards save you money over using cash in a similar way, but only in discounts for the clothing. For simply using your store card on things you’re already going to buy you could receive a 20% discount, plus earn rewards, along with higher coupon discounts. This could result in you paying 50% less or more than if you used strictly cash to shop at said store. I’ll call that a win every time! As always though, remember to pay off that balance in full every month. You don’t want to end up paying more by not practicing discipline.

3) Sign Up Bonus & No Annual Fees

This is exactly why I have so many credit cards! I’m a sucker for the sign up bonuses, they get me every time! Well almost every time, I do know how to say no until the current sign up bonus expires. Then I’m back on the hunt for the next great offer.

By now you’re probably wondering what’s so great about sign up bonus and annual fees. Well I’ll finally get to it then.. Sign up bonuses are these amazing perks you receive for a limited amount of time for being approved for the credit card. Usually they come in the form of a great percentage of cash back that you’ll never receive by using cash to pay for something. Take my Discover It card for example. I’m receiving a match for every penny in cash back I earn over the first year of having the card. This is a rate of savings on everyday purchases that just simply can’t be matched by using cash.

The best thing about bonuses is that cash back isn’t the only perk. You also have several cards that give you 0% for a certain period of time. So you may have 15 months of no interest to use the card before even a chance of paying a penny in interest. Now add no annual fee into the equation. You have a recipe for savings galore!

4) Liquidity

Now this is the ultimate goal we all want to acheive. We all want to have our assets produce more returns than our liabilities, but it’s hard to learn how. It’s also hard to get started appropriately, it’s not impossible though! This is what cedit is for! Using credit for certain purchases, such as real estate, will allow you to invest the same cash you would have used to purchase the land and take advantage of the potential gains from investing those funds.

The trick to making this successful is getting the right interest rates. If you can get a line of credit, loan, or some other type of credit source that’ll charge you a lower interest rate than the gains on the cash being invested, then you’re golden. Thats because you’ll be producing a positive net on the cash investment, you’ll also have the returns on the real estate investment, and you’ll still have the cash to pay off that loan if you need to earlier than planned. Now your cash is really working for you and you’ve turned that cash into 2 income streams instead of just one.

Now this isn’t for the beginning investor and people new to credit. I also recommend you consult with a financial advisor before implementing this strategy as well. It’s very easy to make a mistake and have all this backfire on you. So start small, work hard on educating yourself and your business partners about this technique, and make sure you have a quality financial advisor to help guide you through it.

 

Find The Right Approach For You

You need to figure out which card fits your lifestyle and will help you maximize your cash back. If you’re always on the go and a jet setter then you need a travel rewards card. If you just back everyday purchases and your family lifestyle is similar to mine, you need a cash back card. If you’re always shopping and known to be a fashionista then you need a cash back card along with a store card to your favorite retailer, I personally have an Express store card and my wife has one to her favorite store as well. Love getting those $15 rewards, double points, and $40 birthday coupons, thanks Express!

As far as the liquidity approach, practice with extreme caution!  The use of this technique is for those at the expert credit usage level. Not sure that makes any sense, but you get what I mean. This is by no means for the rookies of credit and those who are still finding to using credit properly. Basically you need to be at the pro level. Okay? You got it?

At the end of the day, learn how to use credit properly. This can literally save you thousands and potentially make you more. Also, stay tuned to my blog for more helpful tips and don’t forget to share!

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All too often people get themselves in deep trouble by making this monumental mistake. They either want something so bad that they only look to see if the monthly minimum fits within their budget, or their budgeting strategy is to fit as many monthly minimums in as possible before calling it quits. Meanwhile, they don’t have a clue or simply don’t care about how much they’re destroying their financial future. They’re only operating off the hear and now along with putting wants over needs. This is dangerous!

Taking this financial approach will have you teetering on the edge of crashing, burning, inferno, destruction, and every other word you can use to describe going broke. Yet so many of us operate this exact way and don’t see the problem with it one bit! We definitely don’t see the huge 300 mile train on the tracks barreling down on us if we just slip up one time…. Just one time…..

So due to the majority of the people who practice this approach not having a clue of the possible consequences, I’m going to list and describe 3 of them for you.

I know… Another list of advice to read…

Cheer up buttercup, this list could take you from financial ruins to financial freedom..

1) Mount Everest of Interest

That’s right, you’re literally paying the most interest possible for your items if you only pay the minimum. The interest you’re paying could be so high that you could very well end up paying triple the price you originally paid…. Seriously, triple…

Next time you get your monthly statement I want you to look for the category that describes the amount you’ll pay if you only make minimum payments. It’ll literally blow your mind! If you have a balance just in the mid hundreds, you’ll end up paying in the thousands when all said and done. It’ll also take years to pay that amount off at the minimum payment rate.

So the question is… Do you like paying triple, or do you like keeping that money in your pockets?

2) Late Fees!

I wish I could put like an explosion with a smiling devil face in the smoke following the exclamation mark. That’s how evil I view these unnecessary and completely avoidable expenses.

Anyway, this is exactly what you’re in store for by budgeting according to minimum payments. You can very well believe and bet your life on never getting a late fee, but trust and believe that it’s going to eventually happen if you keep using this strategy. You know it, I know it, and all these companies are banking on it.

Once they show up…. You’ll understand why I look at them as pure evil. What are you going to do when your late fees have added $500 per account to your debt because you can’t maintain the minimum payments?

3) Payment and Interest Increase

This can sneak up on you like a mosquito on a hot summer night in the rain forest. A vast majority of people who get interest free loans and only pay the minimum have no clue what’s in store. The last thing they’re expecting is all that interest over the past year hitting at once when they didn’t pay off that loan in time. Then when you add the increased minimum payment, all I can hear in my mind is the doom doom doom jingle from the movies!

You see, people don’t understand that if you don’t pay off the balance within that free time period that every single penny of interest they didn’t charge you is flooding right back into that loan. That in turn may very well double, if not triple, your minimum payment. They also don’t realize that the minimum payment they billed you at doesn’t always represent the amount required to pay off the balance within the no interest time frame. So now those dreaded fees come exploding back in on top of the higher payment and increased debt. Then the next question that comes to mind is…. Is it time to file for bankruptcy?

To Sum It All Up

Stop budgeting according to minimum payments! This is a recipe for disaster and will keep you broke for decades to come. Always take a look at your budget and see how much cushion the payment plus an additional amount added to it will leave you with. I personally recommend you look to see what the minimum with an extra 25% of that amount leave you with. If that amount is sufficient to still prosper and grow your wealth, then you can afford the payment. If not, then just say no! Having the additional money in your budget is a lot better than struggling to pay for that material object.

This article may seem more like a rant than an educational piece, but I think it’s a necessary risk. So here we go…. Us poor people have our mindset and financial approach all types of backwards! I say us because I know exactly what it’s like to think this way and to be poor. Back on track though….

As I’ve gained more experience and have had the great pleasure of helping clients become financially secure, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in mindset between my rich clients, poor clients, and those that fall in between. I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s not even close. In some cases the views on finance and investments are like night and day. I would argue that this vast difference in mindset plays a bigger role in people staying broke than most will ever admit.

This difference can be seen in multiple different aspect of life that can seem so small, but continue to make or break people’s financial future. In reality I could probably come up with about 15 of distinct differences, which will most likely result in a Rich Mindset vs Poor Mindset, but today I’m only going to address 5.

1) Opinion of Financial Advisors

The views on financial advisors and financial representatives could possibly be the biggest difference between the rich and the poor. I can honestly say that I know very few rich people that don’t have at least 1 financial advisor and very few poor people that have even 1 financial advisor. I can also honestly say that I know very few rich people who don’t consult with their financial advisor on a monthly to weekly basis for proper financial guidance, that’s of course if they’re not a financial advisor themselves.

Yet in impoverished areas we look at financial advisors as the enemy… Ok, maybe not the enemy, but they’re definitely shied away from or never heard of. This is extremely perplexing to the mind. It just makes sense that if you’re broke then you need financial advice to learn how not to be broke anymore. Obvious right? The fact is that if you’re poor, you need a financial advisor. If the rich have 1, and in some cases 2 or 3, then you can’t afford to be without at least 1… In some cases, maybe 10…

2) Life Insurance

Why so many poor people in this day and age don’t have at least a term life insurance policy still boggles my mind till this very moment. This is possibly the single easiest way to build generational wealth out of any investment or insurance I’ve ever seen so far. Plus it’s extremely cheap if you get it early enough! I’ve yet to find any other investment that allows you to pass on $500k  to your family for only around $50 a month if you pass away within the term agreed upon.

I know, I know, a term policy has no benefits until you pass away… Wrong! Now there are even term policies that’ll benefit you in times of sickness to help you cover your bills and expenses. There’s virtually no excuse for not having a policy. If you have $100 to pay for a cell phone and another $120 to pay for cable, you have at least $50 to buy a life insurance policy. Plus the rich have been passing on wealth for centuries via these policies, so we should be doing the same. Don’t hurt your family’s well being by staying ignorant to the benefits of life insurance.

3) Views of Material Items

Now this is kind of a tricky topic to hit on. There’s no hiding that all people place a false value on material items, but the difference is the portion of income spent on material items. So many people are keeping themselves broke by spending their last on nice cars, a nice house, expensive clothes, and fantastic vacations. Instead they should be investing in their financial future or investing in an additional revenue stream.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone hop out of a nice expensive car then walk into the bank and see their account only has tens of dollars, not thousands of dollars. Then the very next moment I see someone get out of a busted or average car to see they have hundreds of thousands of dollars in their accounts. One of my biggest clients while at the bank is worth millions, but yet still buys clothes from Walmart and the thrift store.

I’m going to let everyone think about that one for a moment…..

4) Measures of Success

Growing up in poverty the common measure of success for us was if you make it out the projects, the hood, or can afford to feed yourself and pay all your bills most of the time. The job expectation bar is also set at the same level, if not lower, for every generation born into poverty. We’re seen as highly successful if we can land a good job at a factory and barely encouraged to go beyond a fast food job in most cases. There was no expectations of having a great credit score, emergency fund, living well below your means, and having a well paying professional career or successful business.

When it comes to rich families though, being highly successful and financially well to do is expected and the floor of success, not the ceiling. From birth, you’re expected to be either be the owner of a highly successful company or at the top of a highly successful one. This type of mindset and expectation breeds success on a consistent basis and instills confidence in a person’s abilities.

5) Inheritance

I’ll arguably say that one of the main priorities instilled in every rich person and their families is to pass on an inheritance. Basically, don’t fuck up this money for the next generation! Their financial advisors become apart of the family and wealth conservation along with the accumulation of wealth is apart of their daily conversations. They understand the importance of life insurance, trust funds, and more in order to keep passing the buck for the next generation to grow and thrive off of.

On the other hand, most of us who grow up in poor families only inherit a bill for the burial of our loved ones and lose thousands of dollars trying to provide a proper burial. We tend to live by the motto of “You can’t take it with you”. BTW I absolutely despise that motto with a passion! It’s possibly the most ignorant shit I’ve ever heard!! Anyway, start making a plan to build a family inheritance if you want to eliminate poverty from your current and future generations.

The Message

Growing up and living in poverty is like the verse from Grandmaster Flash’s song The Message ” A child is born with no state of mind, blind to the ways of mankind”. Often times us kids born into poverty have no clue what the world is really like and what’s truly needed to be successful. I personally had no clue what a credit card, a mortgage, and other important financial components were until I was in my mid to late 20’s. Often times people in their 60’s have no clue about the basics of finance. This is exactly why we must do better and we must seek out the education needed to improve our financial situations.

Change your mindset, change your life……

Determining the difference between the two is one of the hardest financial decisions everyone has to make. It’s also the key to staying on budget and being financially responsible. This will also keep you from going broke. So many of us smear the lines between the two that we end up not knowing up from down. Then we end up spending $120k on a Benz when we only have $300k to our name and live in the heart of the hood with no job. Yes…. I had a client actually do this EXACT thing. Needless to say, it resulted in financial ruins.

So to help you determine the difference and not to repeat the mistakes of my client, I’ve provided you with 3 important questions to always ask yourself when trying to determine between the two.

1) Is it a necessity of life?

Food, water, clothing, and shelter are the bare necessities we need to survive. Now I’m not recommending that you only stick to those, but when you’re broke or running low on funds you need to stick to the basics. Better yet, you need to plan out the purchasing of these items on a paycheck to paycheck basis.

Designate a certain portion of funds, we usually designate $100-$150 per paycheck, to make one huge shopping trip at your local grocery store. As far as clothing goes, as long as you have several tops, bottoms, under garments, and shoes in your closet already then you really don’t need to go purchase a new wardrobe every single weekend.

Save your money and let it grow.

2) Is the item worth the price paid?

Is going out and buying a $1,000 suit worth it when you can purchase the same quality of suit for $400 at a different store? The answer is no! I know I had some yes answers out there. You may be the ones who need this advice the most.

Now don’t get me wrong, some things are just worth the price paid for them. But most things aren’t. So there’s no need to go out and buy 5 shirts when you only need 1 and already have 50 of them in your closet. Same goes for eating out every meal instead of cooking some meals at home. Cut the trans fats out and learn to be Chef Boyardee with them raviolis from the can. I know that’s not much better than McDonalds, but at least it’s cheaper and will potentially last 2 meals.

Yeah, kind of got side tracked there… Back to the regularly scheduled program.

The point is that you need to review your budget and determine if you have enough surplus cash to support these habits. If you’re budgeting correctly then you should have your answer within a minute. Also, plan out your spending limits for these luxury type items and stick to it.

It’s ok to plan for these type of purchases. Don’t push off paying your light bill because you want a new outfit to go out in that night. If you don’t have lights then how everyone going to see your fly fit in the dark? You going to use a candle?

3) How much money will remain after this purchase?

The answer to this question will determine if you need to create a plan to save for these items or not. If you need to plan out these purchases on a normal basis, then you most likely don’t need it, can’t afford it, or both. So be humble and sit down, at least until you have the excess funds to make the purchase.

What you need to do is look for alternatives, off brands, or just reconsider the purchase all together. Clearance racks are your friends, I know they’re mine. Nothing wrong with getting last season’s fashion for a quarter of the price. Don’t stay in the poor house because you want everything right now. Practice some patience and discipline, it will pay off exponentially in the long run.

Having wealth is not about the size of your paycheck. Wealth is determined by how much money you have in the bank, investments, and assets. It ‘s also determined by how long your money can sustain your current lifestyle without any drastic changes.

Spending all of your money till you’re on $0 will never make you wealthy.

I Truly believe that if you ask yourself these 3 questions before making a purchase, especially a big one, then you’ll be on the right path to becoming financially secure.

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

Stay tuned for more financial tips.

First and foremost, any and everyone can be financially secure. The issue that most of us face with achieving this goal is the lack of knowledge in the subject matter along with the lack of proper steps to take to get there. That’s exactly why I’m writing this article. I want to give you the simple steps we took to become financially secure. No, we aren’t rich. No, we weren’t born into money. However, we are financially secure and protected. We don’t have to worry about how we’re going to pay our bills, what’s going to happen if one of us lose our job, and the only debt we have are our student loans that are well under control.

Due to this success, I want to share the steps we continue to take with you in hopes of helping you improve your finances as well. As the saying goes, reach one teach one. Therefore I’m going to provide you with some simple steps to start the process toward becoming financially secure.

Create a Budget

Start this by writing down all your monthly bills and income. List the due dates of all your bills along with the amounts you owe. For your debt, list the total amount along with the interest rates for each debt. Once you have all of this information written down, organize your bills according to your pay period and there due dates.

After you’ve organized the bills by due dates and pay period, you need to set a living amount for yourself. We started out with $250 each per pay period for us to spend on shopping, food, and entertainment. When you subtract your bills and living expenses from you income then you should have a surplus which should be used to pay off debt and to built your savings.

If you don’t have a surplus, then you’re living well above your means and you need to make some lifestyle changes. I suggest looking at which bills you don’t need and eliminating those first then altering your living budget.

Oh and one more thing, pay your bills first. This will never work if you spend your rent money trying to look bad and boujee.

Be Patient

Slow progress is better than no progress. This process won’t make you into an overnight success. Yes, I purposely made that rhyme.

The fact is that this will take months, to years to get everything in order. You’re going to go through ups and downs while trying to achieve your financial goals, but you’ll also find yourself having to take out fewer loans and such as time goes on. Once you’re able to rely on your own income more and more to cover your lifestyle then you’re going down the right path.

So don’t beat yourself up so much. You’re not aiming high enough if you’re not failing from time to time. Take it as a life lesson and grow from it.

Celebrate The Small Victories With Small Rewards

Reward yourself from time to time once you pay off one of those credit cards or you hit the first $1k saved. It’s healthy to celebrate these achievements and to give yourself small rewards, it’ll keep you motivated and pushing forward during those hard times. Just don’t overdue it!

Stay motivated and stay positive. This can be a long hard road and you’re going to face multiple challenges along the way. The key is to continue to trust the process and know that you’re going to succeed.