Though there’s no shortage of financial advice, this can often add to the guilt, as many of us already know what we should be doing. So instead of reminding you to budget and save for retirement, we asked these self-made millionaires and Advisors in The Oracles for their best unconventional money hacks, which you likely haven’t heard before:
1. ‘Bootstrap your business so you own it all.’
“Today’s venture capital culture of celebrating failure is fundamentally unsustainable. Every day I meet entrepreneurs who are simultaneously really good at raising capital — and losing capital. The startup community used to be a place where entrepreneurs built products to change the world. Now, it’s where they raise millions to fund unprofitable ideas.
There are so many other ways to make money. You can buy items at garage sales and sell them, sell your old junk, move into a smaller apartment, get an extra job, or just skip Coachella and stop spending money on stuff you don’t need.
If you’re patient and practical, you’ll find the money. Then, you can build a real business that’s tangible and profitable, with no debt and all the ownership. That’s how I did it, so I know you can, too.”
2. ‘Treat your money like you could lose it all tomorrow.’
“No matter how much money you have, always remember that you’re much more fortunate than many others. Treat your money like it could go away tomorrow and don’t overspend. This applies to both your personal and business finances.
There was a time in 2008 when the world seemed to be falling apart. Businesses were shutting down and people were in serious financial despair. Because we hadn’t overextended our personal or company budgets, we were able to slow the growth and progress we had been making in life and business without much sacrifice.
We weathered the storm until it was time to grow again.”
3. ‘Work for free (a.k.a. earn sweat equity in companies).’
“In three years, I earned eight figures in company shares without investing any money — and you can, too.
Learn a valuable skill (like branding and business scaling) that small companies will trade equity for. To get references, offer free help to a few reputable organizations that have potential. Then, provide your services to other small businesses in exchange for equity and/or a share of the profits.
Concentrate on growing businesses with solid experience, potential and references — ideally in industries like e-commerce, online marketing or public relations. Don’t go ‘all in’ on big projects; aim for 15% to 25% equity so you can scale the approach with other businesses. Pay attention to the contract you sign and always overdeliver.”
4. ‘Plan how you’re going to spend your fortune.’
“Someone once told me, ‘If you don’t know how you’re going to spend your money, then you’re never going to make that money.’ I’ve tested this theory myself and with others, and it has held true.
If someone says they want to make $20,000 per month, I ask what they’re going to do with it. If they say they’re going to save it, I tell them they’re never going to see that money — and so far, I’ve been right. Without a reason for making $20,000, it’s just a number to you. You won’t make money just to save it. That’s not how our brains are wired. You need something more to make that money real.
Write a list of the things you want: the house, car, vacations — you name it. Include the costs and calculate the total. That’s your goal, not an arbitrary number. Clearly define how you’ll allocate that money, including how much goes to taxes and savings, and you’ll dramatically improve your odds of achieving that number.”
5. ‘Don’t buy a home.’
“Remember: Investing is for long-term payoffs. There’s no such thing as getting rich quick; anything that’s too easy often backfires.
Owning a home usually isn’t your best plan because it costs a lot of time and money to maintain, which you could spend furthering your career or enjoying life. Limit or eliminate fees from investment funds and professionals, which are often hidden in the fine print. Never dip into your investments or savings plans, because the astronomical fees are rarely worth it.
Most important of all? Always live below your means. Define what responsible spending is for you and make a plan for your future, which requires strategy, discipline, hard work, and staying the course. Learn to earn, save and respect money.
Every penny matters, because pennies add up. I recommend reading David Bach’s book, ‘The Latte Factor,’ which shares great wisdom about saving and sacrificing to get ahead.”
Originally published on CNBC.
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