What Are You Reading? Pt. 2

A couple weeks back, I wrote an article titled “What Are You Reading?”  If you didn’t catch it, now would be the perfect time to click the link (It’s ok.  Click it now and then click the back button to come back to this one).

So, you’ve got a few good book suggestions but allow me to be the first to tell you that, if all you’re reading are books about your field, you need to get a life.  Do you ever talk to people outside of your own field?  Thought so.  And do you want to be known as the person who only has a one track mind?  Didn’t think so.  It is much better to be known as the guy who can suggest a great whiskey at an office social or the lady who knows what color is going to be in this spring when fashion is being discussed at dinner.  And how do you find these things out?  Well, because most of us aren’t born with a taste for whiskey or a sense of Spring 2015 fashion, newspapers and magazines are great sources of general knowledge.

 

So what periodicals do I read regularly and recommend?

News: Time Magazine has been around for the better part of a century and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon.  Even though print journalism has faded to the background, Time has evolved and, today, is still a leader in weekly news.  And you cannot mention news without reading the New York Times.  Anytime I get an opportunity to, I read at least the front page and check out a couple articles they tweet.

Business: Forbes will always put out the most relevant business news.  Anyone who is serious about growing as a professional needs to use Forbes to strengthen his/her business acumen.  In addition, the Wall Street Journal is a must follow on Twitter (Yes, Twitter is still very relevant if you plan to keep up w/ great online reading).  If the economy affects you at all, you need to be keeping an eye on the WSJ.  And if not, please let me know what you’re doing because we need to hang out more.

Men’s Issues: Valet Magazine is an online magazine.  I honestly do not remember how I came across it but it reminds me of a newer, fresher GQ or Men’s Health, both which I still read as they will forever be staples in a man’s magazine rack.  Articles in all of these magazines will help with your well-roundedness.  From knowing what drinks to order to knowing how to put a great outfit together for any occassion, I look to one of these three for inspiration.  Sidenote: Valet has an awesome app that you should definitely download.  Just search the App Store for Valet Magazine.  Like The Reader, Valet comes out with great content five days a week.

Up and Coming: Infinite Magazine is a new magazine that focuses on creative young people who are stepping out on their own to write their own stories.  With both an online and a print presence, you won’t go two days without getting great reads and images from experts in fields ranging from fashion to music.

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10 habits of debt-free people

By AJ Smith, Credit.com

Bloomberg

Whether you’ve resolved to get debt-free this year or you have a long way to go to get there, it’s good to be inspired. Look at people you know who are already living debt-free lives. Whether it’s a friend, family member or co-worker, the person you are thinking of probably shares similar qualities with other debt-free people. Here are 10 common characteristics you can copy to live within your means.

1. They pay attention to details

You won’t notice that recurring fee on your credit card for the gym you’ve stopped using if you’re not checking your statement regularly. People without debt monitor their personal finances closely. They are less likely to waste money by forgetting about payment due dates or overdraft fees.

You can start paying more attention also. The key is just to start. Try looking at your credit card statements every month. Next monitor all of your spending. Now add up your income. Compare the two and see where you could cut back. Revisit this budget a few times a year to stay on track.

2. They know their stuff

Debt-free people do their own research. They might have an accountant, but they don’t send over paperwork or sign their taxes without looking them over. If you want control over your finances, you need to learn about them. It may feel overwhelming but the sense of security you will feel in understanding what’s happening with your money will outweigh the discomfort.

3. They pretend they make less

Even if you are already deep in debt, you can start to improve your situation by immediately changing the way you look at your money. Imagine you make 10%, 25% or even 50% less than you do. Make a budget using that math. It may be impossible at first, but start making cuts to your spending.

Debt-free people live on less than they make. This allows them to put money aside for buying a house, retirement and an emergency fund. This provides a financial independence that allows you more options in the future.

4. They think long term

When the focus isn’t on immediate gratification, you can make smarter decisions. Sure, it would be nice to have this season’s hottest shoes, but how will they help your long-term financial goals? This doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy shoes! It just means you have to save up before you buy them. This also gives you the time to consider if you really even like the shoes and avoid impulse purchases.

5. They aren’t afraid to ask

Ask for help. Ask for lower interest rates. Ask for forgiveness when they make one late payment. Debt-free people take control of their finances and they aren’t meek about it. If you know someone who has met a financial milestone you admire (saved $1 million for retirement, bought a car in cash, etc.), don’t be afraid to ask how they did it.

6. They save

Whether you got a significant bonus or a $25 check from Grandma, you should think first of paying yourself. This is true of your regular paycheck as well. You know you have to pay the rent (or mortgage), so treat your savings account the same way. Make it a habit. And better yet, make it a mindless habit by setting up automatic deposit. Debt-free people know adding even small amounts now will give you more financial freedom later.

7. They set goals

You’ll find it easier to put aside money if you have a strong sense of what it is going toward. This works for when you are saving up for those shoes, planning a vacation or thinking about retirement. Debt-free people set specific goals so they know what they are striving for. This helps you stay on track. Retirement can be a hard one for young people. It seems so far away! Think about what sounds appealing about retirement. If it is travel, imagine the places you will visit. Now the goal seems more specific.

8. They say no

You may get lots of tempting offers throughout the week for lunch with co-workers or dinner with friends. Don’t be afraid to say no. Debt-free people know that saying no to smaller expenses can add up to big savings. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Host a potluck dinner instead of trying out the new, expensive restaurant. Meet up with friends in the park for a walk instead of taking an expensive exercise class.

9. They know the value of cash

Debt-free people know the value of a dollar…because they see it! It can be easy to overspend when you are never seeing actual money. Having to part with some cash can remind you the transaction you are making is real. Plus, once that cash is gone, it is gone. Try only using cash for a while and see how it changes your perception of purchasing.

10. They value experiences over stuff

Debt-free people aren’t focused on things. They value experiences more than having the latest things. The average person will list family and friends high on what they value. But are your choices reflecting that? If you are working extra hours to pay for a fancy meal with the family, think about the trade-offs. Would you be better off not working late and having two (or five or 10) meals at home with the family?

To become debt-free, you are going to have to shed some of your current bad habits and take on some new, more constructive ones. Use the people who already living debt free as inspiration.

This story originally ran on Credit.com.

AJ Smith is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online content. She currently serves as the managing editor for SmartAsset.

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Source: MarketWatch