MONEY consumer psychology

10 Reasons You’re Not Rich Yet

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H. Armstrong Roberts—Getty Images

#5: You’d rather complain than commit.

As a financial advisor, I have spent many years helping other people overcome financial stumbling blocks so they can become rich. Ironically, the one person I have had the most trouble helping is myself.

Being “rich” can mean different things to different people, but I believe it means having the financial freedom to achieve your goals and live the life you want. I am great at giving advice; I am not always so great at taking my own advice (know anyone like that?). So, when it came to helping my clients understand why they weren’t rich yet, the easy part was explaining the culprits, because I was all too familiar with most of them.

Regardless of our upbringing, education, profession or lifestyle, most of us are not where we want to be financially and our reasons are probably more similar than different. The good news is that it is never too late to become rich if you, like me, are ready to own up to the reasons you’re not and do something about it.

Want to know why you aren’t rich yet? Keep reading.

#1: You spend money like you’re already rich.

Sure, it feels good to buy expensive things, whether it’s a luxury car, designer clothes, a big house in the burbs, or a tropical vacation. Even if you don’t necessarily buy pricey items, if you consistently buy stuff you really don’t need, it still adds up fast ($300 trip to Target for toothpaste? AHEM). But the shopping high only lasts until the guilt and regret set in or the credit card bill arrives. Most of us are guilty of living beyond our means and using credit cards more than we should. The problem is that as long as we continue to spend more than we have, we can’t start building wealth. Chronic overspending and high-interest, revolving credit card debt are your worst enemies when it comes to financial success. Spend like you’re poor and you are much more likely to become rich.

#2: You don’t have a plan.

Without clearly defined short, mid and long-term goals, becoming rich will just seem like an unattainable fantasy. And that turns into your go-to excuse for why you shouldn’t bother saving or stop overspending. As we say in the financial industry: those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Creating a financial plan may seem overwhelming or intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you do-it-yourself or decide to work with a financial professional, the process simply starts with prioritizing your goals and writing them down. Put that list where you can see it on a regular basis. Visual reminders go a long way in helping us stay on track.

#3: You don’t have an emergency fund.

I know, you’ve heard it a hundred times: you need to have at least six months of income saved in an emergency fund. And yes, it’s much easier said than done. However, I’ve seen too many people (including myself) get hit with a major unplanned expense, whether it’s a car or home repair or a medical bill, or an unexpected job loss, accident or illness that’s led to a drastic reduction in income. When these things happen–and they do, more often than you might think–not having a financial safety cushion can make the situation much, much worse. If you’re forced to rely on credit cards, you’ll end up sinking deeper into debt instead of, yes, saving to become rich.

#4: You started late.

With every year or month that goes by without saving, your chances of becoming rich decrease. Time and compounding interest are your two best friends when it comes to growing money, so wasting them really hurts. Just like exercising, the hardest part of saving is starting. Even if you’re in debt, making little money or have a lot of expenses, you can still always save something — even if it is a small amount. The sooner you get yourself into the habit of saving — regardless of how much — the easier it will be for you to continue and eventually increase those savings. I like to think of saving as a muscle you have to work out and build with practice. Even if you start saving late, you can still become rich if you’re committed enough. But you need to start. Now.

#5: You’d rather complain than commit.

“Life is too expensive.” “I’ll never get out of debt.” “I don’t make enough money.” “Investing is too risky.” I’ve probably heard every excuse for why someone isn’t saving, investing or planning in general, and I’ll admit I’ve used a few of them myself from time to time. It’s easier to be lazy and let bad habits fester than to commit to –and follow through on — changing them. It’s no wonder obesity and debt are epidemics in our country, and that millions of Americans have had to push off retirement. As long as the complaining, excuses and finger-pointing persist, so too will not becoming rich. Instead, take responsibility for your bad habits and focus on what you can do to change them. Then do it.

#6: You live for today in spite of tomorrow.

I get it. It is really hard to think about retirement and other distant fantasies when we have needs and plenty of wants now. The bills have to get paid, the family must be fed, momma needs a vacation — and a new wardrobe to go along with it. The problem is that impulsive and overly-indulgent behavior commonly lead to credit card debt, spending money you might have otherwise saved and, yes, not becoming rich. Do yourself a favor: Ditch the “buy now, worry later” mindset and instead, adopt a “save now, get rich later” mindset.

#7: You’re a one-trick investor.

You might be lucky enough to become rich by betting all your money on one type of investment. Just like you might be lucky enough to win the lottery. But that’s not a strategy for getting rich (at least, not one I’d ever recommend).

One of the worst financial mistakes you can make is putting all your money eggs in one basket. Doing so puts you at too much risk, whether it is being too conservative or too aggressive. Sure, the stock market is on a run and real estate is on an upswing again, but are you prepared for when the tides turn? Because they will. And if you are invested in all fixed-income securities like CDs, bonds and annuities and think you’re safe, inflation should make you think again. Your investment portfolio needs to include a good mix of investments with varied levels of risk and return potential and liquidity (so you can get your money when you need it).

#8: You don’t automate.

Here’s the secret to saving: Automation. Saving is seamless when it’s automatic. Unfortunately, we are not born to be savers. We are impulsive and greedy by nature. Being responsible requires much more discipline. However, automation forces us to be responsible without too much effort. And all it requires is setting up regular transfers from a paycheck or bank account to a savings or investment account. Without it, we are much more likely to spend money we could be saving. Even if it is a seemingly small amount that you automate, those steady investments can make a big difference over time. Automate whatever you can whenever you can; just be careful to avoid overdrafting your account and try to increase your savings amount periodically.

#9: You have no sense of urgency.

You might think you don’t need to worry about getting out of debt or saving because someone, or something else will save you. Maybe it’s a pay raise, a new job, an inheritance, a rich spouse, or the lotteryyou’re counting on. Whatever “it” is, you use it as an excuse to put off taking steps on your own to become rich. The problem is that very little in life is certain. Who knows what will actually happen, or not happen, so why not focus on what you can control now? Save now and save yourself — just in case something, or someone, else won’t.

#10: You’re easily influenced.

Maybe you live with a chronic overspender or a typical day out with your girlfriends involves shopping. Or maybe it’s your inner “Real Housewife” that you sometimes can’t control. We all have negative influences in our lives that threaten our chances of becoming rich. The superficial, materialistic, sensational culture in which we live is probably the biggest one. The suffocating swirl of media that goes along with it makes it ten times worse. The trick is not giving in to temptation. How? Some of it is making conscious choices to avoid putting yourself in vulnerable positions. But most of it is having the willpower to keep the goal of becoming rich in the front of your mind, especially when you are tempted to sabotage yourself.

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MONEY Careers

How to Answer the Job Interview Question “How Much Do You Make Now?”

Responding to salary questions the right way will maximize your offer and keep you in the running.

Answering “What are you looking for in terms of salary?” is a tricky question to answer, especially early on in the interview process. Dodging the question by asking “I’d actually like to talk a little more about the job responsibilities” is a good way to deflect. Try to prepare yourself by using tools like PayScale and Glassdoor to find out what other people earn for similar jobs at the company. It’s important to remember there’s more to your income than your salary; you can feel comfortable including your benefits, 401(k) matching, and bonuses when talking about your current compensation.

Read next: The Secret Formula that Will Set You Apart in a Salary Negotiation

TIME martha stewart

Martha Stewart Is About To Make Some Serious Dough

Triscuit Partners With Martha Stewart To Unveil Limited Edition Triscuit Flavor
Michael Loccisano—2015 Getty Images Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart agreed to sell her media empire to Sequential Brands Monday in a deal that was worth $353 million, but there was very little announced about the fate of Stewart herself until today.

Under the terms of a newly released employment agreement, Stewart will claim the title of Founder and Chief Creative Officer and will be paid a base salary of $500,000 a year. But, don’t be fooled by that “base” sum.

Her yearly take home pay will be much higher once you add in an unspecified bonus, an annual “guaranteed payment” of $1.3 million (for what, the document doesn’t quite clarify), plus 10% of gross licensing revenues, which typically exceed $46 million per year.

And don’t forget the perks. Stewart will get six weeks of guaranteed vacation and up to $100,000 in annual expenses.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia also filed an 8-K report Wednesday that outlined the employment agreement and also indicated that Stewart could also collect another $1.7 million each year based on an “Intangible Licensing Agreement.”

All told, it looks like the Queen of Homemaking will make out with an annual payment of about $3.6 million, at bare minimum, according to calculations put together by the blog Footnoted.

Stewart, the biggest shareholder of her namesake Martha Stewart Omnimedia, also stands to net a lump sum of about $167 million from the deal with Sequential Brands based on her stock holdings.

MONEY Sports

Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski Hasn’t Spent a Dime of His NFL Salary

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Kevin C. Cox—Getty Images Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots celebrates after Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.

Gronk claims he has not spent "one dime" of his $10 million in contract money.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been saving like a pro during his five seasons in the National Football League—at least according to his new book, It’s Good to Be Gronk.

The football star claims he has been spending only his endorsement money, not his NFL salary, and avoids making big-ticket purchases.

“To this day, I still haven’t touched one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money. I live off my marketing money and haven’t blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school,” Gronkowski writes in an excerpt of the book published Monday on Sports Illustrated‘s MMQB blog.

If that’s true, he’s likely amassed at least $10 million (or more, if he’s been investing his savings). Given that a disproportionately high number of NFL players blow through their money and end up filing for bankruptcy, it seems that Gronk is a rare role model among his peers.

Well, at least when it comes to money.

TIME career

What You Need to Know About Negotiating Your First Salary

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Getty Images

Here's how to have the often-awkward conversation

Conversations about money in the workplace, and salary negotiations in particular, are always difficult—but if it’s your first time having those discussions, it can be especially intimidating. That’s why we launched “Adulthood Made Easy,” a podcast through Panoply, that helps young women navigate the real world, from their first salary negotiation, to their first apartment hunt.

In the pilot, Greg Giangrande, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Time Inc. (Real Simple‘s parent company), offers advice about what you can (and can’t) ask for during your first year on the job. The best part? Host Sam Zabell works right here at Real Simple, and she has to have this entire money conversation in front of both of her bosses. Listen below, and if you want to hear more, make sure to subscribe in iTunes or on your favorite podcast app.

 

This article originally appeared on Real Simple.

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MONEY Workplace

Why Summer Is a Great Time to Ask for That Raise

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iStock A raise can help you get in better shape, financially.

Midyear is the best time to negotiate a salary bump.

This is the second installment in Money’s Midyear Financial Checkup. Read the first installment, on how to recalibrate your investments, here.

You’ve suffered through years of stagnant wages. But in 2015 workers stand the best chance of getting a raise since the financial crisis, according to a PNC survey of small and midsize businesses late last year. Midyear is the best time to negotiate a bump because budgets are still flexible and you’ll have time to make your case with your boss, says Lydia Frank, editorial director at PayScale.com. Wait until year-end, at your annual performance review, and you’ll run into stiff competition for raises.

Here’s how to do it.

Demonstrate your value. Not only will this increase your odds of getting a raise, it could boost the amount (see chart below). Start by requesting a midyear review. This will let you know if you’re on track to meet this year’s goals. It’s also a chance to remind the boss of your accomplishments.

Play mind games. At the meeting, provide a specific range of pay you’re seeking. This makes you look flexible, but it also anchors a figure in your boss’s head. For instance if you want $90,000, set a pay range of $90,000 to $95,000. Behavioral studies show discussing a number first and then making your case works best. Finally, offer a written summary highlighting your accomplishments. This will make your achievements concrete for your supervisor, Frank says.

Hedge your bets. “Experience is in demand,” says Steve Gross, senior partner at consulting firm Mercer. Execs willing to jump ship are likely to command a 15% bump. Even if you prefer to stay put, having an offer can help you negotiate with your current firm. Dip your toes in the hiring pool by signing up for a job site like Poachable, which is anonymous and lets employers come to you.

Money
TIME Careers

These are the Most Extreme Jobs

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Getty Images

Venom milker and skydiving instructor make the list

Adrenaline addicts looking for a new job may want to consider a few of the following: Crocodile physiologist, venom milker and skydiving instructor. They all made a list of the world’s most extreme jobs, at least according to YourTradeBase, a company that helps other businesses with the entirely sedate job of completing their paperwork.

Take safari guide, for example, which was identified as the extreme career with the highest average salary. They are exposed to potentially dangerous animals like lions, work in an area lacking in medical facilities and drive on muddy and bumpy dirt tracks. But let’s face it: Despite the danger, it’s a great job.

Here are he most extreme jobs ranked by average salary per year (or season) are:

  1. Safari Guide: $73,000
  2. Professional Stuntman: $70,000
  3. Crocodile Physiologist: $62,500
  4. Storm Chaser: $60,968
  5. Cave Diver: $58,640
  6. Smoke Jumpers: $33,000
  7. Venom Milker: $30,000
  8. Skydiving Instructor: $24,000
  9. Whitewater Rafting Guide: $6,675 per season
  10. Everest Guides: $5,000 per season

In case you were wondering what a venom milker does, YourTradeBase writes that it’s a position to “massage the venom glands of many snakes, whilst pressing their fangs on a plastic plate/tube, to collect their venom.” It notes that “snakes don’t enjoy being milked.” Well, imagine that.

MONEY Wages

Here’s One Statistic Explaining Why You Haven’t Gotten a Raise Lately

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Krakozawr—Getty Images

A big chunk of workers are yearning for more hours, raise or no raise.

More than one-third of American workers would be willing to work longer hours without a raise, according to a new Federal Reserve report.

The report, which surveyed nearly 6,000 individuals about their financial well-being, found 36% of respondents would prefer to work more hours at their currently hourly wage. Another 58% of respondents said they are happy with the number of hours they currently work, while 5% wished they could work fewer hours.

While those who took the survey were not necessarily hourly workers, a Federal Reserve spokesperson said the question is a general proxy for whether employees would be willing to work longer for higher pay.

As Bloomberg notes, the Federal Reserve’s findings may help explain why inflation-adjusted wages have remained essentially flat, even as the economy has improved.

“When [Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen] says that the unemployment rate probably does not fully capture the extent of slack in the labor market, this is exactly what she’s talking about,” said Thomas Simons, a money-market economist at Jefferies LLC, in an email to Bloomberg. “Until workers perceive that there are more opportunities available that offer higher wages, they will be content to work for the same rate rather than take a risk for more.”

MONEY salary

Temps Make 10% Less Than Full-Time Employees for the Same Work

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Joerg Steffens—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

It's common knowledge that temp workers aren't treated as well as full-timers. But this is pretty awful--and blatant.

There’s bad news for those working as temps or on-call workers—a group of Americans that has grown since the recession.

Despite doing equivalent work, so-called “contingent” employees earn about 10.6% less per hour than standard full-time workers, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Contingent employees made up about 18% of the workforce in 2014, up from 12% in 2009. That increase has come in great part because of growth in the “gig economy,” says Mary Beth Maxwell, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.

“For some, these changes represent greater access to the labor market. For others, they mean reduced access to workplace protections, benefits and stable income, and increased exposure to health and safety risks,” Maxwell wrote in a letter to the GAO.

Indeed, a different new study reveals that on-demand workers (like Uber drivers) most commonly cite low pay as their top reason for quitting.

Some temp workers are paid especially poorly compared to their full-time counterparts, the GAO report found: Teachers and educators make nearly 14% less than standard workers per hour if they are contingent. On the other hand, construction workers make about the same on an hourly basis no matter if they’re contingent or collect salaries full-time.

Unsurprisingly, the job benefits are worse for contingent workers–that is, if they receive benefits at all. Temps are about two-thirds less likely than standard workers to have a work-provided retirement plan and less than half as likely to have employed-based health insurance, the study found.

MONEY home prices

10 States With the Least Affordable Homes

Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii
Carl Shaneff—agefotostock Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii

A new study shows where in the U.S. home prices are the most out of whack with income.

In most parts of the country, a family with a median household income should—ideally—be able to afford a median-priced home in that area. In fact, an analysis of county-level data from RealtyTrac showed that a monthly payment on a median-priced home was more affordable than fair-market rent on a three-bedroom unit in 76% of counties studied, making buying a home the more economical choice for many Americans.

Of course, there’s a lot more at play when determining if you can afford a house than looking at your paycheck and the rental market—buying a house often requires a home loan, which can be tougher to come by if you don’t have good credit. At the same time, a good credit score will only get you so far in the home-buying process, because if housing in your area is exceptionally expensive, even a median household income may not get you much house. (This calculator can show you how much house you can afford.)

To determine the states where housing is least affordable, the Corporation for Enterprise Development divided the state’s median housing value by the median family income in that state, according to 2013 Census data. A breakdown of all 50 states and the District of Columbia is available through its Assets & Opportunity Scorecard tool. Here are the states with the least affordable homes.

10. (tie) Rhode Island

2013 median housing value: $232,300
2013 median household income: $55,902
Ratio of median housing value to median income: 4.2

10. (tie) Vermont

2013 median housing value: $218,300
2013 median household income: $52,578
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.2

8. Washington

2013 median housing value: $250,800
2013 median household income: $58,405
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.3

7. New Jersey

2013 median housing value: $307,700
2013 median household income: $70,165
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.4

6. Oregon

2013 median housing value: $229,700
2013 median household income: $50,251
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.6

5. New York

2013 median housing value: $277,600
2013 median household income: $57,369
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.8

4. Massachusetts

2013 median housing value: $327,200
2013 median household income: $66,768
Ratio of housing value to income: 4.9

3. California

2013 median housing value: $373,100
2013 median household income: $60,190
Ratio of housing value to income: 6.2

2. District of Columbia

2013 median housing value: $470,500
2013 median household income: $67,572
Ratio of housing value to income: 7

1. Hawaii

2013 median housing value: $500,000
2013 median household income: $68,020
Ratio of housing value to income: 7.4

Those are some eye-popping figures, especially if you’re from the other end of the spectrum, like Iowa or Michigan, where the median home price is just 2.4 times the median income in those states. Places like Hawaii, D.C. and California are significant outliers, though.

Nationwide, the median-priced home ($173,900) is 3.3 times the median household income ($52,250), but homeownership remains out of reach for many Americans. Homeownership rates are at their lowest level in more than two decades, partially due to tight credit in the mortgage market. To have the best chance at getting a home loan, borrowers need to focus on improving their credit standing (you can track your credit scores for free on Credit.com) and paying down debt, so they can prove their ability to repay a home loan.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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