Budgeting & Saving

How to Navigate Your Quarter-Life Crisis

The time in your early to mid-thirties is a time of immense growth and personal change. You may have graduated from college, moved hundreds if not thousands of miles away from friends and family, and you’re likely trying to figure out your career. While not every mid-20-year-old will experience it, the quarter-life crisis is real and affects people in different ways.

If you’ve ever questioned your life, love, or work choices, you’re not alone! As someone who has definitely experienced a quarter-life crisis, here are ways to figure things out from someone who’s been there and survived.

Face Your Quarter-Life Crisis Head On

If you’re unhappy about one or multiple aspects of your life, sit down and list out why, exactly, you’re feeling that way. By creating a list of what’s making you unhappy (or confused, or frustrated, etc.), you can determine if it’s external or internal factors that are making you feel that way.
For example, let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed by your student debt. Your friends may be able to go out and spend more money, which makes you feel anxious because you know you have to pay rent and your student loan bill. By identifying your personal finance issue, student loan debt, as a point of stress, you can determine it’s an external factor that you can control.
In that case, consider setting yourself up on a budget. You’ll find plenty of resources here. If your student loans are too much to pay, check out student loan relief programs to have your payments lowered. Think about setting up fun, non-expensive nights out with your friends. And remember: your friends may be in just as much debt as you, but they’re living on credit cards. Not everything is as perfect as it seems!

Take Steps to Move Forward

It sounds so simple to say, but you really do have to keep moving forward during your quarter-life crisis. You may not know what you should be moving toward, or how to do it, but challenging yourself will help you grow.
If you’ve ever been scared to do something, like going back to school or starting your own business, now is the time to take some steps to make these things a reality. While we all have to pay the bills, a quarter-life crisis is slightly easier to tackle simply because you don’t have many of the responsibilities someone who is 40 or 50 might.
While you’re still young, take some calculated risks with the knowledge that time is on your side. If you want to go back to school, start taking classes in your field, ask to shadow people whose jobs you admire, or even take some free online classes. Do it now, while you’re young.

Don’t Sweat It

When I was going through my quarter-life crisis (just last year!), I felt paralyzed. I wasn’t happy in my job, so I put out a few resumes, but I didn’t hear back. I kept working while taking some free, fun online courses in social media, but I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere.
Within the span of a year, during which I applied to more jobs and created my own blog, I received a promotion into a new, exciting field, and my side business grew tremendously. If I lost my job tomorrow, I’d be able to pay my bills from my side hustle – which is a very good position to be in.
While you may feel like you’re not moving forward as fast as your other friends are, be patient and don’t worry about what you “should” be doing. You also don’t want to rush into something because you think you “should” or because others are doing it, then regret it later. Regret plus a quarter-life crisis is a recipe for disaster! Remain positive and do things that make you happy. Things will work out.
Remember, you shouldn’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. It will be much better for you if you don’t compare your life to your friends, because everyone takes a different path. Some people never go through a quarter-life crisis, but for those who do, every crisis looks different. The only thing you can control is your response to your quarter-life crisis. That is why it’s important determine what’s bothering you, figure out how you can move forward, and ultimately remember time marches on no matter what you do.
Have you gone through a quarter-life crisis? How did you handle it? If you haven’t gone through one, have you known others who have. How did they cope?

Originally posted 2015-12-16 10:00:22.


How to Shake Hands Like a Professional

For entry-level young professionals, there are a myriad of office-related rules to follow. These are rarely talked about so it’s hard to master them as a young professional. But this is YoungFinances! We talk about taboo topics. The purpose of this post is to show you how to shake hands like a professional. Few people discuss it but it’s important to know. After all, not knowing how to make a good handshake could ruin an interview. It sounds silly but it’s true. Many people hold a lot of stake in a handshake.
You must master the art of the handshake. And I’m not using ‘art’ lightly. It takes skill to do it properly. If you don’t think so, shake the hand of a child. They don’t know how to do it well. Furthermore, go to a networking event. Many people there don’t give confident handshakes. Heck, even go to church and shake hands with the people around you. It’s not something everyone has been trained on.
[Tweet “Learning how to do a proper handshake is important. No one likes to feel like they’re shaking a dead fish.”]
But men and women can both master this skill by following the rules outlined below:

Knowing When to Shake Hands

According to Psychology Today, the old rule that communication is broken down into 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken, is true in most cases. Of course, some people may cross their arms because they’re cold, not because they dislike you. In these cases, it’s necessary to take into account their personal environment.
All things equal, body language is incredibly important. The statistic that most language is nonverbal (55%) is true. This means you have to approach every encounter with professionalism and confidence.
There are certain definitive times you will need to shake hands. They include:
  • Job interviews
  • Initial meetings of coworkers and your supervisor
  • Greeting and saying goodbye to business partners or clients
  • When acting as a host for an event
  • When introduced as a guest at an event

How to Properly Shake Hands

The best handshake does not try to dominate the other person but it does display strength along with respect. The best way to shake hands is to follow this basic outline:
  1. Go in straight for the handshake, with your palm vertical to the ground. Don’t put your palm over the other person’s palm, as this signifies dominance. Dominance is not something a young professional wants to convey in most circumstances. It may come off as arrogance and disrespect for the status quo. Save the palm-over-palm technique for when you’re the boss.
  2. Clasp the entire hand, curling your index finger and thumb slightly in to each other.
  3. Squeeze their hand and release after approximately 2-5 seconds. During this time, the other person may pump your hand up and down from the elbow.
  4. Make eye contact while introducing yourself. In most cases, your superior will start the introduction and offer their hand to you first. Respond with a proper handshake while making eye contact and say your name.

If you’re uncertain of the importance of proper hand shaking, realize that a poor hand shake generally reflects negatively on you.

For better or worse, many people base their assumptions about you on how you shake hands. Do you approach a hand shake professionally and decisively, or do you shy away and offer a limp handshake? Do you try to overpower your client? Or do you respectfully grasp their hand and release?

How you handle these interactions can shape how others think of you. Learning how to properly shake hands is not an insurmountable task. I recommend practicing this technique with people which you are comfortable. It takes a little practice but it can be mastered fairly quickly.
Good luck and inspire confidence!

Originally posted 2015-07-29 10:00:26.


How to Ace Your Next Interview

You’ve submitted your resume and cover letter, passed all the computer screening, and have just received a call to interview for your dream job: the job is practically yours, right?

Not so fast!

You have to get through the interview process. While it may seem daunting, you can do this. For most professions, interview questions are standard and fairly easy to practice for. Here are some additional ways to knock your interview out of the park.

Pay Attention to Body Language – Yours and Theirs

You might be all sorts of nervous for your interview, but don’t show it. Practice before your interview walking into the room calmly, with your head held high and a smile on your face. Walk confidently, but don’t swagger. You are the person for the job, but you don’t have it yet, so be modest yet sure of your abilities.

Pay attention to your interview panel – most interview panels will be made up of 2 or more people, so pay attention to everyone individually. Are most people smiling and sitting in a relaxed position? Or are they serious, leaning forward, with their arms on the table? Mirror their body language, but remember to stay loose and confident. Sit tall and direct answers to every member of the panel, ending your answer by looking at the person who asked you the question.

Be Prepared for Varied Questions

Practice your questions beforehand, and be prepared to answer variations of the questions you’ve studied. One of the standard interview questions for entry level positions is ‘how do you handle adversity?’ This question can be asked in a variety of ways: How have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker? Tell us about a time you didn’t complete a project on time?

I was asked a question about a time I failed – this is the time to talk about a ‘failure’ at work – either at an internship you’ve done or a job (even retail or restaurant – those absolutely count as jobs!). Your goal is to frame this adversity as something positive. You can talk about a goal you set for yourself (at work) that you didn’t meet but how you learned something about it (goal setting, working with a team, understanding a process you didn’t know before).

Have someone help you practice your interview questions, and encourage them to ask you the questions in different ways. This will help you be prepared for any type of standard question your interviewers may ask.

Stand Out

If you’re going for an entry-level position, you will likely be up a lot of other people who are very similar to you: similar background, education, even GPA (if you’ve included that on your resume).

You need to stand out.

Why should they choose you? Did you grow up in the community or have strong family ties? Are you new to the area, but actively volunteer? Have you recently purchased a home in the area? All of these show you are a stable candidate – you are connected to the community and therefore there is less risk of you leaving after a year to move to another city (and leave the company hanging). Make the connection for the interviews: why you + that city = excellent fit.

With some practice and confidence, you can succeed at interviews and get the dream job (or jobs) you want. Interviews won’t be daunting once you remember a few key things: pay attention to body language, be ready for (almost) any question, and stand out from the crowd!

Originally posted 2014-12-15 06:00:48.

Young Finances

PODCAST: Young Finances Interviews Rob Wilson on Achieving Success

I’m super excited to share with you all this interview! Rob Wilson is a financial advisor originally from Pittsburgh and has been dubbed “Hip Hop’s Financial Advisor” because he is a trusted advisor to professional athletes & entertainers. Rob believes that we can all learn from their success.
PODCAST: Interview with Rob Wilson | Young Finances
He received his bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and his Masters in Business Administration from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rob for a chat and discuss what success is for him. Please listen in and let me know how you view success in the comments below.

Originally posted 2014-07-28 06:00:06.

Earn Extra Income

9 Essential Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur

“Entrepreneurs are born, not made.”

I’ve heard this quote many times before. Do you agree with the statement? I’m not sure if I do. I’d have to say that, like anything a human being decides to do, becoming an entrepreneur is a conditioned response created by our culture or upbringing. However, entrepreneurs share some of the same traits, and whether they were genetically predisposed to these traits or whether they cultivated these traits does not matter. What does matter is the fact that successful entrepreneurs all share these same qualities.

1) They’re Adaptable

They can adapt to the team because they’re teachable. I once watched an interview with Russell Simmons. He mentioned that, even though when he started his business he didn’t write the business plans, he knew how to hire someone talented enough to write one for him. And eventually he learned enough from them to guide the business plans that were created for his future ventures.

You have to be emotionally secure enough to adapt. If you are offended because a team member disagrees with an idea that you thought was the best idea ever then creativity and innovation will be stifled. Entrepreneurs are service minded. They present ideas as a way to serve their target market, when an idea does not serve the target market appropriately, they have to adapt in order to come up with the best idea to serve the market.

2) They’re Committed

There are no half-hearted champions. Michael Jordan admits that he had many more failures than successes, but what set him apart from those who were not seen as successful was his ability to try again, even after he failed.
Sometimes a string of events will come from one decision. When you make that decision to try again and persevere through your adversity that just may be the time that you set off a sequence of positive events for your life and your business. Follow through with the right attitude and be professional.

3) They’re Dependable

Every team has a go-to player. This person is always the one who has the answers, and if they don’t they know how to use their resources to find that answer. The go-to player is proactive in finding solutions. They are not just going to let the team fail because of one single problem, they have pure motives and they put the team first.

When I was in 4th grade my teacher, Mrs. West, had a word spelled out onto the wall. It was printed on banner paper and large black letters. Every time I got into trouble, and I often did because I was the class clown, she would make me repeat and spell this word.

What was the word?

Responsibility. I still remember spelling it, RES-PON-SIBI-LITY. She reminded me to take responsibility for my actions and even to this day I remember the lesson she taught me. Being dependable means being responsible for yourself and your team.

4) They’re Disciplined

Where there’s a will, there’s a win. Stay focused. Sometimes you have to do what you really don’t want to do so that you can do what you really want to do. You might not want to make copies as an intern, but when your boss sees your discipline to complete that task, you will find yourself presented with more opportunities to show off your discipline and work ethic.
Successful entrepreneurs should be disciplined in three major areas.
Disciplined Thinking

Have an active mind. If you find your thoughts running away with you bring them back to the task at hand so you can accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
Disciplined Emotions

Master your emotions. You can ruin a friendship or a business relationship by expressing wild emotions.
Disciplined Actions

This is the one characteristic that separates winners from losers. A person lacking discipline is in a prison without bars.

5) They’re Prepared

Successful entrepreneurs mentally walk through any process ahead of time. They are able to anticipate any possible obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. They are ready to become an expert in their chosen field by constantly learning what it takes to succeed.

6) They’re Relational

There are certain characteristics that every business owner looks for in a candidate when they are building a team. They want to team with people who not only will contribute greatly to the team, but who will also create that relationship. A strong relationship between the team is cultivated with respect, shared experience and trust. Respect for one another and respect for the team will build a strong relationship. The relationship also grows with every shared experience, when you and your team has been pushed to the limit, there is a bond that is created from that shared experience. Trust is the last thing that will build a team but it is also one of the most important characteristics to have in a strong relationship.

7) They’re Self-Improving

To improve the team, you must improve yourself. As a leader, your team is looking to you for the next step. Your team will model your actions or your lack of action. To improve yourself and become a more successful leader, improve your preparation and contemplation. Your success is hidden in your daily routine. Did you monitor your time and eliminate unnecessary tasks?

Have you taken advantage of each opportunity that has been presented to you?

When you prepare yourself for great opportunities, those opportunities will see you out because you are ready to take advantage of them. Contemplation is also important to becoming a successful leader. Time alone is essential to self-improvement. We all need time free from distractions in order to recharge our internal battery and maintain our creativity.

8 ) They’re Tenacious

Successful leaders work with determination. They begin with the end in mind. Don’t be afraid to try making that sale again, even though you might have been turned down 9 times before. One of my favorite books is The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino.

It’s a recommendation of mine if you are in need of motivation to pick yourself up and try again. In the book, the main character aspires to be a great salesman and he is charged with the task of selling a single item. He tries over and over and over again to sell this one item. After being turned down each time he finally receives his reward for his persistence. You’ll have to read the book for the conclusion of the story, you will find the motivation you need to be a successful leader.

9) They’re Action-Oriented

None of these characteristics by themselves can create a successful entrepreneur. They must be utilized to make a difference. The time is now to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that await us. Complacency is unacceptable for successful leaders. An idea without action behind it is just a wish.
In summary, take action! Don’t be afraid to step out there and take your ideas to market. Evaluate yourself and the abilities that you were born with. And if you don’t possess these qualities yet, then surround yourself with people who do, and learn from them. Just as undesirable behaviors and characteristics can be unlearned, desirable behaviors can be learned.

Looking for more successful entrepreneurs? Click here for audio and video interviews with young entrepreneurs.

Originally posted 2014-04-24 07:24:54.