mistakes-always

One of the best aspects of being a Yakezie member and personal finance blogger is building relationships with other bloggers and readers. Recently, more than a few bloggers have asked me why I take on certain freelance jobs and basically, why I blog when the money is so insignificant compared to my other sources of income. In fact, here’s a direct quote from Paula at Afford Anything.

 “What motivates you to do this, given that you already have such a great job?”

I recently tackled that question on my site and I know many of you ask yourselves that question as well. Some version of this question, “Why am I participating in this marginally lucrative and time eating hobby?” rattles around in our collective brains at some point or another, I am certain.

Today, I am going to depart from the guarded stance I take on my site and disclose some of my past career and financial mistakes. This article offers insights into how wisdom grows from failures and mistakes. My goal is to provide perspective to those slow growers and motivation to continue in spite of obstacles.

A TIME I QUIT TOO SOON

One of my first professional jobs in my 20’s was in real estate sales. I was working during a horrible housing market with 12% mortgage loan rates. In spite of the poor climate, I managed to make a sale a month during my second year. I networked, went to educational seminars, went door-to-door passing out my “real estate newsletter”, and networked some more.

A sale per month was excellent progress for year two in the unfriendly market. I was disappointed in my progress and didn’t realize that I was doing quite well for a relative newbie. I was disappointed that my sales and income weren’t higher. I decided that I was bored, needed more stimulation, and decided to do something different. Although I’m not sure if that decision was based on boredom or disappointment.

Had I continued for a few more years as the market rebounded, and my clientele grew even more, I am convinced my sales and income would have soared. I quit too soon to determine my full potential in that job! The decision to quit after two years probably cost me thousands of dollars long term because I was impatient and self critical.

A TIME I WAS TOO CONSERVATIVE

Again, in my 20’s, I inherited some money from a relative. That nest egg ignited my interest in investing and off I went to a stock broker. Fortunately, I met a decent stock broker who put up with my endless questions. He even let me borrow his company’s educational materials to teach myself investing fundamentals.

In spite of my early investing exposure and information, I was afraid to invest in stocks. My parents were born in the 1920’s and lessons from the great depression were in my DNA. My grandfather was out of work for 6 years while my grandmother sold odds and ends door to door. The stories of men losing their fortunes in the stock market crash of 1929 rattled around in my head. I feared investing in stocks because all I knew was that you could lose all your money and become destitute!

Consequently, I invested my inherited funds in individual bonds, a closed end bond fund, and a GNMA government mortgage backed securities fund. Now these weren’t bad investments. They were merely missing the asset class of stocks.

Over the past century or so stocks have returned about 9% and bonds about 5% annually. So in my 20s, if I had invested 50% of my portfolio in stocks, I would have increased my lifetime wealth substantially. Luckily, by my 30’s, as I continued to study investing, I realized that investing in a more diversified portfolio, including stocks would substantially increase my returns. And, with experience, I became more comfortable with the risk and volatility of stock market investing. I learned about the historical performance of stocks and bonds and decided I could handle some stock market exposure.

By being too fearful and conservative in my 20’s I partially missed out on the time value of compounded wealth. As Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “The greatest wonder of the universe is compound interest.”

THE TAKEAWAY

I take low paying freelance jobs because I am building for the future. My goal is to grow my blog and web presence in order to educate others and maximize my on line income.  If you look at any of the biggest sites, you’ll notice that time is instrumental to their success.  The biggest mistake one can make is to stop doing something because nothing is happening. If growth or rewards aren’t coming quickly enough, maybe you haven’t been at it long enough!

I remember an interview with actor Craig T. Nelson, who toiled in the acting field for decades before getting his big break in the television series, Coach. Nelson was in his 40’s when he made it big!

Whenever you get down and worry that your entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t growing quickly enough remember some of the greatest success stories in any field and realize that there’s no substitute for persistence and discipline.

How long did it take to achieve your successes?

RECOMMENDATION FOR BUILDING WEALTH

Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best way to become financially independent and protect yourself is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and how my net worth is progressing. I can also see how much I’m spending every month.

The best tool is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer which runs your investment portfolio through its software to see what you are paying. I found out I was paying $1,700 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying! There is no better financial tool online that has helped me more to achieve financial freedom.

It’s 2015 and the bull market continues. Make a decision to be wealthy by taking control of your finances!

image credit; elycefelize