How To Get A Day Job With Your Blog

Leverage Your Blog To Full-Time Employment

by in Personal Finance on Feb 27th, 2014

For those of you who’ve been following my writing on Financial Samurai, I recently announced that I’ve started a new part-time role as Personal Capital’s content manager for its blog called Daily Capital. I’d appreciate it if you could check it out and lend your support. Maybe even leave a comment or 10 so I don’t get fired too quick!

I’m very excited about the opportunity for several reasons:

1)   I believe in the product. Leveraging technology to grow your wealth and create a business to gather assets is a no brainer. Those industries who do not leverage technology will be left behind.

2)   The role is very similar to what I’m doing for Financial Samurai and the Yakezie Network, just with a massive clientele, and a large marketing budget.

3)   I get to physically interact with more humans, which I’ve found to be a necessity after working solo for almost two years. Full-time bloggers and freelancers know how lonely working online can get.

4)   There’s a challenge to build something meaningful. Daily Capital has a lot of upside due to the resource’s at Personal Capital’s disposal. They’ve got CFPs, PhDs, MBAs, and industry veterans all looking to share their knowledge. They just need someone to focus on executing the goals. There’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing things grow from hard work and creativity.

5)   The ability to finally experience San Francisco tech culture and grow my network. Working at a tech startup is on my bucket list. It would be a crying shame to live through the golden age of tech in SF and never experience what it was like.

From an employer’s point of view, it makes sense to hire someone who is a believer of the product, user of the product, has experience in the field they are looking to hire, and wants a challenge. So far, the fit has been great and I want to share with you thoughts on how I was able to get a “real” physical job using my blog.

JOBS BLOGGING COULD HELP YOU LAND Read More

Is College Worth It? My Decision To Pay Up For A Private School

Maybe A Prestigious Private University Isn't All Cracked Up To Be

by in Personal Finance on Aug 26th, 2013

The following is a post by Katharine Rudzitis, a Yakezie Writing Contest winner. She wrote a thoughtful post after winning second place entitled, “Prestigious Expensive University Or A Free Ride Elsewhere?” on April 11, 2011 when she was still in high school. The post discussed her decision between Amherst College for $60,000 or Macaulay Honors College of CUNY for free and a stipend to study abroad. Here’s a first hand follow up.

Two years ago, I faced a difficult decision.  I had to choose between attending a state school with a full-ride scholarship, or paying approximately $5,000 a year to attend Amherst College, which is consistently ranked the #1 or #2 Liberal Arts College in the USA.  After talking to my mother, college counselor, and a handful of peers, I read through all the comments that my original post on Yakezie received.  After a stressful few weeks, I decided that I would give Amherst a college try.

Once I’d packed all my belongings into a car, only one hurdle remained: figuring out how I would come up with $20,000 over four years. I was opposed to student loans because I wanted to escape the average undergraduate debt of $27,000, so I decided that I would do my best to pay out-of-pocket each year. I calculated that if I made some money each summer interning, I could work 20-30 hours a week during the school year to cover the rest. Thanks to how my summers and school years have been going, I’ve saved enough to avoid loans for all four years. Read More

Talking Practicalities: Giving Up The Job You Hate

by in Personal Finance on Jun 22nd, 2013

An overwhelming amount of Americans dislike their current employment. The statistics vary depending on which source you trust, but Gallup conducted a survey in 2011 which suggested that a whopping 71% of people were ‘not engaged’ and even ‘actively disengaged’ from their current job. And that’s one of the more conservative figures doing the rounds on the Internet.

Naturally, things would go south pretty quickly if everyone just walked out of the jobs they loathe, both on an individual level and nationwide. But people do frequently up sticks despite the terror such a decision instills in most of us.

Perhaps you have also entertained notions of quitting work without much formal planning. Maybe you’re at that job right now, reading this when you should be working (tip: delete your browser history afterwards!).

Without wanting to sway your decision one way or another, here’s some practical advice to bear in mind before you dive into the great unknown.

No Plan? No Go. Read More

The Worst Job In America: News Reporter / Journalist!

A look at the best and worst jobs today

Out of all the craptastic jobs out there, you wouldn’t think being a journalist was the worst job ever would you? I didn’t, so it came as a shock when a company called Career Cast put news reporter on the top of their list based on pay, outlook, work environment, and stress. Career Cast analyzed over 200 professions and gathered data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census, Bureau, trade association studies and other sources to come to their conclusion.

I wrote about my three bad jobs that made me who I am today, and I would easily choose being a journalist over working at McDonald’s, being an office removals man, or a admin assistant in charge of stuffing envelopes for nine hours a day, any day! But as I got to thinking more about the journalism profession I’m beginning to see the light.

WHY BEING A NEWS REPORTER / JOURNALIST IS THE WORST Read More

Does Soaring Tuition Matter If The Returns Are Even Greater?

A Look Inside The Cost Of Education And The Maximization of Benefits

When people complain about the cost of education, is it really the cost they are complaining about, or is it the return on the investment they are receiving?  I think it is the latter.

Everyone knows that education costs have been rising dramatically in the United States, while at the same time; entry level wages of college graduates has dropped over the last decade.  So what does this mean for the individual student or graduate?  The return on the cost of education has fallen over the last decade.  That is the real problem, and student loans compound it.

Why The Return Is The Problem

Let’s take a deeper look at the return on education, and how it is directly impacting graduates.  I don’t think that it affects all graduates the same – just certain ones who attend certain schools.  So, for this example, we will look at three cases.

First, we have a student that wants to get a liberal arts degree (say, history).  Second, we have a student that wants a computer science/engineering degree.  And finally, we have a medical student.

These students have choices in where they can go to school: the best schools for their majors, or a state (public) school.  I’m going to use the US News and World Reports rankings for schools, and average the cost of tuition for the top three.  For reference, all the top state schools had liberal arts and engineering programs, but I selected the top state schools that had a pre-med program.

Cost of Education by School Type

We also know that doctors require a graduate education, and the calculation above was for pre-med only.  The average cost of graduate medical school is an additional $141,132.

However, this is only half the equation.  To calculate the return, we need to look at the average salaries after graduation.  This can be very subjective, especially in the liberal arts majors.  So first, I’m going to declare that all liberal arts majors go into business, sales, or general office work (which they clearly do not, but it highlights the picture).  This is the most popular field for history majors, and it correlates with liberal arts majors in general, since most in this field do not actually enter a career in their major.  Also, we know that there are many types of doctors, and some require a lot more specialization.  Based on the average cost above, I assume the doctor just becomes a general practitioner, not a specialist.

I used Salary.com to see about what these graduates can make in their fields upon entry. I then look 5 years out, and let’s say these individuals are now promoted 2 levels, or in the doctor’s case, moved up to the 50% average.  And then, let’s look at the return on education over 5 years.  We’ll assume a standard line growth between the starting salary and ending salary over 5 years.  Here is how much total these individuals would make over that period.

Salaries by Degree

Now, let’s look at the return on investment, which can be calculated: (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / (Cost of Investment).  But, the one thing we are missing is the average salary for a non-degreed individual.  To save time, the average starting pay for a non-degreed individual is $24,300 per year, and we will assume a 5% raise per year.  So, the total earnings after 5 years is only $134,232.  We will assume the difference between this and the salaries above as the gain from investment in education.

ROI on Education 2012

Let’s look at two last facts.  First, the National Center for Education Statistics has found that education prices have increased 37% at public institutions (state schools), and 25% at private schools (which all happen to be the top schools in this list).

Next, we know that wage growth has been -7.57% over the last decade.  With this, we can infer the following ROI of education from 2000.  This is for a liberal arts major, but it applies to all of the above.

ROI Education 2000

Compare this with the ROI from above, and you can see the return on investment in education decreased for both public and private schools over the past decade.  The growth in tuition costs, compounded with negative wage growth, has created a lower return on education than in the past.

 

Student Loans Compound the Problem

Alright, we can put some of that math behind us, and think about an even bigger problem – the fact that almost two-thirds of all graduates last year had student loans.  Not only is education costing more, and the return on the investment is decreasing, students are borrowing more than ever to pay for it.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Imagine a Wall Street investment that had a decreasing ROI, and yet people were borrowing money to invest in it.  It just doesn’t happen.  And it shouldn’t with educational expenses either, but it is happening, and it is hurting our students and graduates.

Student loan debt compounds the decreasing ROI problem because not only are students making less than the previous decade of graduates, but they are on the hook for loan payments that are higher than the previous decade as well.  So, they make less, owe more, and are generally less well off.

The Solutions

There are several ways for college students to escape this problem, but it requires re-evaluating the consensus thinking on education expenses.

Calculate ROI

First, students should look at their ROI when deciding on schools and career paths.  If students don’t, then their parents should.  Just using the illustrations above, it is clear to see that the return on a state school is always higher than a return on a private school.  As such, for most individuals, a public university will probably be the better option.  When doing the calculations, it is fair to consider financial aid, since that may play a factor in private school choices.  However, the calculation always has the same variables, so do the math.

Calculate the Cost of Student Loans

Second, student loan debt needs to be figured into the equation.  When looking at the costs and the return, it is essential that students don’t borrow more than they can possibly pay back in 5 to 10 years.  Student loans can never be discharged in bankruptcy, and so the borrower will always be on the hook for the debt.  As such, make sure that you run what it will cost you to pay back each month by using a student loan calculator.

If you borrow your entire liberal arts degree at a private school, your monthly loan payment 6 months after graduation will be a whopping $1,952 per month.  If you go with a state school, your payments will be $536 per month.  That is a big difference, but even $535 per month can be expensive for a recent college graduate.

Setup Realistic Expectations & Options

The tough part for any student is setting up realistic expectations about education costs and job market prospects after graduation.  Yet, it is so essential.  I would encourage any potential college student to look at all options available to minimize costs and maximize returns.

There are vocational schools, community colleges, and other programs that could provide more value at less cost.  If a college is on the docket, then really look at the expected job prospects upon graduation and what that will mean for any debt repayments.

Education is expensive, yet it is usually necessary.  However, there are ways to control costs and be knowledgeable about the expenses and potential returns.  ROI is important to consider, but there are other factors.  Make sure you consider them all when making this huge investment.

Related post: Should I Go To Public School Or Private School? 

Readers, what are your thoughts about the diminishing ROI on education?  Is it worth it?  Why choose a private school over a public school when the ROI is clearly much worse?

It’s important to still save for retirement despite having student loans. A good method is to methodically pay down debt based off your debt interest rate. For example, if you have 5% student loans interest rate, use 50% of your disposable income to pay off debt. This is called the FS-DAIR.

Looking to learn how to start your own profitable website? Check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog. It’s one of the best things I did in 2009 to help earn extra money and break free from Corporate America!

Updated for 2017 and beyond. 

Becoming A Better Manager By Unintentionally Crossing The Mexican Border

Left Does Not Mean Right

by in Personal Finance on Feb 14th, 2012

A couple days before my 27th birthday I took a solo business trip across the southern border of the United States. I was working for a duty free company—you know those stores you see at the borders of Canada and Mexico and at airports that advertise discounted liquor, tobacco, and luxury goods—and the owner of the company wanted me to see more locations.

The most efficient way to see the stores in California is to fly into San Diego and drive to the border. I had my map and thought I was following my directions correctly. The duty free store is the last stop before the border. The parking lots of duty free stores are designed so that you exit into either Canada or Mexico. You do not have the option of reentering the United States.

BIENVENIDOS A MEXICO Read More

Find Your Leverage And Change Your Life

Are You Leveraging Yourself Towards a Better Tomorrow?

by in Personal Finance on Feb 6th, 2012

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” – Archimedes

Leverage can be defined as the power to accomplish something, or a strategic advantage. We’ve heard it used in many different ways. Archimedes, assuredly, used it in a much more mechanical/mathematical sense. Financially, it’s been used as term to describe the use of funds in lending and investing. It’s been used in a social way to describe the advantage someone has over another person. But, I don’t want to talk about those usages. I have no current use for moving anything large, haven’t the funds to lend or invest in large enough amounts to warrant leverage, nor, do I have any crazy ideas of leveraging information to advantage one person over another. Instead, I want to talk about leverage in a completely different sense. Leverage as it applies to you, me, and each of us, individually.

LEVERAGE DIFFERENCES Read More

How To Profit From Facebook And Live Happily Ever After

Facebook Riches For The Outsider Looking In

The Facebook effect is palatable here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Just the other night, my no-limit poker buddy who works as a product manager at Facebook said, “Sam, let’s raise the blinds from $1/$2 to $10/$20!

Umm, no Egor, you might wipe out my lunch money for a year with those type of stakes!” I replied.

Facebook is by far the biggest internet IPO of the century.  With the bankers looking to raise some $5 billion in new capital, valuing the company somewhere around $80-100 billion dollars, there is going to be a ton of wealth creation!  By many estimates, there will be over 1,000 newly minted multi-millionaires and a few billionaires as well.

Mark Zuckerberg, himself will be worth some $20-$30 billion, depending on valuations.  Unfortunately, not all of us work at Facebook, and not all of us managed to get into Facebook 5+ years ago, even if we did have the foresight.  As a result, we’re left to ogle at the riches and lament at yet another missed opportunity.

Don’t feel bad!  I’m here to tell you how you too can profit from Facebook and live happily ever after.

PROFITING FROM FACEBOOK THE ALTERNATIVE WAY Read More

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  • ESI Money: Good stuff! I just had a similar event happen when Business Insider picked up a guest post I did for...
  • Financial Samurai: Yeah, if you have a new site, do the switch. No downside really. Big sites… bide your time...
  • Giovanni Zappavigna: I just recently started a gaming blog, and I switched to HTTPS, for now, I don’t see a...
  • Adriana @MoneyJourney: Buying a car carries indeed certain expenses, aside from the cost of the car itself. Lucky us...
  • MrMoneybanks: Another perfectly timed read on your post Sam. I was recommmended last week to move to HTTPS by another...
  • Benjamin Davis: You know what? I don’t think the boost will be permanent so maybe its best not to change at all!
  • Benjamin Davis: Great ideas Sam!

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