How to find your freakin’ footing and start making money on your own terms

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Student loans are on the rise, with national debt now totaling $1.56 trillion — an average of $32,731 per student. While many lenders offer an interest-free grace period, students just starting their careers are often focused on other life goals. As a result, paying off student loan debt often takes years — or decades — and can add significant stress to the lives of former students.

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10 best ways to pay off a student loan

1. Pay more than the minimum payment

When it comes to paying back student loans, think of them like credit card debt. If you only pay the minimum payment, it’s almost impossible to get ahead. The reason? Nearly all of your minimum payment goes toward paying down the interest that accrues on your debt every month, with only a tiny portion going directly to the principal. Even if you increase your payment by small amounts — $20 or $50 per month — you can save thousands in interest over time.

2. Avoid certain repayment plans

Not all repayment plans are created equal. As an example, consider federal government programs for income-based repayment designed to help students who can’t afford their minimum payment each month. These repayment plans lengthen your term from the standard 10 years to 20 or 25 years. This makes paying back your student loans take much longer, and you’ll pay significantly more interest over 20 years than 10.

3. Use your job to your advantage

Wondering how to get out of student loan debt without paying? Some jobs make this possible. For example, many front-line service staff — such as doctors, nurses, government workers and volunteer organization employees — are eligible for loan forgiveness or assistance programs through their organization. Some private sector companies have also started bundling loan assistance into benefit packages to help attract new hires.

4. Consider refinancing your student loans

Under certain circumstances, the best way to pay off student loans is to refinance your debt with another lender and reduce your interest rate. This is worth considering if your financial situation has improved significantly over time — since you’re in a more stable income and savings position, private lenders will often offer lower interest rates on your remaining student loan balance. It’s worth noting, however, that if you move federal student loans to private lenders, you’ll no longer be eligible for government assistance or debt relief.

5. Take advantage of tax deductions and credits

There are two tax deductions that can help reduce your overall tax burden and make it easier to pay student loan debt.

First is the Student Loan Interest Deduction, which lets you deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on student loans from your taxable income. If you’re still in school or have returned for post-graduate work, you can also leverage deductions up to $4,000 per year for tuition and fees.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Here’s some good news for income investors: Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes have hit a pre-pandemic high. And here’s some bad: Interest rates remain near historic lows, and yield-seeking retirees still don’t have it easy.

Ten-year Treasury yields have risen sharply to around 1.49%, up from just 1% earlier this month, on hopes of economic recovery. While that portends an incremental rise in the yields on bonds, CDs and other instruments, many traditional sources of retirement income still aren’t beating inflation. Fears of mounting inflation rattled the stock market this week, even as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his commitment to keep the Fed’s target interest rate low until the economy is on stronger footing.

“This country is going through an income crisis.” says Will Rhind, founder of GraniteShares, an independent ETF issuer based in New York.

Retirees can’t keep their whole portfolio in stocks, as a younger investor might. They need bonds to temper their equity risk and for income as well. So where to turn?

CDs vs. corporate and municipal bonds

In this climate, experts say it’s particularly important for investors to weigh risk and reward. You can get fatter yields by buying high-yield bonds issued by companies on a shaky financial footing. Some financial pros say this is a risk worth taking. Just as the economy took off a century ago when the Roaring ‘20s followed the Spanish flu, we may see a booming economy when the pandemic ends that will lift all companies’ boats, the thinking goes.

On the other hand, Denika Tokunaga, a certified financial planner and president of Maven Wealth Management in Howard County, Md., has some clients who don’t want to take much risk with their hard-earned money. So she’s building CD ladders of up to 36 months’ duration to hold the money that these conservative clients will need in the near-term. The highest 3-year rate of around 0.8% is a bit more than the current the rates on high-yield savings accounts.

Municipal bonds and investment-grade corporate bonds fall somewhere in between FDIC-insured CDs and high-yield bonds on the risk spectrum. Municipal bonds’ yields aren’t taxed at the federal level nor, sometimes, at the state level. So while a 1% yield may seem paltry, it’s worth closer to 2% when you consider that it’s not taxed, says Eric Diton, president and managing director of The Wealth Alliance in New York and Florida. Municipal bonds will be particularly attractive if the Biden administration raises income tax rates as proposed on high earners.

Investors can access all types of bonds through mutual funds and ETFs. Some ETFs are focused on income in particular. For example, GraniteShares’ High-Income ETF offers an annual yield of around 9.6% by investing in assets including master limited partnerships and real estate investment trusts.

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How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

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When you’re trying to get a handle on your money, from investments and savings to figuring out retirement and preparing for your future, you might need help from an expert in the financial planning world.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

When you’re trying to get a handle on your money, from investments and savings to figuring out retirement and preparing for your future, you might need help from an expert in the financial planning world. But finding the right person can be more complicated than rebalancing your portfolio.

Perhaps you’re thinking of a wealth manager. But there are wealth management firms, with estate planning and tax specialists, and then there’s the junior employee at your bank listed as a “wealth manager.” Maybe you need a financial planner—but is the planner a financial adviser, a financial life planner, or a financial coach? If your money and emotional issues are creating problems, like addictive spending, you could consider a financial therapist, who could be a financial professional who has some training in counseling, or a mental health professional with some training in personal finance.

If you finally find the right professional, you’ll need to understand how you’ll pay for the advice. Some planners offer subscriptions, similar to your annual gym membership dues, with prices based on the complexity of your situation or your income. Maybe your planner is fee-only for some services and also charges an annual percentage fee based on your assets under management. Or the planner charges you an annual fee, or a retainer, for financial planning and advice only. Or a commission on products sold. Or a blend of all of the above.

“There’s a lot of confusion and for consumers it’s very difficult,” says Ruth Lytton, a financial planning professor at Virginia Tech. “There’s a big range of providers, services and products, and you need to know what you are getting into.”

It’s never been simple or straightforward to pick a planner or adviser, but the process has become more complex because of the transformation of the financial services industry. Brokerages and investment firms such as Vanguard and Fidelity now compete to offer commission-free trading to small investors. Individual investors can outperform actively managed funds by investing in passive investments (indexed exchange-traded funds and mutual funds). Roboadvisers can give you digital investing advice based on algorithms.

Financial advisers and planners are responding to all the changes by expanding their services to offer clients more than investment advice and retirement finance scenarios. Your adviser may want to understand your personal values and views on money, and make a plan based on how your finances can align with those goals. A planner may offer hands-on help, along with advice, helping you figure out long-term care for a loved one by joining you on touring potential facilities or referring you to an elder care professional. Some might sit down with you and help you fill out federal financial aid forms for your college student.

As long as it’s even tangentially related to financial planning, many firms will help their clients navigate the issue,” says Geoffrey Brown, chief executive officer of the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors, or NAPFA, the fee-only financial professionals group. One adviser recently helped a client decide whether to lease or buy a new car, for example.

The financial profession as a whole is working to serve a broader swath of the population, including consumers with more modest incomes, younger workers and other non-traditional clients, Lytton says. “Planners are reaching out not just to those with wealth to protect, but those trying to build wealth,” she says. The changes have been particularly helpful to pre-retirees and retirees, who can tap advisers for more than investment advice. “The retirement piece of planning is a longstanding issue that has led clients to seek advisers, due to the complexity of the financial aspects of it,” she says. “But now, social issues, identity and self-esteem issues, and the need to be intellectually and personally engaged later in life, are questions that are also coming up.”

Advisers who understand this and broaden their services to include guidance on issues like career transitions and end-of-life-care are seeing success, says Christine Benz, director of personal finance for Morningstar. “The smart advisers understand how inextricably linked money is to all these other decisions we might have in our lives,” she says.

Advisers also are increasingly using video chats and teleconferencing, making financial advice more available to clients in rural areas and small towns where a planning firm doesn’t have a physical presence. Other advisers have expanded their reach on social media, offering expertise in real time on issues such as the effects of the SECURE Act.

Understand Your Choices

But the changing landscape also can be challenging for consumers. You have to understand what type of professional you need, what services to look for, what qualifications to ask about and how to understand fees. It gets even more complicated, because categories of advisers are currently “squishy,” as Benz puts it. Someone who focuses mostly on your investment portfolio is a wealth manager, but wealth managers are a type of financial adviser. Advisers work at brokerage firms, such as Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, or they are sole proprietors, like the retired neighbor advertising on the local listserv. It’s up to you to determine qualifications and experience, and financial planning industry credentials aren’t always clear, she says. “It’s so confusing for consumers because the designations floating around don’t help matters,” Benz says. “A lot of consumers see people with a lot of letters after their name but that’s not necessarily good. They’re not all on equal footing.”

But with some effort, you can find the right financial professional. Your search is about finding what kind of adviser you’re most comfortable with, so consult with several professionals and sample different approaches to decide on the right fit. You’ll need to evaluate specifics, but you can begin with a general premise: Do the work to find an adviser. Don’t only let the services just come to you through marketing or sales pitches. Then, get started with the steps outlined in this guide.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

If you’re a successful entrepreneur who wants to give back to the community, you might be thinking of starting your own foundation. But first, be sure you understand the many demands of running a nonprofit organization.

Creating a foundation can be rewarding, but it requires much more than financial support, says Janne Gallagher, senior vice president and general counsel of the Council on Foundations in Arlington, Va. Among other things, foundation founders must get up to speed on laws and regulations, oversee operations, attract donors, and review programs for possible funding.

Some businesses instead choose to establish a fund through a community charity, but don’t necessarily have the final say in how money is distributed. For those who want to retain control through their own foundation, here are several important steps to take:

Make the necessary commitment. As Dick Palazzo built his Tinton Falls, N.J., pet boarding and grooming business, Purr’n Pooch, he regularly rescued dogs from animal shelters and found homes for them. As his business neared its 30th anniversary in 2009, his daughters decided to launch the Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals to further their father’s animal rescue work. Because a foundation is often like running another business, you need true dedication, Palazzo says.

“You have to have real passion for what you’re doing because you’re going to be dedicating a lot of your personal time to the cause,” he says. “If you love what you’re doing, I think the success will follow.” His foundation has granted more than $40,000 to various animal nonprofits and expects to disperse another $25,000 to $30,000 in January.

Get good counsel. An experienced attorney can help you decide whether your organization should be a charitable trust or a 501(c)3, which is named after the portion of the IRS code defining nonprofit entities. Although Palazzo says working with an attorney makes the process easier, you can file the paperwork on your own. Newton, Mass. law firm Hurwit & Associates, which specializes in nonprofit law, provides the filing requirements for each state.

Create bylaws. The foundation must be governed by a set of bylaws, says Jeff Hurwit of Hurwit & Associates. They include provisions for the organization’s governance and board selection process, general decision-making, required meetings, and conflict-of-interest policies. GrantSpace.org provides a good collection of bylaws information and samples.

Develop award criteria. Foundations need to create a clear set of criteria for selecting funding recipients. “Although it’s not legally required, you want to make sure you’re not setting expectations that people will be entitled to grants without meeting specific criteria,” Hurwit says.

Your foundation should identify the types of programs it will support and a timeline for applications, program selection and grant awards. You also may require follow-up reports from funding recipients to document how the money was used and what impact it had.

Recruit a strong board. A foundation often fills its board with family members, but that may not be the best approach. Family members fill all board positions for the Gabe W. Miller Memorial Foundation, founded by attorney Alan B. Miller in memory of his son Gabe, who died in 2005 while he was a social work student at the University of Colorado.

Although Miller likes having an all-family board, he says it limits fundraising. “To enable larger and a greater number of scholarships and social service project grants, we may well have to go to a donor board or sub-board to expand our support population,” Miller says. For example, Palazzo’s animal-focused foundation recruited such outsiders as Nicholas H. Dodman of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and Brian T. Voynick, a veterinarian who hosts an animal show on a New Jersey television station. They brought additional insight, dedicated service and networking opportunities to the foundation, says Palazzo, who serves with his daughters on the board.

Create a sustainable plan. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re going to need to do fundraising to sustain the foundation. Miller, for example, raises funds through his foundation’s annual ‘Celebration of Life’ dinner, as well as direct mail and email solicitations.

Since 2005, the Miller foundation has given away about $55,000 in scholarships and $40,000 in grants to social work projects. “We’re not wealthy like that,” Miller says. “What we do is raise money from everyone we know and everyone we can find who is interested in the work our foundation does.”

Avoid conflicts. Nonprofits need to prevent conflicts of interest, such as using the foundation to advance business purposes. Hurwit says, having the foundation sell products or services from your business could mean forfeiting your tax-exempt status. Nonprofits also cannot generally engage in political activities without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Manage funds properly. It’s critical to keep the foundation and your business as two separate entities with different accounts, Hurwit says. Secure individual employer identification numbers for each entity and do not comingle funds. If you make a donation from your corporation to the foundation, clearly state in your corporate records what the money will be funding. But don’t funnel money from the foundation back into the business, Hurwit says, unless your attorney has cleared a transaction. He advises that it’s best to assume that it’s never permissible.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

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How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Working capital is one of the most difficult financial concepts for the small-business owner to understand. In fact, the term means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. By definition, working capital is the amount by which current assets exceed current liabilities. However, if you simply run this calculation each period to try to analyze working capital, you won’t accomplish much in figuring out what your working capital needs are and how to meet them.

A more useful tool for determining your working capital needs is the operating cycle. The operating cycle analyzes the accounts receivable, inventory and accounts payable cycles in terms of days. In other words, accounts receivable are analyzed by the average number of days it takes to collect an account. Inventory is analyzed by the average number of days it takes to turn over the sale of a product (from the point it comes in your door to the point it is converted to cash or an account receivable). Accounts payable are analyzed by the average number of days it takes to pay a supplier invoice.

Most businesses cannot finance the operating cycle (accounts receivable days + inventory days) with accounts payable financing alone. Consequently, working capital financing is needed. This shortfall is typically covered by the net profits generated internally or by externally borrowed funds or by a combination of the two.

Most businesses need short-term working capital at some point in their operations. For instance, retailers must find working capital to fund seasonal inventory buildup between September and November for Christmas sales. But even a business that is not seasonal occasionally experiences peak months when orders are unusually high. This creates a need for working capital to fund the resulting inventory and accounts receivable buildup.

Some small businesses have enough cash reserves to fund seasonal working capital needs. However, this is very rare for a new business. If your new venture experiences a need for short-term working capital during its first few years of operation, you will have several potential sources of funding. The important thing is to plan ahead. If you get caught off guard, you might miss out on the one big order that could put your business over the hump.

Here are the five most common sources of short-term working capital financing:

  1. Equity. If your business is in its first year of operation and has not yet become profitable, then you might have to rely on equity funds for short-term working capital needs. These funds might be injected from your own personal resources or from a family member, a friend or a third-party investor.
  2. Trade creditors. If you have a particularly good relationship established with your trade creditors, you might be able to solicit their help in providing short-term working capital. If you have paid on time in the past, a trade creditor may be willing to extend terms to enable you to meet a big order. For instance, if you receive a big order that you can fulfill, ship out and collect in 60 days, you could obtain 60-day terms from your supplier if 30-day terms are normally given. The trade creditor will want proof of the order and may want to file a lien on it as security, but if it enables you to proceed, that should not be a problem.
  3. Factoring. Factoring is another resource for short-term working capital financing. Once you have filled an order, a factoring company buys your account receivable and then handles the collection. This type of financing is more expensive than conventional bank financing but is often used by new businesses.
  4. Line of credit. Lines of credit are not often given by banks to new businesses. However, if your new business is well-capitalized by equity and you have good collateral, your business might qualify for one. A line of credit allows you to borrow funds for short-term needs when they arise. The funds are repaid once you collect the accounts receivable that resulted from the short-term sales peak. Lines of credit typically are made for one year at a time and are expected to be paid off for 30 to 60 consecutive days sometime during the year to ensure that the funds are used for short-term needs only.
  5. Short-term loan. While your new business may not qualify for a line of credit from a bank, you might have success in obtaining a one-time short-term loan (less than a year) to finance your temporary working capital needs. If you have established a good banking relationship with a banker, he or she might be willing to provide a short-term note for one order or for a seasonal inventory and/or accounts receivable buildup.

In addition to analyzing the average number of days it takes to make a product (inventory days) and collect on an account (accounts receivable days) vs. the number of days financed by accounts payable, the operating cycle analysis provides one other important analysis.

You can see that working capital has a direct impact on cash flow in a business. Since cash flow is the name of the game for all business owners, a good understanding of working capital is imperative to making any venture successful.

College is nothing without friends. Here’s 15 ways to find your social footing on and off campus.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Welcome to college! You have finally been freed from the cruel, harsh dictatorship of your parents! You’ve suffered through the drudgery of high school! And now you’re ready to let loose and live the libertine alcohol-fueled, collegiate lifestyle that Hollywood has long promised you!

(And, you know, be sure to fit in some studying and stuff, too.)

College is filled with all sorts of confused, eager folks like you. It can be difficult to find your footing, socially. You’ll have the dorm, the quad, and the cafeteria. But surely there is more! Well, lucky for you, there is, college face. Thanks to technology, the entire world is just a few taps away.

You’ve grown up with digital connections spreading in all directions; however chances are that your virtual tendrils didn’t expand far beyond your high school. But now you have the chance—nay, the obligation! —to meet hundreds, if not thousands of new people, both in and out of your new academic home.

And, surely, many of these new connections will be sought out in the name of nookie rather than knowledge. And that’s fine! Whatever way you can solidify those connections. Because soon enough you’ll be cast out into the cold, jobless hellscape of real life. And you’re gonna need all the connections you can manage.

1. Snapchat

2. School-Centric Apps

Your school probably has some kind of dedicated app. A quick survey showed us that these apps seem to be little more than ported versions of the school’s website. However, these edu-niche apps also tend to include info like upcoming events calendars that are central to any self-respecting undergrad’s social life.

One thing that can either make or break your freshman year is your roommate. And colleges are hoping to alleviate some of that angst by allowing incoming students to use services like RoomSync or StarRez to find their ideal match rather than taking a chance on a rando. Be sure to ask if your college offers some sort of roommate-finding software or app.

3. Tinder

4. OKCupid

5. Grindr

6. Instagram

7. Facebook

8. Badoo

Not familiar with Badoo (iOS, Android) ? That’s okay, it’s just because you’re an American. But trust us, it’s a really big deal in other parts of the world.

While the 10-year-old site has been losing popularity recently, it’s still in the top 200 of all sites around the globe. SO, if you had an eye on that certain exchange student from Latin America or southern Europe, this might be your best digital “in.”

9. MeetUp

10. Twitter

11. Swarm

I’m still not sure why Foursquare launched a new app instead of just updating the old one, but that’s exactly what the Foursquare brass decided on. Foursquare, the app, has transformed into some kind of Yelp competitor. Meanwhile, you can still check in via the Swarm app (iOS, Android) which also allows users to find nearby friends and message them. PLUS it got Foursquare-style mayorships back last year.

Wondering if anyone within walking distance wants to join you for pizza or skee-ball or random wanton destruction? Whatever you’re into, Swarm has you covered.

Should I Lend Money or Invest in My Business?

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

You are starting a business and you need to put some money in the business – call it “seed money” if you want. What is the best way to account for that money?

Here you are with check in hand and your bookkeeper says, “How do you want to book this? Is it a loan? Or an investment?” There are tax consequences and risks to each course.

Lending Money to Your Business

If you are opening a partnership or limited liability company (LLC), in most cases you will need to make an owner contribution as your share of the business capital. In this case, you would be making an investment, not a loan.  

When you lend money to your business you become a lender. You’ll need to write up a business loan agreement. Make sure the loan terms are written so you have an arms-length transaction that clearly separates you from the business and that puts everything in writing, including the interest rate on the loan, how the loan will be repaid, and the consequences if it isn’t repaid.

This article has information about how to put together a business loan agreement, including typical sections. Get help from an attorney to write your loan agreement, so you don’t miss anything important.

The interest on the loan is taxable to you personally when it is repaid. Your business should send you a Form 1099-INT after the end of the year showing the total interest you received during that year. Your business repayment of the principal is not taxable since you have already paid the taxes on it.  

Investing Money in Your Business

If you put money into shares of stock or ownership shares in your business, you are an investor. If your business is not a corporation, you can put money into your business by just writing a check and depositing it in the business bank account. The money should go into your individual capital account under the classification of owner’s equity on the balance sheet. (This process works in a similar way for partnerships, where it’s called a distributive share.)

More formally, you can invest in your business by forming a corporation and becoming a shareholder in the business. If the business is small and there are only a few shareholders (called a closely held corporation) you can own most of (or all of!) the business.

If your investment isn’t in stock, you can take out the money at any time. For example, you can take an owner’s draw out of your owner’s equity account. Your draw isn’t taxable to you when you take it out because you have already paid tax on your business net income.

If you take money out by selling stock or get a dividend on your stock, you pay capital gains taxes on these payments. The business must give you a Form 1099-DIV showing the total amount of your dividends for the year.  

Risks of Each Option

The options of loaning money to your business or investing are wrapped in the concepts of debt and equity. In the case of debt (lending), you are the creditor and your business is a debtor. In the second case, with ownership shares, you own a piece of the business. You have more risk with equity investing than with lending money.

If the business can’t pay its bills, having a loan document will put you in the group of creditors and give you a chance of getting some of your money back in bankruptcy proceedings. If you are a shareholder, you are last in line in a bankruptcy, and there may be nothing left for you.    

How to Avoid Tax Issues With Your Contribution

Whether you decide to lend money to your business or make an investment, consider how this will affect your personal taxes. A 2008 Tax Court decision illustrates the issue.

In this case, the business owner claimed he had paid expenses for his business that were not repaid and he wanted to claim the expenses as bad debts. The Tax Court noted in its findings of facts that the owner “did not demand or receive payment for any of the expenses he paid on behalf of his corporation.”

The Tax Court also noted that the loan must meet these requirements:

  • Written paperwork that creates a clear relationship between the business owner (the creditor) and the business (the debtor)
  • Description of the amounts loaned
  • A clear expectation of repayment and the terms and conditions of that repayment
  • And a clear statement of what happens if the debt is not repaid

The tax court found that the owner’s payments were capital contributions and not a loan. That is, they said the owner was investing more money in the business. This investment is not considered business income, and if the owner takes out his or her investment, capital gains tax must be paid on that withdrawal.  

Before You Make that Loan or Investment to Your Business

If you want to loan money to your business, make certain there is paperwork in place that establishes the terms of the loan, the repayment obligation, and penalties for non-repayment. Have an attorney prepare the loan agreement so all the required conditions are included. Then, make sure that the company repays the debt or that the consequences of non-repayment are upheld by the lender (you).

If you want to invest in your business, the same applies: make sure you create shareholder documents to prove that you are actually a shareholder, including the value of the shares you are purchasing and their change in value over time.

What’s the Best Way to Put Money Into Your Business?

It depends on your individual tax and financial circumstances and your business type.

Before You Put Money into Your Business

  1. Discuss the options with both your tax professional and your legal advisors,
  2. Put the agreement (loan or capital contribution) in writing, and
  3. Keep good records of the transaction and make sure it is clear how the money is to be accounted for in the books of the business.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended for general information only. The author is not a CPA, tax attorney, or Enrolled Agent. Each business situation is specific, tax laws and regulations change, and each state has different regulations.

Our ability to accrue money is impacted by many factors including our attitude towards it and our ability to be inventive and creative. Abundance is drawn to us when we think abundantly and with Venus in Capricorn on 28th January, this comes very naturally to you and is worth bearing in mind as the year proceeds. The start of this year is very financially successful and you are in a very comfortable position. It’s easy for you to save, seek advice and make wise investments. You have to guard against a tendency to have a very relaxed attitude to money – you tend to be very content about the fact that money can come and go and this may cause you to trigger plenty of financial feasts and famines.

If you can bring balance to your financial world you will feel far more secure and be able to weather the ups and downs that any year can bring. By February, as Mercury heads into Capricorn on the 4th, you’ll start tapping into your own instincts regarding money. You idealise freedom and therefore if you can earn without feeling tied to a company, boss or organisation, you’ll feel very happy indeed. It’s very common for Sagittarius natives to find more than one way to make money and you’ll be exploring different options and passions available to you. In spring they may be a gentle financial downturn and your financial rewards may not reflect your hard work.

This is only temporary though so don’t be concerned. By July, high expenses begin to die down and you get your footing again thanks to Mars moving into motivated Leo on the 20th. August sees your finances grow and blossom and the correlation between how hard you work and what you earn is undeniable with Mercury’s move into Virgo on the 26th making your next steps obvious. You end this year with some final brilliant ideas on how to add to your finances.

As many people in their 50s have discovered, making friends as an adult is difficult. Without the social bonds that connect us to others as parents, many of us feel isolated — or even a little lonely.

The truth is that it is possible to have an active social life at any age — but, first, we need to accept the fact that making friends after 50 is an active process. We can no longer afford to wait for other people to come to us. We need to take action.

This is the main reason that I decided to build Boomerly . I wanted to create a place where older adults could go to meet like-minded people. Along the way, I had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people about their experiences making friends as an adult. Through these conversations, I learned that the people who succeed in building meaningful friendships as an adult are the ones that follow these four steps.

Step 1: Start by Getting to Know Yourself

When you ask people how to make friends as an adult, they usually give you suggestions like, “just get out there,” “join a dance class,” or, “try speed dating.” On the surface, these are fine suggestions. After all, making friends does require us to get out into the world and take a few emotional risks .

Most of the time, however, we are not lacking for ideas on where to meet people. We are missing the motivation, confidence and self-esteem to get started. For this reason, most people find that reconnecting with themselves is a prerequisite to reconnecting with others.

Think back over the last five decades. Have you spent most of your life looking after other people? Have you left your own passions on the back-burner? Have you let your physical appearance go as you focused on raising your family? Do you feel a bit emotionally bruised by the disappointments that you have faced over the years? Do you have regrets that are holding you back?

Dealing with these issues won’t happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. If you don’t feel like “getting out there” right away, don’t force yourself. Instead, identify the issues that you can control in your life and focus on those.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Step 2: Develop Your Physical and Emotional Resources

If you feel tired, out of shape, or sad, most of the time, making friends is going to be extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to increase your physical and emotional resources.

Most people don’t realize just how disconnected from their bodies they have become until it is too late. Fitness after 50 is not about looking a certain way for other people. It is about having the energy and confidence to explore the world and make friends on your own terms.

Start small. Use the 1-minute technique to gradually increase your commitment to exercise. Get out into nature. Set a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour to stretch. Try gentle yoga.

Then, as your confidence and stamina improve, increase your level of commitment. Join a local gym or see if your community center has fitness equipment that you can use. Find a sport that you love. Whatever you do, do something.

While you build up your body, don’t forget to nourish your mind. Write down one thing every day that you are grateful for. Spend a few minutes every day in meditation or prayer. Learn to become your own best friend.

Step 3: Chase Your Passions, Not People

When people tell you to “get out there and make friends,” they are telling you to chase people. There are several problems with this approach. First, it puts other people on a pedestal. They are the prize to be won. Second, chasing other people simply doesn’t work. By this point in our lives, we know that the best way to push someone away is to follow them.

The alternative is to approach relationship building from a position of strength. Instead of chasing people, we need to chase our passions. This is the only way to meet people on an equal footing.

What have you always been passionate about? Are there any activities, sports, hobbies or skills that you sacrificed to give your family more attention? What fascinates you? What are you curious about? What gets you excited? These are the questions that you need to answer to make friends after 50.

How to find your freakin' footing and start making money on your own terms

Step 4: Be Proactive and Invite People Into Your Life

By the time you reach this step, you will be in great shape. You will have a better understanding of who you are and the kinds of people you want to attract. Perhaps most importantly, you will have recommitted yourself to exploring your passions and getting the most from life after 50. Now it’s time to invite people into your life.

As you explore the world, you will meet hundreds of people who share your interests. Don’t settle for acquaintances. Look for opportunities to bring people deeper into your life. Organize movie nights. Invite small groups over to your house for cocktails. Propose hiking trips. The specifics aren’t important. Just don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. They usually won’t.

Making friends as an adult is possible, but, it requires a new approach. Instead of relying on our social circumstances to bring people into our lives, we need to take the initiative. We need to learn to understand ourselves. We must build our confidence. We need to pursue our passions, not people. Then, when the time comes, we need to reach out and invite people into our lives.

What do you think are the secrets to making friends as an adult? Do you agree that the first step to improving our relationships with others is to learn to understand ourselves? Why or why not? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going.

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