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Financial Freedom Requires Cash Flow & Other Money Lessons

Finance

Why do you want to save money? Why do you want to get out of debt? Why is investing important to you?

When I decided to learn more about using money wisely, I tried reading a lot of articles on how to be financially secure, yet most of that information never stuck with me. A lot of the articles I read were entertaining but didn't teach me anything new, while others were full of boring, redundant advice.


However, a few articles sparked an 'ah-ha' moment for me, they didn't just teach me "good" financial tips but also changed how I thought about money.

1. "Financial Freedom Requires Cash Flow" by The Rental Mindset

If you could imagine a life in which you're financially independent, how do you imagine reaching that goal? Working hard and climbing the corporate ladder to go from secretary to CEO? Launching a million-dollar startup? Bottling oxygen to sell in Northern China? Whichever way you've imagined, the odds of achieving financial freedom by doing just one thing are slim.

This article helped me realize that we won't all become CEOs, but having multiple sources of income will help get you to financial independence (or at the very least, a healthier bank account) faster than having just one source of income. Your goal should be to have more than one source of income, whether that's a side-hustle such as a freelance project, or the dividends you earn on your investments, in addition to your regular job.

Full Article: Financial Freedom Requires Cash Flow

2. "Twenty Things to Know About Money in Your Twenties" by Bridget Casey

The most powerful thing on this list is right at the top: Travel Spending Doesn't have the ROI You Think It Does. Most millennials have fallen into the habit of thinking that traveling to new places will somehow give us the right mindset to face the world. Yet, often after spending thousands of dollars on exotic trips, we come back no different than when we left. We're the exact same people, just with a bunch of cool pictures and souvenirs. Bridget points out that "many, many people will get to backpack Europe or walk the Great Wall of China, but very few will start their own company. Invest in the right adventure for yourself, ignore what everyone else is doing."

This article freed me from thinking that my twenties would be incomplete if I didn't take the opportunity to travel across the world. The right adventure for me, and possibly for you, might be slightly harder than buying a plane ticket to go "find" ourselves in Bali, but it'll probably end up having greater rewards.

Full Article: Twenty Things to Know About Money in Your Twenties

3. "The Incredible Power of the 1% Margin for Improvement" by Paula Pant

This article reminded me that every huge goal is made up of small steps, and pointed out the raw potential in striving to improve by a little bit every day. Instead of making a vague plan to pay down $1,000 of your student loans in twelve months, plan to pay off $80 this month, then $85 next month, $90 the month after, slowly increasing that number until you're paying off as much as you possibly can, in small manageable chunks.

According to Paula, you can have everything you want, just not all at once, so make incremental progress a regular habit.

Full Article: The Incredible Power of the 1% Margin for Improvement

4. "If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You're Doing Something Wrong" by Lauren Martin

If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You're Doing Something Wrong by Lauren Martin

While the advice in this article should be ignored, deleted, and canceled, the author's underlying attitude towards money is exactly like mine and every other millennial's—we all want to never have to worry about money. Lauren asks, "When did our 20s start to feel like our 40s? When did we get weighed down with the same pressure and stresses as a woman with four kids and a second mortgage?"

Yet, the difference between all of us lies in what we do with this desire to not have to worry about money. Do we just ignore it like this article suggests, or do we tackle that anxiety now by developing good financial habits?

Full Article: If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You're Doing Something Wrong

5. "The Shortness of Life" by Maria Popova

This article made me aware of how much time we waste just waiting for the right time, instead of just doing whatever it is we want to do. Maria borrows liberally from Seneca who says: "It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it."

While we can—and probably, will—always make more money, we can never make up for lost time. The fact is that people die everyday and there's nothing guaranteeing us that we'll live beyond today. We, quite literally, only have today so we can't pretend that we'll always have time to create and try out the things we want.

Figure out what's important to you, financially and in other areas of your life, and do it now.

Full Article: The Shortness of Life by Maria Popova

Featured image by Gfycat

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
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