If you think that money doesn’t grow on trees, think again! Or at least think about trees – and money – in a way that helps you gain control of your personal finances. That’s what financial blogger Miranda Marquit has been doing, and explaining to readers, since she first started publishing money-management articles on her website, PlantingMoneySeeds.com. Read this interview to get some quick tips on finances, and then head to Miranda’s website for answers to your financial and investment questions.
UV: When you first started your home-based financial advice business, what were two things you had the most trouble getting used to?
I’m actually a freelance financial journalist. I started as an online writer 10 years ago, and sort of fell into writing about money for clients. Due to this reality, it was troubling to get used to the idea that people would look to me for information about money, since that’s not my original background. The other thing that has been difficult to get used to is thinking of myself as a business owner. I operate as an LLC, and I even have a couple of employees. It’s weird to think of myself as a business owner.
UV: You’ve written an e-book titled “How To Set Your Financial Priorities,” which people can receive for free when they sign up for your newsletter. In this book you talk about the connection between personal values and personal finances. Can you give our readers a brief overview of what you mean by that connection?
One of the problems many people have is that they disconnect their spending decisions from their personal values. What ends happening is that you spend money on things you don’t care about, and you aren’t using your money to help you reach your most important goals. Once you figure out what really matters to you, and you understand your goals, you can change the way you use your money. You can use your money to reach your goals and improve your life. When you make the connection between your personal values and your finances, you view your money as a resource to better manage your life.
UV: One of the reasons many people get confused when it comes to finances and investing is that a lot of the big-bank companies use words like “debenture” that aren’t in everyone’s vocabulary, or arcane acronyms like ROI and P/E. Should people learn essential vocabulary related to business and investment before they start working on their own financial plans?
It’s always a good idea to understand. But you don’t need to know about ROI and P/E to start making decisions based on your personal values. You can even start investing without having a lot of jargon-related knowledge. Learn about investing in index funds and index ETFs to start. You can base your long-term investing and saving on these moves, and then be able to move forward. You don’t want to get caught up in knowing all the definitions because you can easily be overwhelmed with all the information.
UV: Here at eReflect, we believe that investing in self-education provides a huge return, both personally and professionally. What are your thoughts on spending money for things like classes, training, and software, versus putting that money in a high-interest bank account?
Investing in your best asset – you – is always a good idea. However, you shouldn’t do it without a purpose. Know why you’re taking the class, getting the training, or buying the software. Know the end game and why it matters, and how it will help you in the future. If you can use it to boost your earning power through running a business, getting a promotion or raise, or in some other way, it’s more valuable that having the money sit in a bank account that doesn’t earn much interest.
UV: As we move into 2016, do you have plans for expanding your website and what you offer to people?
I’m in a strange place right now. I’m just getting my feet under me after a divorce and a cross-country move. Right now, I’m more interested in rebuilding my life. I can hold down the fort for now, re-evaluate my own values and priorities, and then decide what’s next.
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