Tag Archives: how to

The Job Search (Pt.5) – eHow = More $$$

I love my job as a teaching assistant. It’s extremely challenging but unbelievably rewarding. Serving developmentally-disabled students is ideal experience for my future goals, and I haven’t felt so natural in a job for a long time. I honestly don’t believe there is a better way I could be spending the interim between undergraduate and graduate school. However, I have previously mentioned that the job does not pay much. As this is really my best opportunity to save money for my graduate expenses, I really needed an additional source of income (however small).

Naturally I went looking for online options, particularly because I had coincidentally read several blog posts in recent weeks on the topic. For example Amanda‘s guest post at The Smart College Grad and a Lifehacker.com article. I am extremely skeptical of anything that promises lots of cash for simple online work (as I believe I should be). But I did read in various articles that “content farm” work like writing for eHow.com can be worth it if you write effectively and efficiently. I’ve been a fan of writing since my high school days, so I thought I’d give it a shot. After tweaking my resume a bit to highlight my professional writing experience (which is virtually nonexistent) and spending fifteen minutes quickly creating a “tutorial” style writing sample, I applied for a writer position. Just days later I was accepted and got right to work.

There are two ways to make money through eHow: fixed fee or revenue share. Fixed fee typically pays $15 an article, which many argue is not enough. Revenue share is based on ads and traffic. Though I’ve read revenue share is a better long-term investment, I’m looking for quick cash, even if it just covers my gas expenses! Here is my experience thus far:

As of today (been a writer for eHow for one week) I have written six articles. Three have been approved and published (and yes, I have legitimately been paid for them), the other three are pending an editor’s review. So far, none of the six articles have taken me more than one hour. In my opinion, considering the $15 I make for 45-60 minutes of my time, the fixed fee seems like an alright deal. If anything, it is a better use of my time on the computer. Perhaps motivating above all is my general thirst for knowledge; which really seals the deal for me. I can get paid to spend an hour learning how to do something and then writing about it? How could I speak against such a proposition? As long as I choose articles that I know will not consume multiple hours of my time, this will continue to be an efficient way to make a few extra bucks when I get home from work. For a future broke grad student, every little bit helps!

Have you ever made money online? What did you do?

Job Search series: Part 1 – Part 2 Part 3 – Part 4 Part 5

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Tips for a Wealthy Gen-Y Retirement

Your future wealth is in your hands right now!At the tender age of 21, I began saving for retirement. If I was more financially-conscious years earlier, I would have started saving the day I was legally capable of opening an account. Since I began to think about my personal finances I’ve read dozens of articles, blogs, magazines, and books on the subject; I continue to read more every day. Thinking retrospectively, I wish the importance of saving and investing was stressed in my high school days. Though I’ve never been a big spender, at that age I never had a concept of how important growth is to accumulating wealth. Your money cannot simply sit in a savings account and subsequently provide a cushion of money for your later life. Accumulated wealth doesn’t unfold that way. Perhaps a simpler but more important concept that failed to be taught was the idea of compounding. I hope you are all educated on compounding, as I won’t get into details (if you aren’t familiar, check out The Simple Dollar’s explanation). Since opening this account, I have made a financial plan for my future, which I fully intend to accomplish (most likely once I begin a stable career post graduate school). Nevertheless, I’ve begun planning and handling my money to prepare a comfortable retirement (something that is grimly forecasted for Generation Y). If you haven’t begun already, it is never too late (but it definitely helps to start early)! Here are few (basic) tips to get you started:

1. Open a retirement account.

I’ve been amazed to hear how many people entered their 30’s, 40’s, and even 50’s without a dime towards retirement. For 20-somethings, you’re probably hoping that you’ll be in a higher tax bracket in retirement than you are now. If this is the case (although there are exceptions), a Roth IRA is right for you. In a Roth, you contribute after-tax income at your current tax rate, therefore avoiding your higher tax rate in retirement. There are several limitations on income and contributions, so before opening a Roth you should do more research to ensure it is a good fit for you.

Recommended Reading: Comparison Table from www.SavingtoInvest.com

2. Create a Budget.

What is the point of allocating your cash if you don’t know how much you need and for what? If your goal is never to touch your savings, you need to be aware of your living expenses. You should do a thorough assessment of all expenses and create a budget (a much less daunting task than many believe it to be). There are thousands of resources on the web to help you create a realistic budget that will get you on track for financial responsibility. Though budgeting is a regular responsibility, something that needs maintaining, it is a necessary part of your growth as a saver! With a budget, you can set aside enough of your income to cover expenses and any cash you want for pleasure (responsibly, of course). Anything else can be put towards your savings, retirement, or debt. There are various strategies about the order in which to contribute to these entities, and the situation varies for everyone; talk to a knowledgeable individual or a financial planner about what your best options are.

Recommended Reading: Four-Step Budget Template from Life After College

3. Read, read, read. Then adopt a plan a stick with it.

The more you read, the more you’ll be able to cater to your individual financial circumstances. Whether you start following Suze Orman, reading personal finance blogs, or listening to audiobooks, find a resource that you enjoy learning from and can effectively incorporate into your life. There is a wealth of knowledge (pun intended) out there, and the only way to absorb it is to reach out. Hopefully, if you’re like me, you’ll find that taking responsibility for your personal finances can be fun, interesting, and exciting! With time and effort you’ll see your debt (if you’ve got any) shrink, and your net worth grow. Why wait until you’re middle-aged to think about these things? Form your plan now!

Recommended Reading: Free Financial Freedom Blueprint courtesy Gen Y Wealth

These are three very basic jump-starts to your wealth-building. This list could go on and on, but there are plenty of resources out there for you to learn from. This process can be a thrilling one if you choose to make it so. You’ve got the power of your future in your hands, right now!

As there is much left to be said about this journey, please share your additional tips in the comments. We all need to learn from one another!


How to Bomb an Interview (in 3 easy steps)!

I spent the weekend in Buffalo, NY on my 2nd graduate program interview. I am confident it went well, though that is no guarantee of acceptance. After a very positive experience at this program, it got me thinking about my first interview for a grad school (which was just a week before this past one). It also became glaringly obvious how awful I did. This is no exaggeration. It was horrendous. I’m a very personable individual, and I’m also very confident in my ability to communicate my strengths, weaknesses, and any other information about myself. I was wonderful at this; perhaps a bit too wonderful. In retrospect, I spent very little time being friendly (or even smiling for that matter) because I was so preoccupied with portraying myself as a professional and work-oriented person. Following the interview, I realized how little the ‘real’ me actually participated in the conversation. I was interviewing for what I thought they wanted, not who I really was. As I said, this occurred to me shortly after the interview, and became really apparent after my Buffalo interview, during which I was committed to stop this “acting job.”

Regardless of the outcome, I have looked at that first interview as both a wake-up call and a learning experience. I believe it took these mistakes in round one to be successful in round two. But to help those of you out there who would prefer never to make a mistake at all, or perhaps to make the worst mistakes in the books, I present to you three easy steps to bombing your first interview:

1. Don’t even think about smiling.

By not smiling, you communicate to your interviewer that you’re neither friendly nor interested. This is the first, and perhaps one of the most important steps to bombing your interview. Employers want to see a mature yet personable individual. While they often take their power to hire extremely seriously, a program is usually looking for someone with a bit of spunk too. Someone who can smile has an immediate advantage. If you’re looking to bomb, this is an advantage you’re not interested in. So keep your happy thoughts and positive verbalizations to yourself. They won’t do you any good for this cause. [Bonus points for a frown.]

2. Don’t prepare.

The prospect of improvising your way through an interview sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Even if your people-skills are the best in your league, this is another great way to turn an interview into a disaster. If you wanted to ace the interview, you’d do your research on the program or workplace and prepare solid responses to typical questions. But since you’re looking to bomb, use it as an opportunity to work on your acting; pretend you know what the program does, and try even harder to explain why you’re wasting their time.

3. Appear disheveled.

If the company and/or program was worth being a part of, they’d accept you no matter what you dressed or appeared like! Professional attire is for the sucker, right? Wrong. Pat yourself on the back for being a fool (if that’s what you’re going for). Your attempt to stick it to the man will most likely assist in your journey towards the big ‘bomb.’ Employers want to see someone who takes themselves and the interview opportunity seriously. To them, your initial behavior during this interview is a direct reflection of both your attitude about your work and your maturity. By not showering for a week, waking up, throwing on sweats, and hopping in your car to the interview, you’re sure to screw up big time!

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to bombing your interview. The rest will come naturally if you’re foolish enough to follow the first three steps! Good luck, and never forget to stick it to the man (if you want to live in your mother’s basement for the next decade or two)!


How To Become A Millionaire (sort of)!

Million Dollar Club Join J.Money‘s Million Dollar Club, of course! Today I officially announce my membership in the club. The purpose of the club is to create a list of habits and plans you pledge to adopt in the pursuit of your first million. Though with my undergraduate and graduate student loans, I don’t anticipate being worth $1,000,000 any time soon, making a list of goals is always a good way to stay on track. My list is as follows:

1. I will spend less than I earn each year.

2. I will contribute a portion of each paycheck to my IRA, student loans, and savings account before I consider my spending money.

3. I will read more books on personal finance and implement the wealth-building strategies I learn.

4. I will take a few days to consider any purchase that is not a necessity.

5. I will never acquire any credit card debt.

6. I will stick to all of the budgets that I set for myself.

7. I will contribute as much as possible to any employer-matched retirement accounts.

8. I will develop a total financial plan at the beginning of each year.

Given this list, I’ll be using 101in365.com to keep me motivated and working towards my goals (not all of which are financial, but many of which are). While I’m not naïve (I know this list won’t be solely responsible for my first million), I would like to use it to check back every few months to make sure I am maintaining the promises I have made.

So what do you say? Are you ready to make your first million?

What would be on your list?