Updated: Mar 15
The third round of stimulus checks are now arriving in bank accounts. Congratulations if you qualified for one and have received it. I have seen various posts of how people plan to spend the money and felt compelled to address this from my heart. First, many people have been suffering financially due to the pandemic. For many, these stimulus checks are paying a mortgage, or helping Americans take care of things such as: auto loans, credit card debt, or simply having food for their family. I am addressing the individuals who happen to fit the next category and this check falls under your discretional income. In other words, this deposit is, more or less, extra money. It is a poor person's mentality to spend every penny of everything you receive. I've been there and I learned better. Helping people save for tomorrow is what I do for a living and have helped people do for years. Here are a few smart things you can do with your stimulus check and fully maximize your opportunity.
Pay Yourself First
The first step toward financial freedom is having the discipline to pay yourself first. 100% of the time you receive any money, especially unexpected money, you must set aside a percentage for yourself. A strong saver will set aside 20% of their income for tomorrow, so put aside at least $300 for yourself. You deserve it. Even if you're simply putting it in the bank to grow your emergency fund, you're taking a big step to secure your future from the inevitable life events that always arise. My previous article: Creating High-Yield Savings on Autopilot highlights the steps to paying yourself first. A high-yield online savings account such as the one offered by Chime is all you need.
Pay Off Debt
Debt can really hold you back from getting ahead. The worst debt we can have is credit card debt that can charge over 20% interest on your balance. If you have this type of debt, use part of your stimulus check to remove it from your personal balance sheet. Your future self will thank you. My article: Debt Strategies helps you create a personalized debt repayment plan. Included in that article is my custom strategy to create more weekly cash flow based on what you're currently earning.
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
At this point everyone has heard of Bitcoin. Many are now wishing they took it more seriously, as it has been the number one performing asset over the past ten years. With Wall Street on board, the richest man in the world backing Bitcoin, and large financial institutions supporting it, the cryptocurrency market is still in the beginning stages of growth. I personally do not recommend putting 100% of your stimulus check into cryptocurrency, however based on Bitcoin's past performance, it has been the strongest 10 year wealth building vehicle in history. The safest and simplest way to get into Bitcoin is by opening an account at Coinbase.
Starting A Business
A smart decision for utilizing extra money is creating a profitable enterprise that will pay you income into the future. There are many different small businesses one can start for under $1000 and this stimulus check could help you get started. A very popular business model is direct sales, or network marketing. If you find a good reputable company, the average cost to start your business is $50-$500. Just like any other business, you will need to work very hard and consistently make sales to earn money, but you can get into business at a far lower cost than purchasing a franchise, and also break even and become profitable much sooner. If you are looking for a company in direct sales, do your research and find someone to work with you who is already earning the type of money you want to earn because they've already done what you want to do. Here are the largest 25 direct sales companies, along with the complete directory of direct sales companies in the U.S. This type of business requires a great deal of work, but the risk/reward can be worth it for those who are really motivated and are good with people.
Give To Those In Need
If you are in a position to give, it is tremendously rewarding to help those in need. I'm not here to recommend a specific group or organization, but I encourage you to give where your heart leads you. Many people are in need right now and you have the power to make a difference with the $1400 from your stimulus check. I'm happy to share some of my involvements. Personally, I donate monthly to Kiva.org and I'm passionate about funding microloans to entrepreneurs in very poor countries. Another group I've worked with for years, is Thorn, an organization co-founded by Ashton Kutcher that utilizes technology to combat child-sex trafficking. In 2019, I worked with a small group of friends and we raised over $50,000 in 5 days for Share Village, an amazing group that provides affordable housing to veterans and helps them get access to services. The last example I'll give of how to help is from our recent family Christmas tradition. I grew up in a poor neighborhood on the west side of Chicago in the Austin area. Instead of sending each other gifts, my family sent a gift to the library we used to go to in our old neighborhood. We were home schooled for many years and that library was a great source of our education. Since they helped us so much when we were kids, we wanted to help them now since we can. I hope I've given some good examples of how to give where you're led by your heart.
Invest In Stocks
There are many ways to get into the market nowadays, especially since the rise in popularity of mobile app investing. One of the most common things I have been seeing over the past several months are new investors going onto social media sites and asking where they should invest their money and what stocks to buy. I'm really happy to see new market participants, however I'm deeply concerned when I see someone ask for investment advice to the general masses. There are smart ways to go about investing such as: Building A Solid Dividend Growth Portfolio as I outlined previously. At the end of the day, you still need to do your research on what stocks and companies you want to own. Oftentimes people are scared to reach out to a professional because of fear, and this can be a big mistake. A stock tip and investment analysis from someone in the industry is going to have far greater value that what your friend that you play Xbox with might tell you. The stock market has proven to be the best long term wealth accumulation vehicle, other than real estate, so it is beneficial to find someone that has a track record of success in helping investors. Either way, be sure to invest a portion of your stimulus check in the stock market. This final stimulus can pay you tenfold into the future if you make the right decisions.
*This article and information therein is for educational purposes only. John Hall is a Financial Advisor with Americana Financial Group. If you have questions about any of this material, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org