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Raccoons Trashed My Airbnb Porch – How To Not Freak Out When Receiving A Bad Message

This morning, I woke up to a message sent from my Airbnb guest who checked in around 3am. It definitely woke me up and I immediately started to stress out.

Here Is The Message

Here is a picture of the message I received from the guest.

What happened? There are benefits and downsides of living on an end unit that backs up to a conservation area. One of the downsides are the wildlife that live there. A few weeks back, my cleaner notified me that there were some raccoons that seem to be trying to get into the trash. The trash bin has locks on both sides that help to secure anyone from opening. Somehow, these raccoons had figured a way to work together and open it anyways. And what do they like doing when they can reach in? Throw your trash everywhere 🙁

How would you react to this?

I continue to try and shift my mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset every day. This is something that is extremely difficult to do. For those of you who don’t know the difference between these mindsets, click this link to read .

How I Would Have Reacted With A Growth Mindset

‘Thank you so much for letting me know! I think it is time to get a new trash bin as the raccoons continue to get smarter and smarter!’

I also would have reacted with an immediate thought of how I was going to solve the problem. The last thing I want would be for all my guests to go through the same experience. Being an Airbnb host, there are some things you try to save money on and others you should be willing to spend on. In my eyes, anything related to ensuring your guests have a great experience is important to spend on.

Action Taken To Solve Problem

Next, I emailed the HOA General Manager of my community with pictures of the trash. Instead of telling them to fix it, I simply asked him if I could buy a new bin myself to install. It is important to come up with solutions to problems versus being the person sitting in the corner complaining about everything.

It would have been very easy for me to be frustrated with the GM and tell him they need to get rid of the raccoons. At some point I may have to get rid of the raccoons, but for now, a new bin will hopefully do the trick.

I heard back from the GM a few hours later and I am now working to buy a more secure trash bin. This will hopefully solve the problem with the raccoons and most importantly ensure my guests don’t have this issue again.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ensuring your guests are able to check-in at any time of the night is important. Providing detailed enough check in instructions are even more critical.
  • Focus on the things you control. I don’t control the fact there are raccoons who are looking for food outside my townhome. I don’t control the fact that the raccoons are really smart! I do control how I react to my guests message and how I try to solve the problem.
  • Be a problem solver versus a problem identifier. Most people can identify problems. That is the easy part. Figure out actions you can take to solve the problem to ensure this doesn’t happen again. At some point, you will have removed all the problems and be smooth sailing.
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You Can Only Save So Much – Why Making More Is More Important Than Spending Less

Okay okay okay! I know what you are going to say. This is a community focused on saving money and supporting each other!

Yes, I agree with that. I agree entirely with supporting each other as we go through the journey; yet, I do have one major problem with it. Hear me out before you stop reading this article, as I think this is a critical thing to understand.

What Are Your 2020 Goals?

I am currently out in Los Angeles, CA and got to thinking last night as I was walking with a friend at Huntington Beach.

As the new year has begun, so many individuals are starting to post their goals for 2020. Thanks to @jaymillennial for sharing many of people’s goals in a consolidated spot! There was one consistent theme I was seeing with almost all of the goals for 2020. There was zero mention of earning more money. That’s right, zilch. Nada. Nula. Nul.

At first, I was very surprised by this. Then I began to think about what I look at on a daily basis when I am scrolling through my IG feed. Most of everyone talks about saving money on various things.

Taking A Step Back To Think About Spending Less

Now let’s talk about the one concern I have with this stance. First, is saving money important? Absolutely, if it is on things you don’t care about. I would never tell anyone in the community to not think about saving money. For crying out loud, that is one of the main focuses in the community.

The issue becomes when you take a step back to subjectively look at what is being done. Here are the facts. You can only save so much money based off what you are spending. This is a fact proven by overly complex mathematics. Let me give you an example so you can tell how complex this thought is. If you spend $3,500 a month, then the most you could ever save is $3,500 a month. Granted, at that point I guess you would be living under a rock and would starve to death at some point. The math is pretty clear though, you can only save $3,500.

For this very reason, there is only a finite amount of money you can save. This amount is in a direct one to one proportion with how much you spend. Complex math right? Not exactly, it is straightforward.

The main point around saving money should be focused on saving on the things you don’t care about. For example, I recently switched phone providers from Verizon to T-Mobile. Why? Because I don’t care about who my cell phone provider is. I also saved $40 a month and went from 3GB of data to unlimited data. Since I don’t care about my phone provider and I was getting a better deal, I went ahead and switched. Those are the types of things you should briefly spend time saving on.

The Amazing Thing Behind Making More Money

Now let’s get to what is truly amazing about making more money. The money making game is infinite! There is no limit to the amount of money that an individual can earn (theoretically). Have you ever thought about this?

Now don’t sit there and make excuses that you can only make so much money. Audit what you do from 6pm to 11:59 pm each night and I will show you times where you can earn money. How about from 5am to 7am each morning? We live in a world of abundance. A day and age where technology has given us the freedom to make as much money as you so choose. There are hundreds of thousands of ways to make money today that weren’t around 5 years ago. The most incredible thing is there is not a limit to how much you can make.

Here is the punch line: You can only save so much, but there are limitless opportunities to earn more.

Key Takeaways

  • You can only save so much money. Literally. The math is simple. If you spend $3,500 a month, you can only save $3,500 a month.
  • We live in a world of abundance. There are no limits to how much money you can make!
  • Focus on making more money and saving where you don’t care!
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How To Calculate Front Loading Taxable Accounts

New year, time to update savings contributions!

Last year was the first year I decided to front load my 401k and HSA accounts. This year will be no different. It is important to update your online enrollments.

Step 1: Understanding Max Contribution Limits

The first step is to understand the max contribution limits for both your 401k and HSA accounts. Each year these contribution limits seem to be changing. This is a good thing, especially if they end up increasing!

The new max for your 401k in 2020 is $19,500. The new max for a Health Savings Account (HSA) is $3,550 for 2020. In total, this will be $23,050 of taxable deferred account contributions!

Step 2: Determine Living Expenses For Each Month

Next, you will want to understand how much you need to live off of each month! This will help you better understand the max amount of money you can afford having deducted.

For me, my typical spend is $1,200-1,500 per month. To be more conservative, I will use the higher of the two numbers for the calculation. If you don’t already, tracking your monthly expenses is something you should do.

Step 3: Calculate How Much Free Cash Flow After Expenses

Looking back at last years first paychecks, I can see a 20% tax taken out of my checks. I can use this number to begin deducting from my paycheck to understand how much money I have to work with.

Here is the calculation I do to figure out how much I can contribute

As you can see, I take the total paycheck and deduct living expenses and taxes. Since I receive income bi-weekly, I know my living expenses will be $1,500 divided by 2 paychecks, or $700.

Step 4: Determine How You Want To Divide Contributions

Since the max contribution limits for the 401k are 5.5 times that of the HSA, the majority of my contributions will go there. Here is the breakdown of my contributions.

I have also gone an extra step to determine how long it will take me to max out each account. At the rate of savings outlined above, I will have maxed out my 401k on 3/19/20. My HSA should be maxed out on 2/6/20. Not too shabby!

Why Front Load?

There are many different viewpoints on whether to frontload your taxable accounts. Here are the main reasons I do it:

  • Money not invested today can’t earn interest! You can peanut butter spread your contributions, but will miss out on interest!
  • If you contribute now, just wait till you are maxed out. Your paychecks will skyrocket! I went from having paychecks around $1,600 to paychecks being $4,400 after each account was maxed. This allows you to go even more aggressive with investing early in the year!
  • My company will still match throughout the year regardless of when I contribute. This is one to be careful with. My company will continue matching to the 6% salary max no matter when I contribute. This means I continue to see $350-450 per paycheck matched by my company when I am contributing $0.
  • There isn’t a 100% chance of front loading being better than dollar cost averaging. Why try to time the market? Automate and be done with it!

Key Takeaways:

  • Max contribution limits change each year! With this in mind, you should re-evaluate contributions each year.
  • Determine how you can live paycheck to paycheck to try and max out your accounts as early as possible.
  • Make sure your company will continue matching your contributions if you front load. If they don’t, then you should work to determine if this makes the most sense.