Numbers Don't Lie: Money Myths That Hold Us Back from Wealth

Part of forming the right attitude about your finances is knowing what is true and false about money. Let's dispel five money myths right now:

My home is a good investment.

Many people realized this during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. With increasing mortgage prices, property tax, insurance, and maintenance, it's simple to see why your home isn't an asset. This doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one, just don't count on it to make you money.

Credit cards are terrible.

The average credit card debt is over $15k per household. We haven't been taught how to use them properly so we often write them off altogether. Your credit cards will affect your payment history and credit utilization that accounts for 65% of your credit score. When you have a healthy management of your cards, your credit score rises and you may earn rewards from your card company that can pay big dividends in travel savings.

You should pay off all of your debt before saving.

Saving is "paying yourself first." Any income that you receive should have some dollars applied to saving for emergencies or your financial goals. Your spending plan (aka your budget) will include paying off debt, but saving is a higher priority. Over 60% of Americans don't have $500 to cover an unexpected cost. This myth feeds that number.

Drinking coffee at home will save you a ton of money.

You can't nickel and dime your way to becoming rich. Focus your energy on earning extra money, reducing your bigger expenses and staying in a good mood after your Starbucks or local coffee shop visit. Looking to put your untapped skills to work? Check out freelance sites like UpWork and Freelancer.

Money is the root of all evil.

This is my favorite myth to dispel because it's as old as time. We've put our money mindsets in 'Park' while internalizing this saying. While you can find the corrected quote in the Holy Bible as "for the love of money is the root of all evil," (1 Timothy 6:10), my quote of preference comes from Mark Twain: "the lack of money is the root of all evil."

What are your favorite (or most hated) money myths that we missed? Tweet us at @KnowMoneyInc to let us know!

Mind Right, Money Right: 5 Money Tips Every College Grad Needs

Congratulations are in order! You've completed college and (hopefully) you're about to have more money on your hands than you've seen before in your entire life. We spent 12+ years learning how to earn money, but little to no time learning how to manage our personal finances.

While the great philosophers Biggy Smalls, Puff Daddy and Mase subscribed to the theory "Mo Money, Mo Problems", there are some things you can do now to get ready for your new financial life.


Blogs won't give you everything you need to craft your personal money map. The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason is an old, but a good book that teaches personal finance lessons through stories. This is easily one of my favorite books of all time and helped me get on track when I was trying to figure out how to get a handle on my money after several financial mistakes. If you're looking for something more modern, you can pick up Ramit Sethi's New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You To Be Rich spin on handling your money in your 20's and 30's.


Nothing like a high dollar car repair or unexpected bill to hitting you in the face and welcoming you to the new world of "Adulting". To stay away from the rude awakening, save up an emergency fund that you can use for real emergency purchases. This isn't the place to look when Beyonce drops a new tour or there's a flight deal to Abu Dhabi that can't wait. No no. This is the fund that gives you peace of mind when something unexpected happens that needs immediate financial attention. There are tons of articles that tell you to save 6-12 months of your monthly expenses or salary for emergencies and honestly, that might be as hard as graduating on time.

I'm telling you to save $2,000. That's how much the average American spends on emergencies. Use direct deposit or to add money to an account that you can easily access (for emergencies only, of course).


You've graduated and now you're about to start working your first job. Make sure you start your retirement account ASAP with your new employer. The faster you begin your retirement account, the quicker you'll be vested just in case you decide you want to move to another company in a couple of years. Don't know what to ask before taking the job? Check out last month's blog post about important retirement investing questions that need answers here


If you made it through your college career without picking up any student loan debt, you're one of the few. In 2012, 71% of college students graduated with student loan debt. 2016 graduates are hauling an average of $37,172 in student loans, the biggest number yet. Now that you're a graduate, your first payment for your student loans are expected in 6 months or less (if you're not heading to graduate school and deferring them until your next accomplishment).

Make a note of your federal and private loans amounts, monthly payment, interest rate and the creditor. That last piece of information is important. There are federal programs for teachers, government workers, and non-profit employees that reward you with loan forgiveness under certain terms. Whether you qualify to have your loans forgiven or deferred, it's powerful to see your debt number and make a plan to get to $0. Add your email to the Know Money Team listserv to get your free debt tracker.


Two things that are different in the working world: drink prices and food expenses. Odds are prices from your new happy hour destination will be an increase from your favorite college bar and you're not going to have much control over that. Food costs, on the other hand, can be held in check with a new trend of preparing your meals for the week. It should go without saying, but you should add some cooking skills to your repertoire if you're lacking in that area. Professor Google and YouTube will be happy to facilitate some recipes and tutorial videos that can help you build your skills.

Plan your shopping list with recipes and note the coupons, sales, and ads from your favorite grocery store. Wanna save even more on fresh fruits and vegetables? Local farms and farmer markets have CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) services that you pay for weekly, monthly or quarterly. I've dropped my budget for fruits and vegetables to as low as $20/month using these in my city. Cook multiple meals at one time and grab some containers from Amazon for packaging for the week.


This is to help you land your dream job and income down the road. Spend some time updating your LinkedIn profile and start connecting with classmates.

Have some tips for recent grads and young adults that we should add to our list? Drop them below.

Get Fit or Die Tryin': What Financial Health Means to Me


I'm a freshman in college, hungry for food and new experiences as I'm walking across the library bridge. From one end to the other are tables filled with coupons for free pizza, subs and credit cards (one of these things are not like the others).

Shortly after all the food coupons were cashed in and devoured, the credit cards that I applied for arrived. Like 14% of Americans, I had no idea what a credit score was or how to properly manage multiple credit cards so I swiped them...And swiped...and swiped...and swiped until I hit the limit.

Some cards received the much needed attention in the form of a monthly payment and the others sat in my top drawer looking lonely, used, and maxed out. I wasn't worried about the emails or phone calls. My art of dodging unknown numbers became strong.

Through my college career, my savings account usually read $0. As I got older, I increased my spending + I didn't know where my money was going. I would hit an emergency, like a car repair, and be without wheels for 4 months at a time. All this contributed to being financially unhealthy.

I ran my financial life like a fast food diet.  I spent money quickly and it sustained me for a short time and more than half of the country is in the same boat. 57% of Americans are struggling financially according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation. It doesn't take long for bad money management habits to effect your living expenses. I got evicted. My car got repossessed. My payments were late or nonexistent. The burning question: How do I turn it all around?


Whether or not you've made all of my early financial mistakes, most people are striving to better their financial situation. Here are some ways to make a strong financial foundation:

Figure Out Where Your Money's Going - The first step to going from no money to Know Money is addressing where your dollars are heading when they leave your pocket and account. We're often so focused on paying our bills each month and hope to be able to see some money in the bank account when the month ends. Track your spending with a pen and paper for a month If you're looking for the tech alternative, use an app like Toshl that gives you the opportunity to add cash purchases too. Get the number it takes to run your household.
Plan For Emergencies - A car repair/emergency sent my finances into a downward spiral. While many financial experts will caution you to put 3 - 6 months of your expenses away. While that's a great number for cash reserves, you should put $2,000 aside for emergencies like car and house repairs and unexpected expenses. 100% of people financially striving plan for large, irregular expenses. Check out Magnify Money for a high yield savings account that you can start saving in today. Having trouble building your savings muscle? Use Digit, an app that will help you save incrementally.
Save Early And Often - I frequently used my savings account like another checking account. Whenever there was money there, I made weekend plans for it. Starting with my first job out of college, my (proper) savings habits finally got kicked into high gear. After you get your emergency savings account funded, you should turn your focus to your retirement and investments. For the obvious reason, saving now will help you retire more comfortably, but saving early and often will give you the peace of mind and more confidence when analyzing an opportunity that comes your way. It helps you increase your risk tolerance for future investments.
Track Your Consumer Debt - Student loans are bogging many young professionals down, but the other elephant in the room is consumer debt. Carrying balances and just paying the minimum was the only plan I had when it came to dealing with credit cards in the past. Sometimes I would pay on time and other times I would call and ask them to waive the late fee after being absent minded about my upcoming due date. 35% of your credit score is determined by your payment history and 30% is credit utilization, meaning the total amount of credit you're using (Ex. If your balance is $800 on a $1,000 credit card, your utilization is 80%). Take each of your credit cards and record the credit limit, credit balance, minimum payment, interest rate and the monthly due date. Now use the stack method to knock out your consumer debt.
Like your physical health, financial health takes planning and preparation. While I would love to have a six pack of abs, being financially fit has more benefits for every household.


What are some things you're doing to improve your financial health? Leave them below.

Money for Miles: How to Budget for Summer Travel

*Drum roll please!*

School's out. I've got my finger hovering over the play button for "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and the travel bug is creeping up on us all. The destination you added to your vision board in January isn't getting any closer to you, and you want to make your trip a reality. Well, once you answer these questions below, your roadtrip is pretty much planned with some money left in your pocket:

Where do I want to go? - Whether you're thinking domestic or international, check out Groupon for all inclusive deals for the environment you're looking for (mountains, Caribbean, etc.). Be sure to read the terms and conditions BEFORE purchasing.

How am I going to get there? - I love flying and you'll be able to set flight price alerts for your destination with The Flight Deal, AirfareWatchdog, and Skiplagged. If you're more of a road trip fan, MegaBus is covering most of the United States with their safe, convenient, low-cost transportation.

Where am I going to stay? - If you're focused on racking up hotel points, you'll still be able to enter your reservation information when using coupon and bargain websites for booking. However, if you're not loyal to a hotel chain, you need to try my go-to website, AirBNB. The website gives you the opportunity to book homes from local hosts across the world. Last year, I booked a villa via the website for my trip to Turks and Caicos for $99/night (1/2 price of a hotel room during the same stay). I was in walking distance to Grace Bay Beach, the #1 beach in the world according to TripAdvisor. AirBNB gets you close to local attractions and gives you the "at-home" feeling. Kitchens and living rooms are always a plus without having to pay the hotel suite costs.

How will I get around? - Uber is slashing prices like it's 1999 as they've dropped their prices nearly 40% in most cities across the globe. If you're into being your own chauffeur, TURO, a new company that promotes the Sharing Community idea, will let you rent a local's car for the week for a considerable discount than your average rental car company.

What will I do when I get there? - Craft your itinerary using your new best travel buddies, Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor. Or you could always ask your AirBNB host.

How much do I need to save to afford this trip? - Now add up your expenses: lodging + food + travel (round trip and how you'll get around during your trip) + activities.  The total is your savings target number. Need some help putting your money to the side? is great for setting saving goals and tracking them.

BONUS:  If you're looking for a soundtrack to put you in the Summer mood, Mick Boogie and DJ Jazzy Jeff always cook up their "Summertime" mix. Listen to the past 6 HERE.

Where do you plan on going? Drop your destinations below! Feel free to add travel blogs that are inspiring you to get some passport stamps if you haven't locked in on one location yet.