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Keeping Up With The Bulls – Know Your Blogger Series

Know Your Blogger Series

Keeping Up With The Bulls

Learn how to increase your income with Keeping Up With The Bulls.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Keeping Up With The Bulls.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind Keeping Up With The Bulls, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Keeping Up With The Bulls to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for Keeping Up With The Bulls for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.

Tell us about Keeping Up With the Bulls

I graduated with a BS in management and a minor in marketing and later got my MBA. For the past 10 years I’ve worked in operations at a technology company. I’ve always been passionate about personal finance, investing and budgeting.
When I started looking into how to invest in private companies I realized how much of the personal finance content was about saving money. I figured, if I couldn’t find content about investing in private companies I’ll have to learn it and write about it myself. Turns out, it’s hard to write about subjects you know little about. I decided instead to first focus on areas I know well such as saving money, leveraging corporate benefits, investing and career advice. I still hope to expand to investing in private companies and investing in real estate down the line.
The name Keeping Up With The Bulls is a play on stock market bulls. No matter how much I learn about investing there are always people that are way ahead of me and more bullish than me. I can’t keep up!

What makes you and your blog unique?

Keeping Up With The Bulls focuses on both personal finance and career advice. While saving money is important, this blog focuses most on ways to increase your income. It’s much easier to save money and build wealth when you have a higher salary.
Sure, there are plenty of ways to earn more money on the side but you’ll make way more money tripling or quadrupling your salary. There are also a lot of corporate benefits that help you save money or earn more money like additional health care benefits and ESPPs that many are unaware of.
I highlight these as easy ways to increase your total comp package. There are few blogs that focus both on personal finance and making more money through a traditional 9-5 job.

What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?

Personal finance is personal. What is good for one person may be bad for another person. Each person (or family) needs to understand what works for them and what makes them happy. In general, being good with your personal finances means you’re not spending above your means, and in the long run spending less than you make.
However, sometimes you do have to spend more money than you make to get in a better financial position (ex college, grad school, moving locations). And, sometimes saving too much money is a bad thing when you feel constant guilt saving money or waste hours of time to save a couple of dollars.
Everyone should find the right strategy that works for them, set financial goals for that strategy and work towards those goals.

What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?

I’ve maintained a budget since I graduated college. I update it once or twice a month and put all spending on my credit card so I can track where I spent all my money (plus, reward points!). I also automate my savings and have a set amount of money going straight to my savings account with every paycheck. My 401k is also currently maxed out, so between that and automating my savings there is a decent portion of my paycheck that I never even see.
When I graduated my MBA program I realized I spent too much energy on saving money and not enough on making more money. I needed to change that! Instead of spending a lot of time on saving money I put more energy behind making more money. I knew your lifetime earnings are decided in the first 10 years of your career so I really focused on getting promoted, increasing my salary, and RSU grants. I also have become more active with my investments.
Lastly, I created a few models for future net worth when I was in my early 20s. Once a year I update it with my net worth for the year and play around with the assumptions. For example, if I can increase the amount saved by X, in 20 years my net worth will be Y higher.

What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?

– 10 Career Tips for Young Professionals I share tips that helped me at the beginning of my career including getting promoted, finding a sponsor and networking.
– Smart Money Moves in Your 20s It’s never too late to start, but if you start focusing on your personal finances in your 20s, your finances for the rest of your life are much easier.
– 10 Financial Tips for Living on Your Own I have several articles on how to save money in certain situations such as living on your own. I couldn’t believe how expense things were when I moved out on my own and now know way more tips on how to drive that cost down.

For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?

Short term – First, get your spending under control. Next, look for opportunities to make more money. You can make a little more money passively, or get a side hustle. If you have an opportunity to negotiate a raise definitely go for it. If you have debt, start tackling the debt with the highest interest first and also start an emergency fund.
Medium term – Increase your compensation package at work through promotions, RSUs or move to a new company. Begin additional income streams like investing, dividends and REITs.
Long term – In the long term, focus on doubling, tripling or even quadrupling your annual income. This can include your compensation package, starting your own company and/ or having multiple passive income streams. Continue to spend less than you make and spend money on things that make you happy. Whether you want to retire early or not, becoming financially independent gives you more flexibility and is a good long term goal.

What’s an area of your life which has benefited from improving your personal finances? Have there been any areas of your life which have suffered?

It’s really the day to day that has benefited from improving my personal finances. When I just graduated, I had the same budget structure as I do now but much lower amounts. So, I would have to say no to dinners, I never ordered takeout, I felt guilty ordering a coffee. Now, I can spend money on these small luxuries guilt free.
This improvement in my personal finances has come at the cost of time. I was able to graduate with my MBA debt free; however, working full time and going to grad school part time left little free time to relax and see friends and family.

What are your favorite personal blogs and bloggers you have been inspired by?

Tread Lightly, Retire Early – for amplifying women in the personal finance community.
The Luxe Strategist – for how to score luxury items for less.
Dqydj – for their personal finance tools and calculators.

In your opinion, what’s better? Renting a place or buying a house to live?

It depends if renting a place or buying a place is better. First, look at the data. The data can vary wildly based on location. Nerdwallet has a great rent verse buy calculator you can use to get this data. If you may only live in the house 3 years, and the break even point is 5 years then it’s cheaper to rent. If you’re planning on staying for 8 years, it’s cheaper to buy.

In your opinion, what’s better? Focusing on increasing your income, or focusing on decreasing your expenses?

I am a strong believer in first focusing on increasing your income. This, in part, is because I realized I personally focused too much on saving money my first few years out of college and should have used that energy towards increasing my income. It is much easier to save $50,000 a year when you’re making $150,000 a year. It’s not even possible to save $50,000 a year if you only make $50,000 a year. Saving 20% of your income at $50,000 is $10,000. At an income of $150,000 you’re saving $30,000. You can then use that money saved to build additional passive income streams through investing, real estate and more.
That said, if you always spend all the money you make you need to focus on decreasing your expenses. Increasing your salary by $50,000 a year won’t help if you then spend that entire additional amount.

Do you have any financial mistakes you’d like to share, and how have you grown from these mistakes to improve your personal finances?

Often people think of an expense that’s their biggest financial mistake but my biggest financial mistake was actually not negotiating my first salary. I graduated in 2010 and got a job offer in Fall of 2009. I was so grateful to even get a job I accepted the first offer. If that doesn’t sound like a big deal consider that by not negotiating your first salary you may be leaving over $1,000,000 on the table in lost earnings over your lifetime.
It was a mistake early on, but I fixed that relatively quickly. I fixed my initial mistake within 18 months and have had a major negotiation about every 2 years since. Even still I have room for improvement here. Luckily I have great mentors and career sponsors that push me, remind me to evaluate how much I’m worth in the market and coach me on advocating for myself.

How You Can Contact Keeping Up With The Bulls for More Information

You can learn more about Keeping Up With The Bulls at https://www.keepingupwiththebulls.com/ and follow them on Twitter at @KUWTBulls.

Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, Keeping Up With The Bulls, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!

About the Know Your Blogger Series

Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.

These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.

Have Your Dollars Make Sense
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Have Your Dollars Make Sense.
Financial Freedom Countdown
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Financial Freedom Countdown.

November 16th Features

 

 

 

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November 13th Features

 

 

 

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November 12th Features

 

 

 

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November 11th Features

 

 

 

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