5 Things You Should Negotiate

Negotiate? Really? No way! I thought the price was set?

These are the questions and comments that I always get from people when I tell them that I negotiated the price of a certain expense down to what I wanted.

The disbelief comes from the culture of paying what is asked and not what is always best for you. We have grown up in a society where we give our hard earned cash to strangers for a set price and never look back.

Negotiating is part of many cultures across the globe. So what makes so many Americans think that they can’t ask for a deal? Is it the pride? Is it the egos? Or is it just plain laziness?

I believe it’s the combination all three.

Here are 5 things you should always negotiate.

1. I recently decided to leave the ‘burbs and move to a popular district downtown. Living downtown typically equates to much higher rent than other parts of the city and the place that I chose is no different. Most people don’t realize that apartment buildings need to meet certain occupancy in order to have steady cash flow. After choosing the apartment where I wanted to live, I made it clear to the leasing office that I was not willing to agree to the desired rent but I was willing to sign on the spot if they could work with me on the rent and terms of the lease. I was able to bring the rent down by 30% and the deposit by 20% if my roommate and I were willing to agree right away.

2. Cable/Internet/Cell Phone Bills. These bills suck. You are usually overcharged for devices such as remotes and routers while receiving the worst possible customer service from someone that you cannot understand. Most people that you can communicate with regarding these services are working on some sort of commission plan where they need to meet certain goals. These people have the leniency to give deals and even free months of service without any commitment. These companies also have the ability to give out deals that have never “existed” because they need to keep their user base strong at all times. Something to definitely take advantage of.

3. Furniture stores are a lot like car dealerships. Both are great places to get a boost of self-confidence from all of the people that want to be your friend and serve (sometimes feed) you fresh cookies and popcorn. Furniture is known to have mark-ups in excess of 70%-80%. On top of the annoying salesmen and the ridiculous prices, the quality sucks. The salesmen at furniture stores are usually paid a low hourly/base pay while making the majority of their money on sales. That being said, they are ready to make deals and get paid.

4. Medical/Dental Bills. I won’t get started on our broken health care system or how dentists are some of the most money hungry and blood sucking (literally) people in the world. I will say that medical and dental bills can usually be negotiated. The hospitals/clinics would rather cut a deal with you on late bills or even new procedures than having to go through the collections agencies or the risk of losing you to a medical competitor. Need a root canal? Negotiate.

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5. Gym Memberships. We are currently living in a society where the gym is becoming more of a social scene for young professionals than the bars. With steroid use on the rise and Lululemon back on it’s feet, gyms like Gold’s, LA Fitness, Lifetime, Equinox, and Planet Fitness are competing for business more than ever. This list doesn’t include the 100’s of local gyms that are opening daily, or studios like Soul Cycle. A lot of these gyms require a down payment or a contract, both which can be negotiated if you tell them about going to a competitor. As far as fitness studios go, you are definitely better off using ClassPass than buying individual classes.

The lesson here: Always ask yourself if you can negotiate because chances are, you can.

3 Reasons To Take A Pay Cut

I’M BACK!

My apologies for my recent absence. Unfortunately, life happened and other things became a priority.

That being said, life lesson #1 from someone that is learning the hard way-NEVER stop doing things for yourself and NEVER stop creating things that important to you. There is nothing and no one that should control your life’s mission. Nothing.

MillennialCFO is the nearest and dearest thing to me. It is my passion. I bleed the need to educate my generation through my tests and trials on how to live the richest life possible.

Now that MillennialCFO is trademarked, it is even more so my baby that no one can replicate (try me).

Okay, so enough crap and to the point. I am back and I’m better than ever with thousands of ideas on how I will take over the world of personal finance in 2016.

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I am sure many of you are questioning whether or not you should continue reading this as the title isn’t the most appealing. Unfortunately, some of the hardest things you have to do in life aren’t appealing either.

But isn’t this blog about having more money, not less? Yes, absolutely. But this blog is also about taking chances, risks, and doing things that could help you live a richer life.

If you had the choice between making $75,000/year now with a max out at $150,000, or making $30,000 now with an unlimited upside, which would you chose?

For most people, it’s easy. $75k isn’t so bad. $150k is even better.

But what if you didn’t want someone or something determining your upside in dollars and in work?

There is a trend among some of the most successful people in the world. They never chased money and made a lot less than they could have in the beginning of their careers. They did this because their desire to change the world was greater than a paycheck.

It was life.

I had a great conversation about this with a friend today who is deciding between a job that pays less than what he was making, and a job that pays a lot less than he was making.

Which leads to me to….3 reasons to take a paycut.

-Travel

The friend I referred to above was deciding between teaching English in China for a year, or working for an early stage tech startup with all the potential in world to become a billion dollar company.

Although both were great opportunities, the real opportunity for him was to go to China. Though he will be making a quarter of what some of his friends are making in salary, he will be experiencing something that very few people in the world do.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Novagratz argues that traveling the world looks better on a resume to him than an internship at Goldman Sachs.

“We interview a lot of kids, and they always want an internship with Goldman Sachs, an internship at McKinsey. Go do something different. Get on a motorcycle and take photographs. Create a story where you learn something..I’m a big fan of the gap year.”

If you’re craving a taste of the world, buy a plane ticket and go. It only gets harder.

-Work for a startup

Though the idea of working for a startup is glamorous to many (the yoga pant dress code m-f, free lunches, stocked kitchens with alcohol, cool people etc. etc. etc.), the people that are working at startups have taken risks, including monetary risks.

Many startup employees could make more money at corporate jobs but they are all looking for the upside. The upside to getting into a company on the ground floor and watching it grow, the upside to learning every aspect of how a company is built and run, the upside to a lot more money as the company grows, and the upside to unlimited potential to become a leader.

-Start a business 

This might be the biggest pay cut of all in many situations as most companies either don’t make money for a while or fail within the first couple of years.

That being said, the companies that do survive make it big.

“Don’t start a business unless it’s an obsession.” Mark Cuban’s advice on startups couldn’t be more accurate. If you have a strong desire to start a game changing business that you are losing sleep over, do it.

But if you are just doing it to get rich quick or for other reasons such as fame or power, good luck.

The obsession is what will keep you up all night working. The obsession is what will help you survive on crackers and coffee while making no money.

Though this may be the biggest pay cut of all, it can have the biggest upside of all as well.