Money

How to make 2020 your best money year yet, according to 9 self-made millionaires

The Oracles

With the new year ahead of us, it's time to start making your financial resolutions and create a game plan for you how you plan to achieve them.

One of the smartest ways to do this is to learn from others who have (or have accomplished) similar goals. To help give you some ideas, we asked these self-made millionaires and Advisors in The Oracles to share their top money advice for 2020:

1. 'Invest in yourself.'

"My financial resolution is the same every year: to invest in myself. I blew all of my first commission on a fancy fur coat from Bergdorf Goodman. The minute I put on that coat, I knew it was the best $340 I'd ever spent.

Sure, I could have put the money into my growing business, but I knew I needed to invest in myself to get ahead. The coat made me feel like the queen of New York real estate, and everyone around me started to believe it.

Whether it's a new coat to look the part, a massage to unwind, or just an afternoon off with a friend, you'll never regret an investment in yourself."

Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of "Business Unusual" and investor on "Shark Tank"

2. 'Put your money to work.'

"Don't leave your money sitting in the bank to depreciate. Put it to work with investments that have the potential to appreciate and will give you consistent cash flow.

And I'm not talking about buying a home. (Contrary to popular belief, a house is not an investment, because it doesn't pay you every month. I've made my fortune investing in real estate, but that doesn't mean all real estate investments are a good idea.)

Instead, make 2020 the year that you invest in yourself, like building skills that will make you better at your job.

Grant Cardone, founder of Cardone Capital, a $750 million real estate empire. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

3. 'Give more.'

"The secret to living your fullest life is giving. While there is peace in having financial security and comfort, neither means anything unless you help others and have gratitude.

That's why my financial goal is to give two times more. I've opened a separate bank account for giving, where a percentage of my income is automatically deposited each month so I can easily donate to causes I care about.

I also give through my company, Nunbelievable. We donate two meals to help fight hunger for every dozen cookies we sell. A rising number of consumers prefer brands that support a social mission, so giving is also good business.

We all have the power to touch others' lives, extend gratitude and live more abundantly. Here's to a new decade of giving more than we spend!"

—Kuda Biza, co-founder and CMO of Nunbelievable, co-founder of #ThisIsMyEra, and founder and board member of the Amani Hope Foundation. Follow him on LinkedIn

4. 'Only spend a percentage of your income.'

"Parkinson's Law suggests that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. This also explains why we tend to spend what we earn — or more.

As a family, our 2020 financial resolution is to live on 20% of our income and set aside the rest for savings, charitable giving, and investments. We've committed to mindfully keep our expenses consistent, even as our business and income grow.

That doesn't mean we live in scarcity; we enjoy our lives while managing our resources. We use Mint to manage our personal accounts and QuickBooks to track our profit and loss, balance sheets, financial trends, and budgets (with help from our accounting team). Then we regularly review these reports together for visibility, transparency, and accountability."

—Lin Sun, CEO at Tiny Devotions and partner at Crimcheck

5. 'Be true to yourself (and the money will follow).'

"My resolution is to connect my business goals with my personal values. This is more than a way of life — it's the best way to build a successful business. While the quality of your product or service matters, even the best products don't speak to people. People do. Consumers respond to authenticity and are increasingly good at detecting false promises and brand personalities.

When you're true to yourself rather than trying to be likable, you win people's respect — one of the most powerful assets a business can have. While you won't be perfect and may lose an opportunity here and there, you'll prove that your word is good, and credibility always translates to more dollars.

Own your personality, reflect it in your brand and encourage your team and clients to bring their real selves to the table."

—Itzik Levy, co-founder and CEO of vCita, a comprehensive small business management platform; connect with Itzik on LinkedIn

6. 'Create a financial tracking system.'

"Put a system in place to accurately predict the next 12 months financially. It takes work to establish and maintain, but once you have a system in place, forecasting gets much easier.

First, determine how much income you'll bring in throughout the next 12 months and create a budget for how you plan save or spend that money. Set up weekly or monthly checkpoint intervals, where you review your numbers to see how you're tracking against your prediction.

Finally, bake into your budgets opportunities to pivot should the numbers perform as, better, or worse than expected — so you don't reach year-end completely off the mark. It's not rocket science; just commitment to process, procedure, and accountability."

—Dennis Najjar, co-founder of AccountingDepartment.com, a virtual accounting service for small businesses. Follow him on LinkedIn

7. 'Understand important financial metrics.'

"Our resolution for the new year is to ensure that our team fully understands the different metrics that have the greatest impact on our financial targets and how those metrics relate to one another.

When you're growing fast, it's definitely simpler to just look at top-line sales; but it's also critical to understand your customer retention rates, conversion rates, marketing spend, and how they all fit together.

We'll execute by sharing our plans with key stakeholders within the business, getting their input, and then ensuring everyone on the team knows what they need to do to contribute to our financial targets."

—Emma Watkinson, co-founder and CEO of SilkFred. Follow her on LinkedIn

8. 'Prepare for the four D's.'

"To become financially bulletproof, be smart and prepare against the biggest threats to your financial future: debt, death, divorce, and bad decisions.

You need money to retire; so plan accordingly and learn how to save for a rainy day. Set aside funds for future investments, business expansion opportunities, and planned and unplanned situations. Make it a habit by using auto-deposit, so you don't miss the money.

Always live below your means. The more successful you become, the more important it is to watch every penny. Once you aren't as financially constrained, it's easy to get caught up in the feeling of success and spend too much. Finally, watch out for hidden fees, including the ones from your financial advisors."

Gail Corder Fischer, co-founder and executive vice chairman of Fischer & Company, a leading global corporate real estate firm that provides consulting, brokerage, and technology solutions

9. 'Invest in real estate.'

"Find ways to get higher returns for your investments by networking or looking for the right deals. Even a few percentage points add up.

The difference between 10% and 15% returns might not seem like much in the short term, but over 30 years, that's the difference between doubling your money four or seven times. Investing in real estate is a great way to do this.

To get higher returns on our investments, we network with developers who can deliver. We also leverage the size of our real estate brokerage, which had 700 closings in 2019, to create opportunities that we can offer people who want to invest with us and earn higher returns."

—Daniel Lesniak, founder of Orange Line Living, broker at the Keri Shull Team, and co-founder of real estate coaching business HyperFast Agent; author of "The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent"

Join The Oracles, a mastermind group of the world's leading entrepreneurs who share their success strategies to help others grow their businesses and build better lives. For more, follow The Oracles on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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