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Building wealth does not happen by accident. It takes vigilance and making some good money decisions. In this video, Tasha describes some key life choices that help her to build wealth.

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One Year Budget:

Watch More of The Lifestyle Fix hosted by Tasha Cochran here:

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Hi, I'm Tasha Cochran from "One Big Happy Life," and this is "The Lifestyle Fix," brought to you by:CuriosityStream.

In today's video, I'm going to be talking to you about the six strategies that have set me on the path to building wealth. My goal is to have an eight figure net worth by the time I retire.

Now, this is an incredibly ambitious goal, and by sharing my goal, I'm not implying in any way, that this should be anyone else's goal, or that you need to build that much wealth in order to be happy. But I do think that it's important that we're able to talk openly about money. Both when we're struggling with it, and when it's abundant.

As a woman and as a person of color, groups that have not always had a seat at the table, when it comes to building inter-generational wealth, I know just how important it is to have these conversations publicly and without shame. So I'll be sharing some of the things that I've done, and am doing to help me build wealth. But first, I want to talk a little bit about where I started.

I was born in South America and came to the United States when I was two years old with my parents, neither of whom graduated from high school, and my brother. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My father was shot on our street when I was ten. My parents separated when I was twelve. I was kicked out of high school at fifteen, went to an alternative high school for a while and then graduated high school with a sub-3.0 GPA. Then I enlisted in the military as a non-citizen at eighteen, became a single mom at nineteen making twenty thousand dollars a year.
By the time I was thirty, I was divorced with over two-hundred-thousand dollars worth of debt, no savings, and making sixty thousand dollars a year as a brand new lawyer.

So, as you can see, from this very short highlight reel; I didn't come from money. I haven't lived a picture perfect life. I didn't have parents who supported me financially, and I didn't make a lot of money for most of my adult life. Despite all of that, I am on the path to building substantial wealth over the course of my life, and here are the things that are helping me get there:

Number 1: I have a budget

I left my mom's house when I was eighteen years old having zero idea

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how to manage money. I'd never even had a bank account. I opened my first one when I was in boot camp training to be a Marine.

For the first year or so of my working life, I still didn't have a budget. Money came in and I just spent it until it was gone. Being in the military was a double-edged sword when it came to money because if I ran out of cash, I'd still have my home in the barracks, so I'd have somewhere to sleep, and I'd be able to eat at the chow hall three times a day. Then I figured out that I was pregnant a few weeks before my nineteenth birthday and everything changed. Life got real.

Suddenly, I needed a car, an apartment, and baby things. And I needed my money to stretch far enough to buy all of those things. I needed a budget.

Now, most people budget by paycheck, or month to month. But I quickly found that those kinds of short sided budgets didn't help me prepare for the kinds of things that I had coming months down the line, like a baby. So I started budgeting for an entire year at a time. I created, what I call a "One Year Spending Plan."

Planning for your whole year upfront is life changing. I hear this over and over from our audience over on "One Big Happy Life." It helps you plan for things that are happening in your immediate future, so that they don't take you off guard, and it helps you see how decisions that you're making this month impacts the things that you're doing later on down the line.

If you don't have one, you can grab a free spending plan at:

My one year spending plan helped me plan for buying a car, moving out on my own, and buying all the things that my baby would need after she was born. Later, it helped me figure out how I could afford to leave the military and go to college and then law school. A few years ago, it helped us plan how we would pay off thirty-thousand dollars worth of debt, increase our nest-egg by a hundred-thousand, and take a family trip to Singapore, all in the same year. And now, it helps me plan for paying for my daughter to go to college even while I tackle my own student loans and save for that eight figure nest-egg I told you about earlier.

My spending plan helps me make sure that I'm planning for what matters to me. That I'm not wasting money on things that

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on things that don't and that I am aware of how much income I need in order to hit my financial goals.

Which brings me to my second point, number two I have always worked to grow my income on my terms. When I got pregnant at 18, I learned really fast just how hard and frustrating life can be when you dont have enough money.

I realized that money brought freedom, options so I knew that I needed to figure out a way to make more money if I was going to be able to provide for my daughter the way that I dreamed of. Now there are many different ways to make money but not all of them align with our personal strengths and our goals and visions for our life.

When I decided to leave the military several people tried to talk me out of it. They pinted out I could climb the existing ranks or I could apply to be an officer. That way I could make more money and keep all of the great benefits like the pension plan and the health insurance. But I knew that the miltary wasn't for me. I loved learning and growing and trying new things. But the miltary was very much entrenched in formality and doing things the way they've always been done.
I knew I'd never be able to thrive there even if did get promotions that increase my income, so I left.
Similarly after graduating from law school I chose to work in public interets instead of going to a law firm where the starting salary was a whopping $160,000 a year.
I had spent two summers at law firms and while I was making great money, I rarely saw my family and I didn't particularly enjoy the formality of corporate firm life.
So I decided I would find a way to do work that I enjoyed with hours that allowed me to have the work life balance that I needed and would allow me to make a very good living.

WIthin five years of starting my first job out of law school where I was making $60,000 a year I had more than doubled my salary all while doing public interest work that I loved and working a set 40 hours a week. And I planned to continue that trajectory and increase my income another $30,000 in the next few years, but then I discovered

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In the past two and a half years I've grown, One Big Happy Life, to a multi-six-figure business that's helping people all over the world build wealth and create lives that they love today. As OBHL grows, so does our ability to contribute to philanthropic efforts around the world.

And I also get the added benefit of full control over the projects that I work on. And I get to set my own schedule.  All things that are very important to me.  So from the very beginning, I've always taken a position that I could make more money and that I could do it in ways that aligned with my values and with my vision of my day-to-day life and what that should look like. Because of that, I've been able to continue to grow my income while also enjoying the work that I'm doing in order to make it.

That means that I'm happy to continue to work for decades which makes it possible for me to build wealth over the course of my lifetime.

 #3 I Prioritize Building Wealth (6:49)

Number three: I Prioritize Building Wealth. As a general rule, I encourage people not to harbor life regrets because they just take up unnecessary mental space, but I do have one, and only one, and it's that I wish I had started saving earlier in my life.  I was 30 years old before I really started saving for retirement. Over the past seven years, my nest egg has grown over $200,000 and between the two of us, Joseph and I have over $400,000 saved for retirement. Between our monthly contributions and market growth, our nest egg is now growing an average rate of $100,000 or more each year.

Given enough time, continuing to save at our current rate, and the magic of compounding we're on track to have a one million dollar nest egg within 6 years and a ten million dollar nest egg in 29 years. Building wealth is the marathon of all marathons. It's going to take us decades of work towards that goal to get there and it's going to take lots of our own money feeding into it year after year.

To get and stay on this path, we've had to commit to making saving a priority and our personal finance community, Wealth Builders Academy, we talk a lot about the importance of knowing your minimum savings rate. It's the amount you need to every save month in order to retire when you want to with enough money to support the lifestyle you want to have indefinitely.

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So for us, our #1 financial goal is to make sure that we are hitting our minimum savings rate every single month. Everything else comes after that, including paying off debt and saving for college for our kids.

 My Partner and I Work Together to Reach Goals (8:22)

Number 4, my partner and I work together to reach our financial goals. It's a lot easier to build wealth when you have two incomes coming in. But those two incomes won't mean much if you and your partner aren't on the same page when it comes to your long term goals.

Joseph and I started having money conversations very early on in our relationship. We were both divorced and we both had 6 figures worth of debt that we were bringing to the table. Plus, I had a 9 year old child and we knew that we wanted to have more children.

Now, 7 years later, we're still having these financial check-ins. It's really important that both partners also know what's also going on with the household finances on a monthly basis, even if one partner is responsible for the day-to-day bill paying.

Setting financial goals that we're both committed to, helps us stick to our budget from month to month. And the regular money conversations gives us an opportunity to have a check-in with each other on what's working and what's not. That way we can adjust our budget as our priorities change.

 I Have Insurance (9:15)

Number 5, I have insurance. No matter how well you plan, life happens. My financial goals are based on the assumption that I won't become disabled or die in the next 30 years, but that might not be the case.

That's why both Joseph and I carry life insurance and short and long term disability insurance. Those policies won't completely replace our incomes, but they do provide financial resources for our loved ones that will minimize the impact of cost of our care if we become disabled and will provide our children with substantial assets if one or both of us dies.

As the years pass, the policies will become less important because we'll have enough assets to be able to self-insure. But for now, having insurance is an important part of our wealth building strategy.

 I Balance My Present and My Future (9:59)

Number 6, I balance enjoying life today and building my best financial future.

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You've probably picked up on this by now, but One Big Happy Life is all about balancing building wealth while also enjoying life today. The goal is to create a plan that's sustainable, one that you can stick to day in and day out, because you love your life.

There are many different paths to wealth for any given person. So once you define what wealth looks like for you, you can then move on to charting the path to that goal in the way that matches with your overall vision for your life.

So I encourage you as you're figuring out what your path to wealth looks like to look beyond the traditional life paths. Look beyond what other people have done or are doing. If those paths don't seem like the right path for you, chart your own.

Write down things that you want and then spend some brainstorming. Ask yourself, "Okay, how can I have this, this, and this?" Or play the What If game. Ask yourself, "What if I try this?" Be creative. Remember that it's your life and you only get one.

And now that we talked about the key strategies that are helping me build wealth, let's talk about a great place to learn more about the world around you.

 Closing (11:04)

A special thanks to CuriosityStream for sponsoring today's video. Are some of hardwired in our DNA for success? That's the question researchers were tackling in a recent documentary short that I watched on CuriosityStream.

I'll drop a link in the description box to the episode so you can check it out. CuriosityStream is a subscription streaming service made for those of you that have no shame in your nerd game. With over 2,400 documentaries and non-fiction titles from some of the world's best film makers, including exclusive originals. CuriosityStream is the first streaming service that focuses on our life long quest to learn, explore, and understand.

CuriosityStream is offering a special promotion just for TFD viewers. Get your first 30 days completely free if you sign up using the link and promo code in the description box during the sign up process.

Thank you so much for watching and be sure to subscribe and hit that notification bell and tune in here every single Friday for another new episode of the Lifestyle Fix.

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See you next week.