6 Successful Money Habits We Can Learn from U.S. Immigrants

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Our country was built by successive waves of hungry, hard-working immigrants determined to create a better life for themselves.Immigrating to a new land – whether yesterday’s Pilgrims arriving in New England or today’s immigrants taking up residence in the United States – requires real ambition and a desire to get ahead.It should come as no surprise, then, that immigrants tend to perform well on many financial metrics.A study by the Fiscal Policy Institute demonstrates that 18% of small business owners in the U.S. are immigrants – a share that exceeds their proportion of the population by a whopping 50%!Other studies suggest higher savings rates amongst immigrant populations, as well as lower debt burdens.We’ve identified the habits of settlers that made America great – the core features of the “immigrant money mentality” that you can use to improve your finances today.Make Wise Educational ChoicesWhile the world will always need artists and political scientists, these are two majors unlikely to find ready employment at a wage that justifies the high cost of the education.On the other hand, an immigrant cousin of mine who studied air conditioning repair at a low-cost junior college now owns a large air conditioning repair business earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and employing 15 others.If you get into Stanford, by all means, go! But understand that not all universities (or majors) yield the same return on investment.Know the Value of Each DollarImmigrants often come from countries with simpler standards of living – places where two-car households, new technology every year, and frequent meals out are not the norm.So, you’ll often see immigrants shopping at lower-cost ethnic grocery stores, choosing to share vehicles or commingle resources by having many family members live under one roof.You don’t need to do each –or even any – of these things to get at the underlying principle: Every dollar you don’t spend on more expensive food or housing is money that can be put toward another bill or savings.Over time, this adds up in significant ways. Even shaving $5/day off your budget and investing it could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars at retirement.Is that worth using public transportation or bringing your own lunch to work? We think so.A Day Job May Not Cut ItImmigrating to a new country means hard work building a life with limited resources, and our ancestors often put in much longer days.Even today, you’ll often find immigrants working two jobs to get ahead.It’s that sort of anything-it-takes mentality that enables them to save more money than many of us with cushy office jobs. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you should work yourself to death or neglect family and other important responsibilities.But it does mean you should try to find additional sources of income — whether it’s by freelancing a bit on the side, babysitting, or even selling your hobby crafts on Etsy.com.The bonus: Each additional dollar you make is a dollar more than you spend now to maintain your lifestyle. That means it can be readily saved or used to pay off debt.Debt? What Debt?The Pilgrims didn’t have credit cards, mortgages, or car notes — neither do most recent immigrants, for that matter. They lived without debt by necessity, and managed to secure most of their needs successfully.Today’s immigrants often don’t have access to as much credit as long-time U.S. citizens, do either, yet they still manage to get by.They rent for longer periods of time, put down larger down payments on cars or homes, and choose lower-cost educational alternatives, rather than take on heftier loads of debt.Build it YourselfWhether it’s building a home with your own bare hands or starting a successful new tech start-up, immigrants often understand the need to be enterprising and resourceful.The recent recession, too, has taught us to rely on ourselves.We can seek ways to become more self-reliant, whether by building a second income stream, planting our own vegetable gardens, or repairing our own cars.Pool ResourcesHave you ever noticed that the South Asian family who owns several small businesses in the area collaborates on just about everything?Immigrants who have limited access to credit will often pool resources to get ahead. Mother, father, uncle, brother, and sister all work tending shop or pitching in their savings to buy a new business.The power of many amplifies your drive and helps make your ambition a reality.Consider pooling resources with family and close friends or accessing crowd-funding options, such as Kickstarter.com, rather than taking on debt.As the daughter of immigrants, I saw my parents work two jobs each in order to save, pay for cars in cash, and help fund our future.Unfortunately, I too, got seduced by the promise of student loans, credit cards, over-consumption, and other poor financial habits of modern America.I thought my parents’ insistence on cash payments and avoidance of credit were a result of provincial attitudes — of not knowing any better.Now I realize the error of my ways, and try harder to emulate their immigrant money attitudes. When combined with the opportunities this great country affords us, it’s a powerful combination.Janet Al-Saad is the founder of personal finance website, the FiveTenTwentyClub.com. The site features expert advice, tips, and special deals to teach you how to transform your financial future on as little as $5 a day. Post navigationlast_img read more


first_img Comments   Share   Offensively, Woodson was a high impact player, averaging 17.6 yards on 14 touches and scored three touchdowns. Two of the touchdowns were receptions and one was a run. Woodson even completed a pass to Brian Griese in a game against Wisconsin. On special teams, Woodson returned 33 punts for 283 yards and one TD. Peterson can similarly impact the Cardinals in all phases. The big question is will he have the same platform Woodson performed on? Michigan earned a split of the National Championship that season. Woodson came up with multiple huge plays in high profile games — against Penn State when both teams were in the top 5, against Michigan State and of course the Ohio State game, where he returned a punt for a TD, had an interception in the end zone and set up another score with a long reception.The Cardinals currently have just one nationally televised game on the schedule. Peterson needs the Cards to be one of the surprise teams in the league and get more national coverage. Remember, the NFL has a flex schedule for weeks 11 through 17; three of Arizona’s final four games are against the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers. If both teams are fighting for a wild card or the division the Cards could end up as the Sunday night game on NBC. Arizona Cardinals star Patrick Peterson doesn’t lack confidence in himself. The third-year cornerback has set a lofty goal heading into the 2013 NFL season. I think my goal is to be an MVP of the league. I am the top cornerback in the game, and now that Bruce Arians is giving me the opportunity to play offense and special teams, I’ll have the best opportunity to capture that goal and dream of mine.That was at the top of Peterson’s list in a story on Peter King’s new football website, TheMMQB.com. The question — is it a realistic goal? With a litany of high-level quarterbacks on teams projected to be extremely good, the task won’t be easy. Since the Associated Press started giving out the MVP Award in 1957, only twice has a defensive player earned the hardware — Giants outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986 and Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971. In every other year a quarterback or running back has won outside of a kicker winning in 1982 (I swear, I’m not lying). That makes the goal seem even more difficult. Here are three reasons, if another defensive player is going to win the MVP, Patrick Peterson would be atop the list.#1 Flash Plays Peterson can do things on a football field that will get played over and over again during the 24-hour sports news cycle. I actually don’t think this is a really good reason, but it’s the truth. In 2009, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis had arguably the best season a defensive back has ever had and he didn’t even win Defensive Player of the Year. Green Bay Packers corner Charles Woodson, who had three defensive touchdowns, nine interceptions, four fumbles forced and one fumble recovery was given the honor. Those game-swinging plays are all well and good, but Woodson wasn’t even close to being in the same class as Revis during that season. A huge performance on that stage can go a long way in influencing voters. It’s a long shot, but based on these factors, if a defensive player was going to win MVP this season, Patrick Peterson would be the one I would pick. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Peterson will need to combine what Revis and Woodson did to win the award. #2 Importance of the PositionAfter edge pass rushers, cornerback has become the most important position on the defensive side of the ball. In 2009, when Revis wasn’t in the MVP talk despite his incredible season, teams threw the ball an average of 532.3 times over the course of the year. Last year the number went up to 555.9.The position has also become harder to play because of rules limiting contact. All of this has made the value of top-notch corners increase.#3 The Charles Woodson HeismanThis is the best argument for Peterson being able to earn MVP. It’s a different level, but the idea of a defensive player winning college football’s top honor is just as unique as a defensive player winning the NFL’s top honor. Since the Heisman was first presented in 1935, Michigan’s Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to win the award.What makes the Woodson-Peterson comparison applicable is the role Woodson held with Michigan that season. He was utilized on offense, defense and special teams. Defensively, he was dominant, intercepting eight passes. last_img read more