Tag: self employed

Self-Employed in the Gig Economy? Watch Out for This – Solopreneur Retirement Funds 2019

Solopreneur Retirement Funds 2019

Whether you call yourself a solopreneur, self-employed, or freelancer, you’re most likely a hard-working individual with the best boss ever – You!?However, as sole-decision makers, we solopreneurs often suffer from a lack of objective feedback. This can be especially damaging when it comes to taking care of our own basic personal needs.

If you want your business to flourish, you need to take care of yourself first

Managing all aspects of a business, from marketing to operations, requires even the most disciplined among us to push beyond our limitations. It’s easy for us to ignore our own welfare. When you are your business, you have to wear many hats. But why do we so often forget to wear the most important one – our HR hat? If you want your business to flourish, you need to take of yourself first. You need to understand your options for solopreneur retirement funds. This topic is especially critical when we consider the future we are entering.

The gig economy is a different playing field

Today, 36% of American workers are gig economy workers. By 2020, that figure is expected to increase to 40%. With 53% of companies now also opting for more flexible workers, this trend will only increase. What this means is an increase in both completely independent workers and contract workers with zero benefits.

In the gig economy, there are no benefits

In the gig economy, there are no benefits, no guarantees of a minimum wage, no guarantees of a steady paycheck, no company-sponsored retirement savings plans or saving into social security. And this is a reality that solopreneurs must come to terms with and manage, on top of everything else.

If this is the future we face, how can we take care of our own welfare while scaling our business?

Related: Ten Quick Ways to Make Money While Helping the Planet

Paying yourself is more than simply reinvesting

In the gig economy, if you don?t invest in your own retirement, who will? You can bet 100% that your business will win but you still have to hedge. Risk mitigation is what keeps events from becoming ruinous. Remember that you are not your company. If your business fails, you will still need to be healthy and solvent as you seek your next adventure. Having solopreneur retirement funds to fall back on can make the difference between whether this is possible or not.

You can bet 100% that your business will win but you still have to hedge.

We know that it can be confusing to figure out the different solopreneur retirement funds options out there. With Solo 401(k), Roth Solo 401(k), SEP IRA, Roth IRA, Self-Directed IRA and Health Savings Accounts, how do you know what is right for you??

Well Wallet cares about this topic because we are you! We are entrepreneurs and freelancers. too! So we have done the research for you. In Part 1 of our Solopreneur Retirement Fund Series, we’ll cover two retirement vehicles you should look at:? the Solo(k) and the Roth Solo(k).

The Solo 401(k)

A Solo(k), (also known as a Self Employed 401(k), Individual 401(k) or i401K,) is a plan for business owners (with no employees) and their spouses. When you have a Solo(k), you get to play two roles: ?that of the employer and that of the employee.

Bonus: this means that you get to make contributions through both of those roles.

When you have a Solo(k), you get to play two roles: ?that of the employer and that of the employee.

You as the Employer:??You are the employer and can contribute up to 25% of your net self-employment income, up to a maximum of $56,000, which is your business income minus half your self-employment tax. These pre-tax contributions* lower your taxable income and help cut your tax bill.

You as the Employee:? You are the employee and are allowed to contribute pre-taxed* earned income up to the annual contribution limit. ?For 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000 as an employee even if $19,000 represents 100% of your self-employed earnings for the year! (If you?re over 50, you get an additional $6,000 added to your contribution limits for a total of $25,000.)

Bottom line:?As both employer and employee, you can contribute up to $56,000 for the 2019 tax year ($62,000 if age 50 or older). If your gig is taking off this year, this is a fantastic solopreneur retirement fund opportunity.

*Pre-tax contributions and their earnings will be taxed as regular income when they are withdrawn in retirement. If you want to avoid being taxed when withdrawing contributions and their earnings, you might want to consider adding a Roth Solo(k).

The Roth Solo(k)

Another option is the Roth Solo 401(k). While Roth contributions are taxed, you will not be taxed on the contributions or their earnings when you withdraw them after the age of 59 ?.

Note: this assumes you have had the account open for at least 5 years.

Roth contributions are taxed before, not after

So, while Roth contributions don?t give you a tax break now, you can withdraw the money (and the gain on that money) tax-free in retirement. Depending upon whether or not you think you will be in a higher or lower tax bracket by that age, this can give you quite a break at the end of the road.

You can only contribute up to $19,000 of employee contributions annually to the Roth Solo(k). Like the Solo(k), you get an additional $6,000 added to your contribution limits for a total of $25,000 if you are over 50.

There is no employer contribution with the Roth Solo(k)

Related:? Forget Retirement – Here’s Why You Need to Start Investing Now

Top Questions to Ask When Setting up a Solo(k)

To set up a Solo 401(k), you need to complete an application to open an account with a financial institution. Solo(k)s are offered by the largest retail brokers, including Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity. You?ll definitely want to shop around a bit and compare plans at different institutions. Here are some important questions you’ll want to ask while shopping for your Solo 401(k):

1) What investment options should I choose?

Once you open the account, you then need to pick the investments in the account.?Make sure that your plan provider offers total stock market index funds that are low cost (low expense ratio), have no sales loads and have commission-free trades into these funds.

Why you should choose passively managed index funds

  • Low Cost

If you hire someone to manage your investments for you, that person tries to beat the market by picking and choosing investments. He or she performs an in-depth analysis of many investments in an attempt to outperform the market index, like the S&P 500.

Hiring someone to actively manage your funds takes a big cut out of your return.

Hiring someone to actively manage your funds takes a big cut out of your return. There?s the expense ratio, which is a recurring fee the fund deducts from your account. There are sales loads, which you pay when your manager buys your funds. There can be commissions and a myriad of other fees that investors just aren?t aware of when they hire an advisor to pick their funds or invest in actively managed funds.

For the 15-year period of April 1, 2001 through March 31, 2016, only 29% of actively-managed U.S. large company funds were able to beat the S&P 500 Index. – The Balance

You would hope that after all of these fees are deducted, the performance of your funds would beat the market, right? Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. Actively managed funds rarely beat the market over time, and they are more costly. ?But what if there was a simple and cheap way to passively own a small piece of the entire stock market instead of paying someone to try and ?guess? which stocks might beat the market? Well, there is. They are called index funds.

  • Broad diversification

An index fund?tries to mimic the returns of an index it follows (such as the S&P 500) by purchasing all (or almost all) of the holdings in the index. Thus, they are referred to as ?passively managed? and are therefore cheaper to buy. Instead of paying someone to try and pick a winner that beats the market for you, you are actually just buying the whole market.

  • Tax efficiency

Another benefit of index funds is that they are tax efficient. Index funds have extremely low turnover while actively-managed funds often have high turnover ratios. Higher turnover = higher taxes. When funds have more buying and selling activity (aka turnover), some securities will probably sell at a higher price than they were purchased. That means you’ll be paying capital gains taxes more frequently.?

So, to recap. Index funds offer:

  • low cost
  • broad diversification
  • tax efficiency
  • set and forget simplicity (no day trading)
  • superior performance

These index funds have broad coverage and very low expense ratios

(As of April 2019)

Vanguard VTI Vanguard VTSMX Vanguard VTSAX Schwab SWTSX Fidelity FZROX

* Initial minimum investments into retirement accounts such as the Fidelity Simplified Employee Pension-IRA, Keogh, Self-Employed 401(k), and Non-Fidelity Prototype Retirement accounts are $500 or higher.?

**NEW index fund from Fidelity – with zero expense ratio. They are the first to get rid of the expense ratio for their total market index.

*** No loads or trading fees when you purchase from the fund?s platform. For example, if you choose a Fidelity Total Market index fund and trade through your account at Fidelity, you will not be charged a commission. However, if you trade that same Fidelity index fund through an account at Schwab, you will be charged a trade fee. Tip: open an account with the broker that has the funds you want.

Why We Like Vanguard (No, we aren’t paid to say this.)

We like Vanguard because their Total Stock Market Index fund has the most companies (about 3,600). That’s almost every publicly traded company in the U.S. They also have some of the lowest expense ratios (0.04%) and no trading fees. That means you can invest every single month without paying commissions.?Also, Vanguard pioneered the index investing movement and operates its business at cost. Vanguard has no outside owners. If you own a Vanguard fund, you own part of Vanguard. We think this keeps the incentives in the right place.?

Bonus (this applies to any broker): you can split your contributions between total stock market funds and an investment strategy YOU believe in. (For the folks at Well Wallet, that would be sustainable investing.)

Related:? 4 Ways to Make Real Money with Sustainable Investing

2) Loans:? Can you take loans from the plan?

Federal law allows workers to borrow up to 50% of their account balance, up to a maximum of $50,000.?But be very careful with loans from retirement accounts. Some 401(k) plans ban contribution for six months after a loan. Also, remember that you will be paying both the loan payment and the interest on that loan with post-tax dollars. Finally, a loan from your 401(k) takes your earnings out of the market. While loans can be helpful during times of crisis, make sure you understand the rules regarding them.

3) Rollovers: ?Are they allowed into and out of the plan?

You may find yourself in a position later where you are working for an employer again. In this case, you may want to roll your Solo 401(k) into your employer?s Traditional 401(k) in order to take advantage of employer matching if their plan allows it. You may also want to roll an existing 401(k) into a Solo 401(k) or roll your Solo 401(k) into an IRA or visa-versa. For these reasons, find out if your plan can be structured to accept rollovers.

4) Does the plan offer a Roth option?

As mentioned above, a Roth option accepts taxed employee contributions. This means that you can invest all or part of the $19,000 and you will not be taxed on the contributions or their earnings if you withdraw them after the age of 59 ? (and if you’ve had the account open for 5 years.)

Note: ?Employee contributions must be made by the end of the calendar year but you can make Employer contributions until the tax-filing deadline.

Tip: Be sure to open your Solo 401(k) account before December 31st, 2019 to be able to make employee contributions and lower your taxes for the tax year 2019.

Rules about Withdrawing funds from a Solo 401(k)

  • If you make withdrawals before you are 59? they may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to any applicable taxes. This is a big deal. Don’t withdraw your funds early. If you have to, take out a loan and pay the interest back to yourself before liquidating the account.?
  • You must take required minimum distributions from Solo 401(k)s starting at age 70?.
  • You can roll your Solo 401(k) assets into IRAs or an employer?s 401(k) (if it is allowed by that employer?s 401(k).

Stay tuned for the next issue of The Solopreneur Retirement Fund Series where we will continue our discussion on more Solopreneur Retirement Funds options such as SEP, SEP IRAs, Roth IRAs, Self-Directed IRAs, and HSAs (Health Savings Accounts.)

Related:? Governments and Emojis Can’t Solve World Problems – We Can!

More from our lawyers: Well Wallet, PBC (aka WellWallet) is an informational platform for personal finance, and unless specifically stated otherwise, the content is provided to you without charge. WellWallet is not a financial planner, broker, or tax advisor. We cannot provide any advice for your specific financial situation. Our goal is to help you understand how to better manage your finances and how your finances affect your life goals, but we can never make any guarantees about your financial future (or present). The material here is meant for informational purposes only. ?It should not be considered legal or financial advice. See our Terms & Conditions for more information.

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Solopreneur Retirement (Part 2): IRAs for Solopreneurs

Solopreneur Retirement Series (Part 2) – IRAs for Solopreneurs

?Part 1 of the Solopreneur Retirement Series: ?Pay Yourself First?focused on the needs of solopreneurs, freelancers, business owners and self-employeds. We stressed that we need to remember we are separate from our business. We took a look at:

In the gig economy, there are no benefits, no guarantees of minimum wage, no guarantees of a steady paycheck, no company sponsored retirement savings plans or saving into social security.

?In Part 2, we’ll a look at IRAs for solopreneurs: The SEP IRA (Self-Employed IRA) and? Roth IRA.

Part 2 ? The SEP IRA and Roth IRA

What is a SEP IRA, and why should I care?

  • Much larger contributions than Traditional IRAs
  • Best for those with no or few employees
  • Only pay in for yourself as an employer (but then also have to pay in for employees)

A SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) allows for greater contributions than a traditional IRA. A traditional IRA limits contributions to $5,500, (or $6,500 if you’re over 50.) With a SEP IRA you can stash pre-tax dollars up to the lesser of:

  • 25% or your net income, or
  • $55,000

Another cool feature about the SEP IRA is that?you can contribute as much or as little as you want each year. This means that you can contribute more when things are going well, and back off or even skip contributions during a downturn.

A SEP IRA is best if you have few or no employees

A SEP IRA mandates that whatever percentage of compensation you contribute to the plan for yourself for any given year, you must also contribute that same percentage on behalf of each eligible employee. For example, if you allocate 15% of your net income in 2018, you also have to contribute an amount that represents 15% of each employee’s net income (out of your pocket) for that same year. Obviously, this can get expensive.

An eligible employee is someone who:

  • has worked for you for 3 out of the last 5 years
  • is at least 21 years old
  • has made at least $600 working for you in the previous year

Employees themselves are not allowed to contribute to a SEP IRA. However, if you are an employee, you can both receive employer contributions to a SEP-IRA made on your behalf, and make regular annual contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA for yourself.

What is a Roth IRA and how is it different?

You contribute your cash after you’re taxed on it

Just like a Roth Solo 401(k), a Roth IRA has you making contributions after taxes as opposed to contributing pre-tax dollars in a traditional IRA. You contribute your cash after you’re taxed on it.

Why might you want to do this?

While you won’t get that break on your taxes today, you won’t have to worry about paying taxes on your contributions or their earnings when you withdraw your funds after you are?59?. This may be to your advantage if you believe you might be in a higher tax bracket in the future. And your earnings? from your investments? You can cash them out tax free if you follow the rules.

Can anyone open a Roth IRA?

One aspect of the Roth IRA that is different from the SEP is that your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) needs to fall into a certain range in order for you to qualify. It’s totally possible that you earn too much income to be able to use a Roth IRA. Generally, you can contribute to a Roth if your adjusted gross income is less than:

  • $196,000 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
  • $133,000 for single, head of household, or married filing separately and you didn?t live with your spouse at any time during the year
  • $10,000 for married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year.

Mixing IRAs to diversify your tax liabilities

Having a Roth in addition to a traditional IRA can help diversity your tax liability upon retirement. For example, you can have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, but you can’t contribute up to the max for each. Instead, you could contribute 50% of the allotted limits to the Roth, and 50% of the limits to the traditional in order to hedge your taxes. While you would be taxed on the withdrawals of the traditional IRA, you would be able to withdraw the earnings and contributions held in the Roth tax free.

A traditional IRA and a Roth IRA have to split contributions because they share the same limit, But a SEP IRA and Roth IRA do not cancel each out. This means that you can contribute up to the max in each. For example, you can contribute up to 20% of your net income (or $55,000)?to a SEP and you can contribute $5,500 ($6,500 if your over 50) to a Roth.

Questions to Ask When Setting up an IRA

1) What investment strategy should I choose?

With an IRA,?you have many choices for investments, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and individual stocks with relatively small operational costs. You can decide your own investment strategy.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed some really good reasons for looking at passively managed index funds. Now we want to draw your attention another strategy:? investing in companies?that have strong environmental and social policies because these types of funds have been beating the market. Swell Investing offers both IRAs for solopreneurs. And the great thing about Swell is that you don’t need a broker and it is very easy to set up your accounts and automate them.

Swell Investing
The?MSCI KLD 400 index, which tracks companies with?high environmental and social impact,?has outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 on an actual and risk-adjusted basis for the past 25 years. – Swell Investing

Should I invest in passively managed funds or sustainable investments?

Gotta be honest, right now the WellWallet investment philosophy is to get the best of both worlds:
  1. Open a retirement account at Vanguard and invest?50% in passive index funds. (See Part 1)
  2. Open an account at Swell and invest 50% in impact investing.
  3. Then -?Automate it. Automate it. Automate it.

(You will be surprised at how much you will have in 6 months to a year.)

Top Reasons For Choosing Swell Impact Investing

Low Cost -?No expense ratio or trading fees

Because you own the stocks in the Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs),?there are no expense ratio fees?like you find with ETFs and mutual funds. You don?t have to have a separate brokerage account to trade.?Trading is all included on their impact platform.

Rigorous selection criteria

To be part of Swell?s impact investing portfolios, companies have to pass two strict tests:

  1. They have to get through strict criteria?to prove their environmental and social performance.
  2. They have?to score high on financial potential.
Broad diversification and solid performance

With?Swell Investing, you can choose which issues matter most to you, and invest your dollars to actually make a difference in the world. You can create a customized portfolio mix of companies across a variety of socially responsible themes according to your interests.

Investors can choose from 6 different themes today (Check out the one year performance as of August 10, 2018):

  • Green Technology?(+10.63%) ??Think electric cars and LED lights.
  • Renewable Energy?(+8.06%) ??Think wind turbines and solar panels.
  • Zero Waste?(+14.56) ??Think recycling and repurposing.
  • Clean Water?(+15.29%) ??Think water filters and pipe repairs.
  • Disease Eradication?(+16.70) ??Think immunizations and research.
  • Healthy Living?(+31.39%) ??Think nutritious foods and health centers.
  • Swell Impact 400 portfolio. Diversify across 400 companies. Every one of these companies follows the 17 UN SDGs.
Swell Investing is one of the most successful sustainable investing platforms around today. Anyone can join for $50 (and Swell will match it with another $50).

Choices and simplicity

Swell offers both a SEP IRA and a Roth IRA. It is amazingly easy to set up an IRA with Swell. Their minimum investment is only $50 and they are currently matching that with an additional $50 bucks, for free!

2) Loans: Can you take loans from your IRA plan?

Technically, you cannot borrow money from your IRAs like you can from a 401(k). (Which we wouldn’t recommend anyway if you could, unless it was super serious and between you and a credit card or high interest personal loan.)

3) Rollovers: ?Are they allowed into and out of the plan?

Logically, Roths can’t be rolled over into pre-tax IRAs and pre-tax IRAs can’t be rolled over into Roths for obvious reasons. While it’s common to roll an employee’s 401(k) into an IRA when employees leave the company, it’s debatable whether those funds can be rolled back from an IRA to a 401(k). Make sure you check the rollover policy for the each of the plans you consider at all instances of making a move with your funds because laws change frequently.

Last Tip: Rules about Withdrawing funds from SEP and Roth IRAs:?

Withdrawing from Roth IRA:

You can withdraw your?contributions?to a Roth IRA without penalty at any time. (You paid taxes up front on these, remember?) But you can’t withdraw earnings?on those contributions before you are 59 1/2 without a tax penalty.

Withdrawing from SEP IRA:

While you can withdraw your funds from a SEP IRA at any time, they will be subject to taxation and a penalty tax before the age of 59 1/2.

Both business owners and employees? participating in a SEP over age 70 1/2 must take?required minimum distributions?from a SEP-IRA. This means that even if you haven’t retired by age 70 1/2, you still have to take required minimum distributions.

For more information on withdrawal rules from the IRS themselves, go here for Roth IRAs and go here for SEP IRAs.

Tune in next week for the next issue of?The Solopreneur Series?where we will continue our discussion on thriving as a Solopreneur. We will cover more retirement funds options such as HSAs (Health Savings Accounts), business structures, taxes, cash flow management, and more…

More from our lawyers: Well Wallet, PBC (aka WellWallet) is an informational platform for personal finance, and unless specifically stated otherwise, the content is provided to you without charge. WellWallet is not a financial planner, broker, or tax advisor. We cannot provide any advice for your specific financial situation. Our goal is to help you understand how to better manage your finances and how your finances affect your life goals, but we can never make any guarantees about your financial future (or present). The material here is meant for informational purposes only. ?It should not be considered legal or financial advice. See our?Terms & Conditions?for more information.

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Follow Your Heart (But Fund Your Dreams)

“Follow your heart” is such a great piece of advice…

We preach it, and we teach it, and we sing its praises, but dreams cost money, and so does survival. Out of the two the latter usually wins, which may seem unfair. At least I thought it was. Until I learned that you don’t have to choose. You can follow your heart and fund your dreams.

To make your dreams come to pass takes sacrifice. It takes time and effort and (usually) money, but it also might mean uprooting yourself, or taking a huge risk, or abandoning security for the sake of a chance and a shit-ton of “what ifs.” We dole out the notion of “do what you love” like it’s an option for everybody, and then when it isn’t, we shrug and say nothing.

What I Learned (the hard way)

I know this because I’ve done that. High on my own “quit my job, move and write” (only for it to end disastrously), I told everybody who’d listen to throw caution to the wind and to take a chance, be courageous, embrace gutsiness, and fight for what they wanted because someone else would if they did not.

I didn’t take into account what it’s like to be a parent, or to have responsibilities to family or friends, or a community, or to not live off a line of credit like I was about to do (see:? disaster). I didn’t think about past experiences or what my friends and family’s concerns were and why. And I certainly didn’t think of how I looked, standing there lecturing like a professor about as equipped as Kramer from Seinfeld, wielding a briefcase of crackers. I was all about following my heart, but didn’t consider how I would actually fund my dreams.

Related:? 5 Ways to Free Up Cash Without a Side Gig

We dole out the notion of “do what you love” like it’s an option for everybody, and then when it isn’t, we shrug and say nothing.

To pay for college, I had worked two jobs and lived at home. I worked at a bank and a clothing store at the mall, and my days were long and I was tired always, but it was fine. After college, I spent the first year working only at the store before deciding to quit that job and “become a writer” (despite my writing income of only about $200/month.) In short, I was an idiot. When I moved out of my parents’ house the next year, I used my line of credit as a bank account, making about $400 for every $1,200/month I was spending. What happened? I eventually landed myself right back at my parent’s home and in a shit-ton of debt.

What I Could’ve Done Instead (but was too stubborn)

But it could’ve ended differently. As I struggled to make ends meet, my friends who were in the same financial boat worked part-time jobs as servers or baristas, viewing their regular jobs as a way of funding what they really wanted to do (writing, art, music) while ensuring they could eat and pay rent. One friend described her job to me as her “dream funder.” Today, I think she was brilliant.

I don’t know what my problem was. As in, I don’t think I can narrow it down to a single issue. I was stubborn, prideful, and convinced that doing the logical thing was the “weaker” thing. I couldn’t figure out how my friends could make life work and I couldn’t, all while getting increasingly frustrated. So, I learned the hard way — I moved back home, wrote full time (whether I wanted to write or not) until I could dig myself out of the ditch I’d taken a nap in.

If someone can’t afford to do what they love, we need to know that dreams can still be pursued – because they can be funded.

Today, when I talk to teens and twenty-somethings about what they want and who they want to be, I relay the advice that I used to neglect. I tell them to follow their hearts, but to make sure they’re filling the pool — whether financial, mental, or emotional. I tell them to make sure that they’re doing something to ensure that what they’re doing isn’t taking away from the big picture.

The Pros of Not Quitting Your Day Job

And I’ll admit, there’s a certain power and freedom in having a boring day job you don’t really care about, regardless of how much you may envy friends working full-time in the field you want to be in — especially if you can just leave work at work. 5 p.m. rolls around and you owe nothing to nobody. You can freelance at night, snag company benefits, and slowly work your way into the world you want to be in at your own pace. Because I’ll be honest:? once you start doing what you love full time, it can seriously take over a huge part of your life — especially if your job revolves around the internet. Add that to the big picture.

There is no Right Way to Chase your Dreams

The bigger problem is that we believe the big picture is finite. It isn’t. Dreams vary, but unless yours is to pick up and move to Los Angeles and win an Oscar (and honestly — good luck if so), there are ways to move towards your dreams while still keeping your head above water. Do you want to write? Start a newsletter and use it as a jumping off point to pitch publications. Do you want to act? Look into drop-in classes or see what your community theatre offers. (At least to start.) Make music? If you can’t afford an instrument, play around with GarageBand or read up on the tools used by artists like Grimes (who produces her own music and is self taught). Do you want to write a book? Take an hour or two a week and write. There is no wrong way to follow your dreams. Taking your time requires patience and tenacity, it also means you’ll get to do it without wanting to scream into the night.

The bigger problem is that we believe the big picture is finite. It isn’t.

Still, maybe for you it isn’t about money. Maybe you don’t need to take small steps and can throw yourself into an industry because you’ve got the privilege of comfort. Then it’s up to you to fund your emotional and mental state. Stay sharp. Read: books, magazines, blogs. Watch the news. Listen when people who are smarter than you are talking. Soak up as much information as you can and then keep soaking it up because you have to replace what you’re expending. That’s how the best dreams are turned into reality.

Pride has no place in chasing dreams. If you love something and are sure you want to make it your life, there’s no timeframe or blueprint to follow — your dreams are on your own terms. Which means that if funding them takes a second, or sees you pause between opportunities, that’s fine. The only person who gets to dictate the terms of what you want is you. Don’t let friends stuck up on their high horses make you think otherwise.

Anne T. Donahue writes for MTV News, Refinery29, The Guardian and other publications. She is in a loving and committed relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio, even though he is not aware of that.

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