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A 12-Week Money Course Helped Me Raise My Net Worth

«I am here. I am capable. I am wealthy.»
So goes the benediction at the start of every Factora Wealth Circle meeting, held over Zoom since the pandemic but headquartered in Austin. Factora, a women-led company that teaches personal finance in a tangible way, hosts Wealth Circle, a live, online course and community, for 12 weeks, twice a year. Sessions meet every other week on Wednesday nights, with homework in between.

I decided to attend earlier this year after a fellow writer from grad school tipped me off to the program. Now, a month out from my «graduation,» my net worth has increased 29% from when I enrolled.

I sit with my camera on, mic muted, amongst hundreds of other women. Our expressions range from fascination to exhaustion to epiphany. That’s just how it goes when personal finance is the topic du jour.

Our host, Allegra Moet Brantly, Factora’s founder and CEO, finishes the benediction with a bright smile and eager eyes. Looking around the Zoom room, it’s fascinating to consider what brought us all here, to a sort of financial confidence bootcamp for women. As Moet Brantly begins, I pull out my notebook and text my partner to bring me a bar of chocolate as the words «compound interest» in deep burgundy flicker onto the screen. It’s going to be a long night.
«It’s dangerous to find ourselves on auto-pilot,» cautioned Moet Brantly as slides in our third session demonstrated timeless financial principles, like paying yourself first and putting an end to trading time for money. The course also suggested repurposing mindless spending as investing, emphasizing increasing one’s investment rate instead of stressing over the small stuff.

Over the course of the class, I increased my own savings rate from a very auto-pilot-esque 10% to something closer to 30%. The trick for me? Labeling buckets in my high-yield savings account with short-to-mid-term goals. It turns out, when I can see my money’s redirection from Net-a-Porter to a house fund, it feels more satisfying.

Twice during each Wealth Circle, the group was split into random breakout rooms. Here, with little to no context beyond the rectangles on our screens, we shared real numbers, without shame. In one breakout session, we shared our net worths, numbers ranging from the negatives to upwards of a million. Then, we shared our net worth goals. I went first, apprehensive to speak a number higher than I’d ever imagined possible. I watched as the entire group smiled back, nodding, and then proceeded to each offer a number higher than my own. There was something coven-like and moving to feel a group of women encourage me to dream bigger.

But Factora’s not built on dreaming. It’s grounded in straightforward, if not simple, investing principles, like focusing on time in the market over timing the market. The conversation around assets highlighted just how personal things can get in the world of personal finance. As a 26-year-old in Brooklyn, owning property has always been a pipe dream, at best. A sound investment, to me, was a great pair of walking shoes and an unlimited subway card. Hearing women older than me, during breakout groups and as examples during lectures, inspired me to bring a level of creativity to accumulate assets. Sure, buying my apartment might not be my next step, but it was freeing to imagine what might be.

«Money creates opportunity. When you have more money, you’ll have more money and decision-making,» said Moet Brantly during our fourth session on real estate investments. Instead of investing in a home, I took the time to set aside an emergency fund with six months of living expenses. Was it a «sexy» investing move with massive payoff or worthy of bragging about at brunch? No, but it was a way of empowering myself toward decision-making from a place of security and stability.

The changes I’ve made thanks to Wealth Circle haven’t been drastic or dramatic. They’ve been small-scale shifts in the way I think about money, which is a tool toward greater freedom and more choice in the way I live my life.

By the last time we recited the benediction, I found myself believing the three sentences I spoke: «I am here. I am capable. I am wealthy.» Even though it was 8 PM in New York City, I was there. Thanks to my recent hiring of a CPA to sort out my freelancing taxes, I was capable. And because of my newfound confidence in investing, I was wealthy.

Disclosure: This post may highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. Read our editorial standards.

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Money

They Call Me «Dragon» in the Crypto Community: Dragan Pajić Remarkable Journey

In the world of cryptocurrencies, Dragan Pajić, known as «Dragon,» has emerged as a prominent figure, earning him a well-deserved reputation in the Balkans and beyond. As the largest crypto influencer in the region, serial entrepreneur, and owner of the renowned 100X Club, Dragan has empowered thousands of individuals through his informative YouTube channel, demonstrating how they can multiply their investments by 100 times in the crypto market.

Through his marketing agency, DigitalPR, which has thrived for the past decade, and his rapidly-growing herbal brand called «Bonaturo,» Dragan has made a significant impact on both the digital marketing landscape and the health industry. Famous singers, actors, and public figures have not only embraced but also endorsed his brand, cementing his position as a trusted name in the market.

Dragan Pajić entrepreneurial ventures go beyond the crypto and marketing realms. He has diversified his investment portfolio, venturing into solar power plants, properties, and unicorn projects. Currently, he is an active investor and co-founder of Daopeople, the first decentralized web 3 social media platform based in Dubai.

Exciting times lie ahead for Dragan as he prepares to launch his long-awaited 100X Crypto Academy for a global audience. This groundbreaking educational platform will equip individuals with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the crypto market successfully.

Dragan Pajić achievements have not gone unnoticed. In 2018, he was recognized as one of the ten most influential young people in Bosnia.

Having accomplished his first million-dollar milestone in his twenties, he now holds the title of the Balkans’ most influential crypto influencer.

Looking toward the future, Dragan aims to empower even more young individuals, providing them with financial freedom and education in the domains of entrepreneurship, business, crypto, and investing. His ultimate goal is to become the first founder of a unicorn company (worth over $1 billion) from the Balkan region.

Connect with Dragan Pajić on his social media channels to stay updated on his latest ventures and insights

Instagram: https://instagram.com/draganpajic1?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/draganpajic1?mibextid=LQQJ4d

Twitter: @Dragan_Pajic

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@DraganPajic/

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Money

Meet the cheapest US states to buy a house

A new study analyzing Zillow data has found that the monthly median sale price of a house last year was more than $500,000 in Utah, California and Colorado — and more than a staggering $800,000 in Hawaii.

The study, conducted by Studio City realtors, found that Hawaii clocked in as the most expensive state in the U.S. for homebuyers. On the island, the average home price was $805,775 — hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the cheapest state on the list.

Studio City realtor Tony Mariotti noted that market turbulence contributed to a “significant increase” in house prices across the U.S.

Home prices went up nationwide in February after months of declines amid low inventory and a small uptick in demand — and experts have said they expect affordability will continue to be a problem for prospective homebuyers in the months ahead.

Here are the priciest and cheapest U.S. states to buy a home:

The most expensive states to buy a home
Eight states and Washington, D.C., saw a monthly median sale price of a house last year of $400,000 or higher, with Oregon sitting at that exact figure.

Washington state, Nevada, Montana and Washington, D.C., came in between $402,900 and $487,500.

California, Colorado and Hawaii were the top three most expensive, at $537,000, $537,125 and $805,775 in monthly median sale prices last year, respectively.

Costs differed in different areas within states: for example, the median monthly sale price of a house last year in California’s cheapest city of Red Bluff was $320,000 — while the ticket in its most expensive city of San Jose was $1,370,000.

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Don’t just hug a tree this Arbor Day — plant one, too

Nearly five years ago, Hurricane Michael became the first Category 5 storm to hit the United States in 25 years. It left a trail of destruction in its wake, and my community of Panama City — located in the Florida Panhandle — was hit especially hard. Since then, working together as neighbors and citizens, we’ve made significant progress in key recovery areas, including rebuilding key and vital infrastructure, enhancing quality of life, developing our downtown, and attracting new businesses across a mix of industries. However, one of our most important recovery efforts lies within our tree canopy restoration — an often overlooked but vital area of disaster recovery and prevention.

When Hurricane Michael uprooted nearly 80 percent of Panama City’s trees — approximately a million trees, generating 5.7 million cubic yards of debris within the city — it created serious challenges. Not only did we lose the beautiful canopy from 100-year-old oak trees, but the vital function of the trees was lost, the first of which was the absorption of groundwater. The loss of so many trees significantly increased the risk of flooding in our community,

where we now experience flooding in areas that haven’t typically flooded in the 114-year history of the city. The second function lost from the lack of trees is shade.

Trees serve to mitigate the urban heat island effect, where an entire city is warmed by concrete being heated by the sun. These increased temperatures not only result in uncomfortably hot weather but can also lead to other extreme weather events like wildfires. Since the storm, Panama City has experienced increased flooding whenever thunderstorms roll through, in addition to wildfires that consumed over 40,000 acres last year – both due in part to the damaged tree canopy and loss of trees.

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