A good bounty hunter is always in demand, and so are healthy finances. Sometimes it might feel like you’re chasing your financial goals from one side of the galaxy to the other.
Like any good tracker, you’ll be on the lookout for tips to point you in the right direction, even if they come from seemingly unlikely sources, such as the hit Disney+ Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. Here are a few such tips.
1. It Helps To Know the Lay of the Land
The Mandalorian, a.k.a. Din Djarin, wants to know what he’s up against before committing to a specific plan of attack. In the first episode of Season 1, he uses a scope to scout out the compound where Grogu is being held.
Like any good bounty hunter, Din Djarin wants to know the best way in and out of any dangerous situation. This involves creating a mental blueprint of the area he’s headed, and it sure can help to know where all the walls, doors, and secret passages are.
It’s just as important for you to get the financial lay of the land before you decide on a financial plan of action. Are there escape hatches in the fine print of that contract you’re thinking of signing, or are you going to wind up trapped in a dungeon of legalese from which there’s no escape?
You might even want to learn to read actual blueprints or floor plans. Learning a new skill like that can help you expand your earning potential by increasing the demand for your services. If you get good enough at it, you’ll develop a reputation for excellence, just like Din Djarin.
2. How You Get Paid Is Important
When Din Djarin gets offered payment in Imperial Credits, he refuses, making sure he gets paid in Calamari Flan instead. It’s a more stable form of currency, even though it looks at first glance like he’s getting less.
How you get paid is important, and stability itself is valuable. Investments that promise a mega-payback can seem tantalizing because they offer the potentially large gains, but they’re also bigger risks: They can sink like a stone — or just like Imperial Credits.
You’ve heard of junk bonds? They’re called “junk” for a reason. They’re high-risk bonds that pay a higher yield but also put the money you’ve invested at risk, big time. If the investment tanks, they’ll be worthless, just like junk.
Whether someone’s paying you for a service or selling you something, it pays to know the currency you’re using is reliable. Being lured by sweet promises of big gains carries risk, and you should know what that risk is before you take the plunge.
3. Being True to Your Word Creates Opportunity
Speaking of reputations, Din Djarin has cultivated a great one, and so have the Mandalorians in general. They’re known for following through on their word and successfully completing their missions.
The same principle should hold true when you’re applying for credit. You can build credit by staying dedicated to your commitments, and that means making your payments on time. Make it a habit and you’ll start doing it routinely.
To build a good credit score, it’s also best to avoid racking up big debts. Companies won’t want to lend you money if you already owe a lot of money elsewhere. (Did you know that the amount you owe makes up 30% of your FICO® score?)
One way to improve your credit is to make your payments on time, while also ensuring you don’t overspend. You can do that by using a secured credit card, where your credit limit is secured by a deposit — usually a few hundred dollars — which serves as your credit limit.
That way, you can’t overextend yourself. Plus, you’ll be building your credit each time you make a payment.
4. Keeping Your Guard Up Is Important
The Mandalorian’s beskar armor is made of tough material that offers him effective protection from most forms of attack. And when it comes to finances, attacks are bound to come from any and all directions, so it’s important to keep your guard up — and your armor on — too.
Identity theft, credit card fraud, loan fraud, and fraud based on government documents or benefits have all been going up in recent years, so it pays to be on the lookout for phishing: bogus emails, fake invoices, and ridiculous demands that you confirm your personal information. Who are they to tell you what to do, right?
Hackers also can tap into your account by “skimming” your credit and debit card info at gas pumps and other public access points. They embed these skimmers into regular card readers and collect the information they need without you knowing it. Then they use it to snag your money.
Be aware, too, of offers that seem too good to be true. If you read the fine print, they probably are. Only do business with companies that have a strong reputation (the value of building trust goes both ways), but be wary of emails that seek to mimic reputable companies’ logos and insignia.
5. Your Savings Can Save You
Din Djarin has put together quite a collection of handy weapons, gadgets, and other tools to help him succeed. He’s saving them all for that rainy day when enemies are bound to come at him — he knows he’ll have what it takes to fend them off. You will, too, if you’ve got money in the bank.
Think about putting some of your resources into savings so you’ll have a cushion in case you need it. You’re never too young to start. Set some money aside every month for the unexpected, such as car repairs and medical bills. It’s also great to check out insurance plans — just be sure to buy only what you need.
Set a budget and stick with it, and shop smart. Resist the impulse to buy that special something you’ve just gotta have — but can’t afford. Budgeting apps can help, and so can specific strategies for putting money aside and spending smart.
6. Investing Well Can Seriously Pay Off
Whether you’re investing money, time, or attention, it’s important to know where to put your resources.
Mandalorians pick their associates carefully. They don’t get too close to people; they focus on the job at hand. Still, they know it’s important to invest in some relationships, as the title character invests in Grogu, a.k.a. “Baby Yoda” or “The Child.” When you’re backed into a corner, having a little green guy with the Force at his disposal can come in mighty handy.
The Mandalorian learned that lesson firsthand when he was attacked by a Mudhorn while trying to steal her egg. As the Mudhorn charged him, Grogu used the Force against it, giving Mando time to plunge his knife into its neck.
Investing might sound like a similar amount of work, but it can be just the opposite. It can pay big dividends and keep you from breaking a financial sweat.
To quote a well-worn cliché, isn’t it better to have your money work for you than to work for your money? Just like Grogu gave Din Djarin time to strike, investing can give you time to enjoy life. There are few better incentives than that… except, probably, escaping a Mudhorn.
If you want to make your financial future as bright as on a planet with two or three suns, take these tips from Din Djarin. Know where you stand, be true to your word, save, invest, and be smart about it all. If you do, you’ll find yourself escaping the death star of financial crisis and cruising on to your next adventure in your very own Millennium Falcon. Or at least a pretty cool car.
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