‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, you’ve heard it, you’ve probably said it hundred of times. In its simplicity, this proverbial phrase is one of the best pieces of advice you would ever get in life. It reflects an attitude of fortitude, a philosophy of positive can-do attitude when faced with misfortune. The great author Napoleon Hill coined it in his own way by these words: ‘Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.’ The year 2020 has been a very difficult year for many all around the world, making this philosophy more than ever important. I feel for those who lost their livelihood, it’s certainly challenging. COVID-19 has hit us like a wrecking ball, destroying lives on its way. In fact, according to Pew Research, the unemployment rate in the US in May 2020 was close to 16%, surpassing the 10.6% rate in January of 2010, at the tail end of the Great Recession. That is a scary fact.
In the midst of all this, there is positivity. What positivity may come out of what we have experienced in 2020? First, I believe families have been able to spend more time and make memories together on a large scale. Breakfast and dinner together as a family, walks around the neighborhood, play time in the backyard, all those forgotten family activities have resurfaced. Companies are realizing that they can survive with the majority of their workforce working remotely. Pressure on work productivity has been released and organizations are implementing campaigns to encourage a balance of work and family time. For those of us living in cities where traffic is traditionally horrendous, we have saved hundreds of dollars on commuting expenses, if not thousands. This is to show you that there is a positive reality.
COVID-19, financial stability, home gym. What do these words have in common? Well, I can assure you that unless you’re financially stable, those words will never have any common parameter unless you make responsible financial decisions, which ironically show your financial instability. But let’s digress.
I worked in the banking industry and there is one way that banks acquire new clients: FREE STUFF. Most banks will frequently design marketing campaigns that are enticing enough to lure more customers. When new promotions would come across my desk, I would often wonder why as a consumer, I had never received such great offers in earlier years. These promotions were obviously targeted to a specific portion of the population, but why have I never met the criteria? That is a good and fair question. It is one of those situations that make you scratch your head. At times, those promotions offered up to $500 in bonus, or more. Yes, $500! Even $700 at times. Among you reading this article now, there are certainly a few scratching their heads too, wondering how come they’ve never received such flyers in the mail. Well, there is an answer. See, the banks might advertise that they’re offering a free $250 bonus when you open a certain checking account or saving account, however, we all know that nothing is free. It comes with a contingency. A minimum amount for payroll direct deposits per month, a certain minimum balance in the account for several months, a number of required transactions at a certain minimum dollar amount, you name it. See, the financial insititutions understand that if you meet those requirements, chances are you have the funds to do more. Your cash is a very valuable asset for banks and they will do all they can to ensure you keep it with them, and not with the competitor. They will also make tons of profits from the loans, line of credits and credit card that you get and end up not keeping up with.
See, here is what I realized. When you are financially stable, when you have cash laying around, when you have no debt, when your bills are paid not only on time but early, when you don’t spend all your paycheck, banks want you. Because you are financially stable and have established good habits, you end up the winner, on top. Over the past couple years, I have taken advantage of several opportunities to make FREE CASH. In fact, I have accumulated a total of more than $1600 in cash rewards for simply opening diverse checking accounts and savings accounts. And that’s only what I can remember.
When COVID-19 hit and the quarantine started, gyms were obliged to close. I decided then that it was time to build my own home gym, something I’d had as a goal for a while. With the extra free cash, I purchase a squat rack, a barbell and some weights to get me started. I have since added more equipment and I am able to workout as efficiently as I would at a fitness facility.
However, there is something even cooler. My son was born in March. His carseat and stroller and several hundred dollars worth of other baby stuff were all free, worth $700 to be precise. How cool is that?
So, how do we get you to benefit from these banks’ free cash? First and foremost, you must work to reach financial stability. Work on fixing your credit score and your savings account. Evidently, a good paying job helps as well. These days, I no longer wait for banks to reach out to me, I go to them. There are several websites that you can visit frequently to find out what promotions are out there and which ones are accessible to you. One of my favorites is moneycrashers.com. In fact, I had the honor of interviewing its founder last year in our entrepreneur series. Every month, get a list of banks offering promotions and filter through them. Then be on your way to having cash come to you for FREE.