Categories: Personal Finance

The Value of Knowing Your Strengths: Strengthsfinder 2.0

I recently took strengthfinders 2.0 test and below I have listed my top five strengths. It doesn’t give me my weaknesses. Strengthsfinder has a focus is on strengths because they have found with research that focusing on strengths is more important for success than focusing on weaknesses. This is counterintuitive to our culture. So often in our society we work extra hard on fixing our weaknesses without ever making our strengths stronger and really focusing on where we naturally excel.

Below I have listed my top five strengths along with action items to practice the strengths for the upcoming five weeks. Each week I will do one action item for each of the five strengths. As I go along, I will update you on how the practicing the strengths through these action items go. Wish me luck! (If you would like to take this test as well, click here.)

Relator: I enjoy close relationships with others. I find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

Week 1: Deliberately learn as much as you can about the people you meet. You like knowing about people, and other people like being known. By doing this, you will act as a catalyst for trusting relationships.

Week 2: No matter how busy you are, stay in contact with your friends. They are your fuel.

Week 3: Make time for family and close friends. You need to spend quality moments with those you love in order to “feed” your Relator talents. Schedule activities that allow you to get even closer to the people who keep you grounded and happy.

Week 4: Be honest with your friends. True caring means helping the other person be successful and fulfilled. Giving honest feedback or encouraging your friend to move out of a role in which he or she is struggling is a compassionate act.

Week 5: Let your caring show. For example, find people at my school to mentor, help my

Classmates get to know each other better, or extend your relationships beyond the office.

Activator: You are determined to generate a lot of enthusiasm around various projects, events, or activities.

Week 1: You learn more from real experience than from theoretical discussions. To grow, consciously expose yourself to challenging experiences that will test your talents, skills, and knowledge.

Week 2: Give the reasons why your requests for action must be granted. Otherwise, others might dismiss you as impatient and label you a ‘ready, fire, aim’ person.

Week 3: Remember that although your tenacity is powerful, it may intimidate some. Your Activator talents will be most effective when you have first earned others’ trust and loyalty.

Week 4: You possess an ability to create motion and momentum in others. Be strategic and wise in the use of your Activator talents. When is the best time, where is the best place, and who are the best people with whom to leverage your valuable influence?

Week 5: You can easily energize the plans and ideas of others. Consider partnering with focused, futuristic, strategic, or analytical people who will lend their direction and planning to your activation, thereby creating an opportunity to build consensus and get others behind the plan. By doing this, you complement each other.

Ideation: I am fascinated by ideas. I am able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

Week 1: Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them. Lacking your Ideation talents, others might not be able to “join the dots” of an interesting but incomplete idea and thus might dismiss it.

Week 2: Understand the fuel for your Ideation talents: When do you get your best ideas? When you’re talking with people? When you’re reading? When you’re simply listening or observing? Take note of the circumstances that seem to produce your best ideas, and recreate them.

Week 3: Schedule time to read, because the ideas and experiences of others can become your raw material for new ideas. Schedule time to think, because thinking energizes you.

Week 4: Sometimes you lose others’ interest because they cannot follow your abstract and conceptual thinking style. Make your ideas more concrete by drawing pictures, using analogies or metaphors, or simply explaining your concepts step by step.

Week 5: Sometimes you lose others’ interest because they cannot follow your abstract and conceptual thinking style. Make your ideas more concrete by drawing pictures, using analogies or metaphors, or simply explaining your concepts step by step.

Achiever: I have a great deal of stamina and work hard. I take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Week 1: As an achiever, you relish the feeling of being busy, yet you also need to know when you are “done.” Attach timelines and measurement to goals so that effort leads to defined progress and tangible outcomes.

Week 2: Remember to build celebration and recognition into your life. Achievers tend to move on to the next challenge without acknowledging their successes. Counter this impulse by creating regular opportunities to enjoy your progress and accomplishments.

Week 3: You do not require much motivation from others. Take advantage of your self-motivation by setting challenging goals. Set a more demanding goal every time you finish a project.

Week 4: More work excites you. The prospect of what lies ahead is infinitely more motivating than what has been completed. Launch initiatives and new projects. Your seemingly endless reserve of energy will create enthusiasm and momentum.

Week 5: Make sure that in your eagerness to do more at work, you do not skimp on quality. Create measurable outcome standards to guarantee that increased productivity is matched by enhanced quality.

Competition: I am highly motivated to be the very best and win the topmost prize.

Week 1: Try to turn ordinary tasks into competitive games. You will get more done this way.

Week 2: Design some mental strategies that can help you deal with a loss. Armed with these strategies, you will be able to move on to the next challenge much more quickly.

Week 3: Take the time to celebrate your wins. In your world, there is no victory without celebration.

Week 4: Let people know that being competitive does not equate with putting others down. Explain that you derive satisfaction from pitting yourself against good, strong competitors and winning.

Week 5: When you win, take the time to investigate why you won. You can learn a great deal more from a victory than from a loss.

After Week 1

Relator: I found out that some engineers at the school I go to want to study abroad. They were interested in how I will manage to be able to finish my engineering degree in 4 years while still taking a semester off. To act making my ability into a strength, I invited them over to my apartment for dinner so that I can share with them how this is possible.

Activator: The challenging experience this week that I exposed myself to was this blog. It isn’t easy writing every week. I am not the best writer as you reading this know. I am trying to work really hard at putting together information that would be useful to college kids and those just graduating from college. The toughest part is figuring out what exactly will help people learn and be changed financially because what is out there right now just isn’t cutting it.

Ideation: I have failed at forming my thoughts before speaking them. This is something I will have to continue to work on.

Achiever: I am setting weekly goals for myself now. I should start celebrating on Sundays for things I have accomplished and be content with relaxing because getting things done isn’t the most important thing in life.

Competition: Now, every time I sit down to work, I try to make it a competition for how fast I can get done what I am trying to get done. When I forget to do this, I find myself wandering to things that are not important in life. To remember though, everything isn’t a competition.

Categories: Home Finance

The Value of Renting

Yesterday I found a calculator for knowing when it is best to buy vs rent financially. Note for understanding the calculator: The price amount in the section for “Advantage of Owning a Home vs Renting One”

  • If price is in black, then that is how much more money you would have from buying a home.
  • If it is the red, then that is how much money you would lose from living in a home.

Pros and Cons of Buying


  • The Feel of Ownership: There is something special about owning something yourself. There is a reason why people who own their own homes take better care of them than those who rent. Also, by being the owner you get complete creative control of your house. You get to decorate it, design it, and make it just the way you want it.
  • Build Equity: Some notes on this: House prices go up at the same rate of inflation so it isn’t the best investment.Only 1/3 of homeowners take the mortgage interest deduction. Also, buying and selling a house can have a lot of fees. All this to say though that if you are going to stay put for quite a bit of time, you don’t want to be paying someone else money to live, instead you could be “paying yourself” to have a roof over you head.
  • DIY Project: If you are one of those people who enjoy fixing things up, painting things, and all of the like then owning your own home gives you this opportunity.


  • Stuck in a Mortgage: If you want to move, but cannot sell your house, you may be stuck. Huge lost opportunity cost of being able to do what you want right there.
  • Doesn’t Appreciate any faster than Inflation: Even when you sell your house for more money 15 years after you bought it, chances are that you cannot buy anything more with that extra cash you “made” than you could have 15 years ago.
  • DIY Projects: Instead of being able to do things you really want to do, you are stuck with a list of chores. Fix that, clean this, decorate that… The list goes on.

Pros and Cons of Renting


  • Are Not Tied Down: It is so much easier to move if you are just renting. In our changing society where people move more often as life changes, this is a huge advantage of renting. In buying and selling homes, you lose a lot of money to the fees. As stated earlier, if you want to move but cannot sell your house, you may be out of luck.
  • No Maintenance: It is nice not having to spend the time calling the repair man or fixing things in your own house. I know living at college has gotten me used to that. Also, this means you will not ever have any other incidental costs.
  • Lower Cost Upfront: For people who do not have the money for a down payment, renting is really the way to go. Also, most people’s entire savings is rapped up in their home equity. This is not diversification and the asset of a house does not appreciate any faster than inflation.


  • May Not Have that Same Ownership Feel: When you live in an apartment you do not get as many decisions on how the house should be. It just isn’t the same as the ideal we have in the USA of home ownership.
  • You are Subject to a Landlord’s Decision: If one day the landlord decides to raise prices or change something, baring you didn’t have a contract that forbids, you may end up in a place that is not where you want to be anymore.
  • Lower Cost Upfront: Though I said this was a pro, it is also a con. Even though you may save money from renting, that money may just be wasted and 10 years from now, instead of having been forced to build equity in your house, you will have no savings and be in debt. This means that renting takes more discipline to be financially stable, especially if you are not saving up for a down payment on a house.
The Value Geek 2019