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Money works differently in 2022. Here’s how to make the most of it

CNET explores how current events and financial trends are challenging and changing the way we earn, save and spend.

Naomi Antonino/CNET

In her early thirties, Jannese Torres-Rodriguez had begun to question everything she had been taught about building wealth. Although she followed the conventional advice given to her by her parents – get a degree, obtain a profession and buy a house – she found herself mired in financial disaster.

She had raised over $60,000 in student loan debt. And a recent property purchase for two families, which had depleted her savings account, was not proving to be the “investment” she had hoped for. A ground floor tenant’s rental income was less than she expected, and in the first year she had to shell out over $30,000 in unscheduled repairs.

The tipping point came when a doctor diagnosed him with anxiety and depression, which she attributed to her increasing financial stress. One night, desperate to find a way out, she did what we all do: she turned to Google.

“I just remember looking, ‘How do you restart your life? How do you start over?'” says Torres-Rodriguez, who is now 36. it actually means being fiscally responsible.”

For decades, the traditional script for building wealth was simple: get a college degree, get a steady job, live below your means, and invest the rest. And don’t forget to buy a house along the way. But millions of Americans, including Torres-Rodriguez, have become skeptical of this narrative and view it as outdated, naive or a complete sham. After two good years of economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemica continuing supply chain debacle, galloping inflation and now, a war in Ukraineit is becoming clear that the conventional financial wisdom of 50 years ago, or even five years ago, does not apply to our current economic situation.

That’s why CNET brings you Power Money Moves – a series that explores how current events and financial trends are both challenging and changing the way we earn, save and spend.

Our launch story takes a sober look at how invest wisely in cryptocurrency without falling into the hype. With more than 30 million Americans should own a cryptocurrency by the end of this year, we define what it is, help you decide if it makes sense for your wallet, and suggest ways to buy safely. Later, we’ll look at investing more generally, providing you with new tips and tricks to help you achieve your financial goals.

Other stories in this series deal with other ways to create wealth, including home ownership – a daunting undertaking given soaring prices, supply shortages and bidding wars. We went behind the scenes, talking with real estate agents and experts, to gather real-time advice for buyers. We’ll also cover tactics, showing you how side hustle can help you gain an edge on inflation, and how choosing the right credit card can combat rising interest rates.

Our series will examine how billionaire CEOs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are redefining the meaning of wealth and success, in addition to how our economic lives intersect with issues of climate change and systemic inequality. As we work to figure out how to use our money more consciously and conscientiously, we will provide the tools to make smart and meaningful choices in today’s landscape.

It’s clear that our financial lives are at a critical juncture and it’s time to rethink the status quo. So what does it mean to build wealth today? While some traditional money moves will stand the test of time, we have identified new and better ways to approach our finances, address our values, and pursue economic well-being.

For Torres-Rodriguez, her attempt to redefine wealth led her to the FIRE movement — an acronym for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” Conceived in the 1990s, proponents of the concept proudly break the bounds of conventional tax wisdom, cultivating additional sources of income, investing aggressively and thinking strategically about where and how to live. For Torres-Rodriguez, that meant rethinking her financial life, including monetizing a food blog she started as a creative escape from her engineering career.

Then she sold her house and moved from New Jersey to Florida to reduce her taxes and her cost of living. Renting was much cheaper than buying, and being closer to the ocean wasn’t bad either. Around this time, she began sharing her financial journey and recruiting money experts to interview on her podcast Yo Quiero Dinero, which aims to help Latinas build wealth. Last year, she quit her job at the company to focus on her financial literacy business and blog. His net worth has soared to over half a million dollars.

His next step? Help his parents secure their retirement. “I want to make sure I can be in a place where I can support them,” she says. “My parents are still a little shocked by this whole adventure I’m on,” she adds. “But now they realize I was always a rebel as a kid, and that’s how it came out.”

We could all benefit from a little financial rebellion and ingenuity, now more than ever. Be open to questioning old rules and committing to a new plan. Whatever adventure you choose, we’re here to support you on your journey to a richer life.

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