CNBC make it 2024-03-09 02:00:53

If you and your partner use any of these 5 phrases regularly, your relationship is stronger than most

Speaking to your partner with respect and appreciation is important, especially in times of conflict.

The most successful couples, according to psychologists, regularly express devotion, understanding, and contrition.

Here are the five phrases that couples who have a strong connection use most, according to experts.

1. “Thank you.”

John and Julie Gottman are psychologists who have studied more than 40,000 couples in search of answering the question: What makes love last?

The one phrase they say all successful couples use often is “thank you.”

“A thriving relationship requires an enthusiastic culture of appreciation, where we’re as good at noticing the things our partners are doing right as we are at noticing what they’re doing wrong,” they wrote for CNBC Make It.

This is especially true for small, everyday acts, they say.

“Tell them why that small thing is a big deal to you: ‘Thank you for making the coffee every morning. I love waking up to the smell of it and the sounds of you in the kitchen. It just makes me start the day off right,’” they say.

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2. “Help me understand this.”

Harvard psychologist Cortney Warren says successful couples don’t avoid conflict, they just better navigate it.

We often assume we know what our partner is saying when in reality they might be expressing something more nuanced or totally different.

“If your partner reacts to a situation in a way that you don’t understand, telling them that you want to know them better is key to resolving conflict and bonding at a deeper level,” Warren wrote for CNBC Make It.

3. “I can forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

When you’re in the heat of an argument or at the end of one it can be hard to express forgiveness. Do it anyways, Warren says.

“Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships,” she says.

4. “I am committed to you.”

“Being in a relationship is a choice,” Warren says. “Reassuring your partner that you’re still choosing to be with them and to work through challenges will help create a sense of safety and stability.”

This might seem obvious, but communicating your promise to one another can help you and your partner feel validated.

5. “I like you.”

“The healthiest couples don’t just love each other, they like each other, too,” Warren says. “Loving someone is an intense feeling of affection; liking is about seeing them for who they are and acknowledging the attributes you enjoy about them.”

Even if you and your partner aren’t arguing, remind them that you like them.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

34-year-old mom’s 4-month world cruise with family cost $50K: ‘Some of the best money I ever spent’

Last year, I paid $50,000 to go on a four-month cruise that took my family and me to 30 countries. My husband, our 12-month-old daughter and I shared one room that doubled as my floating office. 

We spent 60 days at sea and 50 days in port, and we visited six continents. This was the most expensive trip we’ve ever taken, but it was worth it. I see the money spent as an investment — not just in travel, but in a collection of memories that we will treasure forever.

Here’s why it was some of the best money I ever spent:

I didn’t have to plan everything for a change

I’m no stranger to long-term travel. From 2015 to 2018, we lived in our RV and drove across the country. For the last five years, we lived on our sailboat full-time, and I ran my online business, Making Sense of Cents from there.

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We love this lifestyle, but managing it takes a lot of effort. You have to account for repairing broken equipment, sailing in overnight shifts, keeping track of multiple routes and preparing for all kinds of weather and potential dangers.

We spent so many years constantly on the move, but I couldn’t remember the last time we took an actual vacation.

Stepping onto the ship, a lot of that mental load lifted. We only unpacked once and the cruise line handled most of the visa process for us. It was so nice to not to have to cook or do dishes for four months.

We did do a fair amount of laundry — inevitable with a baby — but we booked our room next to the laundry room on our floor to avoid any additional hassle.

I bonded with my family in a unique way

After our daughter was born, the idea of a world cruise piqued our interest. While she was still young, we thought it would be fun to slow down, travel with fewer responsibilities, and focus on being new parents.

When we embarked on our adventure, our daughter the youngest passenger on board. She was a veteran seafarer at that point, having lived on our sailboat (which we docked in Florida while we were away) since she was just a day old.

Since the rooms on the ship were so close together, at first we were concerned that a crying baby wouldn’t exactly endear us to our neighbors. It turned out that the cruise was full of grandparents who missed their grandkids, so it actually worked out quite well.

There were few families on board, but we befriended another couple with a toddler and got together for many playdates.

I set a goal to go to as many international playgrounds as we could, and we visited at least 20. Our daughter even took her first steps on the trip, on a beach in Moorea, French Polynesia. 

I got to experience many different cultures

The cruise started in Florida. Then we we traveled through the Panama Canal, the lush tropical islands of French Polynesia, the beautiful scenery of New Zealand, amazing cities in Asia and historic sites in the Mediterranean.

We’re usually very slow travelers. For example, when we lived on our sailboat, we spent six months in the Bahamas every year. So it was a rare opportunity to see so many different places in such a short time frame.

Some of my favorite stops were Australia, Oman, Thailand, Turkey, Montenegro, Spain, Mexico and the Canary Islands. While the sights were incredible, to me, one of the best parts of the journey was being a part of this ephemeral, floating community.

I loved getting to know everyone on board, guests and crew. We’re still in touch with many of our neighbors and we took some genuine friendships home with us.

I became better at living in the moment  

I can stare at the ocean forever. That’s one of the reasons why I loved living on our sailboat for so many years. We even splurged on a room with a balcony, so we could go outside and take in beautiful views whenever we wanted.

The tranquil days at sea were wonderful, although I think it was a little easier for me to relax than my husband. He was so used to being the captain of our boat, dealing with weather and fixing everything, but eventually he embraced the slower pace, too.

The most valuable part of this trip was that it allowed me to be fully present. As an entrepreneur, even when I’m not actively working, is easy to constantly think about all the things on my to-do list. Balance quickly becomes an afterthought.

I loved the simplicity of my daily routine on the cruise. I only worked the days we were at sea, for a couple of hours while my daughter napped. Then when we were in port, I put my laptop away.

This break was much needed. It let me focus on my family during a formative time in my daughter’s life and it helped me better understand what truly makes me happy.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the founder of Making Sense of Cents, where she helps readers make smart decisions about how to earn, save, spend and invest. She paid off nearly $40,000 in student loan debt in just seven months and now travels as much as she can. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Mark Cuban looks for 2 qualities in employees: Without them, ‘you’re going to be in trouble’

Whether or not you get hired by billionaire Mark Cuban comes down to two qualities: culture and  competency.

They’re the “two things that matter the most,” Cuban said during a MasterClass course released last month. “Are they competent enough to do the job? And do they fit in the culture of the organization? If they fail on either one, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Culture is more important than raw talent, Cuban said. Most of the workforce agrees: 56% of workers rank a strong workplace culture as more important than salary, with more than 75% of employees saying they’d consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, according to a 2019 Glassdoor survey of more than 5,000 adults in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany.

Young millennials and Gen Zers consider company culture a particular priority, the Glassdoor report noted — meaning Cuban’s observation many prove more true over time, as those workers increasingly rise through the ranks.

Cuban does value employees who complete tasks correctly and efficiently — that’s the competency part. But searching for the perfect worker to fix your company’s problems, a “home run hire,” without properly vetting their cultural fit is “probably the biggest mistake I’ve seen my portfolio companies [make],” he said.

To find employees who check both boxes, Cuban said he asks specific job interview questions like:

  • What’s one thing you’ve failed at and one thing you’ve succeeded at?
  • Tell me about a time you took a chance at work.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What’s the best culture of a company that you’ve ever worked in?
  • Who’s the best manager you’ve ever worked for?

“I want to get them talking about their positive or negative experiences, so I can understand whether or not they’re going to be a fit,” he said.

For Cuban, the right fit doesn’t mean a carbon copy of himself: He looks for employees and partners who “complement” his skill set, but are unafraid to speak up when they disagree with him, he noted.

“I think one of the biggest problems an entrepreneur [or] CEO can make is they hire people who are like them,” Cuban said. “You don’t need to hire people like you. You’ve got you.”

“I don’t need people to tell me yes,” he added. “I can tell myself yes … I need people who are going to challenge conventional wisdom and challenge me, and when they think I’ve done something wrong, say, ‘I think you think you’re making a mistake here, and this is why.’”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Warren Buffett owns 2 ETFs—this one is better for everyday investors, experts say

When you’ve been as successful an investor as Warren Buffett, you make headlines any time you buy an asset. As noted by CNBC’s “Buffett Watch,” the Berkshire Hathaway chairman recently upped his stakes in Liberty SiriusXM and Occidental Petroleum.

If you really want to be like Buffett, you can scroll down on that page to get a full portrait of Berkshire’s portfolio of public investments. The list is full of stocks, with the notable exception of two exchange-traded funds: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (symbol: SPY) and Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO).

These low-cost funds track the performance of the broad U.S. stock market via the S&P 500, and although they make up a miniscule portion of Buffett’s portfolio, he’s said over and over that similar investments should make up the majority of yours.

“In my view, for most people, the best thing to do is own the S&P 500 index fund,” Buffett said at Berkshire’s 2020 annual meeting.

Buffett’s thinking here is straightforward. Most non-professional investors (and even many professional stock-pickers) have very little chance of outperforming the market. But index fund investors get exposure to the entire U.S. market and can benefit from its historical upward trajectory — and for cheap.

“The trick is not to pick the right company. The trick is to essentially buy all the big companies through the S&P 500 and to do it consistently and to do it in a very, very low-cost way,” Buffett told CNBC in 2017.

How to choose an S&P 500 index fund

Berkshire owns shares in two prominent S&P 500 funds, but they’re far from the only ones on the market. Each one you come across will give you roughly the same exposure and roughly the same returns. The major differentiator is cost.

Take the two funds in Buffett’s portfolio. SPY comes with an expense ratio of 0.095%, while VOO charges 0.03%. That may not seem like much, but over the course of your life as an investor, it can make a difference.

After all, money you pay in the form of fees is money you’re not investing and money that isn’t compounding for you. It’s the chief reason Morningstar analysts give a “gold” rating to VOO and a “silver” to SPY.

Say you invested $10,000 in VOO and earned a 7% annualized return over the course of 45 years. At the end of the term, you’d have $207,208, having paid $908 in fees, according to Bankrate’s mutual fund fees calculator. The same investment and return in SPY would cut your total to about $200,000 with fees nearing $3,000.

Why would anyone pay more for the same product? In the case of SPY, it comes down to being able to get a good price on options trades, says Todd Rosenbluth, head of investment research at VettaFI.

“SPY is the more appealing option for short-term trading purposes where the spreads are super tight,” he says.

But if you’re a long-term investor, you generally want to aim to keep things as cheap as possible. VOO and other ultra low-cost funds are “more appropriate products for people holding for intermediate or long time horizons,” Rosenbluth says. “The lower expense ratio will result in savings and more money going into the equity market.”

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

32-year-old mom who makes $143,000/month in passive income: 5 books that helped me get started

When I started my side hustle, I didn’t have a mentor, a big social media following, or any startup capital. I just had a drive to help people find great careers, and advice from some of my favorite books. 

In 2022, I quit my six-figure recruiting job at Amazon to grow my YouTube channel and launch my business, PayBump. I make videos about remote work and unique income streams, and create kits to help people make their resumes and cover letters shine.

Today, my business brings in $143,000 a month in passive income, mostly from digital product sales and YouTube ad revenue. And I only work two hours a day.

Here are five books that helped me get started:

1. ‘The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage’

By Daymond John

This is a practical playbook for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to build a business from the ground up. It draws on the “Shark Tank” investor’s experiences, as well as insights from other self-made millionaires.

I learned how to bootstrap my online business, connect with likeminded people, develop partnerships, and use free marketing strategies to drive sales and make a profit. 

2. ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not’

By Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki writes about the habits of two men, and how one ultimately obtained wealth, while the other struggled, in large part because of the differences in their money mindsets.

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“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” showed me the value of the “on-the-job” skills I already possessed, and how I could use them as the blueprint for my business. It gave me the confidence to harness my experience in fintech, project management, and recruiting to get PayBump off the ground. 

3. ‘The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses’

By Eric Ries

Inspired by Ries’ years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, “The Lean Startup” taught me how to identify what my customers really want, and test out new ideas at a low cost. 

One concept he writes about is the “minimum viable product,” essentially the most basic and least expensive version of what you want to offer. 

This inspired me to release an early version of my digital membership to a small group of people. I collected data about their experience, and thanks to all their feedback, I was able to boost my customer retention rates by 50%. 

4. ‘The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue’

By Derral Eves

Eves is a TV producer, content creator, and the founder of the VidSummit conference. His book was a great crash course for me when I started my channel

I learned how to structure my videos, create eye-catching thumbnails, use analytics to improve the performance of my content, and make connections with brands.

All of that helped me turn audience members into repeat customers and create a thriving online community.

5. ‘Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires’

By Esther and Jerry Hicks 

“Ask and It Is Given” is all about how to use the law of attraction to help you visualize and achieve your dreams. The premise is that whatever you think about and feel strongly about, whether it is positive or negative, that will be drawn into your life. 

Inspired by their advice, all of the goals I made vision boards for — my marriage and son, good health, hitting financial milestones — have become a reality.

Ultimately, this book helped me be more intentional about where I put my time and energy, and figure out what was important to me. 

Jasmine “Jazzy Mac” McCall is a career expert & CEO and co-founder of Paybump, a career development platform that helps everyday people land remote, corporate roles. Follow her on YouTube and LinkedIn. 

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.