About a year after I finished graduate school, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. My husband and I were exactly a year out from our wedding. I still remember getting the call as my mother-in-law and I were driving home from wedding dress shopping. I was working hard to save up for my contribution to the wedding and pay off at least one of my student loans before I said “I do.” It seemed like every dollar that came through my bank account was already earmarked and accounted for. My mom asked: “Can you come home for the funeral?”
There was a time in my life when it seemed like the only appropriate gift for me (or any of my girlfriends) was body lotion. Every Christmas, every birthday, every graduation always seemed to bring me Peony lotion from Bath & Body Works. The funniest part for me: I hated the smell of it! But isn’t “fancy” body lotion what every teenage girl wanted?
I remember the first time I tasted financial freedom. I was a year or so into my first full-time job and I had finally gotten the hang of budgeting and covering all of my needs. I had a plan to repay my student loans and build my emergency fund, so I could finally save toward something I wanted with what was left over. That was the moment when money became not just frugal but fun to me. Because all of my bases were covered, I had the freedom to choose and pursue my next goal.
When my husband and I first met, I was a graduate student working about 15 hours/week and living as frugally as I could. He was an art student who also worked full-time at the front desk of a hotel. I kid you not, when we met I thought my husband was rich. He lived in a 1-bedroom apartment — by himself, with laundry in unit! He even had cable TV. Seriously, what more could you want? I was living in an apartment near my school with a roommate, uneven floors, and laundry a parking lot away. To me, he was the paragon of adult living.
Have you ever heard someone say “money is just a piece of paper”? I get where they are coming from – it really is just a piece of paper. But what it represents and the power that we give to money can make it so much more (or so much less). Much of how we view and use money is forged in our early years by watching the people we love handle it. We take on the positive behaviors they taught us, but we may also bring with it their fears, anxieties, and blind spots about money as well.
After my husband Tyler’s accident last year, one of my first thoughts was: We don’t have a will. We’re both young and healthy, so it had never risen to the top of our to-do list. As I contemplated how quickly things could have turned out differently, the questions started to pop up. Like, all of our joint-owned property would come to me, but what about the things my spouse owned separately? And, what if we were both killed in a car accident — then what would happen?
Whenever I see the popular hashtag #relationshipgoals on Facebook or Instagram the first thing that comes to mind for me isn’t a celebrity relationship, a beautiful wedding, or even a couple on a dream vacation, it’s my grandparents. Maybe it’s because my grandfather still insists on calling my grandmother his “girlfriend” even after 68 years together? Maybe it’s because they wrote each other EVERY DAY for two years while my grandfather was away for his army service during the Korean war – talk about the definition of old world romance? Maybe it’s because I’ve watched them consistently stand by each other in sickness and in health? There are too many reasons to count.
It’s common for people to think they need to be nearing a specific age threshold or making a certain amount of money to contact a financial planner, but that’s just not true. Financial planners can help you at every stage in life, no matter your income. And the best news? Many employers are now offering a financial planning benefit as part of their benefit suite allowing you to use these services for free or a reduced fee.
A year ago today I woke up in a hospital room. It was the first night where I’d been able to get some sleep for stretches of more than an hour since my husband’s car accident, and despite being woken up multiple times by nurses checking my husband and IV machines that wouldn’t stop beeping, I was grateful.
When money comes your way — whether that’s a paycheck, side hustle income, or an unexpected tax refund — what’s your first instinct? How you answer may say a lot about your money personality. Are you a saver, spender, giver, or acquirer? You may be just one, or a combination of two. No money personality is better than the other; each has strengths and growth areas.
It may help to think back to how you handled money growing up. As a kid, I can still remember the joy I experienced as I gave part or all of my babysitting money away. I know — I was a pretty odd kid! But it always came back to already having all of my needs met and wanting to use my money to help others.
A few weeks ago my husband said, “I’d really like to move. What would you think about moving to Portland?” I’ll admit this announcement did not take me by surprise. When my husband and I visited Portland last year, we fell in love with the landscape and the culture. For the past year we’ve dreamed about what it might look like to retire on the Oregon coast. Seriously, if you’ve never been there, just take a quick gander on Google and I’m guessing you’ll be joining us there, too.
Before I moved in with my husband, I never had cable TV. When I was younger, I only got to watch cable when I went over to a friend’s house or my grandparents’ house — it was such a treat. When I was first out on my own, I couldn’t afford to even think about getting cable, and later on when I had my first job and could afford it, it just wasn’t all that important to me.
This week’s post is a shout out to some of my older readers who’ve begged me to dig into this topic. To my younger readers, I encourage you to keep reading. Knowing the basics of Medicare can help you better understand your parents’ and grandparents’ health plans, but it may also help you better understand some of the issues that come to the surface in the upcoming 2020 election.
You may wonder why a financial educator would cover the topic of Medicare – doesn’t that fall into the health care arena? It does, but health care is also a financial concern especially when you’re nearing retirement age. When I lead retirement seminars, the two biggest questions that come up are: Do I have enough money to retire? How will health care work and how much will it cost? Let’s dig in to learn a little more about that second question.
It’s tax season! Whether you’re still filing your taxes or you’ve already done so, this is a good time of the year to check in with your tax withholdings. In other words, the amount of income tax your employer is withholding from your paycheck. The amount that’s withheld can have a huge impact on whether you receive a refund check or you’re paying in come April 15th.
One of the first things that struck me about my partner was his generosity. It started on our second date when he brought three cupcakes to my apartment — one for me, one for him, and one for my roommate. I mean seriously, who considers getting in with the roommate that early on? Throughout our relationship, my husband has been very generous with his money, his time, and his attention. In our marriage, I have seen it through his willingness to support my ambitious dreams even if that means spending nights alone, picking up the slack around the house, investing some of our shared income, or being the instigator in our social relationships.
My first car broke down one winter a few years ago. I honestly had never considered what I would do when it came to the end of its life. After struggling to get around without a car, I took a week or so to examine my options — buying new, buying used, and leasing — and choose my next vehicle.
Ultimately, I decided to lease. One of the main reasons was because I wasn’t sure if the car I picked was really the one for me. I also was looking for the cheapest monthly payment I could find. Prior to that point, I’d never had a car payment and I didn’t have much wiggle room in my budget.
I’ve heard this question countless times over the last year or so and to be honest, I’ve been nervous to respond because my husband and I don’t have children. So I decided to ask some friends who are parents for their perspective.
One of the things I heard loud and clear: Kids are EXPENSIVE! If you wait to have kids until you can cover every conceivable expense, you will never have them. That being said, if having kids is a high priority for you, it is worth every penny. My friend Jillian put it perfectly: “Having a child is definitely more expensive than I had planned for; however, it is also way more amazing than I ever thought it would be. Being a mama is truly the most incredible experience I have ever had and I wouldn't trade it for anything.”