Aah … the four little words that have ruled most of my adult financial life.
In graduate school — when I couldn’t afford anything beyond basic necessities — I wore those four words as a badge of honor. Unlike so many of my peers who didn’t live within their means, they helped me be clear on what was inside my budget and what wasn’t.
I can’t tell you how many people have given my husband and I “the side eye” for selling our house and moving to an apartment. We downsized before the age of 40 and moved back into the city from the ‘burbs. In many people’s minds, we exchanged the “American dream” of home ownership for slavery to a landlord. Instead of investing in a home we’re now just throwing money away, right? Wrong! This is just one of many financial myths that I’m busting in today’s post.
For most of the couples I work with, there seems to be one person who’s more money-minded and another who isn’t. In most cases the person who isn’t money minded wants to be a part of the money conversation – they want to set goals together as a couple but they lack the financial confidence to really dig into the numbers with their partner. Similarly, the more money minded partner longs for the partner to be a part of the conversation but they just can’t seem to bring him or her to the table.
When I got my first full-time paycheck, the last thing on my mind was retirement. I was so excited to be able to pay my bills without stress and not have to check my bank account every time I went out with friends. It was such a relief to finally be in a viable financial position! The one thing that weighed on me most financially was my student loan debt. For the first time, I actually had to stare the numbers in the face and make a solid repayment plan. It felt like this enormous monkey on my back and I wanted it off as soon as possible. So I decided to make a beeline toward repaying my student loan debt with any extra money that came my way.
Sometimes the smallest questions can lead to the biggest changes.
For me, it started with a road trip, too many hours in the car, a needling desire for change, and one small question: “What if?” And it ended with a brave decision to sell our 4-bedroom suburban house and move to a 2-bedroom apartment in downtown Minneapolis.