Finance, investing, building independence through wealth - all of that is new to me. Growing up, my parents did not go into details about finance. We didn't talk about money; it was inappropriate to ask personal questions about money; and you should save money because there's so little of it, you don't know when you will need it. Spending money made you feel guilty. Saving it made you feel like you were depriving yourself. Debt was a big secret, too.
I remember tax time - my parents were especially frugal, even before it was the "in-thing" to be. They would sit at the kitchen table, and we were exiled to our bedrooms to engage ourselves into a silent and solo activity. No one could speak, and no one was allowed to step into the kitchen for fear of repercussion. It was a stressful time for all, and we were glad when it was over.
Even though my sister and I were raised by the same parents, with the same lessons in life, we each took away a different attitude towards money. My sister, five years my junior, started out miserly - she did not spend easily, and she was very satisfied to have someone else pay for her. She grew into adulthood with similar values, but started to appreciate paying her way. She saved everything, spent little, and agonized over the decision for hours, before and after the purchase.
I was the opposite. I learned there was a scarcity of money. Credit was amazing because it provided extra money when I didn't have it, and I always had the best intentions on paying it back. I loved spending what I had because it felt grown up, and independent. I also thought that one day, we would have none, therefore now was the time to enjoy it. I racked up credit cards, defaulted on them, fixed my credit and paid off the cards, bought a couple of houses, went back to school, got student loans, sold a couple of houses, and racked up more credit. Had to do some serious credit work again, and start from scratch. It has taken me 20 years to learn the cost of credit. It took me fifteen years to figure out how to keep an emergency fund in my account. Yes, I was that person.
I am now in my late 30's... in fact, my birthday was last Sunday. I have very little set aside for my future; I have a Dave Ramsey beginner's emergency fund in my account, and I have debt. I see the costs of interest each month, and vow to pay it off.
(Spoiler alert: 2018 is the year it gets paid off, because I will be accountable to all of you! And I am counting on all of you to hold me accountable!)
I am ready to be an adult.
I live in wine country. One day, I was driving home through wine country estates, and I thought, why do I have to give up my dreams? I don't have to give them up. I need to recognize what they are, and work harder and smarter to get there. There's nothing that says I can't be a millionaire one day, and there's nothing that limits my abilities other than me.
This is when I started my blog. I didn't know exactly which direction I wanted to take it, and the road was definitely the one less taken. I am okay with that. I realize the uphill battle I have, but I am ready to make money work for me, instead of working for money. (Thanks, Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
Today I finished Wealthing Like Rabbits (check out my Financial Toolbox at the top of the page for resources). I was hesitant about reading the book, as I heard it was geared towards millennials, and 20-somethings. It is, and yet not. This book is written in simple English, and contained funny anecdotes and simple to follow examples that made me laugh out loud numerous times. In fact, the hubby stopped asking what I was laughing at because it happened so often.
The book talks about realistic goals and making more of less. Life shouldn't be about giving up luxuries today for tomorrow. It's more of how those luxuries should be afforded, and which ones are worth it. It talks about how to pay off your debts, and how to get ahead without losing your head.
By trade, my day job is working in real estate. I know what a mortgage is, how a line of credit works, and how to read an amortization schedule. I can manage rentals, give speeches on first time home buying, and anything else about residential real estate, and yet this book taught me a few things that I had never thought of before.
My focus had never been on how to eliminate debt and make my money work for me. It was about doing what everyone else was doing: a 25-year mortgage, a car loan until you trade in that car for a new one, etc. I did not have the mindset to think beyond these everyday occurrences.
I also did not know that I could be a millionaire by saving a quarter of that, and letting it compound over forty years while I built up that nest egg.
I do not regret my youth, however I do wish there were things I had known more about. I long to know more about investing, how to get the best returns, what to do to minimize expense and maximize incomes and how to build multiple streams of income. I want to learn about passive incomes, and I want to share all of this with others who are struggling to find themselves now that we are getting older.
If you are already investing, saving and driving a car that's paid off, you likely will not gain new knowledge from this book. You will still chuckle, and hopefully you will be motivated to continue down the path you are on. If you are not saving, or need to save more, or simply wandering around in the dark, grab my hand and read this book. Together we can lead each other to a better financial place.
If you read the book, what were your thoughts? If you haven't read the book, will you?