That being said, growing up we never went on vacations and rarely ate out. We are saving for our kids to cover a 4-year in-state school with the understanding that if they want to go out-of-state or go to grad school they will need to cover the difference. I keep bringing it up to my husband, but he is on the frugal side and is more comfortable putting it off….
Is there anyone is California who feels comfortable sharing how much they paid an attorney to have a simple will put together? I honestly have no idea what an appropriate range of cost this service would be. I know there are online services that provide this, but I would like the peace of mind of going to meet a professional in person.
Our friends in Bay Area paid for living trust set up. Which is more useful then a will. Or you can buy a program and make it yourself. Wills are so common that you can usually find everything you need online. The financial aspects of wills are always changing account number, trust names, etc. Kind of pricy but peace of mind is priceless! I am so glad I am reading through the comment section today. Any immigrant readers in here on similar boat on how to handle guardianship issue? Attorney suggested to ask local friends but it is such a big thing that I am nervous about asking friends.
My work offers a free will-writing service! Just something to look into. I would do that now, and then save up for setting up a trust later. FWIW, my lawyer friends, all in our 30s, are all behind on this, and it is my goal for I love this philosophy of 3 funds, contribute steadily and stay the course.
There are several easy-to-read books that do not require extensive math knowledge, finance interest, or hours to read. Cost of living is extremely high! I graduated with k in student loan debt. Last month while refinancing our house my husband was able to do some magic and paid off my loan! Which was liberating…it took exactly 10 years. My husband is a mathmatician and is able to figure out long term effects of our financial decision…so he tells me what to invest in for my retirement, what kind of house loans we should get and which credit card is better use to our family.
Childcare costs are extremely high in the Bay Area. Financial books are great for basics but does not work for every style of financial planning. We have no other debt then our house mortgage and we pay off our credit card every month. I make more then my husband. We both have life insurance since we had our son. We do not invest or save for his college fund separately. That was my husbands decision. We invest in other ways and plan to help pay for college but not fully pay. Neither one of us had our college tuition paid for by our parents.
This is a great topic! With that in place, we decided it was a good time to try for a second baby. We conceived the same week that a federal judge in Texas blocked the law. My raise went away, and now the extra daycare tuition has us precariously paycheck-to-paycheck, and it just feels so unfair. I thought my parents had primed me well as a kid and they did! When I was six, my parents opened a bank account for me. I was given an allowance not for the chores I did those were just expected , but for the responsibilities I now had any candy, toys, etc — this grew yearly.
When I was thirteen, I was expected to work Instead of having my head firmly in the sand about all things money, I feel like I FINALLY understand what I should be doing and how to pay off debts and save without having to stick to a strict budget. Loving seeing this topic explored on COJ X.
Fellow Barefoot Investor fan over here in Australia. Are you in Australia? I live in Melbourne and everyone I know is obsessed with the Barefoot Investor! I got it for Christmas and found I already do a lot of what the book recommends but I should probably do more…. I bought my husband this book for Christmas and it has totally changed the way we look at our finances — so, so good! We have zero savings and would not have been able to buy a house without this program, so we are very grateful. That being said, we do live from paycheck to paycheck and are unable to save any money or contribute towards retirement.
I make a decent salary by nonprofit standards and also have a little bit of freelance income but my husband has not been able to work for over 5 years except for a couple of very short-term gigs due to chronic health issues that have been getting progressively worse. He did not qualify for disability and we do not plan on reapplying.
We are still incurring these types of expenses but are able to pay them out of pocket rather than charge them, thank God. Any unanticipated major expense like car repairs goes on a credit card too. We try to minimize this, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
We used to be able to travel at least occasionally, treat ourselves to a concert or a meal out, buy nice presents for friends and family, and now this is all out of reach. Splurges are extremely rare and on a much smaller scale than they used to be. Wishing you good luck — credit card debt is really hard, and it sounds like you have a lot going on.
If having kids is important to you, you will find a way financially- but the costs of not having kids when you can are much higher and much more permanent. Thank you so much, everyone, for the empathy and suggestions, and especially Emily for offering to help out! It really means a lot. There are so many people who are way worse off than we are, like people that have lost their homes and everything they own over medical bills.
We were able to buy a home despite our debt, and we do have enough for basic daily living, just not a whole lot left over. Looking into a debt consolidation loan is a great idea, though! Maybe I can find a loan with better terms. I routinely invest in debt consolidation loans all the time on prosper. His method includes a snowball effect and makes you feel like you are progressing quickly. Plus, he believes in rewarding yourself for the hard work.
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His baby steps changed our lives. I realized my husband and I kind of naturally fall into those roles, but it gave us language to talk about it and to more clearly define our expectations. Is that because your husband is better at long-term big picture than you and vice versa? You may be surprised! I think we can do a better job! When money was tighter, we kept up with tracking spending in Mint but have relaxed that a bit over the years. Evetybody gets to be the secretary in my house; plenty of that to share.
Big picture long term is us together, always. I love that you are broaching this topic!! When my husband was getting his Masters we got on the same page financially specific to that. Which for us meant 1. I should mention that he could not work while in school so I carried the year AND managed all the finances. It was our first year of marriage and while on the surface it was one big struggle after another, it actually really set us up for success financially and in our union because we really had to be in sync!
Let him keep his cup of tea. Recently we got hit by a triple whammy: our investment property in the city sat unoccupied for 3 months, our primary residence was hit by some major expenses, my annual bonus was less than usual. Rather than tip toe around topics like planning girls trips, I just came out and said these things happened, we took at hit, we will be fine but a big part of the reason we will be fine is because we are really taking it seriously and I have to tighten up the purse strings right now.
I found a place to park the debt interest free for 18 months, we we are paying it down by reducing our expenses in a variety of ways while still greatly enjoying life. It felt really freeing and liberating to just tell people rather than make excuses why I could not do things. While my husband is the one who is over the actual executing of the retirement investing, we discuss the strategy together. Family of four renting in an expensive city.
We have some credit card debt 2k? At least beyond the careful planning we have to do for things like Christmas presents for the kids. Or do I occasionally take my kids to the zoo? Because I have to choose. I live in a city where I feel safe for our two-mom family and my being a WoC. I have a college education.
I have a good job and feel confident that I could find another if I needed to. There are plenty of people who are struggling so far beyond anything I have to deal with. I have certainly lived pay check to pay check before. Just wanted to throw out there in case you did not know many library systems have museum, Zoo, Art Gallery passes you can check out. Trying to think of any way I could be helpful…..
We live paycheck to paycheck also. Not as much as we did earlier but still one income is what we have. One of the biggest stressors in our finances is government shutdowns. If the government shuts down then my husband works for free until the government reopens and they vote whether to back pay him or not. My husband and I, if we have extra money, we do something as a family. We are all about having fun with our girls. We know that we only have them for a short time and going to the zoo today is more important and memorable than most things down the road.
I love that you said all of this. Do what you can and spend time as a family. Because most of us really are. Big hugs! Been there myself. And I believe most people are. We pay more each month in student loan payments than we do on our mortgage!! It makes no judgements. You start each month fresh. We could all be better at money management. This breaks my heart! The financial facts portrayed are simply not the reality for the majority of American families.
Between the two of us, my partner and I have well over K in student loan debt. Neither one of us came from a family that was able to help us through college or pass on much in the way of financial wisdom. The jobs we worked in high school mostly went toward meeting basic family needs. Personally, I would find it inspiring to read a post with a more realistic portrayal of family financing that acknowledged a readership with a wider range of income and background.
Yep I hear ya! I feel so down about money lately. I know we can try to get better jobs, but we have been where we are for 10 years…it feels like such a hurdle to try and make a change. Oh Em! Sending you a virtual hug. I think you have the right idea about looking for work elsewhere — big gains can be had by making a move! From and Em to an Em, I feel you and hear you. It is simply insurmountable, and the interest payments alone are almost more than I can afford.
I carry credit card debt now from instances where I had to travel for family reasons. I am almost 30 and the idea of even being able to pay off this debt, let alone EVER own a home or have money to invest, just feels like a pipe dream. Kudos to all the readers who have championed their finances — you are my heroes. Sadly for me, though I love my job and enjoyed the process of getting here, I have to think it was probably not worth living the majority of my adult life in heavy debt.
As someone thinking about going to graduate school and taking out significant loans, this is a reality check. I feel so frustrated by the lack of options available to those seeking a masters to do it frugally, especially when it seems like there are no jobs unless you have one. My husband and I did a version of this for 10 years before we were married. The joint account paid the rent, utilities, groceries and slowly accumulated some surplus which we would use for special occasions.
I always recommend this to couples with shared expenses and income inequality. It is a great equalized. It is a easy way to begin the process of merging finances if that is the desired end result. It also allows a fairly easy clean break if needed. We opened a account when our son was born and set up an automatic deposit into it.
College and grad school are huge expenses! County colleges and state schools are great investments in many areas, provide excellent ways to get a good education at a fraction of the cost. Four years at a private university are great, but not always necessary. And I say this as a product of private schools at all levels and as a prof in one now. Some of my best students have transferred in after two years at a county college!
Hannah, I agree! I earned my undergrad and graduate degrees at a state university. My former co-worker earned her undergrad and graduate degrees at very expensive private universities. We had the same jobs! She had loans. I did not. I share this story to say community colleges and state universities are valuable and much more affordable. Joanna, how did you tackle paying off your student loans? How did you stay optimistic?? And how long did it actually take you to pay them off? Have you applied for loan forgiveness? Also, look into income-based repayment plans!
After graduation, I lived with my parents too. Reconsider going out to eat, having drinks, buying a new outfit, etc and think in terms of how much of a payment those items will cost vs. If you have federal student loans and plan on staying in a non-profit position for a while you might look into the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
It would forgive any remaining student loan debt after 10 years of payments still a long time, but better than 20! The biggest thing I learnt was to just put anything away possible. Every bit of cash for christmas or for a birthday goes right to any debt, I talk myself through every big splurge to determine if it is worth it making room for smaller splurges — I have a personal date night once a month with a book and an adult milkshake from my favourite diner for instance. I dont know if it is any help but know it is doable, and you can do it a tiny bit at a time! Well, by that time the economy was going down and things were tight for them and in the end I was completely responsible for them.
Which turned out fine, but I would have made different choices along the way less loans, work study, etc Even working for a non-profit and feeling like I made about half what most of my friends did — though we were never that transparent — cheers to this series! Best advice I received was to tackle the smallest first. You start with the smallest because that will be the fastest and most encouraging to see results. Stay positive — you can do it! Thanks for the tips! I have looked into the federal loan program, however the bulk of my loans are private only about 10k is in federal, which I am confident I will have paid off before the 10 year mark.
So I do feel positive about that! You might want to look into refinancing. I am on a year repayment plan and while I hope to pay it off sooner, I just take it in stride. I also love my job and feel so fortunate to be an attorney. I remember Obama saying something about not paying off his law school debt until right before he entered the White House. It took me about 3 years total and a solid 18 months of non-stop work. I stayed in. I only saw the art museum special exhibits on Friday nights when they were free etc. I think really those three big payments a year kept me going the rest of the time.
Cup of Jo, reading my mind this week! First the post about only children, now this money post! Anyway, I was brought up in a super financially responsible household. My parents paid off their home in 15 years, they always drive their cars for at least 8 years, pay off their credit cards every month, and only travel with points. This has been ingrained in my brain, so I am financially responsible as well. My only debt is a mortgage on a condo that I bought before I got married, and my current mortgage on my home.
When my husband and I started dating about 4 years ago, he had over 20k in credit card debt, rented his apartment, and leased his car. We have a baby daughter now, and I started a pre-paid college fund for her. The monthly payments are high, but her college will be paid for by the time she is in kindergarten. Not to mention her daycare expenses. So yes, every single dime counts. How can I make him understand this? My husband and I were very stressed about money a few years ago.
I also had a really, really hard time talking about , money. I would avoid and avoid any conversation he tried to start. I wish I was like you Joanna in my twenties! Finally, it came to the crunch and My husband organised a babysitter and booked us in to see My Budget, an Australian financial planning organisation, and we had a real 3 hour! It was great. We made a plan, got out of debt and had total control.
Plus, we, I, could talk openly about money and it improved everything. It was like weight watchers with money which is not always easy! No more sneakily late night ASOS purchases. It was hard not being spontaneous and I felt it was hard not to be generous with friends. So, we told everyone what we were doing and they got it. It was a bit awkward but then I found others were interested too. Now we are teaching our kids about financial literacy.
Thanks for the post. Will def check out The app! My husband does our finances but I also keep track. We only have one loan to pay off, which is the mortgage of our house. We looked for a house to fit into that budget. But I know that must sound insane if you live in NYC or somewhere expensive.
To make this work, I totaled up all my set expenses and subtracted them from my monthly income to figure out what amount of money I have to spend each week on everything else groceries, fun stuff, gas, etc. Oh, and the app is a free one called CashBase. I use a similar app called SimpleTrack. Thanks law school but find it hard to use spreadsheets for day-to-day expenses which are much smaller amounts and occur so much more often.
I love this post! One of my girlfriends and I were just talking about money, and specifically about dealing with money in our relationships. My partner grew up very poor, and financial security is really important to him. I grew up with lots of conflicted ideas about money from two very different financial backgrounds, so money stresses me out: it brings up class issues and feelings of imposter syndrome in me.
Consequently, my husband always been in charge of nearly all of our finances. But we never have. I hate that. Plus, I really worry about the worst-case scenario: if anything were to happen to him, trying to untangle all our finances would be a nightmare. I would barely know where to start. I feel this way too! I never want my marriage to be one where a single person holds all the power or control. But, managing finances is his strength and our family is better off for it. What has helped me is sharing an app like Mint with my partner, where I can periodically check in on our bank accounts and spending.
I still resolve to be more involved this year! I love talking to coworkers or friends about how we split things with our partners because people have great methods that work for them! Also, you go girl! Maybe carve out some time to make coffee and sit down to have him walk you through everything. Heading into tax season is probably a good time to do this too since you have to gather everything in one place :.
Total game changer! I found out about it after finally discussing financial stuff with a group of mom friends. Please CupofJo do a money series!! I paid off my student loans two weeks ago! When I pay off my pension buy back in September, I am going to go to Paris, my favorite place, to celebrate being debt free! During these years of serious debt pay down, I have maintained course by thinking of how wonderful that trip will feel. Even while my trip was a little bare bones to some staying in hostels , it was the absolute best way to celebrate being independent and debt free since I have no credit card debt, car loans, etc.
My father made all the bill payments, automatically from online banking. My mum knew roughly what was going in and out and always had enough, but she was never directly involved in the process. When he died suddenly in , my mother had to figure it all out: Not only the dollar values but actually making sure money was transferred from accounts as part of this system he had created. Part of financial transparency for our household is having all three sides of that triangle covered.
I used to find the topic of money so intimidating. Get a financial advisor if you can. I went through all the stages people have mentioned here—graduating with student loan debt, then getting into credit card debt in my free wheeling 20s, then being nervous about combining finances with my husband. But, about 3 years ago we just decided to get uncomfortable and talk about all this. We set up a budget. It takes hardcore budgeting and facing some tough facts—maybe living in smaller apt. But you can do it. One great little tip—consider putting your savings in an online-only bank like Ally.
Meanwhile online banks can offer rates around 1. My main savings is with Ally and I have an emergency savings at my regular bank that I can access from anywhere in the country.
Let's Talk About Money | A Cup of Jo
I use Ally and love it! My pay varies each month depending on hours worked, and I keep track of everything in an excel sheet. One of the hardest things has been a lack of money to socialise when I need to make new friends in a new city. I plan to move from the UK back to Australia, where the wages are better, then save myself a buffer and start towards a deposit to buy my own place. There are lots of free resources all I have ever used and I found his advice super helpful, easy to implement and honest.
His writing style can be a little annoying though. Thought as a fellow Aussie with plans to move back you might like.. Thanks, Verena! One thing that reading all these comments about huge student loans makes me remember is how lucky we are in Australia with our university fees compared to the US! The government covers the cost and we just pay them back by paying a little more income tax each paycheck once we start earning over a certain amount.
Not as amazing as countries where uni is free, but still less financial stress than loans from a private bank. As a fellow Aussie I also back the Barefoot Investor. I moved to Boston with no job, 3K in the bank, and 10K in grad school. My parents told me I had to pay off my student loan debts within 6 months or I needed to pay them for the car they gifted me when they moved out of the country. I got a great job and paid off my loan in 4 months. I text all my new friends to come over and we had ZERO party with zero shaped foods—donuts and cheerios. It was a hard 4 months, but I am so glad I did it.
I learned so much about what I really value. Instead of going out to dinner, I met people for walks or tennis games in the local park. This led to a lot of meaningful conversations which I do treasure more than pad thai. Does a family of four really need 5, square feet of space? Of course not. The drive to keep up with the Joneses not only causes financial stress, but it also causes emotional anxiety and constant self-doubt.
I think the whole minimalist movement right now has it right; live only with what you need and enjoy. Lifestyle inflation, right? A practical Toyota Camry will do the job just fine, no matter your income. My husband and I earn decent incomes. That leaves extra money for retirement, college savings, and the fun stuff like traveling.
I get this, but I also think people buy housing as their primary investment and need the house to appreciate so they can sell it at retirement and take the profits.
Unfortunately, in America we abandon the housing of the previous generation and move outward and build bigger and newer homes. So, the McMansions today are not a great investment on most levels. Yes we could move to a different city or state we are in southern California but then our travel expenses to see family and our childcare expenses my mom watches the kids would add up.
Plus improved quality of life by raising my kids around their grandparents is priceless for us. So many great points here. There are areas of life where splurging is worth it for me traveling but living below your means housing wise is so smart. McMansions just boggle my mind and being tied down to a huge mortgage is going to be a constant stressor. Very interesting how people start making more money, and instead of upping savings their spending increases at the same level. I think we consciously or subconsciously try to mirror the lifestyle of others in our new income bracket.
I have to say that my house is also a safety net. We live in an area at the beach though where there is always a lack of supply so even during the bubble we were never underwater. My point is that there isn't a one size fits all budgeting solution. Even with good jobs there are not really any homes within our means and even the suburbs are expensive. I love talking about money. Money, sex, politics, and religion — is there any other good topic of conversation!?
My wife and I have a few joint accounts but keep our own separate accounts too. We budget and agree on what joint expenses and savings goals we have, and each contribute — according to our means — to the joint accounts. I highly recommend putting in a bit of time to learn about investing for oneself. The basics are pretty easy to learn and there are lots of good online discount brokerages through which you can invest. Actively managed funds are largely a waste of money in the fees you pay to the bank, which you could be saving and reinvesting yourself. Here are some things my husband and I did when we first had kids that i am SO grateful we did now I saw a lot of requests for details and wanted to send these on, if they will help anyone :.
We opened a account for each child when they were born — it is a special college savings account that any gains on are tax-free unlike typical gains on stocks, say if they are used for education.
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Just as an example, we have a mix of stock — one is some railroad stock, one is McDonalds, etc — things that would be stable with long-term growth. A friend of mine at work has older children and to teach them the value of money she has them take half of what they get at birthdays, etc, and put it in their bank account.
The other half they can spend. I like that too! You have saved your kids so much future financial stress. I can say this from experience; my parents started buying savings bonds for my education before I was even born, and I was able to get two degrees completely debt free- which in turn allowed me to buy my own house at the age of A account is a MUST if you have children. The cost of higher education rises exponentially every year; it outpaces inflation by A LOT. An debt-fee education is the best gift you can give to your children.
I also love money diaries! Thirty-five years ago, I was a spender who married a saver. Financial issues, and our differing attitudes towards money, caused numerous problems in our young marriage. Up to that point, I had seen money as something to spend as quickly as possible, buying things that would make me happy—temporarily, that is.
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We started small, focusing on paying off debt first. Then, we added compulsory savings—pay yourself first. Next came a child, a house, investments, family vacations, college educations. We gradually fine-tuned and added to our financial portfolio based on life choices. Nearing retirement now, I often look back on that argument and that question. It was life-changing. I was brought up by very frugal immigrant parents.
My husband made me go to target one day to buy hair ties because I was constantly rooting around for that last one standing. But it was ingrained in me to be frugal and to save by not buying anything unless it was absolutely necessary, no matter what it was. Credit cards were to get points and pay off every month. It was fine in college and as a single person but now seems a little ridiculous as a working mom with 2 kids.
I want to pass on good practices to my daughters without the sense of terrible guilt! Are you me? I am working through the guilt of spending this year as a goal. Hahaha on those hair ties! But when my husband and I got married we took a financial stewardship course that was really helpful for getting on the same page. Think about going to therapy…money is a stand in for so many issues, including and especially our parents is it love? I recognize that it may seem to be an unnecessary expense, but understanding yourself and freeing yourself of some of that guilt is priceless.
Oneida, I so hear you! Buying has always equaled guilt for me. Aw thanks for chiming in ladies! Are your parents immigrants too just curious? I chuckled! Also I love how spouses can make giving perspective so fun? Thanks for addressing that! I definitely believe in working on the soul to find freedom. Its gotta come from the inside out. My finances used to be crazy. I started out my twenties being extremely careful and hyper aware of every. The most important thing that allowed me to control my funds and grow my savings was finding a great bank.
For so many years I was struggling or just getting by. Until last year. I was recruited to work in DC…heavily. The organization had wanted me to join them for years but I always held off. At the time I was living in Atlanta and doing pretty good financially, but I just never loved living in Atlanta. It was okay, but not great.
But, the standard of living there kept me from seriously looking elsewhere. I was settled in a way. Then, my job made the mistake of sending me on a work conference to Vegas. Being in a totally different part of the country for the first time in years made me know without hesitation that my time in Atlanta was over. Before the conference ended I called up the organization in DC and told them that I would work for them if they would pay me a certain amount.
I looked at my current expenses and salary in Atlanta, added 20, to it and gave DC that amount as my required salary. It took about a year for me to go through the full hiring process with the entity, but I finally relocated here last May. It has been the best choice that I have made in years and has allowed me to really start new with my finances. I love this! We are in a phase of reeling it now as we just bought a house and need to save and continue to tackle some debt.
In our world of constant social media updates about what you should be wearing, eating, decorating your house with it would be awesome to see how people manage that. Hey yall. It is SO fascinating to see salaries, budget breakdowns, and a week of spending habits play out. They do a great job of finding diverse folks as well!
Refinery29 has a series called money diaries. My financial instability makes me second guess my decision to work for myself. I feel worse when I go out with friends, talk to my parents, and whenever I think of the housing market I live in LA! One step at a time. My husband and I share financial planning, saving and investing.
We have a hybrid set up — we both maintain separate bank and savings accounts we both work and our salaries are paid into our own accounts , but we have a joint account and all expenses are shared. Even though we have separate savings accounts, we think of it as communal. They just have one joint account and before then my father in law would just get out cash on her behalf.
Thank you, we have a similar set-up still, after 18 years of marriage and two kids later , and it works for us very well. We both work outside the home, so it makes sense to have two checking accounts. We trust each other. When talking about our financial set-up, people tend to find it weird. Most of my adult life, I was a poor artist. I never saved money for retirement I was very luck to make some retirement money later in life. My advice — do work that interests you and live within your means. Look for good people to work with and for.
When you are old, it will be better to remember how much fun it was to do things that were of interest. Try not to judge yourself for not having hit milestones by a certain age homeownership by age x. PS — the other thing is that the people around you that have a fancy house, daycare, go on vacations, wear expensive new clothes, eat out all the time are probably in debt. Or are one missed paycheck from ruin.
Life requires hard choices and it can be a bear to live within your means but it offers peace of mind and pride. My husband and I are both in our early thirties and have been living together for almost 10 years. Out of those 10 years, he has been in school full-time for 9 of them! He has one more year to go before he gets his PhD in a very competitive research field. Essentially, we have been living off of my income for our whole relationship. I know that when he enters the workforce next year that he is going to make a great salary but I feel like we are lightyears behind all of our peers who are buying houses and cars and raising multiple children!
And we had a baby in grad school and we have NO money.
I joke to my husband all the time that I married him for his height and EP earning potential. For the record I am also killing it at work and was thrilled when for six hours earlier this year my raise had me making more money. By 5 pm that victory was dead. Thank you for this post! With two kids in preschool AND daycare, and grandparents living either in another country, or the other coast of the US, all extra money goes to childcare and visiting family.
How I wish for family that lived closer especially when 1 is not well. I considered a whole year of not traveling to visit family to save money, but with elderly grandparents, how can we not see them while we can?!?!?! I recently used it, and recommend it highly! I got it from Amazon. We recently updated ours after the birth of our daughter and found out the company I work for pays for an employee to create a living will or puts money toward creating a living trust, etc.
So interesting, thanks for sharing! But, financial planning and budgeting are exciting to me and stressful to my husband, so it works for us:. Really enjoying the comments. My husband and I are savers, but we live in an expensive area of the country East Coast and are trying to buy a house. That kind of terrifies me! I think that speaks more to how badly the middle and lower classes are being squeezed, rather than to saving habits.
That would make it much easier for me to sleep at night! Housing is so expensive, I moved south for many reasons, one of which was to be able to afford to own a home. I loved reading your journey with money through different life stages! We follow the yours, mine, and ours philosophy with our bank accounts and it has worked out great. The great thing is that he is well versed in the financial markets, so he can help me with any investing and sorts. We take money seriously and are both striving to reach our current savings goals so we can feel content knowing that if either of us lost our job we would be OK for at least a year.
Money is fun to talk about, this taboo about discussing it needs to go! I think everyone would be in a better place if they were just open about it. I owe them about 12K. And honestly this all feels insurmountable. For as long as I live on my own, and cannot deal with the IRS constantly banks are easier, though ruthless of course , I feel the numbers are not going to change. I used to have my own business. Maybe meet with a financial advisor, they can help you figure out how you can get your debt under control.
Take care of yourself, do it for your health! Honestly, an accountant was by far the best expense i ever made, it took MOUNTAINS of weight off my back, and helped me stop digging my hole, and in fact start filling it in. A painful but really helpful suggestion she had was to not claim ANY dependents etc. So interesting Tovah! I live in Sweden, and most years I have filed my taxes via sms. So easy. There are three barriers, and appropriately, since the issue at stake is taxes, they are all fundamentally about money.
First, changing the tax-payment system for tens of millions of people would require resources for the federal government, and the IRS is already squeezed. Their first priority? That would be to keep the tax breaks they already have—or even to create new ones. Third, the opposition to simpler taxes unites two unlikely allies.
Any talk of finances usually fires cortisol around my nervous system like a pinball machine. I get fiery, hopeful, scared, nervous. My husband and I make plans, we break them. We pay off debt. We create new debt. My childhood was much less financially secure, so money equates to stress, fights, and fear for me.
Its hard for me to unpack my emotions around money so that I can get better control. To all the people sharing success stories. I applaud you, I really do. But I feel like a pound person trying to loose weight and fit into a bikini. Where do I start? The usual advice is to start tracking everything you spend. Check out the YouTube channel The Financial Diet for some very digestible but also really sensible financial information.
My husband started with a monthly Saturday morning meeting at a donut shop to simply track our spending by putting into an spreadsheet. YNAB saved my financial life. I really enjoy reading Money Diaries from Refinery I would love to see a series on here on Cup of JO that features women in different careers, life stages, etc. I think it could be both fascinating and inspirational! What do you think team Cup of Jo?
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I think worrying about what others spend is the first mistake in a budget. Once you know what you realistically spend NOW then you can work on a budget. If you know staying within your new budget is possible then it becomes easier to try to stick to it. I know that in my own life, being honest about finances with friends has been affirming, reassuring, and empowering, and extending that to this community would be downright rad.
Perspective always helps! I LOVE this post. My husband, on the other hand, was raised in a working class family that never had enough money to consider how to manage it. When we got married, in , we combined our finances and I created an Excel spreadsheet to track our budget and spending. It is so, so, so helpful, and has enabled us to save much more than many of our friends in similar financial situations. In the past year, my husband changed careers, we moved to a new, fairly expensive city, and bought a house. Would love some advice on this as well!
I see the vicious cycle you talked about with the active duty military I work with. My kiddos — also 2 and 4 — have been in daycare since they were months old. Also, holy scary decision-making! And thanks for the few insights you gave about budgeting on one income. I appreciate the tidbits…firing up the Excel sheet now! I told my spouse I needed an hour every night to work on my resume and apply to jobs and I enlisted my friends and family to help with childcare while interviewing.
Plus your 4 yo will be in school soon. Jess, we just got out of the military! Drink in hand optional. I stay at home to avoid daycare costs, but I miss working and earning. It can take a few days to get approved, have the bank accounts set up etc but I know a few friends who have had a lot of success.
I was always terrified of budgeting, or limiting myself. What I found was by creating a zero sum budget earned money each month is earmarked for a specific purpose , I gained the freedom to buy without guilt. Flexibility is key. Our 6 month emergency fund is a godsend. I can sleep at night knowing we really do have a safety net. We talk about money, saving and budgeting with all of our friends and a number of them have gotten out of debt because of it. Actually, I started a Facebook group to create a community around helping and supporting each other on our financial journeys. And when you put in your personal numbers debt, income, etc.
And yes, you WILL sleep better. I grew up in a very financially-insecure home and knowing that the stress I felt from that is something our kids will most likely not have to face because of the sacrifices and choices my husband and I have made over the last few years following this plan is an amazing feeling. To those of you feeling weighed down by debt or like you are trying to do everything, but making no progress, read this book. Joanna, I am so excited Cup of Jo is writing about this! I am a professional money manager and I am driven by the belief that having these conversations will open doors to financial empowerment and confidence for women.
Me: Hi! The small act of taking a seat at the table, being present, and just seeing the numbers early on will prevent so much anxiety down the road. The more we talk about finances, the more all women and men! I truly believe it. Thanks Cup of Jo team! Top performing funds have been selected after sorting 1Y returns. You can use this table to check the track record of these mutual funds. If the 1Y column for the mutual fund entry in the first row reads Also remember that returns for periods above 1 year are annualised.
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