Get a Financial Life

You may be surprised (or not) to learn that Hubby doesn’t actually read my posts on a daily basis. But after five months of hearing my “tip-tapping” almost every evening, he’s grown supportive on this blog endeavor. I’m pretty sure it’s because he has seen how committed I am to reaching our family’s financial goals and making sustainable progress. He’ll be the first to say that we continue to make our mistakes, but the important part is that we are learning and sharing about it.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when Hubby found me a resource book at the library,  Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties. Yes, it does date us, but I am still in my early thirties whereas Hubby as entered his fourth decade. Even though much of this book covers the financial basics, it is gratifying to realize that we actually have been doing more right than wrong with our finances. I’ll share my thoughts on the financial advice outlined in the handy crib notes section:

  1. Insure yourself – We’ve made a point of building professions in fields that offer ample health care, and in fact I get $62.50 a month to opt out of double coverage.
  2. Pay off your debt – Aside from using credit cards to earn points and miles, we’ve never had credit card debt beyond the monthly balance. It’s not as hard as it seems – just don’t buy things you can’t afford – if you haven’t seen it, check out the hilarious SNL skit.
  3. Contribute to a retirement savings plan – We both take advantage of our employer retirement plans. Although we admittedly both really hit our professional stride in our early thirties, so we weren’t the ideal financial early birds.
  4. Build an emergency cushion – Our emergency fund has teetered over the years, depending on various needs. It certainly took drastic dips with each house purchase, but we’ve managed to achieve our goal of rebuilding by saving our tax refund.
  5. Consider investing in stocks and bonds – We’re not there yet, not a stock or bond to our name. Although I do have my eye on Portfolio 21.
  6. Find out your credit score and improve it – Our credit scores has almost always been gleaming, but there was one slip up…you know those clothing store credit cards, they’re pretty easy to forget about, especially when you move. Just make sure you limit them (preferably eliminate, because too many cards can lower your score) and you won’t have to learn the hard way.
  7. Think about buying a house – We’re on our second house, and thankfully managed a smooth transition between an ideal starter house and our dream family home. It did take sacrifice, and we were probably able to buy them by virtue of not spending our extra cash on too much much stuff. You also have to keep in mind that houses are a big responsibility to maintain, so make sure you’re ready to do the work or have the funds to hire professionals.

In conclusion, this post makes us feel very grown up…a.k.a. old.

What are your experiences with these financial tips?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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