I love personal finance. I love the idea of ownership, passive income, and building wealth. I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad, watched Dave Ramsey videos, and plotted my path to becoming a millionaire sooner rather than later. I also like to see how others manage their money. I often go down YouTube rabbit holes with Budget Girl, and can spend hours reading Budget And the Beach, Broke Girl Rehab, and other blogs. Although I’ve enjoyed watching their journeys to financial freedom unfold, I have to admit that I often don’t see myself reflected in their situations.
Why not? While I am not independently wealthy and living off the passive income from my stock portfolio and real estate collection
I’m also not living this way
Many in the personal finance space are trying to figure out how to get in the black or simply make ends meet. That’s not me. So what does my financial picture look like? I’ll tell you.
- As of today I have $2,792.46 of credit card debt, $31,303.08 in student loan debt, and $306,218.09 left on my mortgage, totaling a whopping $340,194.95 in liabilities.
- Budgeting is not my strength. Wait, that’s not true. I’m great at making budgets. Actually living by one…
- I have broken every rule of frugal personal finance at least once. Withdrawing retirement funds?
Investing BEFORE my debt is paid off?
There’s more but how about we skip those stories for now and let’s get into…
- I have positive net worth! Between home equity, retirement and investment accounts, and cash I am currently sitting on about $620K of assets, giving me a net worth in the ballpark of $280K.
- I have 5-6 months worth of net base pay saved in cash. Notice I did not say living expenses. By that measure I have 8-9 months saved.
- My credit card debt consists only of the most recent billing cycle’s charges and will be paid off in full before interest begins accruing, so while it counts towards my liabilities the payments are within my monthly cashflow.
- My credit is pristine which means the recurring debt that I do have is dirt cheap.
You’re probably reading the good while knowing the bad and thinking
Two words. False scarcity. Basically, I know me and the only way I’m not spending money is if I can’t see it or touch it. When God made auto deposits and payments he had me in mind. I hide money from myself both pre and post tax. It’s not a perfect system and even though I have been known to do unspeakable things to my primary checking account, keeping most of my money out of sight has prevented me from creating huge financial messes.
Well, it means that in spite of the fact that I frequently claim high levels of brokosity I am in fact not broke.
I wanted to start a blog that reflects something different when it comes to personal finance. I love the beans and ramen crowd, but I wanted to speak for those of us (especially ladies) that in the words of Jay-Z, “got a little dough,” but want and know that we can have so much more. We’ve either been blessed to have a high income or had the foresight to sock away some dollars and make the right investments at the right time so even when thousands of our dollars are running these streets like a $2 hooker most of our funds are locked away for safe keeping. My personal goal is simply to know exactly which streets my money is roaming (travel, dining out, shopping, etc.) and not feel like it sneaks out after curfew. Okay, I think I’ve taken that analogy as far as it can go.
Although I have a modicum of financial comfort, I know that there is much room for improvement in how I manage my finances. With my newly minted jobless status I’ll be living and paying bills from a finite pot. It is my mission to live within a budget yet still enjoy the life I’ve known.
Here’s how Kanye! By opening my mouth so that I can get fed. I have a knack for finding free (or at least deeply discounted) stuff so I’ll be putting that skill to good use (and sharing it all on this blog). Hell, just the other day I got free bread from Jimmy John’s (credit goes to Budget Girl).
To keep it 100, I’m going to put out the following disclaimers.
- I am not trying to get debt free right now. I’ve been there before. From January 2010 until entering graduate school in 2012 I had not one red cent of debt. It’s a wonderful place to be but right now it’s not the place for me. Although I hate my student loan with the fire of one thousand suns I am currently in no rush to pay it off. Why? First, if I wanted to pay off the loan I could have been done it by now, either by throwing more of my take home pay at it (instead of at GrubHub) or by holding off on investments until it was gone. Why didn’t I do either of these things? Didn’t I just tell you that me and budgets had beef? As for the investments I ran the numbers and it just made sense. High(ish) income plus excellent credit means low APR. I’ve been paying under 4% interest on my student loan since 2015. Simultaneously my employer offered a very generous employee stock purchase program and 401K match. Foregoing that money in order to pay off the student loan would have been like stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Second, since I’m out of a job cash is king. While not having to pay SoFi would make me break out in my happy dance , using my liquidity to wipe out debt would not bode well for paying my mortgage. And yes, I need to pay my mortgage.
- I use credit cards. I have two rewards cards and one of them even as an annual fee.
I use them as part of my monthly cashflow to earn rewards on my everyday spending. I have almost entirely broken the habit of using credit to purchase that which I cannot afford. I almost never carry a balance and if I do it’s only for one additional month. Even with the occasional interest payment (I’m talking once a year) and the annual fee I come out ahead by hundreds of dollars annually.
- If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am not a Dave Ramsey diehard. I think his principles and techniques are solid and I use a lot of them (snowball method, sink funds, etc.), but I know that I’ve done a lot of the baby steps bass ackwards. This brings me to…
- My style of personal finance isn’t for everyone. Know yourself and how you operate. Take what makes sense for you and leave the rest alone. By no means am I saying my way is best. I’m just sharing my story.
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