P.S.S. it’s not as scary as you think

It’s been quite some time since I’ve hunkered down to write a post, but legitimate reasons and life happenings have kept me graciously on my toes.

You see, within the last 6 months my husband and I have experienced rapid life changes and happenings quite consecutively.

In July we had our incredible wedding.

In October we purchased our first home. 

Also, in October – we found out our first baby (Baby Powell!) was on the way. 

The following 3 life happenings are fairly drastic changes that typically are spaced over spans of time. But, as we have all experienced at some point before – life happens! It also happens in the most beautiful and magical of ways (yes, I always have to sprinkle my pixie dust here & there when I get the opportunity).

Within the last few years of getting serious about personal finances, it was incredible how often I stumbled upon opinions and posts on home buying, weddings and kids that made me beyond nervous. I mean sweating bullets, palms sweaty (like Eminem in Lose Yourself) nervous. How financially these events take a toll, how expensive they all can be, the negative implications they have on your life, and how they have the potential to strip away your financial independence. Since I read so many pieces reflecting such opinions, I questioned all of the following and whether they were worth it over and over again.

But I had to take a step back and re-evaluate. I took a hiatus from this space. I went back to my true aspirations, roots, and shared conversations with my husband, family and friends.

Regardless of what our generation is spoon fed on the daily (‘Travel everywhere so you can finally discover yourself! and ‘Don’t follow the American Dream!’ or how about ‘Millennials will never have enough money for retirement!’) – I couldn’t help but wonder what if I actually want all the things they’re telling me not to do all along? What if I feel I can discover myself right where I live, in my community, in the comforts of my home? What if I feel financially responsible enough to spend while simultaneously saving for retirement? It’s as if most of these thought pieces and articles make you choose one or the other. You simply cannot have both. They are mutually exclusive.

I knew I wanted to have a wedding with the man of my dreams. I knew I wanted to purchase a home that could be filled with love and memories. I knew I wanted to have a kid (or kids).

Why do people keep saying these things are so wrong?!

That’s when doubt came in and I had to take a break. It was challenging to keep reading work that spoke so highly against what I have always dreamed while growing up. I understand the concepts of living your life by your own design, but sometimes that still includes some of the traditions of the past.

Maybe the idea of reaching financial independence at a young age isn’t exactly what I desire – but it surely doesn’t mean that I am being reckless with my finances either.

So I am here to share with you P.S.S. and that all of these wonderful life happenings: a wedding, a home, and a baby aren’t as a scary as you think. 

Do recognize this is my personal take on personal finances. I am thrilled if you prefer to make different decisions in life to reach your goals and aspirations, even if they aren’t parallel to mine. That’s the beauty of this all – what you choose is yours and yours alone. Don’t let anyone make you feel that what you want is wrong. 

I’ve learned an amazing amount about personal finances in the last 3 years, and there are certain foundations I have taken away to create a healthy financial balance with. One of the biggest foundations is P.S.S.:


P.lan

Even if your personality is not type A, planning is pivotal when it comes to personal finances. Plan to beef up that emergency fund, plan to take on a new venture or life happening with preparedness. Whether it’s jotting down goals, creating spreadsheets, tracking via an app, make sure to do something. If you do not have a plan getting from one point to the next will be an absolute cluster with no direction. The biggest aspect of planning is COMMUNICATION – with your partners, friends, significant others, and family. I cannot stress that one enough! Be open, transparent, and honest – or else you may end up in a completely different direction than intended. 

S.ave

We all know saving is of utmost importance, especially when most life events can be financially stretching. Now that you have a plan set in place, increasing your tool set (money, investments, etc.) will allow you to execute your plan as successfully as possible. Saving can be done in a variety of ways, and there is not one way that will work best for each and every person. Whether it’s setting up automatic transfers to your savings account, withdrawing cash to spend to allow you to save the rest, or monitoring your savings goal on an app tracker, establish great savings habits. 

S.pend

After the hard work is over, you’re now ready to spend. This becomes the most challenging part of P.S.S. at times. With hours of planning, and weeks, months, or even years of saving – it’s just plain hard to finally spend. This is the most important aspect of P.S.S. to get comfortable with. It took me awhile to be OK with spending. But once you get in the habitual cycle of P.S.S., your realize that it becomes a comfortable and natural flow of life. You find that you are never financially in a position that is uncomfortable. You plan accordingly, you save what you can, and you spend. Three things – that’s all I find it takes before stressing yourself out beyond measure. The biggest part of spending? If you have completed planning & saving – do not feel guilty about spending! That’s right, I’m giving you permission to not feel guilt about spending your money.


 

We planned and saved for our wedding by setting a budget and tracking on a spreadsheet and an app. We stuck to it and held ourselves accountable. We researched ways that we could decrease costs – whether it was DIY’ing decor, asking for help, searching Craigslist endlessly, or purchasing bulk roses from Costco. The ultimate goal was to have a day filled with love and family, and we accomplished that without going into debt.

We planned for our first home by saving up a significant down payment. We knew we would be ready and looking to buy when interest rates were incredibly low. We purchased a home that was less than HALF of what we were pre-approved for. We held steadfast to our goals and made sure to not even look at places that were out of reach. With shows on HGTV, Pinterest, and websites with beautiful homes – it’s a challenge to not get distracted. A plan helps you stick to what you can financially afford and realistically take on.

We planned and saved for our first baby by communicating (as heavily mentioned above). Both my husband and I had similar feelings on when we would be financially sound and ready to grow our family. We gathered information from friends, family, and from our workplaces on insurance, maternity / paternity leave policies, and overall advice. We also were prepared that timing isn’t always perfect – but being open to life with widespread arms allowed us to both feel confident and reassured.

Now that I have established the cycle of P.S.S., I revisit it often and confidently. Financially, I have never felt better – even with taking on some of the biggest decisions in life. I finally was able to overcome my fears of having a wedding, purchasing a home, and having a baby – and quite honestly, it just took establishing this 3 step process (yeah, I know – that sounds like one of those cheesy new year things). Now when it comes to money, there’s no worries or stress – it’s just P.S.S.

P.S.S. it’s not as scary as you think.

10 Innovative Personal Finance Tips

We see articles often about the most innovative companies, the most innovative technology, the most innovative fitness routines…why not the most innovative money tips?


One thing I really dig about personal finance is consistency. There are many teachings & rules that were true in the past that are still applicable today. You really can’t doubt him when Warren Buffet states:

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

Buffet is now 85 years old and is worth $61.8 billion dollars. Whoa. 

I had to take a minute to let that sink in again…

When you start to read & learn more about personal finance, you start to recognize patterns. Lot’s of them. This is great though! Repetition really allows you to learn about a subject that may seem like completely unfamiliar terrain. Unfortunately, if we are not exposed to personal finance teachings in our youth we have to play an immense amount of catch-up in our adulthood.

Since personal finance is personal, someone’s exact way of earning, saving, spending, etc. will vary from what is applicable to my lifestyle & situation. What I enjoy doing is pulling methods, tips & tricks from several sources – then from there applying them to my personal finances to discover what works best for me (I’ll take this tip from Buffet, this method from the So Money podcast, this power tool from this career maven, this quote from this literary novel). I like this approach, because it allows me to tweak & experiment. It also allows me to re-evaluate different options and determine whether they will work best for me now, or in the future.

As you could imagine, pulling from various sources creates some pretty unconventional ways to approach personal finance. I like to lend this to the idea that people are becoming seriously creative when approaching their money matters (thank you, internet for the information sharing age). Sometimes we seek different, unique, fresh tips that aren’t quite the usual that we can pull from books that have been published in 1949 (i.e. The Intelligent Investor). Don’t get me wrong, I love the tried & true – but let’s peep some 10 innovative personal finance tips:

1. Trade in all your school index cards for index funds

Still have some leftover index cards you made in school either to study for that one midterm, or practice for that speech you needed to do for intro to public speaking? Trade them on in for investing in index funds! For long term investment strategy, this is the way to go. Now there’s actually an excuse to be passive with your money, rather than when you had to be aggressive with your studying. 😉

2. If you invest online through a platform, don’t even download the app to your phone 

It’s no surprise that mobile usage has surpassed that of desktop internet use. With the market going haywire, you’re going to be severely tempted to check how your portfolios are doing. Why not make it that much harder to check them by not even resorting to checking them through an app on your phone. You probably spend less time with your desktop/laptop at home than you do with your phone. Save yourself the sanity & stick to your long term investment strategy by spending less time panicking.

2. Create a vision board of what your life in retirement will look like

People find it challenging to save for something that is so far in the future, why not just give in to instant gratification? Try to put the future into reality. Whether you want to go to pencil & paper, or create a virtual Pinterest board – use your creativity to develop what you would like your retirement to hold. Some questions to consider to develop this board: What will you look like? Who will you be spending your time with? What will you be doing? Where will you be traveling to? This exercise will allow you to turn the illusion of retirement to reality, and encourage you to save now for the later. 

3. Be so busy, you unintentionally have no-spend days/weeks

Okay, this one’s awesome. Usually when it comes to exercising no-spend days/weeks you have to focus very hard. I mean, so hard, that your concentration breaks and you just end up binge spending (then you feel guilty, and start the cycle again on your 2nd/3rd/4th attempt). This is where you get involved, be active, stay busy, get outside, just be – that you don’t have time to give in to that email that states “HEY SITE-WIDE SALE,” or are alone and feel susceptible to the whims of making expensive impulse purchases. Connect with yourself & connect with other people, and spending money just slips on the priority list.

4. Treat bear markets like they’re the biggest sale event ever

Forget black friday! When it’s a bear market, think of it like it’s one of the greatest sale events ever. You now have access to purchasing high quality stocks at affordable prices. No more wasting money on unnecessary items that you will more than likely lose interest in a few months down the road. Now, I’m certainly not one to chase hot stocks & gains – but if you haven’t gotten into the market, this would be a great time to do so.

5. High five your friend, partner, family member, neighbor when you hear something awesome about personal finance

Whether they told you they just saved enough money for a goal they’ve been working on, increased their credit score, chose not to give in to a crazy purchase, or learned about a new thing in terms of personal finance – give them a high five!! The more positive we can be about personal finance, the more encouraged people will become to make smart money decisions. It’s not often that someone wants to turn down a high five…(and if they do, well that’s just a bummer).

6. A Netflix binge isn’t the worst thing in the world

I can’t help it. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve seen that screen “Are you still watching ____(insert show title here)____?” more than a few times on a Friday night. But you know what, staying in with some friends or a significant other isn’t really all that bad when it prevents you from exceeding your dining out budget for the month, spending way too much on a tab at the bar, or blowing cash on surged Uber prices. Every now & again, a night in really hits the spot. Not to mention, you can purchase a 6-pack of craft beer, make an incredible dinner at home, and even have some dessert all for less than half than the activities out mentioned above.

7. Pick a dance move. Now, do it (physically, or in your head) every time you did something awesome with your money

This tip is definitely inspired by all the *virtual dance parties* I’ve shared with Our Next Life, Goodnight Debt, Maggie at Northern Expenditure, and so many others. By picking a dance move, you can reinforce positive money habits that you create for yourself. Some examples of when I dance: when I up my savings rate, when I see my credit score increase, when I rack up more points for using my credit card responsibly, when I find a killer deal by doing research on a purchase before I buy. Now…LET’S DANCE!

8. I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what means?

I am blown away, because there are so many ways to determine independence now in life – and finances are no exception. We’ve got independent finances, shared finances,  co-mingled but also separate finances, you name it. Yet when it comes to all of these forms, they can all mean independence to different people. Determine what independence means to you – and find a way to make yourself financially free. That way, you aren’t just relying on one income source to pull you through. (P.s. points for whoever just go that song reference). 

9. Hack your way to a better deal

There are so many ways to research & determine how you can get a better deal on all the future purchases you need to make. Get to the point where it becomes second nature to hack your way to a better deal. Craigslist, buying slightly-used, garage sales, coupon/promo websites, recognizing the cycles of when particular items are deeply discounted – once you have all these down, getting the deal you want when you make a purchase will be as simple as a *snap, snap.*

10. Listen up. 

You may not think this tip is innovative – but hear me out (ha, get it? – OK moving on..). The art of listening is becoming tricky nowadays. More often than not we are distracted by advertisements, updates, text messages, apps, overflowing email inboxes, alerts, etc. When you take some time away from the following and really tune into your environments, you will learn several golden nuggets. When it comes to personal finance, a lot of it is applicable to the place you live, the people you surround yourself with, and the environments you choose to spend time in. Listen up – because everyone around you has something to teach and you may miss those golden opportunities to learn.


What innovative tips do you have for personal finance? Have you tried any of the above? Only stick to the tried & true rules?

On Par With Your Retirement Game

In your 20’s, the concept of retirement can be one that’s difficult to grapple with. How can you focus on saving for a future when even just 3 years from where you are today seems a vast distance? I’ve talked before about the struggle I’ve faced with the illusion of retirement to reality. Even with that push-pull thought process, I want to create a place that encourages the savers of today to get their game plan ready for a glorified retirement in the future.  Sometimes some of the best ways to break down a complex idea is to find things in life that are analogous to the theory. Today, I’m bringing forward the game of golf & what may happen along the way as you’re gearing up for your retirement (for the sake of shortness, we’re sticking to 9 holes and not 18).


Hole 1

You look down the fairway and see that yellow waving flag in the distance. That waving flag signifies the destination of retirement. It’s a par 3 and you’re feeling the pressure because it’s over 200 yards to get to the hole. How in the heck are you going to get there when it seems like your shots at the range have been falling short every time? But you’ve got a great support group with you, and clubs in your golf bag to help you get there. You feel encouraged, and you’ve been preparing to take on this course. You tee up by setting up your first account to get to some retirement saving (whether it be a 401k, IRA, or other investment vehicle).

Hole 2

Just getting warmed up as you make your way along the course. Hole 2 is kind of like the first couple years of investing and saving for retirement. It’s a new playing field – investing that is, and you’re not quite sure what to expect along the way. For the first couple of years the stock market may be doing well, while the following year it may be quite volatile. You get a feel for the course, and start selecting the different clubs/tools necessary to get you further along the fairway (how should I diversify? how can I get the right mix of stocks, bonds and cash?).

Hole 3

You’ve somehow managed to land yourself in a sand trap. Sometimes while saving for retirement, you may face some unexpected setbacks. Even though you’ve landed in the sand trap/setback, you still have the opportunity to make your way to the end goal – it doesn’t matter how many strokes it may take. Perseverance and patience are absolutely key. Most of setting aside money for retirement is a mental game, and not about the actual numbers game. Grab your sand wedge, plant your feet in the sand for that shot, and hit it right up close to the hole. The best part? You get to erase your foot prints in the sand with the rake, just like how you can brush away any setbacks of saving you may have faced and move on. The rest of the course is waiting.

Hole 4

Someone shots “fore!” as you contemplate ducking for cover. There will be distractions preparing for retirement along the way, but don’t let them get to your head (literally & figuratively). Although the unexpected may occur, it doesn’t mean you’re going to pack up and leave the course. You’ve still got 5 more holes (or several years in terms of investing) left to play the game! Many moments of triumph, and potential pitfalls can occur along those next few holes/years.

Hole 5

You just managed to get a birdie (1 under par for the hole)! You’re staring to feel that high as your asset classes and investment choices are experiencing great returns. You recognize that you have a lot of time left in this game, and decide to adjust your strategy to take on more risk. More time in the market allows for more time to make great returns. You decide to weight your portfolio heavily in stocks and ride out the course and market with determination.

Hole 6

Well shoot…you’re ball just landed in the lake and you face a penalty. It seems you’re portfolio is down, but you attempt to avoid looking at the scorecard too in depth until you reach the end of the game. Historically, the market will always bounce back and gain even more returns than what happened prior. So before you get down about the fact that an alligator potentially swallowed your ball (“give the ball, alligator!”), you know there is still time to make gains on even the most challenging parts experienced of your game.

Hole 7

Unreal, you just got a hole in one (this is a goal of mine, and I’m sure for many too – if you’ve gotten a hole in one before, you better leave me a comment below letting me know all the glorious details)! It’s been several years of preparing for retirement, and you’re completely on track with your goals. Maybe even better than you anticipated. All those years of focus and savings are preparing you for hole in one euphoric feelings such as this.

Hole 8

You’re nearing closer to retirement, and suddenly you get a bit more of an energy kick. You decide to tone down your strategy to be a bit more conservative for this last hole/couple of years. Slow and steady will get you to where you need to be. The hyper focus is real as you prepare to embark on this new journey of retirement in your life. Time to finish this game!

Hole 9

The last flag you will take a look at for the day. Are you ready to finish the game of retirement savings on what you’ve been working towards? All the goals, strategies, support, savings, investments and tools combined have allowed you to qualify for this moment. Maintain your focus, and the strokes will get you there. Then you can pull out that scorecard and observe all the weak spots and greatness that allowed you to officially retire. It doesn’t take perfection to accomplish your goals for retirement (just check out how you had 7 strokes on one hole, but managed to get 2 under par on another). The course can seem long, and the game of saving along the way can be full of potential mishaps and surprises. It’s up to you to put your mental focus front and center to accomplish the savings you want for retirement.


Do you think the game of golf is like saving for retirement? What sports come to mind that are analogous to retirement saving? Have you ever gotten a hole in one before? Let’s begin the conversation!

 

LearnLux: A New Hub for Millennials to Take Control of Their Financial Future

I’m always blown away to learn about people putting their passions together to create something incredible. It turns out, many resources & places for Millennials to learn about personal finance are being created. For today’s post I’m pumped to share an interview with Michael Liebman, one of the Co-Founders of the start-up LearnLux: a new personal finance hub made for Millennials by Millennials. Learn more about Michael and what LearnLux has to offer below!


Tell us a little about yourself (background, hobbies, passions, etc.): How did you become one of the Co-Founders of the start-up LearnLux?

My name is Michael Liebman. I’m studying finance at Bentley University. I’ve been involved with business and finance since I was really young. I’ve been trading stocks since I was 16 years old, I worked at a bank from the age of 15 to 18, and I opened a Roth IRA at 17. I’m the opposite of our target market, as I’ve been super into my finances forever. LearnLux was an idea that my co-founder (and sister) and I have been working on for a long time. Before we started the company we were always conscious of the lack of the financial education that is offered and the lack of financial literacy that we all seem to have. We started a blog about 3 years ago and prided ourselves on the idea that we taught everything that they didn’t teach you in school, including entrepreneurship, personal finances, and similar topics. We realized that there was a need when we received really good feedback from our users. Besides being super into all things financial, I’m a huge Red Sox fan and I like hanging out with my friends in my free time.

Personal finance can be pretty challenging when you are feeling unsure where to start. How can LearnLux help people learn about personal finance?

LearnLux is built for the person who knows that they need to do something but don’t know where to start. We take all of the jargon out of personal finance and break down those hard to understand terms like “tax deferred growth” and “capital gains tax.” We know firsthand that people are already stressed out about their finances and we really want to empower our users to have confidence in their ability to make informed decisions regarding their financials. LearnLux is built by Millennials for Millennials. We are our own market, so it’s much easier for us to build the product exactly how we would want it to be built as users.

Give us a breakdown of how the site works. What services will LearnLux offer to people after they join?

LearnLux is a personal finance hub. We have brief lessons on all different aspects of personal finance, whether it be investing, taxes, or insurance we allow the user to go through different lessons and learn about their options and best practices for the industry. The site is extremely interactive and as you continue to the use the site it becomes more and more intuitive about you and your needs. Once you’ve finished different lessons we’ll show you different offers from financial institutions and if you choose, you can take immediate action by opening an account. We’re working on some other really cool features for our official launch at the beginning of 2016.

On LearnLux’s website it states: “Helping Millennials utilize their biggest asset: time.” Tell us a little more about that, how can time help Millennials strengthen their financial present and future?

There’s a quote that I really like that goes something like “It’s about time in the market, not timing the market”. The quote is really valuable, especially for the people in their 20’s and 30’s who have a lot of time to invest and a lot of time for their money to be in the market. Millennials need to know that time is their biggest asset and one of the greatest things that they have on their side. Even if you invest a dollar a day into an account you’ll be so much better off in the long run—and I don’t mean a savings account—I mean an investment account with Mutual Funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds and the securities that can actually earn a return for you. Debt is one of the biggest detriments to millennial investing and people need to learn about the resources that are available to them to try to mitigate their debt and then have the confidence to begin opening brokerage and retirement accounts to put their money to work for them.

What advice do you have for Millennials that are looking to/are learning about personal finance?

Stick with it. Personal finance can be a really hard topic to grasp and that’s mostly because the way that it’s presented is very boring and full of jargon. Talk to your friends about it and see if they know anything that could be of help to you. Talking about money is awkward sometimes, but your peers and parents can be some of the best resources when you’re just trying to figure out where you should start.

Give us one quote or lesson you’ve learned in life that you enjoy living by.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

This quote has always been motivating for me throughout my life. It’s helped me challenge the way things are being done and it helps me think outside the box on a daily basis. Innovation is key to our generation’s success and the quote really resonates with me because it makes you realize that the future is in your hands. There are two types of people, those who read about history in a book and those who go out and make their own. I wake up every day and think about the impact that I can make and it’s empowering.

A huge thank-you to Michael for stopping by & letting us know what LearnLux is all about! Sound like a place you’d like to go to strengthen your financial game plan? Head on over and sign up for the beta test here!

Malleable Money Mindset

Malleable Money Mindset

At age 5…

I didn’t quite know that money was even real. Life consisted of hanging out at the playground on the monkey bars during recess & learning to share brightly colored Crayola crayons with my classmates. Life just happened, and innocence carried all of us youngins’ along.

At age 10…

I surpassed the years of experiencing that it’s ‘great to be 8,’ and it’s ‘fine to be 9.’ Those years didn’t quite phase me anymore because I reached the big ol’ double digit ages. I couldn’t wait to become a teenager with a beeper on my hip, and take on a J-O-B. I completed chores around the house to earn an allowance from my parents. Most purchases were trinkets, toys, and posters to decorate my room (because boy bands were sooo dreamy).

At age 15

I landed my first job in high school. Wait, scratch that – two jobs! I finally hit that high responsibility phase I dreamed of when I was younger. I was earning my own money & learning the fundamental basics of how to utilize my checking & savings account. No credit cards yet, just a single debit card. Most of my money went to gas (to get to and from my jobs, as well as school) and well, let’s face it…shopping with my girl friends (especially on pay days).

At age 20... 

So this is what it’s like to live on a tight budget. Forget the fact that just one college credit was pretty much the cost of $150+. I had about $20 left in my account from my internship stipend that could help me go out to dinner with my friends! Savings…yeah, that just wasn’t an option. I was just coasting. Money responsibility was potentially the last thing on my mind next to studying, passing classes, internships/jobs, and participation in organizations.

At age 25

Time to kick it into high gear financially, and the main person who is going to make that change is me. For the first time ever I have a real world job with a salary offering more money than I have ever seen before. I’m experiencing what benefits are and what it’s like to start funding a retirement plan. After I paid off my student loans, I started jumping into the world of investing. There is so. much. to learn regarding finances it can be overwhelming, but I’m ready to build a strong foundation for the rest of my life, my family’s lives, my loved one’s lives, and even stranger’s lives.


The following five year increments throughout my life so far depict my evolving thoughts around money. A great deal may have happened in between, but the principals between each step of life continued to change. I was never stagnant, or stuck with the way I viewed my financial situation. I may have witnessed hard times (2008 recession), or glorious ones (the opportunity to work two jobs simultaneously)…

but the one element that was constant regarding my view on money was change. 

Each one of us can foster a malleable money mindset. Our mindsets can be pliable, without facing the threat of being broken. They are flexible and ever-changing. When doubt settles in because debt feels as if it is swallowing us whole, or we’ve experienced a job loss, endured a life changing event, received an unexpected windfall, or maybe even won the lottery…we have the ability to restructure our money mindset. How we view money now can indefinitely change and be refocused.

Life will not be painful forever. Times may not always be glorious. How we take on life situations with grace and certainty will allow us to progress to each new phase building upon our money mindset. So how would you like your money money mindset to be?

Is it a positive one where you can tackle all of your financial goals, and lead a life of financial independence?

Is it a strong one where you can provide for those around you because putting others before yourself does not phase you one bit?

Is it a peaceful one where solace allows you to accomplish your passions without stress? 

Whatever, or however you choose for your money mindset to be…just know it is a malleable one. Regardless of where you have been, or where you are going it can feasibly change. Begin now. Allow yourself to have a malleable money mindset that will allow you to accomplish your life goals and aid those around you.

What is your money mindset like? How has it evolved over time? How do you think your money mindset will change in the future?

Sunshine Blogger Award

I want to give a huge thanks to my friends over at Our Next Life for the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination! I’m heading off to sunny San Diego this weekend to attend the wedding of one of my dearest friends. This is the perfect precursor to kick off this incredible weekend!

Sunshine Blogger Award


So here’s the rundown of how this nomination works, or a little reminder if you already know the drill! I get to answer the questions that the nominator(s) posed for me to give more of a personal side as to who is behind this blog. From there, I get to pass on those rays of sunshine to the people I nominate and provide them questions that they get to answer. It’s a fun way to spread the joy in the blog-o-sphere!

Here are all the people I’d like to nominate next for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

Mixed Up Money

GenY Finance Guy

It Pays Dividends

The Wallet Diet

My Pennies My Thoughts

Here are your questions to answer! 

  1. Did you have one ah-ha moment that initiated the start of your blog/corner of the internet, or was it a series of events?
  2. Name one person (real, or fictional) who has changed your outlook on life and why?
  3. If there were only 3 things you could spend your money on for the rest of your life, what would they be?
  4. In your opinion, what’s the best/ideal setting to discuss personal finance? (i.e. with one other person, in a classroom setting, equipped with food & drink, etc.)
  5. What’s one movie line and/or song lyric that you always recite, or that continues to stick in your mind?
  6. If there is one legacy you would like to be known for in your life, what would it be? Is it a work in progress?

Here are my answers to Our Next Life’s questions:

in what ways are you most like and most unlike your childhood self?

I definitely would have to say my curiosity is parallel to my childhood self. When it comes to learning, my quest to acquire more knowledge is never ending. The excitement I get picking up books & networking is comparable to that of when I used to tinker with polly pockets, legos, and beanie babies. I’m most unlike my childhood self in the sense that intimidation does not paralyze or prevent me from experiencing new things. As most of us have experienced, life definitely takes its course through our teenage years and early 20’s. It’s an amazing thing when vulnerabilities start to melt away as your confidence increases. Overcoming intimidation, breaking down my own fears, and embracing my mental & physical capabilities has allowed me to achieve much more than I could have ever imagined when I was younger.

what’s your all-time favorite book, and your favorite you’ve read in the last year or so? (bonus points if you do fiction and non-fiction. this is a shameless attempt by us to get more recommendations!)

This has always been a tough question for me! I would have to say my all-time favorite book is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I selected this book because the first time I read it was on an airplane. One of the flight attendants handed me a handwritten card as we were exiting the plane because she had just finished reading the novel with her book club. The card posed questions, thoughtful words, and what she took away from reading the novel. This is how powerful reading is when people share their ideas & thoughts from the way a book moved them. Interpretation is different from all perspectives even if you are reading the same book, and that’s what I absolutely love. My favorite books I have read in the last year include: The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley (a common personal finance favorite!) and Yes Please by Amy Poehler (she’s hilarious).

what has life taught you about finances, and what have your finances taught you about life?

Life has taught me that many people approach their finances differently in order to live out their dreams. There is opportunity to take on new ventures, travel, help others, retire early, and prepare for your future if you decide to face your finances from a positive place. My finances have taught me that they do not have to completely dictate my life. Being aware of my financial goals & habits allows me to save & live for today in a balanced manner. There is always room for growth, error, and restructuring. Building a foundation of my finances now will allow for more time to focus on the people & passions I value in life.

what is something you’ve always wanted to do, but have never done for no good reason? (bonus points if you care to share what action you’ll take to do that thing!)

I’ve always wanted to take one of my passions that’s truly shaped who I am & share with others that may have never thought to try. I am so elated to say that this is currently in the works right now. Throughout my life I’ve trained in dance (tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and more). I now have the opportunity to volunteer at a local youth organization by teaching dance classes! The goal is to implement a new program the organization has not seen before. I cannot wait to start this adventure in September!

what scares you most about early retirement / financial independence / minimalism / self-sufficiency or whatever you’re striving for?

The question that always comes to mind internally is: “Am I doing this right?” There are a myriad of ways that the above listed can be approached & accomplished, that it can become a bit overwhelming. Trial & error is bound to happen, but just stepping a foot forward and trying is what allows me to overcome any of my fears, or doubts. 5 years from now my mindset may change, but allowing that flexibility to reach my goals of financial independence will allow things to surely happen.

what tv show is atop your must-see list right now? (or if you’re not into tv, what’s some under-the-radar thing that we should all be paying attention to?)

So I really don’t watch TV all too much, but watching the last season of Newsroom is definitely a must-see for my fiance & I right now. As an under-the-radar thing, I would like to really immerse myself into the art of brewing whether it be cold brew, kombucha, or craft beer. The Pacific Northwest definitely provides many resources & shops to take this on, and I would love to focus on building those skills!


 

Such a fun nomination, thanks again Our Next Life! For all my readers: let me know one quick fact about you in the comments below. I’m curious to learn more about all of you!