Life

why i'm choosing not to pay off my mortgage early

Exactly 4 years ago around this time at the ripe old age of 26, I was smack dab in the middle of house-hunting. I had been saving for a down payment for a few years and had finally hit my goal, so off I went into the world of starter homes and cute bungalows to find a house for this single gal that would be mine and all mine.  Well, mine and the bank’s.  At least for 15 years.

Luckily I didn’t have to deal with some of the house-hunting nightmares that others have had to endure, and I found a cute little place in the area I wanted for a great price.  We were still coming out of the recession so it was a buyer’s market, and with interest rates so low, I jumped at the deal.

how i organized my entire financial life

One of the most heart-wrenching issues I have with our modern day education system is how little emphasis they place on money management. You’ll learn about the Baroque period, how to identify 50 different types of rocks (literally had to do this), and what Buddhism is all about, but money? Nah. We’ll skip it. And even if you do take a personal finance course, it’s all so academic that it’s hard to apply it to real life.

When I graduated from college and was in the midst of my first month at my “real” job, I remember heading to the movies and thinking how nice it was to not worry about buying a $5 Icee at the theater. The freedom! The liberation! The independence!

And then at the end of that month, reality smacked me in the face when I looked at my bank account and had no idea where all that money I had earned went. I thought I was making a killing, but I soon learned my salary didn’t get me as far as I thought it would. Cue a defeated 22 year-old and some sad, dramatic soundtrack.

how to cut your student loan payment in half

Guess which generation has been burdened with the most student loan debt in history? Yep, we millennials.  And it’s not getting any better.

We owe $1.3 trillion in student loans alone (and that’s not even getting into auto or credit card debt) with an average balance of $28,400 per borrower.  60% of all students who graduate college do so with student loans to repay.  And 11.8% of us are defaulting on those loans[1] (which, by the way, you have to repay no matter what – bankruptcy can’t even get you out of those). Even for those of us blessed with graduating without any, we see the strain on the people we date, our best friends, our family members and feel the pressure to save for the ungodly amount our children will undoubtedly need. How’s that for a positive outlook?

the secret to money the wealthy know (and you don't)

If you read nothing else this week, read this.  Your bank account and future self will thank you.

I have a great job with a pretty great salary.  It’s given me the means to experience some pretty amazing things (like travel to Peru) while still being able to fund my retirement and add to my savings. On top of that, I rent out a spare room in my home, meaning that when it comes to the financial side of the life equation, I’m doing fairly well (knock on wood). And yet. 

Yet here I sit in a home much smaller than those my friends are buying.  I drive a car that is 11 years old. I only get my hair done every 6 months.  I shop at H&M and Target because the prices at Nordstrom still make me cringe.  I take my lunch to work. Every day.