All things Personal Finance:
Not a pretty word at all. In fact, I think it is one of the most hated terms in our vocabulary. Our society encourages everyone getting into debt before we are even born!. It seems so easy to be under water; however, getting out of it is a continuous battle that requires sacrifice, commitment and a heck of a lot of discipline. There are methods to destroy debt very well documented and discussed in the Personal Finance space; however, my best recommendation is kind of obvious and that is to avoid it in the first place. Since it seems nearly impossible to stay away from this 4 letter beast let me share ideas and suggestions to help you create awareness, come up with a plan of action, track your progress and celebrate success.
Let’s be honest saving is just not sexy. It requires thinking about the future and setting goals, now who wants to do that right!. We tend to live the present enjoying things life has to offer. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with that; however, the more we consciously or unconsciously forget about tomorrow, the more our future self will complain about the decisions we are making today. I’m a big believer in saving and so is my wife. We have taken the approach of setting S.M.A.R.T goals making sure our saving goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This has worked very well for us but It has certainly required alignment and working as a team. I will share our strategies around savings especially focusing on a key element we use 24/7…… automation!.
Grow your Income
This is a big one for me. I currently work full time for an amazing company and I love what I do. This is great; however, as long as I’m an employee I’ll be a dispensable asset. The industry in which I work is cyclical and volatile by nature. Recently, this volatility has challenged the status quo making me realize there is no such thing as a sure thing. So far I’ve been fortunate but as long as I work for someone and rely on a single source of income, options will be limited. Historically we’ve tried managing our expenses and improving efficiencies to maximize our annual savings rate. Regardless of how much effort we’ve put into it, it is obvious there is so much you can do to push your expenses down to increase your margin. We have a lot of work to do in this arena but we are on it. More recently we’ve become interested in real estate and so far so good. This last category is just one of the many options available for individuals pursuing FI. Like I said, I love my job and get paid very well for my time; however, my goal is to grow my passive income to the point where it meets not only my monthly expenses but income from work. It will be at this point where options will start to surface and the idea of FI will become a reality for us.
Even though I’m a firm believer of investing in experiences and relationships I will focus on specific topics I’ve been exposed to and have learned in my very short life span as an investor. We’ll explore all the different vehicles available in the space covering tax-deferred, taxable accounts, and alternatives such as peer to peer lending and real estate investing. The most important thing about investing is pretty simple … time and unless you’re planning on working forever, you need to start now. Education is equally important and the more you let your curiosity guide you through the abundance of information available at your fingertips the more prepared you’ll be in designing a plan of action that meets your personal goals.