I have always been interested in personal finance. My parents (dad in particular) taught me very good personal finance habits from a very early age. I have never had debt except for my mortgage (and that is more than resonable for our income) and a couple of car loans (all of which have been paid off early). I have been contributing to a retirement plan of some sort since I was 24. I saved for big purchases, bought used cars etc. All that is to say, I was "doing all the right things". However, I found myself very frustrated over the past couple of years because despite "doing all the right things" I always felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. My husband and I were doing well on retirement savings, not taking on debt, etc. but various things (baby #1, me staying home to take care of baby #1, a string of bad health luck with our pets, baby #2) had slowed down our savings and put a huge dent in our emergency fund. I was frustrated because we had the income to meet all these obligations but the money just seemed to disappear.
A few months ago I started reading personal finance blogs. I came to the realization that although I was doing all this stuff right, there is always more to learn and there are always areas to improve. I started doing a budget/spending plan and it made a huge difference in our bank balance at the end of the month with very little pain. We had been handling the big stuff well but were losing ground in countless ways with the little stuff. The budget helped is discover what those little things were and make changes.
Recently, my husband of 13 years and I sat down and had our first discussion about financial goals. Fortunately, we seem to have always been on the same page pretty much so the fact that we had not had that discussion yet was not as glaring a problem as it seems like it should have been. Having that discussion clarified a lot of things for us though and made me feel better about all the little changes that I had been making. It is easier to head down a new path when you KNOW you are both on it together as opposed to just hoping you are.
So, that is my story. Nothing dramatic. Just the realization that no matter how well you think you are doing, all of us have blind spots. Best not to get complacent and pretend they aren't there.
Have you paid off your debt? Managed to save for your dream home? Had an awesome investment pan out? Share your personal finance success stories here.
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