What is financial security?

This is a post by Michael Mihalik, author of Debt is Slavery (and 9 Other Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me About Money).

Wouldn't it be great to be financially secure — to never have to worry about money?

What would it take to get there? In fact, what exactly is financial security?

Ask ten people to define how much money it takes to attain financial security and you will probably get ten different answers. For some people, financial security is having $10 million in the bank. For others, it's $50 million.

I doubt anybody would say $1 million. Being a uni-millionaire isn't what it used to be. With the median home price in the United States around $220,000 (the median price in my hometown, Seattle, is pushing $425,000), there may not be much left after paying off the mortgage. Even having the full million in the bank earning 5% per year will only produce an income of $50,000 per year. That's not bad, but not enough to jet around the world and party with Paris Hilton, Mick Jagger, and Diddy.

What about $10 million? At 5%, that will generate an annual income of $500,000 — without working. Now we're talking some real money!

The problem with defining financial security in these terms is that having $10 million, $50 million or even $1 million is a pie-in-the-sky dream for most Americans. We'd all like to have millions of dollars, and it's not bad to aspire to that goal. The problem is, if we define financial security by such large amounts of money, most of us will believe that it's out of our grasp. Instead, we should use a realistic definition of financial security that can be achieved whether somebody makes $10,000 a year or $1,000,000.

First, let's look at what financial security is not.

Financial security isn't making or having a certain amount of money. There are many people who have made millions of dollars who are not financially secure. Stories about musicians, superstar athletes and multi-million-dollar lottery winners who end up in bankruptcy court are so common that they've become a cliché. If someone makes $500,000 a year, but spends $600,000, are they financially secure? Of course not.

Financial security also isn't limited to being independently wealthy, having servants bring you martinis by the pool, and flying your private jet to Monaco to party with heiresses, super-models, and rock stars. If that's what you want, then go for it, but this is a very narrow definition of financial security.

I prefer a broader definition, one that puts financial security within the reach of anybody with a desire to improve their financial situation, and a little bit of discipline.

To me, financial security consists of four things:

1)  Being debt-free
Consider two women: Jill makes $35,000 a year. She has $250 in her savings account, and owes $10,000 on her credit cards. Joan makes $35,000 a year. She has $10,000 in her savings account, and owes $250 on her credit cards.

Which woman do you think feels financially secure? Which sleeps better at night?

Certain debt is understandable. Few people have the money to write a check for a car or a house. Borrowing money for an education or to start a business may also be acceptable, but borrowing money for other reasons is probably a mistake.

How many of you are still paying off the credit card debt for:

  • The vacation you took last summer?
  • The elegant, romantic Valentine's Day dinner last February?
  • The pair of expensive Italian shoes you just gave to Goodwill?
  • Christmas presents your kids no longer play with?
  • Electronic equipment that has since become obsolete?

When you owe somebody money, they have power over you. You go to work, even if you don't want to, because you have to pay back your debt. If you don't pay, you can be sued, your car can be repossessed, or your house can go into foreclosure. That doesn't sound like security to me.

2)  Being in control of your expenses
As I mentioned earlier, if you earn $500,000 a year, but you're spending $600,000, you're on your way to the poorhouse. If you control your expenses so that they are less than your income, you can save and invest the extra money, and you're on your way to becoming financially secure.

3)  Consistently increasing your savings/assets/net worth on a monthly basis
Most people have little to show for years or even decades of hard work. For whatever reason, they can't or won't save money and they're one paycheck away from being destitute.

We should focus on saving money every month. It's a great feeling to watch your savings grow, especially because the interest compounds without any extra effort from you. Instead of you working for money, your money can work for you.

4)  Not being forced to work at a job you dislike just to pay the bills
Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and are stuck at jobs they don't enjoy because they have to pay their bills. If they quit their jobs or were laid off, it wouldn't take long before they were in dire financial trouble

If you are debt-free, control your expenses, and focus on increasing your savings on a monthly basis, you can survive tough times, such as a layoff, for months, or even years, without a change in your lifestyle. You will also have the freedom to quit a job you don't like and take your time finding a new job, preferably one that you will enjoy.

Financial security is an admirable goal for which we should all strive. However, it's important to define financial security so that it is achievable for the average American. Being debt-free, controlling our expenses, increasing our savings every month, and doing what we love can lead to happy, fulfilling, and prosperous lives for us all.

Contest reminder: Michael was kind enough to pass along two copies of Debt is Slavery. Each person who leaves a substantive comment on today's entries will be entered into a drawing to receive one of them. The two winners will be announced on Friday, October 19th. (Details.)

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Saving Freak
Saving Freak
12 years ago

Getting all of our consumer debt payed off really helped my wife feel secure in our finances and it allowed me to work at a job I like instead of just for a paycheck. We are now able to start attacking the debt on our house. This will take us a little longer but I think seven years is not unreasonable.

Joe Andersen
Joe Andersen
12 years ago

Another interesting case for 1) compare two people, one where Joan owes $9750 – their net positions are the same (If I’ve added up correctly – pretend I have). Then the question of who’s better off becomes a little more complex. Is Joan’s greater available cash worth keeping where it is? Depends on a lot of factors, like how stable she thinks her income is, what sort of return/interest shes getting/paying. Does our answer change is Joan has $20k but owes $19750? Now her repayments are much larger than Jill’s, but she still has the freedom of a huge cash… Read more »

ClickerTrainer
ClickerTrainer
12 years ago

Re #4.

I’ve had friends and an ex, who were always unhappy at their jobs. Most of them had much higher paying jobs than I did. I had a much lower paying job and a verbally abusive boss. Yet I was happy, while they were unhappy. It seems to me that happiness comes from within yourself. You can decide to be happy or unhappy. The effort is about the same. The results are not.

jasonn
jasonn
12 years ago

“4) Not being forced to work at a job you dislike just to pay the bills”

Check out Jeff Atwood’s post today on his Coding Horror blog:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000979.html

I’m in college right now, so such issues don’t plague me (right now). But I can only hope I find a job and a career that I can truly enjoy. I don’t think many people can say that they do, unfortunately.

AzBearin
AzBearin
12 years ago

After finally owning up to my problem and realizing this isn’t going away I started the journey of getting my debt under control a few months ago! I am realizing that this is not going to be easy and while I understand that I am the “cause” of the problem “small steps” are helping also. The small steps I have taken are keeping track of my expenses and setting up an emergency fund. I have been using “You Need a Budget” as my tracker and now have a few months under my belt to drill down and see where its… Read more »

FinanceAndFat
FinanceAndFat
12 years ago

Financial Security is having the resources to do what you want and live where you want, while not sacrificing your future to do it- for the rest of your life. Given the choice, I’d rather not be driving 40 minutes each way to work 5 days a week, even though I’m pretty happy with my job. I’ve limited myself by the choices I have made though, primarily when I chose to bury myself in $264K worth of debt. There are things I would rather be doing, and I will be doing those things some day, but for now I have… Read more »

Ron Haynes
Ron Haynes
12 years ago

The funny thing is that we go so willingly into that slavery. I have been debt free only once (excluding the mortgage) since getting married 18 years ago. It felt great! I did go back into debt in order to finish my bachelor’s degree and then my MBA. Right now, my biggest non-mortgage expense is my 3 kids private school tuition. Education IS expensive, but ignorance is so much more so. The old saying “The borrower is servant to the lender” rings true across the ages, but in my opinion, debt isn’t slavery to the lender, but slavery to a… Read more »

Dan
Dan
12 years ago

Why on earth is an income of $50,000 per year not enough? Since when has financial security had anything to do with the ability to jet around the world partying? The median income in America is around $50,000 per year, and most people have significant work related expenses such as clothing and transportation. As long as you reinvest a portion of the investment income to counteract inflation, one million seems like plenty to me. Even if you did drop $220k of that on a house, you wouldn’t have mortgage or rent payments then, which would make it even easier to… Read more »

CHB
CHB
12 years ago

Although I know I won’t ever make a high salary, I still feel like I’m well on my way to financial security thanks to following these steps. However I struggle with fears in the back of my mind relating to health issues – my own and my family’s. None exist yet, but I worry myself about what would happen if (and when) they did. Not only could it ruin financial security, it could ruin dreams and lives. I would love to hear more stories of people who have done everything right financially and found themselves facing huge health obstacles –… Read more »

Randy Cates
Randy Cates
5 years ago
Reply to  CHB

The medical system in this country is out of control. If you aren’t rich there isn’t much they can do for you. If you are (or have a great insurance policy) they’ll do test after test (cha ching) and keep stringing you along. Staying healthy and fit is not impossible. Exercise regularly (regular walks, hiking or yoga is enough). More important is proper diet and nutrition. Avoid sugar, diet foods (do the research) dairy and limit red meat. Eating RAW (as we were intended) is key to a healthy lifestyle. When you realize that “if” you get sick and the… Read more »

amy
amy
12 years ago

I am trying to learn from this blog how to become a more financially secure person. I don’t have a large amount of debt but I also don’t have the greatest credit rating. I still live pay check to paycheck (when I am even doing that, Bank of America always does there best to fee me into the poor house).

I think right now i am focusing on steps 2 and 3. It would be a dream to get to step four, but I am not there yet.

PJ
PJ
12 years ago

So, by Michael’s criteria, how are we doing? Let’s see: 1) Debt free: We’ve been working on this one. We’re down from 7 credit cards to 2! And while we still have some medical debt to deal with, those debts too a much less now. 🙂 I’d give us 75/100 2) Controling expenses: I feel we are in control from that aspect that we now rarely spend more than we take in. I’d give us 98/100 3) Savings: Yeah…could be better at this. While we have “left over” from each paycheck (and this after a set amount transfers to savings),… Read more »

Patrick
Patrick
12 years ago

#4 is a big one for my wife and I. We just took a $20,000 reduction in annual income (after taxes) because we wanted a better quality of life. To make this happen, we planned for this a year in advance. We paid off bills, saved, and made sure we were living well under our means before we did it. We are very happy with our decision, and I am very happy we were fortunate enough to be in that financial position.

Safrican
Safrican
12 years ago

There are most certainly as many definitions of financial security as there are individuals striving to obtain it. However, I think Michael has come very close to defining its essence. Financial security means more than being able to buy the latest model car every year, living in the best suburbs or jetting off to the Bahamas regularly. To me, financial security by its very definition means a position in which I can be secure in the knowledge that the needs of my family and myself have been taken care of regardless of the possible curve balls life may throw at… Read more »

brian
brian
12 years ago

I think that #3 is the most psychologically rewarding part of being financially responsible. Since a disproportionate portion of my income goes towards rent (gotta love SF), I am increasing my (currently negative) net worth by steadily decreasing my debt. While having a brand new tv would certainly be nice, I decided a couple months ago that knocking a couple grand off of my credit card debt would be more rewarding, and I am still happy with my decision.

newsking
newsking
12 years ago

My financial goal was summed up quite nicely by Charles Dickens: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” (From David Copperfield, 1849) Financial life is a balancing act. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a sure way to tip life into misery. The process we have set up is this: I divide our household income into three streams, and three accounts. The first account pays the regular monthly bills … mortgage, car payment, utilities (levelized, of course), phones, internet, etc. We put… Read more »

Xias
Xias
12 years ago

I agree that being debt-free is the first step toward true financial security. I do disagree that some debts are unavoidable, depending of course on your situations and circumstances. You can buy a used car outright given enough time and saving. Even a house is an attainable expense without going into debt if you are willing to rent for that period of time (the cost analysis of whether this would be worth it of course is up for debate). Still, a great article.

L K
L K
12 years ago

I doubt I am alone in thinking that the problem some of us face is not just cutting back on expenses (we recently cut out our water delivery and TV service), but in not compulsively spending when we do start to become more comfortable. Not only are my husband and I cutting back on frivolous spending, but we were recently able to pay off almost all our credit cards and start a savings account. We then were able to sell my car (that I owned outright) so that was extra money to put towards paying off HIS car. Soon we’ll… Read more »

dreamy1
dreamy1
12 years ago

I aspire to be like Joan. I know I’ll get there one day….until then, I’m living like Jill.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

The things I’d stress most about saving are: A little bit can go a long way as long as you keep adding those bits. If you’re used to seeing nothing in your savings account and learn to put $50 a month into it, before you know it, you’re going to have a few hundred dollars in there (when you were used to having none). As your savings grows, don’t spend it. Let it work for you. Bad things happen in life and someone has to pay for them. My family has been surviving on a single income for a long… Read more »

JerichoHill
JerichoHill
12 years ago

I view financial security as a fall-back that I could rely on. For instance, if I lost my job today, I would have enough liquid wealth that I could pay for all necesseities (mortgage, food, transport, etc) for a year.

Because to me, there’s nothing worse for a career than being desperate for any job.

Rob Slagle
Rob Slagle
12 years ago

Sound alot like of the same advice/teaching that Dave Ramsey advocates.

AnnieJ
AnnieJ
12 years ago

I like your definition of financial security, but I’m with Dan…if your points #1 thru #4 are in place, why wouldn’t a single mil in the bank paying out $50K in interest a year be enough to live on?

With me not working, our household income is about $53K annually. Things are tight, thus I’m looking for work now. But we have great insurance and retirement via hubby’s work. If we had no van or mortgage payment, I think we’d be living comfortably on 50K, with enough in accessible savings to cover the unexpected.

Aaron
Aaron
12 years ago

I think hating your job can actually be caused by the feeling of entrapment. My wife said that while she was working to help put me through school, she hated every minute of her job. Now that I’m working, she wants to go back to work and is considering the same position! Circumstances can engender all sorts of feelings. I would add (as I’m sure many people have before) that having an extra source or two of income -especially passive income- takes the edge off that feeling significantly.

James Davis
James Davis
12 years ago

Being debt free allowed me to move from a low cost of living area to a higher cost of living area to take a job that provides more satisfaction and a step up towards my future goals.

Before paying of debt, we would not have had the leeway in our finances to afford the extra monthly expenses. Becoming debt free was a lot of work and took a lot of sacrifice, but it has been well worth it. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice.

Now, to keep building that savings…

Aimee
Aimee
12 years ago

We are working hard to get rid of our debts so we can be financially secure. To us, just knowing that we don’t actually own a lot of our things, is an uneasy feeling. And heaven forbid something happens to our income, we would be in a world of hurt.

Once our debts are paid off, then we will start saving so we could live off of just interest. That is a wonderful freedom indeed, not to have to work unless you actually want to!

Rico
Rico
12 years ago

Truly defining financial security is still hard even for those that think they have it. I’d like to use myself as an example. I’ve been out of college for 1 year now and have 2 cars to my name (both paid off) 0 school debt (worked throughout high school and college) 0 credit card debt (with about $40k of credit available) $10k in savings $4k in roth ira The job I am currently at brings home ~$50k./year but I may soon be leaving for a lower paying job. I did not come from a wealthy family, in fact we were… Read more »

Valerie
Valerie
12 years ago

Financial security is a subject my husband and I have been talking a lot about lately. We’re doing well with our savings, and should both be able to quit next year to switch career streams. I think the biggest challenge has been to deal with the outlooks of our friends and family. It’s so difficult to remember that you’re content with a 21″ CRT for the 3 shows a week you like to watch when your friends are buying 56″ DLP High-Def sets! I really love the PF blogs like this one that help put debt/consumerism into perspective. One trick… Read more »

andy
andy
12 years ago

I clearly remember a conversation I had with my parents at the dinner table when I was an early adolescent. They were making some complaint about credit cards. They were not debtors by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not sure what the substance of their conversation was, but I said, “I’m never going to go into debt!” “Is that right?” My father asked. “How will you buy a house or a car?” “I’ll just be rich enough to buy it with cash.” I said. I think at this point in time I planned to be a rich and… Read more »

Anthony Lewis
Anthony Lewis
12 years ago

To me, financial security is all about #4 above. I want to be free to work whatever job I want without having to worry about making ends meet.

I agree with others – it’s sad that our children aren’t being taught these things in school. As soon as a young person hits age 18, they are bombarded with credit card offers.

I still remember getting my first card and how free it made me feel. Of course I didn’t know at the time that a few days spending could lead to years of debt.

allen
allen
12 years ago

For me, I think that point #2 is the most important: It controls the rest. I’m in the “just out of college” age, & the majority of my friends are the same. A lot of them are getting paid better then me, because I haven’t finished yet (going back soon-ish), but most of them are in far worse places then I am. Why? Money control. So many of them have been buying things “because [they] deserve it,” ignoring what that really means. If you don’t live within your means, then we all know what happens. You can stop worrying about… Read more »

Pippin
Pippin
12 years ago

Echoing Rico a bit, I think a fundamental part of financial security is having the confidence to recognise when you are secure. Last night I was idly thinking about things I regret not doing (going along to either of my graduations, taking a day off work to help my friend try wedding dresses, that sort of thing), and it’s incredibly annoying to know that I *could* have done these things, I just thought I needed to save/earn the money to do so. Fair enough, debt is a big issue, but the ‘how much is enough’ factor isn’t just about a… Read more »

Belinda Richardson
Belinda Richardson
12 years ago

Gaining financial security can be difficult for people with a low income. Living from paycheck to paycheck can create a hardship for low-income workers and their families. The purchase of necessities is put off because there is simply no money to buy them. Therefore, when a large lump sum of money is received hopefully many of them will use it responsibly to help themselves overcome some of these hardships. The purchase of an automobile, major car repairs, dental work, eye glasses and major appliances are all examples of this type of purchase. Not only does this money give low-income workers… Read more »

allen
allen
12 years ago

re: why wouldn’t 50k be enough:

It all depends what you want to do in your retirement. Do you want to travel the world, see those wonderful sights? Then it might not be enough very soon. Do you want to live in a city like San Fransisco, for it’s culture? Good luck trying to do that on only 50k a year, and &c.

However, in many places that would be more then enough: I know it’s more then I make right now!

bugmom
bugmom
12 years ago

I would add a Fifth component. Being prepared for the unexpected (no, I’m not an insurance salesman). Even a well structured financial plan can come crashing down if enough bad luck strikes. Take my family for example. My husband is the wage earner and I am the home maker. We have 2 preschool aged kids. In addition to my husband’s income, we also get a decent amount of annual income from farming properties that we own. We have a mortgage and a car payment and we pay off our credit cards monthly. Could our financial “house of cards” come falling… Read more »

Dave Farquhar
Dave Farquhar
12 years ago

Debt is slavery is a gross understatement. Dad got a rude awakening early in his career. He was a doctor. The doctor who owned the clinic where he worked (and, for that matter, the town where we lived) referred a patient to him. Dad sent back the diagnosis. The other doctor did a surgical procedure that Dad explicitly said the patient didn’t need, and the patient died. Knowing he was in trouble the minute a malpractice lawyer saw Dad’s paperwork, the doctor came to Dad and told him to change the paperwork. Dad refused. The doctor made more threats, but… Read more »

Don J
Don J
12 years ago

I have been thinking of myself as “debt-free” for a few years now, but recently posts like this one have had me reconsidering that position. One example is student loans. I still have student loans, and am making payments on them. Why? Because I live in Canada, and the interest I pay on my mortgage is not tax-deductible, but the interest I pay on my student loans IS tax-deductible. The net effect is that the interest rate on my student loans is slightly less than the interest rate on my mortgage. Following the classic strategy of “pay down high-interest debts… Read more »

Ed
Ed
12 years ago

My opinion is 50k would be plenty, if everything else is paid off. Anyways, I always heard that once you net the first million, the rest come in like fish.

Also- I think that financial security isn’t just being completely out of debt, many people are in debt with mortgages and such, and as long as the income and emergency funds are there I don’t see any reason that you can’t feel financially secure whilst being in debt.

John Fiala
John Fiala
12 years ago

Becoming Debt-free and realizing how much I’ve been a slave to my debts all of my life is something I’m really trying to focus on these days. Ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve had to wrestle with debt. Originally I wrestled very badly – I can remember sending emergency payments off to credit cards to free up enough room to rent a car or a moving truck or the like – I was so bad at keeping track of my debts that I wasn’t paying my cards on time. Later on, when I was married, my wife helped me… Read more »

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

Another aspect of being in debt that leaves you deeper in slavery is the need for medical insurance. Our family has had a very rough year and I don’t know how we are going to get the medical expenses paid anytime soon and these are the expenses after deductibles, copayments and the 80% paid. I don’t know how anyone could manage without insurance. If not for the medical we would have had several things paid off. I would feel good about a million dollars (extra after debts are gone, of course) for security because I could find ways to make… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
12 years ago

one thing i liked about Michael’s approach to this financial issue is the in-your-face acknowledgment that buying on time costs you. My parents never went into debt. I just wish they had taught me more about the reasoning — the don’t buy things on time lecture was the same as the don’t do drugs lecture. finite. no conversation. At least I didn’t use drugs, I can’t say the same for those credit cards. 🙂

ben
ben
12 years ago

My dad led my example on this issue. He bought every car for cash and paid off his house after about 15 years (on a 30-year mortgage). He to this day still doesn’t have a credit card! Interestingly enough, I still got a bit sucked in to the ‘normal’ way of doing things when my income started rising. I bought a car with a loan (although it was a Honda Civic, so not extravagant), and bought a big house. But I am now back to 0 debts other than mortgage and am working to pay that off. I don’t intend… Read more »

Me
Me
12 years ago

The title of this book could not possibly better describe how I feel at the moment. I’m a recent college grad trying to start a modest career with an assortment of debt sucking up each paycheck – hospital bills, student loans, credit cards. Since my income has become steady I have put myself on a strict budget – living the same way I did in college with the addition of car expenses for my commute. My major priorities basically follow the four points you’ve made. My first goal is to get debt-free. This is an enormous task. I’ve been researching… Read more »

Jim
Jim
12 years ago

Michael Mihalik listed 4 attributes of financial security. They are explicit and simple goals. Each corresponds to what the average American does poorly. Many people are in debt, not in control of expenses, do not save consistently and, whether they are aware of it or not, do not have much freedom regarding how, when, and where they earn their money. For this reason, and because most people find it easiest to learn simple and concrete steps, I think his list of goals is quite well chosen. On the other hand, I believe that the list is a bit decpetive. Why?… Read more »

ryan
ryan
12 years ago

to me, there are two levels of financial security. The first is where my investments produce enough income on a monthly basis to cover my living expenses and still have a little money left over to reinvest. this makes certain that it is self perpetuating. the second is the level where you cannot spend it fast enough to reverse the critical mass (unless you are horrible with money, at which point you wouldnt have set this up on your own) i find financial security starts at #1. I am not there yet, but working on it. i am 26, paid… Read more »

pi3832
pi3832
12 years ago

It would seem many people confuse “financial security” with “fuck you” money. “Fuck you” money is enough that you never have to work again.

“Financial security” just means you don’t have to work a job you hate.

There seems to be an implicit understand in the U.S. that you are supposed to hate your job. And many, many people do.

They therefore think that they would only be happy if they had no job at all. Which is most likely wrong. People, IME, are happiest when they have the *right* job, not *no* job.

Laura
Laura
12 years ago

I was thinking about the fourth point: “4) Not being forced to work at a job you dislike just to pay the bills” All these points sound like they are just some decisions, and the actual problems lie in one’s attitude towards money. Having savings is of course vital in this situation, but you do have to get the savings somehow. I’m a student and many young people in my position don’t really have that option of setting their minds to the “right option”. You have to start somewhere, you have work consistently for a while to gatehr savings. Even… Read more »

jeffeb3
jeffeb3
12 years ago

I’m not so sure I completely agree with these ideals. By these standards I am financially secure at age 24. I can tell you right now that I still have to work somewhere five days a week, or my lifestyle would change considerably. Separate thought: I really am not so sure I agree with the idea that my money is working for me. I have a tendency of looking at my savings as a loan that I’ve given my bank. Even in fluid money market accounts, they are using my money to make money, and then giving me part of… Read more »

icup
icup
12 years ago

Part of this advice really rings true with me – “Jill makes $35,000 a year. She has $250 in her savings account, and owes $10,000 on her credit cards. Joan makes $35,000 a year. She has $10,000 in her savings account, and owes $250 on her credit cards.” I came from a poor family growing up. We didn’t have much. My mother was a single mom, and did the best she could, but at times we had to go on welfare and food stamps to make ends meet. What I didn’t see at the time was that although we didn’t… Read more »

Lynnae @ Being Frugal
Lynnae @ Being Frugal
12 years ago

We are working on all of these points. We’ve made a big dent in our debt this year, though we still have a ways to go. My husband got let go from his very good paying job in May, and we’ve been struggling to get our expenses under our now lower income. We’re getting there though. Up until my husband lost his job, we were doing pretty well with saving money every month. We’ve cut back quite a bit with the lower income. We’re working toward number 4. That’s our goal. My husband doesn’t want to take another job that… Read more »

bugmom
bugmom
12 years ago

jeffeb3, There are other ways to make your money work for you instead of just lending it to a bank. There’s Farming, for example. You don’t actually have to *be* a farmer. We own 25% of an almond orchard (among other things) and my brother-in-law runs it (which is good, because I kill every green thing I touch). I wouldn’t recommend buying farmland in California at just this moment (see above post), but in about 3 years, I’d wager there will be some incredble bargains available. Real Estate is another example or Starting a Business. Of course, all of these… Read more »

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