Tag Archives: retirement

Money in the Bank

Last week I had a conversation with a coworker about how many of my other coworkers eat out every lunch. He said that it was something that he, as a husband and a father, just couldn’t afford to do. I replied that I didn’t feel I could afford it either, even with only having myself to support.

His response, “So you have money in the bank.”

I’ve never thought about it in those terms, but that’s exactly what not eating out meals has afforded me. When I was younger, I used to be just like my coworkers, eating out most meals. Sure, they weren’t anything fancy, but $5-15 each meal adds up very fast. Not to mention the types of food I was eating added to the 112 pounds that I’ve been diligently working to get back off me these last few months.

So instead of all those delicious, convenient meals, I have “money in the bank”. I am still eating pretty tasty fare that is as convenient as sticking today’s previously-homemade meal in the microwave for two minutes.

This conversation made me realize I needed to re-calculate my net worth. Sure enough, for the first time in my adult life, my net worth is larger than my annual income:

Ronnica's Net Worth

It’s excited to see that number grow as I continue to squirrel away money towards a future home purchase and even more long-term, for retirement. I still feel like I’m playing catch-up a bit from the time I spent in my 20s spending every dollar I made, but slowly the numbers are starting to work in my favor. That’s only going to continue to be the case as my money starts working for me, too. As Chris Hogan says, “Interest paid is a penalty; interest earned is a reward.”

Birthday Thoughts

33Today is my 33rd birthday. I hope never to be embarrassed to tell others how old I am…why should I be?

Officially being a year older makes me consider how I’ve grown in the last year…and where I still have work to do.

Probably my greatest area of growth in the last year was financially. Which makes sense, as it was an area of emphasis. In the past year I’ve doubled my retirement and emergency savings as well as paid off $9,000 in student loan debt. I’ve tried to track what I’ve spent this year so I have a baseline for future years as well (more about that in January). Instituting my first “Buy Little” months this year were helpful to show myself that I can indeed live on less. It’s a habit I will continue.

As far simplifying, I’ve done better than previously, but not as well as I wish. I still have too much clutter in my life, though I’ve taken a lot less in than I ever have. I want to keep working through the Marie Kondo zones to tackle the clutter. I think I need to really work on reestablishing my habit of cleaning for 10-15 minutes every day to get a handle on things better. Inevitably, if I’m able to continue to get rid of things faster than I get new things, I’ll get there.

There are other areas, too, that I’m evaluating my life, but I won’t discuss them here as they are outside the scope of this blog.

What milestones have you accomplished this year? What do you wish to work on in the next year?

Photo by Stephan Mosel

Interesting Financial Interactives

calculatorI have always been the person who enjoys taking those silly little quizzes–“Does He Like You?”, “What Kind of Mother are You?”, and the like.  Interacting on the internet AND getting answers to my questions?  What a concept!

So, when I stumbled upon these interesting interactives, I knew I’d be sharing them with you.  Each one involves money in some way, and most impart valuable insight or tips for how to be better stewards of the gift of wealth.  Plus, since math is not my forte, I like being able to just plug in numbers and get answers, as opposed to using an actual calculator–or, heaven forbid, a pencil and paper!

Income Upshot

Marketplace.org is one of my regular websites, and this interactive has been really informative.  The premise is more entertainment that anything else:  type in your zip code and your annual income to see how you compare to others in your zip code.  It was enlightening to learn where we fall on the spectrum, as well as discovering such random tidbits as what kind of car those in our income bracket purchase (23% choose small cars like ours).

The Secret Life of a Food Stamp

It is way too easy for me to want to scream, “Let me fix your finances for you!” to someone who indicates they are struggling financially.  While I maintain that there is always something that can be cut from your budget, all too often I forget that, for some, the only things left that can be cut are necessities like food and shelter.  This interactive (also at marketplace.org) has you try to make do with budgets based on geography, family size, and national averages.  It’s a lot tougher than you think, and is a sobering reminder to consider all the facts before passing judgement.

College Cost Calculator

Nothing like considering the staggering costs of sending our kids to college in a couple of decades to knock me off my high horse!  We started saving for our kids’ education from the get-go…but calculators like this not only help to figure out a rough idea of what we should prepare to spend, but also serve as an important reminder that saving for big stuff is essential.

Retirement Calculator

This retirement calculator is another great reminder of the importance of saving.  Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it’s never too soon to save!

Tithing Calculator

Regardless of your views on tithing to a religious institution or giving in general, I think most of us can agree that it is important to use our gifts to be a blessing to others.  This handy little calculator lets you not only see what tithing (or giving 10% of your income) would look like, but also what percentage of your income you are currently giving.

What handy (or amusing) financial interactives have you come across?