Monday, March 17, 2014

Money Monday: On Trusting your Gut, and Doing What is Right for You

Traditionally, I have always heard there are 5 things you should not talk about in public.
                                                       2. Religion
                                                       3. Politics
                                                       4. Sex
                                                       5. Medical Problems

So.....let's talk M-O-N-E-Y.

I don't know if its my generation, but it seems as if we are more open and willing to discuss our personal finances that our parents were. Maybe its the media, maybe its the the prevalence of student loans in everyone's life, or maybe its just that we are becoming more open as a society.

Personally, I feel as if I have discussions about personal finance on a weekly basis with someone, somewhere. My husband and I are very open about where we are, where we've been, and where we hope to go.  I basically have Dave Ramsey's face tattooed on my forehead, but whatever.

Since getting married, P and I have fought long and hard to get to where we are now financially. We both entered marriage with debt (credit cards for him, graduate student loans for her), and neither of us had ever done a budget. Somehow, we were turned onto Dave Ramsey's program, went to his live event, got inspired, cut up the credit cards, learned to budget, learned to save, paid off all our debt, blah blah blah. You have heard the story before.

Now, we have 1 bill left to pay, our mortgage. We are attacking that thing as best we can (some months more than others), but our goal is to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

I had a point to this post. And I have not made it yet. So, lets give it a try now.

Because I talk finances so often, I often realize that not everyone has the same financial goals, or the same path to achieve those goals and P and I do.

I am ok with that. (Trying to be ok with that)

Last week, I was at lunch with a coworker/friend and we started talking money. He has a completly different approach to personal finance than I do. He could not understand why I would work so hard to pay off my mortgage given that I have such a low interest rate, when I could invest the money instead and earn a higher rate of return.

He put up a good argument. I had no mathematical response to give him. On paper, everything he proposed made perfect sense. My only argument that I could make in return to him was that he never calculated in the risk. I know there is a complex mathematical formula to calculate risk, but I don't know it. (Math is hard.) All I know is that financially, there is no such thing as a perfect senario that lasts. Markets crash, bubbles burst, wars happen, and humans steal. We agreed to disagree, and continued eating our taco's.

But, I realized something. Sometimes, you have to trust your gut. You may not have all the answers, but you have to do what is right for you. If you are not comfortable with a plan or strategy, no matter how good it looks on paper, you need to do what you think is right. Ultimately, its your money. The money you were paid for logging long hours at the office. For late nights at the second job. The beauty of personal finance is that you get to call the shots. You get to make the decisions. You get to determine your financial future. You. No one else.

Yes, P and I are out there in left field. We are on the extreme, and we are ok being there. We know that not everyone is so focused on being debt free. We know that not everyone cares about using coupons and having enough toilet paper stockpiled for the next 3 months, or having enough laundry detergent for the next 3 years. (True story) But, we want those things. We don't want to be vulnerable to anyone, and for us, debt= vulnerability.

In the end, you have to be at peace with your decisions. You can always change them. The choice is in your hands, not anyone else's.

Tell me....Are you at peace with your financial plan? Do money conversations come up often for you too?


ND Chic said...

I am at peace with where we are at and our future financial goals.

I don't talk about money a ton in my real life but some. I've never shared with anybody outside of my husband how much I make because I make a lot and it would be uncomfortable. I probably talk about money the most with my best friend because she just doesn't care about money.

Denise said...

I don't talk money in public either...I think a lot of that comes from being embarrassed though for past mistakes with money. Now, we are in such a better spot though (not perfect but better) that perhaps when we are debt free I may just have to brag about that a little :)

alyssa said...

I have to say I agree — even though I always heard you NEVER talk about money, I prefer to, and I don't shy away when the topic comes up among friends. To be honest, I think that's because my parents never talked to me about money growing up, so it wasn't until I had worked myself into trouble, found PF blogs and worked myself out of trouble that I was even able to establish my own financial plan — which, yes, I'm at peace (as much as I can be, at least!) with. But it definitely took a lot of effort to get here, and I think we if we talked more about money in general, and were more willing to share tips and advice and basic knowledge with each other, more people would have a financial plan that works for them. So thank you for talking about it :)

Amanda S said...

Yes, lots of people want to talk finance now! It seems that people want to compare notes and make sure they don't seem like the dumb ones. One thing I've noticed though, the ones who keep quiet are the ones who are usually going down the bad road.

Brooke said...

we are investors. we'd be debt free right now if not for all the property my husband has encouraged us to buy. So far he hasn't let me down. So far its been worth it. But like you, i don't think i can last and i want to be 100% debt free. for now, i'll take a 5 year goal of debt freedom + investment properties.