Believe it or not, we’re about six weeks into the New Year. With that in mind, how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? If you’re like many other resolution makers, then they’re probably not doing very well at all. In fact, studies show that only 8% of those who set resolutions actually succeed at reaching them. Assuming you’re not among the 8%, let’s take a look at how you can get back on track and make this year a good one for you – especially if your resolutions were financial in nature. [Read more…] about How to Get Your New Year’s Resolutions Back on Track
Today we have the pleasure of an interview with Marie at Family Money Values, a site with an eerily appropriate name. Be sure to stop by and read about how personal finances impact a family and how, even if you have kids, you can still focus on your family's wealth.
1) How did you get started in personal finance blogging? What was your inspiration?
I had (and have) a message I felt was important – money brings it's own problems. I didn't feel that message was being conveyed anywhere and that a certain segment of our population would need to hear and be interested in hearing all about it.
2) What changed in your financial life as your family grew that was a surprise? If you can instill one financial value in your children in the future, what would it be?
What changed and was a surprise: Kids raised in the same household, by the same parents learned very different financial lessons.
One financial value: Money is just a tool – the work you do to earn it is the real reward – providing you with honor, respect and the self-satisfaction of making a contribution to society.
3) You discuss the possible downsides of wealth for families. What is the biggest downside and the best way to negate that problem?
I think the biggest downside differs depending on where you are in life and what you want out of life. In general though, I believe that being unprepared for the effects of wealth affects most people at some point in their wealth cycle. I'm hoping that FamilyMoneyValues can help educate and inform folks that they do need to prepare, as well as, on how to get prepared.
4) What is the biggest personal finance lesson you learned the hard way?
Bailing someone out of their financial mistakes by throwing money at them is not the way to solve the problem. If you really want to help, you somehow have to effect behavior changes. Sometimes that means letting the someone fail miserably.
5) Outside of blogging, what has been the biggest change you made to your financial life that made a difference? (i.e. making more money, frugal changes, budgeting, investing)
In our case, the biggest change happened when I chose a new career and worked hard to succeed in it. It immediately helped our bottom line. It provided bonuses, stock options and other opportunities for added income and it provided our children with a great example of a lucrative career path (which they both chose on their own to pursue).
Remembering games in elementary school, when the ball went out of bounds, my friends and I would yell, “Do over!” and get another shot. That is fine for the playground but obviously doesn't cross over into financial choices. Thinking back over my financial life, there are a number of instances where I wish I could call for a “do over!”
If I had my life to do over, I would have finished college before having kids. I would have started saving and investing earlier, taking advantage of the awesomeness that is compounding interest. I would have bought a house before the bubble. But the number one financial choice I wish I could do over: I would have started budgeting sooner!
For too many years, I spent money like water, letting it flow in and out of my life but not making any real choices about how I used it. I cringe to think of how much money I wasted in my 20's due to irresponsible overspending and overdraft fees. I can't do over those years, and that money (which could be compounding as we speak!) is gone forever. It's never too late to change habits and stop the damage, though.
It took a drastic pay cut and brush with food stamps to get my butt in gear and start really managing my money. I had to budget out of necessity. What a revelation! Making a budget meant becoming aware of my spending, which wasn't in line with my income, and made me reevaluate what I considered needs. I started using cash envelopes. I made an envelope for each budget category so I couldn't overspend. I couldn't overdraw our account. Financial responsibility became a habit. In a little over a year, I was able to turn our situation around, even with a low income. I saved a quarter of our income, dropped the food stamps, and returned to college to finish my degree. I will graduate debt free.
Without becoming aware of my poor money habits and making deliberate choices about how I would manage our money, I would still be wishing for the do over. I can be glad that I'm making good choices now, and try not to kick myself over the choices I didn't make sooner.
Image by Gamma Man.