You Have to Be Different If You Want to Retire Early

I just read a great article titled The Money Boss Budget by J.D. Roth.  J.D. dissected the Consumer Expenditure Survey and derived the Average American Budget:


The average American directs 8% of their after tax income to savings or debt reduction.

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Oh, The Temptations!

If your goals include reducing or controlling your spending, you’ve got to figure out ways to tame the temptation beast.

The world we live in now has so many more temptations than when I was in my 20’s and 30’s.  There was no facebook, instagram or Kardashian’s (thank God!).  The world was smaller and there were fewer Jones’s to keep up with. Continue reading “Oh, The Temptations!”

How could you use your tendency to meet your goals?

I love my fiction reads but I mix in books that inspire me or teach me something every couple weeks.  Recently, I’ve been enjoying books by Gretchen Rubin.  She is the NY Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before.  

In Better Than Before, Gretchen identified four tendencies that we each fall into.  These tendencies dictate how we respond to expectations.

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How Do You Stay Motivated?

I had dinner with two young couples last week.  They’re about the age our kids would be if we had kids.  Talk turned to this blog and then to financial choices in general.  Both couples had questions about how to do a budget and I hope Mr. Ms. Liz and I were able to help.

One of them mentioned that wanting to buy that next toy keeps him motivated to sell more and make more money.  The desire for the next bigger thing allows him to be his most productive self.  He has said similar things in the past so this stuck with me and I’ve thought about it a lot.

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Money and Marriage

Boy, this can be a tough one.

I came into marriage with some baggage from my childhood and a vision for what it meant to be a professional woman.  Both of these put me in opposition to the ways couples traditionally treat money in their marriage.

First, the baggage.  My parents fought about money . . . a lot.  It was a constant undercurrent in their marriage.  My Dad was what we’d call frugal today.  My Mom was more towards the middle on the frugal-spendy spectrum.

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Think About Your No When You Say Yes

Anytime you say “Yes” to something, you’re saying “No” to something else.

“Yes, I can take on that project” may mean

“No, I can’t spend time with you” or “No, I can’t do my best work on something else”.

“Yes, I’ll spend that money” may mean

“No, I can’t put extra towards my debt” or “No, I won’t be saving this month”

In the bigger picture, it may mean “No, I won’t be making progress towards my goals and dreams”.

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Can You Do Fifth Grade Math?

Personal finance is simple–people say it is fifth grade math.  I don’t remember anything about fifth grade so I’ll have to trust them on this.

What we earn – what we spend = Surplus or (Deficit)  also known as “the gap”

We have to pay attention and grow this gap either by increasing our earnings, decreasing our spending or both.

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Please Don’t Call Me Lucky

I ran into an acquaintance a couple weeks after I retired.  When I told her I had just retired, she said “Oh, you’re so lucky”.  I almost came uncorked.

My friends know my filters don’t always stay in place–I’m known to speak before I think on occasion.  I think my response was something like this “ah, no there was no luck about it, we’ve worked really hard for this”–said really quickly and I can only imagine with what facial expression.  She wandered off like a deer in the headlights. I’ve wondered ever since how this was translated to our community’s gossip chain in which she is a strong link.

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How I Knew I Could Retire

I’m an accountant and an Excel geek.  If a “I Excel” bumper sticker existed, I’d put it on my car.  It would be my only bumper sticker.  Oh wait, I just found a “I Spreadsheets” sticker, I may need one.

I prepared my first budget before my sophomore year of college–because my father insisted. I was definitely not on board but the next summer I asked him to help me do it again and I have done an annual budget ever since. For me, New Year’s Day usually means football and budgets.  Seriously, it doesn’t get any geekier than that.  Even scarier, I have friends that do the same thing (ok, one friend)!

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