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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Could a Mantra Help?

I’ve always been a reluctant exerciser.  I think it stems from the backpacking trips my parents forced on me starting at age 4.  I was the most miserable child; they knew I was ok on the trail because they could hear me crying even if they couldn’t see me.  They thought I would marry a librarian who would never make me do anything outside.  But alas, I married an outdoorsman so I had to adapt.

In the early years of our relationship, I would hike with him once a year–it was part of his birthday present.  We almost broke up on the Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon.  He claims old ladies with walkers were passing me.  I don’t remember any walkers but do remember old ladies and people in flip flops.  I still don’t like that trail much.

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I’m Definitely Not an Investing Genius

I’m no investing genius though I used to think of investing as a hobby of mine.  I read prospectuses (boring documents mutual fund companies prepare) and researched companies to invest in.  I purchased individual stocks and was giddy when they went up and sad when they went down.

I bought Costco before it was Costco (remember Price Club?) and I bought Exxon before oil got really expensive.  I sold Costco before it was Costco . . . at a loss.  I watched Exxon go up and now down.  Oh and don’t ask me about Good Times Burgers or Boston Chicken.
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A Path to Financial Independence

I received a text from a friend the other night that got me thinking.  “We all know, or are learning, the importance of getting out of debt—but then what?  How do we start building wealth, even if we don’t have much to work with?”

I thought it might be helpful to map out a path to financial freedom, so here is mine.  Personal finance is personal, so take what works for you and find your path.
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Debt steals your dreams

It’s funny how the ads make it look like that shiny new car or fancy vacation creates dreams but if it takes debt to pay for them, those things are really stealing your dreams.

No matter what your financial goal, debt is an obstacle to achieving it. Debt can be an obstacle to achieving any life goal.

People like to say there is good debt and bad debt. Continue reading “Debt steals your dreams”

What mountain biking and achieving goals have in common

I just got in from a great mountain bike ride and I realized mountain biking and achieving goals can be similar.

Your bike will follow your eyes. Stare at the scary rock and you’re screwed.

Stay focused on your mission, the goals and the measurable steps to get there. Avoid focusing on the next shiny object. Continue reading “What mountain biking and achieving goals have in common”

How to achieve your financial goals

You have big plans and exciting goals. Some years you even make resolutions but you are not happy with your progress.  You:

want to save money

or get out of debt

or have better control over your finances

But you have wanted this for a long time and progress is too slow.

The first step is not to lay out the details of your goal; the first step is to figure out your why. Continue reading “How to achieve your financial goals”