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.

Continue reading “Can You Do Fifth Grade Math?”

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.

Continue reading “Please Don’t Call Me Lucky”

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)!

Continue reading “How I Knew I Could Retire”

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.

Continue reading “Could a Mantra Help?”

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.
Continue reading “I’m Definitely Not an Investing Genius”

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.
Continue reading “A Path to Financial Independence”

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”