2018 is proving to be an eventful year for the Fetching Freedom Family. Three weddings of close friends and family and we are on track to be officially financially independent in mere months, you guys, a full year ahead of our original schedule and before my 29th birthday, even after putting a year’s salary into our newly minted Donor-Advised Fund.
Not to mention I will be a speaker at FinCon(affiliate link for tickets, though they have community passes too), attending the inaugural Cents Positive retreat (sold out, but sign up for their list serv for details on the scholarships), taking an eight week sabbatical (including three weeks in and around the beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine), and I’m on track to lose over 50 pounds this year (bringing me down 67 from my highest weight over the last two years)!
Unlike frugality and personal finance, healthy habits do not come naturally to me. Losing weight with diet and exercise always sounded reductionist and didn’t seem to apply to me. Vegetables were my friends, after all, and red meat was never part of my diet; if I already ate my greens, how could I possibly lose weight? Plus running is just awful. I’d rather have some extra weight than have to go for a run every day. I don’t eat any different from my friends, and they’re not overweight. It’s obviously just the way I am, right? (Spoiler Alert: wrong!)
It took unknowingly gaining 30 pounds in a year (and, okay, the Secret Eaters TV series if I’m being honest) to really get me to make a conscious change, and in the journey I’ve realized there are an insane number of parallels to personal finance and the journey to financial independence.
She had an aura of someone who would embrace the label of “the cool aunt” and would totally have your back if Uncle Ed had anything to say about your unladylike unshaven legs at the Thanksgiving table, even if she herself always followed gender norms.
With a ruffle of paper and faint smell of Sharpie, we did as we were told.
Today’s post is part of the Women Rock Money movement, with a massive 42 contributors at last count alone. Yes, that’s right, 42+ kickass women dropping knowledge today. While I haven’t been able to read the others at the time of this writing, as all the posts went live today at 6AM EST, but the snippets and titles alone make me question if I’ll be able to get any of my 9-5 work done tomorrow.
Disclaimer: Links to Amazon and Personal Capital are affiliate links.
You know who’s used to hearing often-conflicting advice about what they should and should not do in life? Women. We’re taught being fat is a crime punishable by spinsterhood, yet it’s somehow also our vain faults that eating disorders are on the rise. We’re supposed to lean in and be assertive at work, but only if we aren’t bitches about it. It’s exhausting and futile to try to satisfy all of society’s expectations. In a word, it’s bullshit.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m calling bullshit on one more thing, because personal finance rules are for dicks.
Dan Ariely has a knack for helping us understand ourselves as humans and delivering science in an approachable way. Probably best known for Predictably Irrational, a well-named tome about how humans behave irrationally (but in a predictable way), Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics. Basically, him writing a book about humans and money was bound to happen one of these days!
This time around, Ariely teamed up with Jeff Kreisler, a comedian and writer. The tone of the book did seem noticeably different and written in a lighter way. Dollars and Sense, as a result, comes across as even more approachable to the casual reader.
There’s a little something for everyone in Dollars and Sense, but it seems most applicable to someone fairly new to thinking about personal finance, or to someone who has struggled to stick to budgets and saving.
As I’m writing this, Fergus, Fluffster, and I are currently sitting (and one of us is whining) in a Red Roof Inn wondering what the weird sound coming from the bathroom is. [Future Felicity here: still no clue what that sound was…]
What do two nerds who don’t celebrate Christmas do with holiday time off? A mini hackathon, of course! Fergus is hard at work finishing up a custom WordPress theme, because wow are we particular. We’re getting a new layout, and even some new commissioned art that we are so psyched about! Meanwhile I’m taking care of the writing backlog and basic SEO upgrades for the site.
In the meantime, take a read of our Two Cup House guest post! We’re proud to have shared our story and participated in their 25 Days of Personal Finance series. Just a little bit of a teaser to get your interest piqued:
About three years ago, our dog, Fluffster, suddenly started dry heaving on a walk. Less than an hour later at the emergency vet, we were told he had bloat and were handed an itemized bill for roughly $5k.
We started this year dedicating ourselves to $2,680 in charitable donations, ten times our previous, pitiful contributions. Just a few days ago we officially fully funded our donor-advised fund, meaning we could theoretically maintain that $2,680 each year for the rest of our lives (we haven’t touched on too many specifics of our spending on here, but for context, we live on a little more than $36k a year, including rent, and additionally give $10k to family each year).
According to the 4% rule of thumb, we’d need $67k, but we rounded up to $70k for good measure. Coincidentally, my starting salary as a new engineering grad six years ago was $67k! Due to the magic of compounding returns and some nice salary bumps along the way, this contribution only delays financial independence by about six months for us, and we should still be able to reach our goal of 2019!
FinCon is an annual conference for money nerds of all sorts, meaning I was with *my people* for four days (even longer, actually, as the wonderful Kara from Bravely put me up in Austin for three nights)! Two separate podcasts interviewed me (the Plutus award-winning Stacking Benjamins, and the soon-to-be-Plutus-award-winning Fairer Cents), I have half a dozen projects and/or inquiries to follow up on, my closet is now 100% stocked with workout shirts courtesy of exhibit hall swag, and I am pumped full of inspiration and drive.
If you read enough self-help or management books, after a while they all seem to be just the same message repackaged over and over again (Not that anything can be totally original, but you know what I mean).
I watched Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk about “multipotentiality” close to a year ago on the recommendation of one of my best friends and deeply connected with the message. I’d read the book The Renaissance Soul years ago, and I figured How to Be Everything was just going to be another repackaging of the same idea. So wrong.
My condolences. Seriously, car shopping sucks. Here are a few lessons we picked up to make it less sucky, mostly focused on buying from a dealership (for Craigslist shopping, LifeHacker has you covered).
We love to shop around for the best rates, and dealers love to spam with calls and emails. I initially inquired about new car prices just for the hell of it on TrueCar (meaning I had to give an email and phone number), and I instantly got six different emails from four different dealerships. Months later, and some of them still haunt my voicemail. Take a note from drug dealers and get yourself a burner phone.
So we just spent $1150 on car repairs… oh, and the trade-in value for our car is roughly $500 (from a dealer; we could surely get quite a lot more selling it ourselves, but probably still less than $1150). When does spending more money on repairs than the value of the car make sense financially? Let’s explore [cue evil laugh].