Thursday, February 26, 2015

Financial Wellness

I hate thinking about money. My way of money management has always been one of least resistance. Oh, there's some kind of savings plan through the company? Fine, take some of my paycheck. I can split up my direct deposit into a savings and checking account? Fine, take 40%. I'll spend the rest.

I'm great at spending money. I don't buy many things. I don't care about big TV's or new couches. I prefer the lending library to the personal one. I prefer the radio to the record collection. My zen-like approach to the corporeal comes from crossing continents and oceans, shuffling off worldly possessions like a molting crow. Vinyl and paper are just too heavy to lug around the world. Since I don't want much, I basically buy whatever I do want and if there's something left over in the end, great. If not, who cares? I'll make more money.

Student loans have essentially destroyed my credit. I never paid attention to my credit score, so I never did anything to combat the effect of my federal student loans. I went to buy a car a few weeks ago and learned my score for the first time in my life. Low. I still got the car I wanted, but only because I'm making pretty OK money these days.

My structural engineer is a financial genius. He chastised me for not being smarter about my money.

I've decided to take a more active role in my financial future. I downloaded a budgeting app, took the personal budget online course on MGM's M-Life Insider Education site, and I've been talking with experts.

Here are a few things I've learned about myself:
  1. I spend more on alcohol and bars than any human ever should.
  2. I spend less on clothing than anybody would ever guess.
  3. If I spend only $200/month on alcohol and bars, I could pay off my student loans in just three years(!)
  4. Investing in my 401(k) makes me feel a lot better about getting old.
  5. With apps now, financial stuff can actually be fun.
I'm starting to look at this like a game. I always looked at it like a chore. If I'm clever, I might have a crazy credit score, own a cool condo, and have all my federal debt paid off soon. I never thought any of that possible.

I'm using Mint. Maybe you'd like it ↯
I like this article about how attracted people are to financial stability ↯
I'm looking forward to digging into this blog ↯

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