They happen to all of us, the bumps in the road, the unexpected, the game changers that have us re-examining who we are and what we stand for. Or, even, what our purpose is. I’ve been there. I’ve lost jobs, due to my own fault or things out of my control. I’ve made poor decisions and had to try and figure out how to right my path. It’s OK. I think it’s part of life, the good and ugly part of life that helps us be stronger. Each of us have it within us to turn lemons into lemonade, it’s within those times of adversity that we can choose to continue down the path of destruction and/or depression, or take a u-turn and take a couple steps back to move forward again. It’s OK. Whether those bumps are financial or personal, every step you take forward is a step forward. It can be big or small, but forward progress is progress. <3
OK. 100% honesty here. I haven’t always taken advantage of the benefits that my roles have provided. There was a time earlier in my career when the HR Manager and financial institution rep brought the workforce into a conference room and went over the ins and outs of the company sponsored 401K. Basically, the message was “if you haven’t started saving and you are over the age of 25, you will never be able to retire unless you dedicate at least 20% of your income to investing.” I have NO idea who this person was trying to motivate into saving, because his message fell to the floor quickly. It felt like a collective eye-roll. This was a retail environment and many of us didn’t feel that there was any “extra” left after bills were paid, or were completely embarrassed that we hadn’t started saving, and really didn’t think there was any way possible to “catch up” by allocating 20% to a 401K.
Through some random water cooler conversations my supervisor overheard, he asked the department to connect up after coffee one night after the store closed. He was shocked at the number of coworkers who didn’t (at the very least) take advantage of the “free” investment money that the company gave away with some level of investing. He explained about how this type of savings actually lowers the income that you are taxed on so, when you are putting money away, yes you notice it, but if you are contributing 6% or 3%, it didn’t feel like you were losing that much out of your paycheck. That particular company matched 1/2 of a % up to 6%. So essentially, you could allocate 6%, but end up with 9% going to your 401K. For once, someone had put all of the investment jargon into words that made sense. I hope to share some of the common sense things that he shared, along with research I’ve done since then, throughout the blog.
I was always thankful for this conversation, it piqued my interest. Our brains aren’t wired for the future. Our brains are wired for today, the impulses and positive responses we receive today. How can we make investing feel like we aren’t getting something today, in favor of tomorrow, which could be something we may not ever know?
I don’t have a fantastically clear answer for that, but my best advice is to start small, no matter if you are 20, 35, 40, or 50 and beyond. If you have $0 in your savings account or 401K, go for the free money. If, after you do the math, you realize you can’t give up 6% of your salary (as in this example) to get all the free money. Go for as much as you can and slowly add a percent when and where you can. There are a lot of great calculators out there that can help you see how the tiny $20 investment today can add up to something bigger in the future.
OK, so what if you are self-employed? Unfortunately the “free” money doesn’t exist, but you can still invest in your future in ways that are friendly to taxes. The easiest way to start saving is to automate. There are a lot of tools out there to help you do this and figure out what you want your goals to be. I personally use STASH and Ally. I started STASH with $10/week going into a Roth IRA and Ally with $10/week going to a money market fund where I can choose mutual funds or individual stocks to invest in. I’m telling you how I started supplementing my savings because I want to emphasize that saving doesn’t have to be painful. Many people I know don’t think twice about going out for lunch ($10) or purchasing coffee at Starbucks a couple times a week ($10.) Changing a couple small habits today can have a huge impact on the future.
Now, what does $20/week even mean? It’s small, doesn’t seem to really matter, right? Well, maybe, but also maybe not. Every little bit that you put away can help you towards a better retirement and towards financial freedom. So, I used the investment calculator on DaveRamsey.com. Below are the results by age and what it can mean by the time you retire:
As I mentioned before, a little bit adds up, no matter what your age. Compound interest is an amazing tool that everyone can use to their advantage. This example is $20/week, imagine if you are putting more than that away, or this is simply supplemental to a typical 401K that you currently have in place. I find it exciting, to watch what seems like something small grow into security for my family. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, or somewhere in between. The sooner you take advantage, the more it will compound over time.
I’ll be digging into compound interest, how the little things can add up, and more as we progress. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me, <3 Bobbi
Well… Hi, I’m Bobbi Bricker. I’m 40, I’m passionate about creating a path for myself and my family that brings us to a place of security. My path isn’t everyone’s path, but I think I’ve learned things along the way that can help others. I work full-time (and then some,) married with a two crazy kids, enjoy reading and listening to podcasts, pushing myself forward, and sometimes life just gets “tight.” I get stretched too thin, am not always the person I aspire to be, and I make mistakes.
I guess, what I’m saying is I’m real. I love expanding my mind, but can also be caught catching up on the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules. I love my kids to death and recognize this time in my life is fleeting, so I try to cherish every awesome and ugly moment, but sometimes the peace and quiet I need to recharge feels like it doesn’t happen quite often enough.
So, why a blog focused on money (and throw in some parenting/life/marriage?) Well, because I’ve made mistakes, I know what it’s like to be in a mountain of credit card debt, have to close down a business to save my family because I was stretched too thin, to have to get real about a budget to get (back) on track financially, to make choices for my family above myself, and more. I feel that there is so much out there that can be shaming about money matters. Every other day I see articles like “How Much Every 35 Year Old Should Have In Savings” and it refers to a 6-month salary savings. I don’t know about you, but it is kind of deflating to read that and get real about the fact that I do not have 6 months of my salary liquid at my fingertips. Then, I start thinking of the reality of $1k+ per month of childcare, a mortgage, car payments, insurance, regular expenses, and I feel even more deflated. I KNOW that you can feel secure and confident in your financial freedom without a cloud of a certain number looming over you. How much you NEED in savings is dependent on YOU, and your life.
So. Step 1. Create a blog that is inspiring, not deflating with REAL tips and tricks to move towards financial freedom and a retirement that can happen.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope that we can be friends 🙂 Bobbi
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Ever realized that you were 40 (or 35 or 50) and needed to take a serious look at your finances? This space is designated to helpful, inspiring money advice. There is no shame here, we’ve all had ups and downs, the focus is moving forward, not looking behind.