Cars are expensive. Even if you’re buying used, the ongoing cost of car ownership is enough to make you seriously consider some combination of walking, Lyft and hitchhiking. Since we moved to Salt Lake City last November, one thing we’ve been seriously eying is the idea of getting rid of one of our two cars. Last month we finally pulled the trigger and now we’re a one-car household! The haul from the sale? Over $150,000 financial independence dollars. Let me explain.
I was chatting with someone at a meetup here in Salt Lake City about finance and the subject of age came up. They were young – still in college and already way ahead of where I was at that time. Looking at the numbers from the Interactive Guide, they’re not alone! The group in the “college millennial” age has potential to be the easiest retirees ever – if they can start young, control spending and save aggressively.
That got me wondering:
What do I wish I had known at each age?
That’s the goal of this post – sharing what I wish I had known. Although these have ages associated with them here, it’s more for ordering purposes. If you understand one thing on the list, just move onto the next one – even if it’s beyond your years.
This is also completely opinionated based on my knowledge of investing. I strongly prefer and advocate diversified, low-fee, index fund investing, which this focuses on. If you already know up to your current age, don’t stop there! Keep learning other topics. In other words, don’t wait to learn! Continue Reading…
Having a sudden windfall is an exciting, exhilarating time. I’ve been lucky enough to receive two windfalls over $100k in my life (so far). The first time was when my mom passed away when I was 23 and I inherited $100,000. It completely changed my life by introducing me to investing much sooner than I would have otherwise encountered it.
The second time was when the company I was working at (Code School) was acquired. I was fortunate enough to end up with an extra $400,000 from the deal. I was 32 at the time and leading the largest team (by headcount). I’d started working there for about 4 years earlier, joining a month or two after the company was incorporated (in other words: right place, right time, and working hard).
Both of these windfalls were sudden and unexpected. The difference between how I handled these two situations is night and day. 23-year-old me didn’t have any idea how to invest, had never heard of an index fund and was clueless about taxes. 32-year-old me had been investing for nearly a decade. I was able to capitalize on that gain and immediately let that windfall start making money for me – in my case by investing it.
This article is about what I wish I knew when I was 23 and encountered that windfall. Continue Reading…
Me taking a break on the hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
We have a monthly event at my work called “Women at Pluralsight”. This is a well-organized chance to hear from women here at our company as well as other inspirational voices from around the world. For May, we welcomed Renee West who blew me away with her story and inspirational message.
Renee West has had quite the life. A twice-divorced mother of 3 in her thirties, she rose to become the first woman CEO of a hotel on the Las Vegas strip – the Luxor and Excalibur(!). In a city with a long-dominated male culture, this is additionally inspiring. How did she do it? You can watch this talk West gave at a Tedx event which touches on her journey. It’s 17 minutes, but it’s seriously inspiring. I’d encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already. Continue Reading…
At the end of each month, I pull up Personal Capital and categorize every transaction into a category. For years before this, I was writing down every transaction as it happened – saving receipts and entering them into a spreadsheet when I got home. Tracking every single expense in this way is a lot of work. I believe it’s a worthwhile exercise to try if you’ve never done it before – even if you only do it for a month.
After trying both of these systems for months and years (collectively 8+ years, but only 3 years with detailed, split out data), I’ve come to realize one thing is true for me:
The closer I track my spending, the less I spend.
For me, it comes back to personal accountability. It’s far too easy to not look at these numbers and ignore spending, but data doesn’t lie. I’ve mentioned using savings rate as a lifestyle inflation canary, which is a handy way to see if your savings rate is changing over time. It has one major problem though – you could just be earning a bunch more each year! Tracking your spending is the one clear-cut way to understand if you have let lifestyle inflation in. Continue Reading…