I tried to convince my husband to ghost write posts for this blog since he’s infinitely more likable and funny than I am. He said no. So you’re stuck with me. I want to talk about personal finance here, not because I think the woman I want to be is rich (pursuing wealth is not a life-affirming goal, in my opinion!) but because I’ve made so many financial blunders, and even now in my mid-30s, still have a net worth of negative six figures. Gulp. Even as a doctor I have a difficult time navigating retirement plans (What’s the difference between a 401(a), 401(k), and 403(B)!? What the heck do I do with my retirement account when I switch jobs?), my tax bracket/the tax code/filing my tax returns, and how and where to invest my money (What are stocks and bonds? What’s a mutual fund? And, like, what’s the Dow Jones blah blah blah?). I want to be intentional about my time and money, and part of that equation means I need to understand my own finances. Ya guys wanna go on a journey with me to be more financially literate women? Hurray!!!! I’ll throw in some cute pics of my kids as a bonus, which is what I know y’all come here for anyways.
Probably the most important thing I have done this year concerning money is read a short investment guide written by and for doctors. I realized I didn’t know how much student loan debt I had (I had a nebulous idea of a ballpark figure), how much credit card debt I had, what my assets were, or how much was in any of my four retirement accounts. I got (some of) my affairs in order toute suite! Credit card debt was rapidly paid down and the remainder put on a 0% card. Student loans were put in the RePAYE program which means the government is paying for about half of my interest. A meal plan was made with a ceiling of grocery spending at $150 weekly. An automatic transfer of money to an online savings account every pay period was set up. Etcetera. And yet, despite all these measures, I still only understand about 10-25% of what is discussed on financial forums. Argh.
My goal is to slowly start building a foundation to understand this type of stuff by reading 1 or 2 finance books per year and digesting it. You should, too. Right now I’m working on Andrew Tobias’ The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need. The only other practical money-saving thing I did this week was to bake my own bread and rolls, which was a double win, since I got to feed my kids shade-grown, preservative-free, no additives, organic, ethically-farmed gluten and saved myself ten bucks. Feast your eyes upon this!!
I am at the beginning of this journey but would love to share what I learn here with you all. I hope you will keep coming back and sharing your successes and setbacks (hard-won knowledge!) in this space–a place I hope empowers women to become financially literate and savvy about how, when, where and why to spend (or save) their money.