I’m so happy to be here and writing to you guys. As Logan and Mike talked about on Friday, today is my first day as a part-time contributor, so you’ll be hearing from me a few times a day, every day (gulp!). Before that starts, I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and plead for your goodwill. (I’ve been typing thebillfold.com into my iPhone every morning as soon as I wake up for a really long time, so this is kind of a big moment for me.)
My name is Meaghan (hi!), I am 29, 4’10″, and more of a Logan than a Mike. I grew up in a few different places in the South (Alabama, Louisiana, and Tallahassee, Fla.), and after college (Notre Dame; kinda hated it) I moved to New York in 2006 to be a writer. And by that I mean I moved to New York to be a nanny, with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I started a blog (if you ever want to know way too much about me, my blog is a good place to start).
Between then and now I have overdrafted my checking account approximately 17 times, paid my painful student loan bills with varying success, spent about a six-month period living off of pretty much just instant oatmeal, read way too many Mormon mom blogs, wrote too much about my feelings on my Tumblr, had amazing jobs fall into my lap that let me stop worrying about money if only for awhile, did a Kickstarter project to make a book about sex (whoops), opened an IRA, learned to cook, fell in love, made a budget, never stuck to the budget, and eventually grew to hate each of my amazing jobs despite knowing they were incredible opportunities I should be grateful for (and am! sort of).
Seven years later, my main source of income is paying myself from my savings account ($1,200, every two weeks) so that I can go sit at the library for a few hours each day and try to write something worthwhile. More often, I panic. But I am writing nonetheless.
I say my savings account but since this is the Billfold I should tell you that the money is not exactly from me putting a dutiful 20 percent away every month for years. I did do that for a while, inspired probably by something I read here I’m sure, but in reality I am on more of what I like to think of as a Marissa Mayer-funded Grant for Young Women Who Spent a Year Working at Tumblr at Exactly the Right Time, i.e., I made money from my employee stock options.
One day I will tell you more about that, but for now I will say how it feels: similar to how I imagine a trust fund or an inheritance or a lottery ticket would, that is, surreal, lucky, terrifying, freeing, and unearned.
I do not think of myself as a money person or a business person or a Wall Street Journal person, but I think if Logan and Mike have taught us anything it’s that hearing even the most banal anecdotes about how everyday people get by—what they spent over the weekend, how they decide on a budget, how they are handling their debt—is not only WAY more fascinating that it sounds, but has been a source of incredible insight as we all wade our way through the murky waters of trying to figure out what the hell to do with ourselves, what matters to us, and what kind of life we want to live (and um, how we will pay for it).
I love that this type of money person information feels accessible here, and interesting, and “for me” in a way I haven’t seen before. I learned about compound interest from The Billfold, and high-yield savings accounts, and which type of IRA to get (Roth). But I do think the real magic of the site is in everyone’s seemingly boring but actually revelatory sharing of their own circumstances—the stories behind all of it. As it turns out, whether we like it or not, we are all money people, and we have a lot to learn from each other. This is why I type it into my phone every morning and why I told my friend that the best part of writing for the Billfold is reading the comments.
My friend, by the way, thought I was kidding. I told her that no, it was bizarre, unheard of even, but that everyone was sincere and supportive, and that the site worked best when the posts function as a jumping off point where people could chime in and tell their own stories. This is what I love.
I don’t know how Mike and Logan have done it, or how all of you do it, but I am honored to be here and hope you don’t hate me. This is my first real writing job, which I am really excited about, and really happy that it’s with all of you.
You can reach Meaghan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Kristie L. Peters