On On Safety Nets vs. Spending Now

I definitely became more anti-social when I was paying off debt. When I first finished graduate school and got a job, I was pretty reckless with my income - lots of socializing with grad school friends, new clothes, stuff for the new living situation. I eventually buckled down (right around the time student loans went out of the grace period). And I started to grow apart from my former grad school classmates started fading. Around that time, an old, old friend and I reconnected, and from that friend, I picked up a whole crew of friends. My friend invited me to a Halloween party, where I met a now-ex-boyfriend, and the now-ex-boyfriend introduced me to my group that became my closest friends. I almost didn't go to that Halloween party....I wore a "costume" of clothes from my closet...I didn't take anything to the party....I remember being a little annoyed because of gas money to drive across town to the party. In other words, I spent next to nothing in terms of money, and I somehow came out with so many blessings from that one event. This is totally the opposite of my experience with spending all the money right after getting a job - those relationships didn't last (and honestly, they were so, so unhealthy for everyone involved, but that's another story).

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm 1

On Millennials Having a Hard Time Saving Money

Straight out of college, I saved 10(%) of gross income in a 401K with a match of 50%; ahhhh, the mid-2000s when we were flush with cash. I also saved in a cash account, but I can't remember how much. What I do remember was that the savings account that earned between 3-5%. Miss those days. Then I got a little ahead of myself, went to graduate school, didn't get a job in grad school...and took out student loans for the first time. So no savings whatsoever for a while. Just a huge liability taken on in a terrible economy with no job prospects. It really was in my 30s that I started to figure stuff out. I made debt repayment a priority, and once i was done with that, I committed to saving at least 30% of my gross income, for the rest of my life, if possible. I have invested during a lot of the boom in the last 5 years, but my cash savings gets less than 1%. There is no 401K, so no match. Win some, lose some.

Posted on November 11, 2014 at 11:07 am 0

On You Don't Get Wealthy From Saving

@caryatis Why is did “wealthy” the goal? Saving 10K/year may not make a person wealthy, but it will make them a lot more comfortable and have a lot more piece of mind than they would without the savings. Why can’t that be the point of savings?

Posted on November 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm 2

On Trying to Pay Off Debt and Falling Off the Wagon (As We Do Sometimes)

Logan! So good to see you here - just like the old days! But sorry you're having a rough time. Debt is tough, no question. And realizing that you are your own worst enemy is just...discouraging. I used to have credit cards that I "kept off the books," so that I wouldn't have to acknowledge how much money I was spending (and, I'll be honest - how frivolously I was spending). Then, I "took out a loan from savings" so that, again, I didn't have to acknowledge how much I was spending. It was a bad, bad cycle. What helped me was to be totally honest with myself about my spending. No more secret spending which led, ultimately, to no more "loans," which led, after a long time, to having a balanced spending plan. It was no fun, at all, but I learned a lot about myself? I became a better person? Maybe? Or maybe not. Mostly I just have less stress now.

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: September 2014 Check-in

Nothing very exciting. After a job change, salary is a little lower, so I'm adjusting for a bit. August: $3494 September: $4414

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm 0

On What Will You Do With Your Extra $200?

@Mae I can't find the citation, but the benefit formula for determining distribution is higher for lower wage workers than for those with higher income. The range is something like a 5% return on contributions for those in the lowest bracket, compared with 0.5% for the highest bracket. Here are the CBO's findings: http://goo.gl/cO1Lmn

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm 0

On What Will You Do With Your Extra $200?

@jfruh Also not regressive when higher earners pay income taxes on the benefit, but lower income earners don't.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm 0

On What Will You Do With Your Extra $200?

@jfruh It's not regressive when those who pay the most into the system get the least out of it. And it's not regressive when lower income workers receive an earned income tax credit to offset the FICA tax.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm 0

On Happy Monday. Are You Richer Than The Average Millennial?

@que_si It always bugs me that mint includes the car in net worth, especially since they don't update the depreciation attached to the Kelley Blue Book value.

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm 0

On Are Family Dinners Anti-Feminist?

@Josh Michtom@facebook A church-run food pantry in my neighborhood is always happy to receive food donations, but they also suggest donations of kitchen equipment or even time to teach people to cook. It's hard to live on rice and beans when you don't have the pan to cook them in!

Posted on September 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm 0