AJ: KJ and I eat, sleep and breathe money talk. KJ works in finance, I manage a really large budget as part of my job, and we’re budgeting and planning obsessed. So when I come across an article that gives me pause (an article from Yahoo! Finance about 7 money mistakes you shouldn’t make in your 30s), I’m always surprised. We’ve ticked some of these boxes but the older we get the more it seems like we can use reminding.
1. Getting married before you talk about the “F” word — finances.
Again, KJ and I have never been in a place where we didn’t talk about finances but we have happily married friends that STILL don’t talk about finances. This is happiness suicide, don’t do this to yourselves. Even if one of you is an extreme spender and one is an extreme saver, don’t hide that from one another. Eventually the truth always reveals itself and it’s selfish not to be open about what’s coming in and going out.
2. Letting your student debt take care of itself.
Letting anything “take care of itself” is a little bit of a joke. There are all kinds of resources to help you manage through paying off student debt. Many companies now even offer services to help burn through that student debt. Don’t hold onto this while socking away money in a retirement fund. That’s counterproductive to the big picture!
3. Not saving for retirement.
When I was first employed out of college retirement was pretty much all I thought about. Working full-time is ROUGH in comparison to college and working forever seemed like a dreadful existence. Somehow though, the longer I work, the less I seem to focus on retirement. Something about time healing all wounds and growing up and yada yada yada. Regardless, saving for a time in which all you do is live as you choose should be the driving force behind a lot of the decisions you make – through the earning and the spending of your future opportunities.
4. Using graduate school as an excuse to avoid the job markets.
I can’t even sort of relate to this. Going back to school seems like the most stressful thought of all time and going back to school in lieu of having a job and MAKING money just seems like crazy talk. HOWEVER, there are so many professions that require a graduate-level degree in order to move forward through the food chain so you have to manage through both having a job and going to school.
5. Buying a house you can’t afford.
To me, this is the most relate-able of all of these pieces based on our current situation. We’ve talked at length about the house we bought last year and all that we’ve done to it but there are days where it certainly feels like money is flying out the windows that still need window treatments and into things like the sprinkler system and landscaping. Part of being able to afford a house includes being able to afford the bills, the repairs, the taxes, the HOA, essentially, WAY MORE than just the mortgage. If you can afford the car but not the gas, what good is it? Look at all considerations associated with owning a home before diving into this 30-year-mortgage-carrying project.
6. Neglecting your children’s education.
This is always a point of contention when we talk about money with other families. How do you plan to address education for your children? Not just college, but private vs. public schools, short-term vs. long-term. There are so many options and choices for parents today regarding the education of their children that you need to know all of your options so you can budget for them now. People are spending college-level amounts on high school-level private school, so don’t think you have all the time in the world to pick a stance on this and be able to afford it.
7. Ignoring your will.
We just finally stopped ignoring our will, three cheers! Now my mother can rest easy at night and we have a solid plan in place for the unexpected. If you own absolutely anything, you need a will. If anyone at all is dependent upon you, you need a will. If you make money at all, you need a will. Generally speaking, you need a will. It’s not all that costly or time consuming in comparison to the amount of effort it will take your loved ones to try to figure out your wishes if you don’t have one so do them a favor and get a will written up ASAP.
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