This summer, I've felt unusually blessed to have such great friends. Rob and I have lived in Raleigh for four years, and during that time we've developed some deep friendships. With heavy but hopeful hearts, we've helped 3 or 4 friends move out of the Raleigh area onto new adventures in other cities, states, even continents. Some have returned, while others are gone for good.
It's with a twinge of sadness that I realize that Rob and I will probably be the next to move. Our friends will help us load into a moving truck, and we'll be on to new adventures too.
But in between now, and our move (which is likely months away), I get to bask in the glorious ways that friends have enriched our lives. Of course, friendship is a good in itself, but our friends have helped us become financially wealthier too.
Can yours do the same for you? Here's how calling up your friends could save you thousands of dollars this summer.
FinCon and the Center for Financial Services Innovation are sponsoring a writing contest: “In 500 words, explain what financial health means to you.” I'm late to the party, but I had some thoughts, so I thought it best to share (especially since the Center for Financial Services Innovation sponsored the US Financial Diaries which is my most recent obsession).
When I think about financial health, my first thought is gratitude. I grew up in a family where my dad once told me, "I never have to worry about losing my job. We might run out of money, but I'll never run out of work."
As an adult, those words wouldn't comfort me, but I'm lucky that I learned them as a child. Not many children have the fortune to see their parents build a business, but I had that fortune. Not many children get to know when their parents paid off their mortgage, but I knew. Not many children got to look at their parent's financial spreadsheets to see where the money goes, but I got to see that.
I'm grateful for many things from my childhood, but few things make me more grateful than the example of financial health that my parents gave to me.
I recently got to read the book The Financial Diaries by Jonathon Morduch and Rachel Schneider. I thought it was a valuable read, in fact it's so valuable that I recommend that you read it yourself. I got my copy by hacking into Rob's intra-library loan system (which is how I read most new non-fiction), but you might have to buy a copy.
The book follows a few hundred individuals families and all their income and consumption in a year. Almost all the participants are living above the poverty line, but below the median household income for a family of their size. A few earn near median incomes, but still struggle to get by (especially single parent households).
Why was this book so valuable for me? It helped me to gain a better frame of reference when I'm helping lower income people figure out their financial plans. Here's what I learned from the book.
Writing about ideas is cathartic for me. I spend a lot of time writing about financial products, telling financial stories, or explaining financial concepts. Writing within that structure makes me a sharper thinker and a better writer. But it's not an outlet for my ideas.
This post is an outlet for an idea that's been germinating for so long that it's become alcohol in my brain. I have to get it out, or I'll never be able to function again.
You don't have to read it. The post is for me. In it, I'll try to explain why I don't think you have to be a big lefty to care about poor people and their finances.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.