For the past few years, I’ve been volunteering at my church to coordinate Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. It’s a 9-week course that helps people get out of debt and get into strong financial shape. We just started a new session and our class is focused on Baby Step 1 (save $1,000 in an emergency fund).
This step can sometimes feel daunting when you’re just starting out, but it’s a very important one. When you have money in the bank, it keeps you from going further into debt when emergencies happen.
A few of the class participants inquired how to get through Baby Step 1 fast so they can get right into Baby Step 2 (eliminating all of their non-mortgage debt). I developed a list of 10 suggestions that worked well for me in the past and sent them an email so they could get after it. Here they are:
Over the 3 years on my podcast, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a collection of millionaire entrepreneurs, early retirees and personal finance experts. These conversations have allowed me to learn, grow and inspire others to win with their finances and create a better future for their family.
After each episode, I share a quote that motivates me and the listeners of the podcast to take action.
The Budget Party is a monthly get-together meant to set aside time for me and my wife to have important conversations about our financial future together. We review how we used our money from the previous month, what we want to do with our cash this month and how we’re tracking on our overall financial goals.
Outside of the obvious financial benefits of this activity, these meetings are great for our marriage. We discuss what’s important to us, how we’re going to get there together and how we see our relationship growing over the years to come. With two small children in the house, time for discussion is limited. The Budget Party gives us a little break and helps me feel closer to my wife.
If all this financial growth and marital relationship building stuff sounds interesting to you, I’ve compiled 10 easy steps for you to build your own Budget Party. This way, you can create your own monthly meeting and strengthen your family tree for years to come.
And for our second question of the month comes in from Nathan from Michigan on my Facebook Page:
My wife’s new job has a lot of benefits such as insurance, 401k, and FSA. We were going back and forth debating about FSA contributions. We send our daughter to daycare and the advice we got was to do the FSA. The limit is $5,000 a year.
Have you ever thought about refinancing your home? Most homeowners I know have entertained the thought at one time or another. They think it’s probably a good idea, but don’t know if it makes sense for them or not. Mortgages are confusing already. Refinancing adds to the confusion and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can cost you big time. Let’s look at when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage and when it’s a bad idea.
In order to achieve financial independence, you need to first understand what your annual expenses are. That’s how much money you need to live comfortably every year.
Your annual expenses can include things like housing, transportation, food, utility bills, entertainment, travel and the many other things that make your life … well, your life!
For our family, I’ve found that number to range between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. That number is after taxes and it doesn’t include money for saving and investing.
With lower annual expenses, it would definitely be a lot easier for our family to become financially independent.
If we’re using the 4% rule to calculate how much to save to become FI, then we’d need $1,500,000 – $1,750,000. Considering I have around $4,000 in a taxable brokerage account at 37 years old, that’s going to take quite a while!
Do you want to reach $100,000? This could be in your salary, your small business revenue, and even your net worth.
To help us achieve these big milestones in our lives, I’ve invited Tori Dunlap to chat with us today.
Tori is a millennial money and career expert. Her career started with landing a digital marketing contract worth tens of thousands, and a full-time position as the head of marketing for a global company — all before she turned 22. On track to save $100,000 by 25, Tori founded Her First $100K to give women actionable resources to get their first six figures too.
Meg from Missouri wrote in about 529 plans and her generous in-laws:
I recently discovered your podcast and am really enjoying it. I have a 529 question that I am having trouble finding the answer to. My husband and I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 1 year old. My in-laws have been wonderful and opened 529 plans for each of our kids on their 1st birthday. They contribute $600/year to each child. We are beyond lucky to have such a generous family. My husband has finally finished his medical training. We have purchased a home and are now able to start contributing to the 529 plans.
My question is … Can a child have more than one 529 plan? We live in Missouri. Our in-laws opened 529 plans that are not associated with our state of residence. Can we open 529 plans that would allow us to take advantage of tax benefits for the state of Missouri or can a child only have one plan?
If you’re looking for a house right now, this very well could be one of the most difficult times to buy real estate. The amount of available homes is super low and prices have skyrocketed. I know where we live in Metro Detroit, it seems more difficult than ever to buy a home at a decent price. From what I’ve read and heard, it sounds like a similar story in other major metros in the US as well.