Today’s is not the traditional M.a.D Monday post but surely it is tangential to Making a Difference. Today’s post is about money, specifically what you can do with it now to avoid running out of it later.
Never fear, I’m not here to give advice as I’m in no way qualified to do so. After all, I’m just learning how to live with having money in my life. For those who are new here, let me give you a quick background.
The Husband and I started this marriage years ago with a fair amount of personal debt, mostly student loans and a credit card or two that had manageable, albeit unpaid, balances. We both had decent jobs and thought we had a basic understanding of living within our means.
We were wrong.
Fast forward about ten years, 3 houses (one underwater) and 3 kids later and we found ourselves living in a new state with one less income and a mountain of debt so high that we could not even see the peak from where we stood. More of the nitty-gritty of our story can be found here and here.
It’s taken us five years, five long and tedious years but we are nearly at the summit. If everything continues as planned, we will be almost completely debt-free by October. We will have payed down an exorbitant amount with just a few smaller things to manage until next March and then we will be 100% debt-free minus a home we will then own.
Before The Husband was laid off, we had set our goals for 2013 to be future-driven. We’ve been in the muck and mire of debt-repayment for so long, we admittedly haven’t thought enough about our future. Since that attitude is largely what got us into this mess to begin with, we knew we had to change it quickly. So we thought this year we’d seek financial counseling of some sort and eventually investment assistance.
Then January came and our income was halted, so we quickly fell back into survival mode. I stopped thinking about retirement and college savings and started thinking about our next grocery trip. In wonderful karmic magic, a friend asked me to review his new book,The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins and I agreed.
Quite honestly, I must have been desperate. Doing straight book reviews is always a stressful situation for me because as a writer I hate being critical of other people’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m HYPER critical of books, but I usually don’t share bad thoughts because I know the work that goes into them and nothing is so bad it would compel me to trash it or the writer online. I tend to shy away from straight reviews because what if they stink? I can’t handle that. Add to that the fact that this author is someone I know well and you can only imagine the fear I had cracking that cover. With this book, I was compelled by the concept, a fiction story about a young journalist who finds her own financial way through a series of interviews with retirees who would do things differently if given the chance.
Now, I’ve read a ton of money books written by all different types of authors. The one thing they have in common, no matter how excellent the information or how well they’re written, is that it takes everything I have to keep reading them and not either fall asleep or throw them across the room. Money has never been easy for me. I’m excellent at managing other people’s, but my own has always been a struggle, so reading about how to do it better is not something I do with enthusiasm.
Imagine my surprise when not only was the The 7 Deadly Retirement Sinswell written, but was compelling enough to keep me from putting it down. And what a huge relief that I didn’t have to work out some creative way of writing about a book that was only ok, or worse, totally stunk. (Or, come up with some conversation to avoid writing about it!)
The The 7 Deadly Retirement Sinsis a story about Sam, a writer who interviews multiple retirees about theirs stories. At it’s core, the book is a collection of stories, which is always fun. In each story, the main character (and probably the reader) learns a new lesson about how to plan for retirement. Some lessons are obvious (save more) and others were not, at least to me. (Did you know there were different types of Investment Planners and they all have different fee schedules and motivations?)
Now, clearly, I have a lot to learn, so this news may not be new to some, but I’m betting there are some of you out there who could stand to learn a bit more about how to plan better for your future. I can confidently say that if you read The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins, you will learn much of what you need to move toward a better future. The best is that you can do it without reading yourself right to sleep!
The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins is a book by Certified Financial Planner (and awesome dad) Ryan Zacharczyk. I received a copy of the book for review and yes, Ryan is our friend, but trust me when I say I would not be recommending it if I didn’t really get something out of it. So, here I am-recommending it to all of you to buy today and thankful I don’t have to have the awkward, “Oh, I just haven’t gotten to it” conversation with Ryan at a later date!
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.