For Most People, Saving Money will Never Make you Wealthy

Some people use these terms interchangeably. However, there is a clear, defined difference. Savings implies that you set aside a specific amount of money and that money is, for the most part, going to stay that amount.

Investing, however, does not mean you will always have that set amount you contribute. Your contributions will heavily depend on the market. Your monetary investment will fluctuate, both up and down.

There are different forms of financial investments. Here are a few basic types of investments for getting started:


This is a great way to get started investing if you’re an entrepreneur or independent contractor as you don’t need an employer to take advantage. There are two basic types of IRAs: Roth and traditional. For the sake of simplicity: Roth IRA are invested with after tax dollars and traditional IRAs are invested with before tax dollars. At this point in time, if you are younger than 50, you can contribute up to $6000 per year.


If offered by your employer, please take advantage and ask how you can start contributing. Many times, employers will match your contributions up to a certain percentage of your income. This is free money. You should at least be contributing up to that match point if you can swing it. Or work your way there.

IRAs and 401ks are similar in that you contribute to a fund that is associated with a conservative, moderate, or aggressive portfolio. As a general rule, the younger you are, the more aggressive you can be, or the riskier you can allow your investments to be because you have more time for recovery if the market dips. Investing in a riskier portfolio allows for greater reward. As you get older, you can adjust your risk towards a more moderate or conservative portfolio.

Bonds and MMFs-

And then you have bonds and money market funds which technically earns interest, but they will never outpace inflation. So is really more of a means to diversify your portfolio of other investments. You really are just loaning your money at less than it’ll be worth when the bond matures.

I think everyone over 18 should learn how to invest and workplaces should do more to help employees learn about their stock and 401k options, if available. Too often people start investing too late. I actually consider myself one of those people. I didn’t start contributing to an IRA until last year at 23. If I would have known the benefits of compounding interest and just getting started as early as possible, I would have started in college like everyone should.

How to Feel Like Your Personal Finances are Not Out of Your Control

I really like to read finance blogs and listen to finance podcasts. (Fun fact: I could have easily failed my finance course in college solely from lack of interest at the time.)

One of my current favorite podcasts is Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn. She talks about personal finance on a very micro level but also systemic problems within the US economy. I do need to caution you, this show is not without bias, so those who don’t align themselves under a liberal stance should be wary (though I hear listening to opposing viewpoints is a way to broaden your knowledge and understanding of others). I started listening to her two years ago now, and while I don’t know that I agree with everything she and her guests cover, I think just diving into topics that I know so very little about is the perfect way to navigate and focus on my own personal finance goals.

Another podcast I love is Money in the Morning. This show picks some news headlines that tie into money topics and discusses some of the big ideas about money and finance. While not always personal finance related, I think discussing money, and being comfortable doing so, is the only way we can be comfortable discussing our own personal finance goals. It’s also a fun way to get some news articles in while commuting to work in the morning.

I’m fairly sure I don’t have anything more to add to the conversation of personal finance other than repeat what information is already available. However, it’s still a topic that baffles many, especially(at least it seems this way portrayed by media) my generation. So maybe throwing my two cents won’t make or break the already ongoing conversation, but it may help a few people who need to hear the information from someone relatable and not CNBC Money? I’ve already written something over a year ago, but I have some new thoughts based on my experience since then:

1. Credit cards aren’t bad.

People talk crap about credit cards and the evils of having them. *Cough, Dave Ramsey…* But they’re awesome if you have just a bit of self control and learn how to use them to your advantage. Only get a credit card if you know you will pay it off at the end of the month, every month. Each credit card is different, but most earn points as you charge them. Finding the right one to earn the maximum amount of points for you depends on how and what make up your spending habits.

2. Save starting NOW.

A lot of articles out there caution people to first pay off debts prior to saving or investing. I don’t comply with that notion. To me, if I have a solid plan on paying off debts and am actively preventing new debts from occurring, I would be doing myself a disservice by waiting until I’m debt free to begin saving and investing.

3. Saving and investing are not synonymous.

This is much more than I can sum up in just a few sentences. To cut it short, I think people get confused between these two words. But saving won’t build wealth. And though it seems against others idea of a perfect world and many personal finance articles written by a generation of people who were able to build a sizable retirement off just a 401k, investing also (probably) will not build wealth or even guarantee a comfortable retirement anymore. And that’s why it’s important to have some semblance of a financial plan, but that’s a story for another time.

That’s all I have to say for now. Take my words lightly. Everyone has an opinion and all that jazz. I think the first step for everyone is to become very intimately aquatinted with their own finances- income, debt, savings, and investments in order to know what steps to take next.

Plans and Goals


I spent over an hour yesterday, reading and writing about New Years Resolutions. I’ve broken my goals down into four categories: personal, fianncial, health, and family.

I want to look back a year from now and know what I was striving for in 2018. And for accountability sake, I’ll make it pubblic knowledge so we can all take a look at how well the steps I took towards bettering myself worked out at the end of this year.

Worry less over what other people think of me. I’ve wirtten about this before on this blog, but I think it’s time for it to actively, conciously work on this goal through 2018.
Find out what’s important to me, and focus my energy on that. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on things that I truned out not to be passionate about, or was just a passing fad. I want to feel passionate about something again, and hopefully I can find that something in 2018.

Cut my loan debt in half. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be free of student loan debt by the end of 2018?” – Me yesterday, so I thought I would take the opportunity to turn it into a 2018 goal today.
Start investing in my future. I’ve read so many personal finance articles this year about starting to save earlier rather than later is the key to being able to retire comfortably with less effort thanks to our friend, compounding interest.

Eat cleaner/ eat out less. This one is tough. While Avery and I are pretty good about not eating out excessively, we definitely use it often enough when we feel lazy about cooking. It’s something we can work on this year.
Be excited about working out. I like to work out my legs… and not much else. It’s the one day that I really push myself. Meaning I see much more progress there than any other muscle group. I want to be more excited about my other gym days so I can make the most of my time in the gym.

Plan to spend more time with Avery and Stella. I just want to put forth the effort to spend quality time with my family rather than wasting our weekends away watching tv on the couch or not spending as much time with Stella as we should.

And one last one for fun: Convince Avery to plan another cruise for next year. Look at that beautiful picture up there of Haiti! If you happen to know Avery personally, help me out and tell him we need to plan a vacation!

If you think of any tips I could use for any of my goals, leave a comment letting me know. And what do you have planned for the new year?

Am I The Only One Who Doesn’t Feel The Crushing Weight Of Student Loan Debt?

Personal finance is a little bit like physical fitness. You can hire a personal trainer, a dietician, and say you’re going to workout five days a week, but if you aren’t fully committed to following through with a health plan, it will get you nowhere. As a young adult in the US, we often feel slighted that most of us aren’t educated on personal finance issues in high school before we’re thrown to the wolves of the real world. We are just expected to know how to file our own taxes, know how credit cards work, and how to navigate through financing college degrees all on our own.

Trial and error is the name of the game because we feel shamed in asking personal money questions. My financial journey really began in college with student loans. To be quite honest, by the time I graduated, I had only a very general idea of how much I owed because while in school I chose not to think about it. I tried not to anyway. I didn’t even know who I was supposed to be paying this money to. I found out I had to pay two different entities, which is common if you end up having multiple loans. Once I realized I had no idea how my student loans worked, I dove into learning all I could about personal finance. And I encourage everyone else to learn everything about their current financial health because nothing gets resolved by burying your head in the sand.

It’s not that hard in theory, but it does take discipline. Here’s the steps I’ve taken so far to ensure I’m a financially stable, fully-functioning adult.

If you have debt, know EVERYTHING about each debt. Figure out the interest rate, how much interest accumulates daily/ monthly, and what percentage of your monthly payment goes to interest versus the principle. I have student loans and a car loan. I overpay on all my student loans. However, I prioritize my two highest interest loans, so I overpay the most on those. As of right now, I’m looking at paying off my loans four months ahead of the original estimated date. I keep monthly track of how much I paid each loan and how much there is left to go. There’s many ways that people advocate to pay off debt (debt avalanche, debt snowball, etc), just find which method works best for you, and do it.

Look at your income and how much you bring in each month. Know how much money you bring in each month and figure out how much you can afford to spend each month. Some people track every expense. Personally, I find this dragging, and I’m never able to keep up with it. So I’ve adopted a simpler method of not spending more than I can afford to. Live below your means so you can…

Save, save, save. This is so hard for me to write about because I know that there are people out there living paycheck to paycheck. And that’s why many people climb into the hole of credit card debt in the first place. Therefore, we need to educate people on how credit cards work and how to get them to work for you not against you. But saving is the beginning to eventually growing wealth. It will get you into the habit of setting money aside to eventually invest. Some personal financial “experts” say that you shouldn’t even think about saving before paying off your debts. In my opinion, and what works for me, I want the stability of having money set aside to pay cash for an emergency and not have to swipe a credit card to be able to “afford” a crisis.

Get Life Insurance. This was a hard one for me. Homeowners and auto insurance are obviously necessary, and you must have them. Life insurance is different. It’s a choice. But is it really? I’m at the point in my life where I just made a large joint “purchase”- a mortgage. And it’s scary to think about the fact that life happens. I want to make sure that my husband could still afford the house should I pass away unexpectedly. So, I’ll happily pay $20 a month just in case, at least while we’re still paying off the house.


I’m not a financial guru. I don’t claim to know everything, and I’m still learning. Take what I say with a grain of salt because this has just been my experience, and we all have our own unique financial journey. Better yet: read, learn, listen. Figure out what works for you, and do it.

Where Do We Go From Here?


Phot Credit: https://pixabay.com/p-598261/?no_redirect
In light of Sunday night’s events, I feel the need to write and get all of my thoughts out to make sense of what happened. It seems as though every year we go through the same old song and dance that highlights that what we’re doing now is broken, it doesn’t work. Last year, we saw Pulse Nightclub brutally attacked. The year before, San Bernardino was targeted. And Sunday, Las Vegas was the center of the most devastating shooting in US history. How is our leadership okay with this? How can we, as citizens, be okay with a gunman marching into an elementary school and taking the lives of 20 innocent children? How does “more people with more access to guns” help in this situation? How many times do we have to have this conversation, and how many more people have to die before we do something about it?

I’m not at all advocating for taking guns away (my household has two) , but I do think there should be more steps in place to prevent people who shouldn’t have access to guns from getting them. It’s harder for a woman to get an abortion than it is for someone to get a gun in this country: there’s a 24 hour waiting period, they must be made aware of adoption alternatives, as well as have only 400 clinics within the US to get it done. Of course, abortions aren’t a right written into the Constitution, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but it’s the best one I’ve got.

We need to open the dialogue and have this discussion. Advocates of less gun control, what are your thoughts? I am in no way excluding anyone from this conversation. Please, tell me what you think the right solution is because no matter the side of the issue you stand on, we can all agree there is a problem. Now, how do we solve it?

To the victims of this senseless tragedy and their families: my heart goes out to every single one of you. To anyone who has lost someone, we are here with love and support. I understand that hearing those words are the last thing you want to have to hear, I know nothing will quiet quell the ache in your heart, just know we hurt for you.

And to the legislature and leadership of this country: help us. Do something so we can stop being reactive in these situations. Let’s do something proactive. Please. Anything. Just a conversation will do for now.


How to Argue in a Relationship

Image result for argument

Avery and I have never explicitly discussed how we would handle our relationship and what we put out into the social media realm. But we do have a sort of unspoken rule to just not post badly about the other. Believe me, there have been times where it would have been so easy to tweet out something nasty about him or an argument to have random people tell me I’m right in the situation. But every time I get the urge to do so, I stop and think about it. Sometimes I even write it out in a tweet and save it in a draft. Every single time, I end up deleting before I even send it out or forgetting about it in my drafts folder. Sure, it may feel good in the moment when you’re heated and ready to win at any cost, but when you’ve cooled down enough to want to talk it out, you not only have to talk about the initial argument, you also must talk/apologize for the way you handled it.

People often feel more confident online than they do in real life. Not every thought needs to be broadcast to the entire world via the internet; some aspects of a relationship should remain private. That’s not to say you can’t vent to your best friend about your relationship, but it’s a different ballpark when you decide to invite strangers to have a look into intimate parts of your relationship.

I’m sharing this becasue I know everyone has arguments, big or small. I’m in no way saying that the following suggestions are necessarily the right way for everyone to handle their relationship spats, but here are some healthier ways we can work towards settling an argument.

  1. Take a step back.

Not to say you should let the issue fester about for days, but sometimes you need a minute (or an hour) to gather your thoughts and think about what is truly the issue. I find that 99% of the time when I truly think about the issue, it’s very , VERY stupid. (Don’t ever say this to your partner because it may just exacerbate the actual problem.)

  1. Listen to what the other person is saying.

Even if you don’t agree with an ounce of what the other person is saying, give them the floor for a second. Just listen and don’t say a word. Sometimes, this is just as important as offering an apology.

  1. Offer an apology.

Don’t stay mad just because you don’t want to be wrong. Sometimes, even if you’re wrong, you need to take one for the team. There are sure to be times in the future where you’re wrong but can’t admit it, and it would feel nice for your partner to give you an out by apologizing. Very few arguments in a relationship are worth the anger and resentment.

  1. Try your very hardest not to keep fighting the same fight.

This is one of the hardest steps on this list because it requires communication and finding lasting solutions to our problems. A lot of us like to avoid having tough conversations, so it’s easier to keep fighting. This isn’t healthy and eventually one of you will get tired of it. Work on having good communication when you’re not having an argument, so that way it’s easier to be honest when you are having a fight. Solving issues the first time, will lower the chances of repeating the same fight again. (Sorry Avery, but I have a feeling you’re always going to have to remind me to run the garbage disposal, unless you want to take over dish duty.)


If you have any tips you would like to add to this list, please do. Or if you disagree with any of my tips, please leave a comment below.

Life Update: We’re Building Our New Home!

Avery and I have been looking at building a house for over a year now. But we moved to Florida so it wasn’t the right time. Before we made any kind of decision, we wanted to look at as many home builders and home sites as we could so we would have a good idea of what we were looking for and what we wanted to spend. We made lots of visits to model homes and spoke to many salespeople. It took us over a year to really nail down what we were looking for/compromise on a floor plan (He wanted a two story with way more space than I thought was necessary since we don’t have kids/ don’t plan to have kids for a while).

Here’s some things I’ve learned since starting this whole process:

  1. Where I had previously believed that Avery and I are opposites on many design aspects, our core design concepts are not so different. We both like to keep things simple and clean. So this was a good starting point for most of our choices. We didn’t want to go extravagant with any of our design decisions. Keeping hardware and colors simple was an easy decision with us.
  2. Everything seems to fall into place once you make the decisions most important to you. We decided to spend money to upgrade the kitchen options. We went with dark colored maple cabinets and beautiful quartz countertops. And then from there, the rest of our decisions were based off the color combo of the countertop and cabinet colors and what we thought complimented those choices.
  3. There’s a lot of paying the waiting game. We didn’t have our first design appointment until almost two months after we signed the papers and put down the earnest money to save our lot. In this time, we were in contact with the loan company and heard back once or twice from our salesman as he checked in with us. Since our design appointments though, we have seen the city go out and set up temporary electrical and our salesman has said that they should start working on the foundation this week. So, things are finally moving. And the waiting isn’t getting any easier.
  4. It adds up. Fast. I can see how some people can get caught up in adding every option possible. That’s why Avery and I focused on the big-ticket items that we wanted to roll into our mortgage and left other things to upgrade in the future. We didn’t bother with any of the add-ons that we could easily change in the future like door knobs, light fixtures, faucets, or doors.

The process of building has been great so far. I absolutely can’t wait until they’re finished. We still have months to go, but I have a feeling it’s going to fly by and move in day will be here before we know it. Then I will have the pleasure of shopping for furniture and home decor…

Dear Roxy,

For those of you who have not lost a pet, it’s harder than you can imagine. I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it does. In the couple of days since, I’ve been mostly okay and then I’ll suddenly think about her and start crying. It really is like losing a member of your family because she was family. She was always there. And now, she’s not.

I wish I had more time to say goodbye. From the time I found out to the time when she put down was only an hour. Afterwards, I asked Roland, my brother, if she had been medicated when I got there. He said no, she was just that sick. Becasue of that, I’m glad she can rest in peace now, but it still aches.

If I could talk to her just one more time…


Dear Roxy,

If there’s one positive thing that comes from this whole experience, I hope you are finally feeling better and free of pain. We knew you were sick, but we thought you were finally going to be getting better. You leaving was so sudden, we were all blind-sided. That’s what hurt the most, we were given hope and the next day you were gone.

Sitting in that room, while you took your last breath, was awful. I’m very grateful that you were surrounded by all of us, but that was one of the hardest, most emotional things I’ve ever had to endure. If I’m being completely honest, watching you go was a little traumatizing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that again.

I will never have another dog quite like you. You were definitely the dog version of myself. We both liked naps more than could be normal. And we both liked to snack more than we should. Maybe we were too alike and that’s why you never felt inclined to listen to me when I told you to do sit or lay down. We’re both too sassy for our own good. You were definitely more human than dog sometimes.

Many days filled with tears are ahead for all of us. It’s hard to even think about you not being at the house when I bring Stella over. I didn’t want to tell mom, but she definitely looked for you when we visited yesterday. She walked around the kitchen and living room and sniffed your bed. She’ll definitely miss you, not sure you would return the sentiment.

May you spend the rest of eternity sitting on a recliner with an abundance of snacks being fed to you at your beck and call. Take a nap for me. I’ll be seeing you again.

I love you,


The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer


Image courtesy of: Toys for Tots, www.toysfortots.org

Growing up, I always had the best Christmases. I never wondered if there would be presents under the Christmas tree. I realize,  as an adult, how extremely lucky and blessed I was to not know that feeling as a child. And because of this, I could look forward to Christmas morning.

For the past few years, I have chosen to donate toys to Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is a non-profit organization run by the US Marine Corps as a way to provide hope to underprivileged children through gift-giving. They provide toys and gifts to children ages 0-12. I believe it is one of the best, large non-profits out there. According to Charity Watch, 80% of its funds go to its programs versus overhead costs.

Every year, I look forward to going out and buying toys. My mom is the one who began donating to this charity and inspired me to do the same. I usually try and buy toys that I either played with or would have liked to have as a kid. I spend months leading up to the time when I can actually go out and buy toys getting excited to shop for those kids who wish for an amazing Christmas. I get so much joy walking up and down the aisles, I feel like a kid again. I love the feeling of knowing that the Toys for Tots kids will at least have one toy to open on Christmas day.

If you are like me and had a privileged childhood, please think about donating a toy this year. Or if you were once a kid that could have benefitted from this non-profit, consider being responsible for the light in a child that was once you, and donate a toy if you’re now able. Even one toy can change a child’s Christmas. (With Black Friday approaching, now would be the perfect time to buy. Also, Target is having 30% off all toys this Saturday, November 19th, so check it out!) Look for a drop site to donate here. Or click here to give monetarily. We could all stand to spread a little Christmas cheer.

I’m getting a little old and a little out of touch on what’s popular, so if you have a young one, give me some ideas on what to buy this year by commenting below.


Why Laughter is the Best Medicine For Relationships

Laughter requires the movement of muscles, meaning your heart rate increases, and more oxygen enters our tissues. Laugh more, and you can exercise less because laughter burns calories.1 The release of endorphins that is caused by increased blood flow lowers stress levels. 2


Avery is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. I tell him multiple times a day that he’s not. Gotta keep his ego in check, ya know? He likes to make up his own lyrics to songs that are absolutely ridiculous. And he’s not afraid to be undeniably weird in front of me. I love that he’s able to be so comfortable with me. I think it definitely took some time for us to be completely relaxed in front of one another. It was nothing like “we were completely comfortable with each other right away” crap you hear all the time. While that may be the case for some couples, I would say a majority of us have some reservations when getting to know someone new.

Communication is so much easier when it’s not serious all the time with every single conversation. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place to be completely serious, but most of the time, it’s way easier to talk to someone when you know you can be playful, yourself, and laugh at one another. Communicating your feelings with someone who has the power to hurt you emotionally is daunting. But knowing you can laugh and connect with them makes it easier when you have something serious to relay to them.

For the longest time, I was so uncomfortable laughing at myself. I have this self-conscious need to be flawless, or to appear so to others. I don’t like to fail, so it was hard to laugh at myself and my mistakes. With Avery, I wasn’t afraid to show him that I wasn’t perfect all the time. And he taught me that it was okay to laugh at myself every once in a while. And when you’re able to laugh at yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say about you. This is one of the best things that has come out of my relationship with Avery, and I thank God every day that he was able to show me how amazing it is that I’m not perfect.

What’s so funny about Avery and I is that we are very much the “opposites attract” couple. He is very outwardly personable, while I am an introvert through and through. He makes friends easily and I much happier not being put in situations of meeting new people. He likes to have a plan and stick with it. To me, having a plan is nice but things don’t always happen the way we want them to, and I am perfectly fine with that.
The one thing that brings us together as a couple is laughter. Anyone who doesn’t like to joke around with his or her significant other needs to find a new partner. Laughing is universal, and it allows us to connect with each other.

So laugh a little more, stress a little less, and know everything will be okay.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456