Today’s 10 Questions comes from Iowa! I love the American Heartland. It’s filled with warm people and beautiful, small towns. I like it so much that I’m riding my bicycle across Iowa next month. See you then Amanda?
And Amanda didn’t mention this post in her 10 Questions, but it’s pretty great and important: https://whywemoney.com/how-to-find-the-joy-in-your-ordinary-monday/
Your Internet Ramblings
There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
We aren’t writing about the how-tos of personal finance. Or how to achieve FIRE faster.
Ours is a different kind of personal finance blog. Rather than focusing on the $$, we’re writing about how to balance money and life. Not because we have it figured out. But because we are trying to figure it out. As we learn, we write about it.
Some of our posts are about money – and why it’s important. But, mostly, we share what we’re learning as we navigate living a fulfilling life today while still planning for a fantastic tomorrow.
Why did you start your blog?
I started it for personal growth and to have a “home” online to share ideas. Writing helps me learn more about myself. Plus it allows me to explore life and money and balancing it all. The blog forces me to step outside of my comfort zone and share my thoughts and ideas.
Oh! And this isn’t my first personal finance blog. I sold my first – when Life happened, and I didn’t feel like I could keep it up. With the previous blog, I was more focused on growing my audience, email list, and profits. But my approach to Why We Money is different. Before committing to do anythingnowadays, I try to remove money from the equation. I ask myself if I would do it for free – if the answer is “Hell yes,” it’s a go. And that’s how Why We Money came to be.
Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
I live in Iowa!
Ask me in the Spring, Summer, or Fall, and it’s a truly delightful place to live! I love Iowa Nice, growing unruly things in rich soil, and exploring the prairies and woodlands (on foot bike).
Ask me in the Winter and…actually, just don’t ask.
How old are you and do you have a family?
I am 43 years old, have been married to Alan for 21+ years. We have two awesome kids, ages 16 and 18. The 18-year-old is active duty Air Force and the 16-year-old is sophomore in high school.
Financial Independence, Investing, and Money
Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?
It was one of our primary goals (but now it’s secondary). I used to have it all planned out and knew, down to the month, when we would reach FI. But that’s all changed…
I’m a Type A, goal setter by nature – and when I discovered FIRE via MMM and this amazing blog, I was all in. And I mean all in. When I set my mind to something I obsess and I plan and take action on whatever I can control.
I was so focused on the goal I was willing to sacrifice some of our most precious time to get there as soon as possible.
And I (finally) realized – FI is worthwhile and something I want, but I’m not willing to wait until someday to live my life. Because in my striving for FI, I’ve often missed out on living the amazing life right in front of me.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re still heading in the direction of FI. But now, I can’t say precisely where we’re at on the journey…3,5,7 years? Oh, I still run the numbers — I can’t help myself. But they’re flexible depending on what we decide to do. We have our savings automated and are still saving a largish percentage of our income. But we’ve been focusing less on a specific savings goal and more on living life to the fullest right now.
What is your splurge? Don’t be shy. Mine set me back $45,000.
A camper! It was a very intentional decision that set us back $30,000. I’m comfortable sharing that because it’s less than the $45,000 the 1500s dropped on that gorgeous car of theirs.
From my perspective, as long as we’re intentional and responsible about money and time and life, it’s okay. By being intentional, I mean we:
- Took ample time to make the decision – weighing the pros and cons, as well as considering alternatives.
- Knew how we would pay for it – before we bought it.
- Realized what we’re sacrificing (buying this camper means $30,000 not invested! I refuse to run the numbers on the compound interest).
- Understood that the camper will not make us “happier” (but it will help us do many things that bring us joy).
Your best friend tells you that he just got a raise at work and is going to buy a new car to celebrate. His current car is in perfect working order. How do you react?
Five years ago I would have gone home and gossiped to my husband about the unwise financial decision he made.
But I try hard not to do that anymore. I’ve been on the receiving end of financial criticism and have seen others being shamed for their money decisions. It’s just not cool and it’s completely unproductive.
Oh, I’m far from perfect. I still think about other people’s financial decisions and sometimes I wonder why they made the choices they did. But I also realize I don’t know what the “right” financial decision is for them. What’s right for one person, isn’t for another. I don’t know what influenced their choices and I have no idea what it’s like to be in their shoes.
If your 18-year-old child told you this: “Parents, I want to go to a $250,000 school and study doorknob design,” what would you tell him or her?
When our oldest was 16, he wanted to go to a college that could put him 60k+ into debt (after spending his college savings).
We didn’t say “no.” But we did talk about the reality of the student loans and the expected salary after graduation – and how they didn’t line up well. And we talked about how many years it would take to pay off the debt…
One thing we’ve tried to explore with the kids is creating options in life (with money and other things). It’s always good to have a backup plan, exit strategy, or Option B. Debt limits your options.
It’s a hard concept to grasp at such a young age. We did the math and shared our struggles with over 60k in student loan debt. It seemed like he “got it.” after thinking about it for a long while.
He’s become impressively responsible with his money and is already saving 50% of his take home. I can’t take credit for that, but I am happy he is starting off debt free!
One thing I’ve learned as a parent is – even when we feel like we’re talking to a brick wall, the kids do, in fact, hear us. And they either remember our advice or know they can ask for guidance when they’re faced with the adult realities later on.
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
Kauai, Hawaii. (Though you don’t know it, Mr. 1500, you are partially responsible for my family making the trip there last year. When we decided to visit Hawaii, we picked Kauai after I remembered you mentioning somewhere how much your family loved it.)
It was postcard beautiful – everywhere we looked. And when we took the helicopter tour, I literally got tears in my eyes from the magnificence of it all. It was the most remarkable place I’d ever seen in my life. The lush green Napali Coast was breathtaking against the aqua blue waters of the Pacific.
How is the world going to be better because you lived?
Because I brought two positively amazing human beings into the world.
Alan and I have done our best to raise them well. We’ve tried to help them learn to be independent, responsible, kind, empathetic, community-minded, financially-savvy young adults.
They’re each making tough but courageous choices in their individual lives. Choices that positively impact people and make the world a better place. They’ve already done things in their lives I would have been too afraid to do at their age. And they both teach me how to become a better person.
What is one thing you firmly believed 5 years ago that you no longer believe?
That there would always be more Time (ya know…later). We say we know how fast time flies or that it slips away before we know it – but do we live our lives that way? Savoring each day for the gift that it is? I know I haven’t.
I’ve often taken Time for granted. Many things that seemed super important 5 years ago are totally unimportant today. Sure, I still sometimes forget the significance of this moment right now. But I better understand that there won’t always be more time to do what I want and need to do.
I try to spend Time wisely every day. Meaning, I try my best to stop myself when I start wasting time on stupid, meaningless shit.
Favorite beer? Favorite pizza place? (this is a throwback to the original series)
Okay, I’ve done over 10 questions, but feel like this one should be a requirement:
- Favorite beer: Peacetree Brewery’s Blonde Fatale (Iowa beer!)
- Favorite pizza place: Nancy’s Pizza (I haven’t eaten this pizza in well over a decade, but I still think about it. Hopefully it’s still just as good as it was back then.)
Many thanks, Mr. 1500, for allowing me to take part in 10 Questions!
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