What’s plot got to do with personal finance? Everyone’s financial journey resembles a story arc, complete with plot twists, plot holes, drama, and conflict. We’ve gone through how to start earning money, and some tips for that. And there was a post on building net-worth, and the steps in accomplishing that. Now we’re going to talk about retirement, and how to figure out where that climax of your financial story arc is.
How does this relate to personal finance?
Because it’s not just about finance. It’s about PERSONAL finance, and that means you. I’ve always had a knack for saving my money, and the money I have right now is a combination of that trait, the privilege of where I live, and the circumstances of my birth (parents, family, socio-political situation, etc.).
But your personal finances are just a pile of money and theory without you. You are the single most important factor in your finances. If you’re not in a headspace where you’re productive and happy, your personal finances are going to reflect that.
There’s something universal about getting stabbed in the heart. The way your chest sinks and you feel like you’re drowning in air; the weightless daze that makes the ends of your nerves tingle with an unsettling sensation that doesn’t feel normal.
It’s comfortingly human – the how and why might change, but every single person out there has experienced that emotion of heartbreak. Best friend betraying you? Significant other betraying you? Realizing things aren’t the way you thought they were? The weight of your debt finally settling on your shoulders?
Ah, travel. Be it extended, short, for vacation, or a few weeks or a couple months, it’s always an adjustment.
What to expect? You never really know how a place is going to be until you get there / have been there before, but there’s a lot of things you can think about proactively that’ll make the experience less surprising, and less stressful. And, likely, marginally more enjoyable, if you’re adverse to unpleasant surprises, like I am. Though, if you’re less anal and particular than I am, you’ll probably find the experience easier anyways.
Here’s some questions Ms. Raggedly Rich always asks when subletting / renting / being billeted:
Work smarter, not harder.
I was chatting with a friend the other day, and he said those words when we were talking about our work lives. I can’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but I know it had something to do with my constant surprise with how low the bar was set for productivity in the workplaces I’ve been in. To which he responded: “That’s because we know how to work smarter, not harder.”
And he’s right – ish. I’m by no means an expert at it, but I do make an effort to work smarter, and be more efficient in what I’m doing. And I think that’s a really important perspective to have for anyone in a workplace. We all have finite time in our days, and in our lives, so putting that time to the best use possible is paramount.
There are benefits to working smarter and not harder too:
- Getting more done in less time
- Expending less energy to get those things done
- The self-satisfaction that comes with those accomplishments
- Being seen as efficient and effective in the workplace
There’s a lot of different resources out there dedicated to telling you what kind of credit card would be the best kind of credit card for you. And there’s also a lot of people who have different opinions on them – but I think most personal finance bloggers I know agree on this principle:
Take advantage of credit card points and savings, but only if you’re going to use your credit cards like a debit card.
That means, at the end of every billing cycling, you pay off the entire balance of your credit card, no exceptions.
I’ve travelled a lot. For school, for work, briefly for a relationship, and sometimes for pleasure. And some of those occurred during awful, and physically difficult times.
This foot happened 2-weeks into my 8-week trip across Europe; first four weeks backpacking alone, and then four weeks with my family in Poland. I got the aircast in Poland, and the two weeks before that air-cast were the most painful, challenging, and difficult weeks of my life (because of more than just the foot). I call it my Euro-Trip from Hell for a reason.
But there were some things that I found invaluable while I was over there, and I have used / continue to use.
I’m over on The Frugal Farmer this week, with a guest post about how you can save money by managing expenses proactively, instead of reactively.
Mosey on over and check it out!
Ways To Save Money By Managing Expenses Proactively Instead of Reactively
my full day of snacks and food for 10+ hours in a car alone
I put a lot of time and effort into proactive actions and solutions. For some people, it’s not second nature, but there are steps you can take to help take the stress of the unexpected off your shoulders!
Thinking ahead is good for your finances, for your wallet, and for your peace of mind.
Do you fall on the reactive, or the proactive side of things?