marital money mantra #2: protect what you can’t afford to lose
August 26, 2007

Sweet cash kitty

We learned a lot from our own cycles of incur-credit-debt-yet-not-build-savings. We still have credit card debt (from mis-calculating last year’s tax payment); yet we’ve for the first time built a cash kitty, four months of expenses, with plans to secure one year’s worth since we function on a single steady income.

It’s tough changing one’s perception of what is or is not a valuable financial habit or philosophy. I heard throughout life about debt-is-bad-pay-it-off but not as much insistence on building cash reserves aka rainy day protection. I realize saving philosophies have certainly been around for ages; cash reserves (and truly reserving them for emergencies vs a Mets game…) — just weren’t emphasized as much in my personal community.

After six years of marriage, four cats, and $6k in pet surgeries it became clear viewing a credit card as an emergency cash plan lacked….prudence. Emotionally we couldn’t afford to lose the various cats & financially, we decided we couldn’t afford to personally finance continual debt cycles.

Thus dedication to building cash reserves began as did researching pet insurance(!).

More from:
-ASPCA offers diverse pet insurance plans & good customer service;
All Financial Matters says it well: Emergencies will come whether we are prepared for them or not.

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Savings fable + financial planner says his clients spend, spend, spend
August 16, 2007

Stunned I say, stunned!

10 second video: how much his clients overspend per a DC-area financial planner

What drives that spending itch?

In a meeting with a financial planner this week, I asked him how much a higher income impacted one’s success at saving.

He then shared this story that knocked my socks off:

He generically referenced two of his clients — one was a grounds keeper and one was a leader at a university. Their retirement financials were similar; each wanted to retire in a year. The grounds keeper was overjoyed at the financial planner’s feedback: due to his conservative spending and aggressive saving habits, the grounds keeper could live comfortably on Social Security, with his retirement savings as buffer & as help for his grandchildren’s college costs. Yet the university leader, with a considerably higher income, agonized over his retirement nest egg. The financial planner said due to his over zealous spending habits & reluctant savings plan, he (the university leader) would not be able to maintain his living standard in retirement years. Or the other prospect was he could continue working and cut back costs.

…I promptly refrained from a Starbuck’s visit walking home.

new videoblog, new reality: bringing business home
August 9, 2007

After years in sales and managing teams, I hit ‘the wall’ — that black hole thick fatigue which demands a life change.

Change I say, change!

My husband happens to love his work and agreed his wife needed to change situations. So I resigned last year as sales manager for an HR firm, plunging into online video production. Why? It’s a fun part of Web 2.0 and really just fun period.

Then after some video projects, collaborations, and client work I lost focus big time. Video was still fun but I wasn’t renewing momentum. Was I bored? procrastinating? or my favorite self-esteem ripping comment — just lazy?

It turns out my interests in business planning were crying out to my deaf ear. And it took me a long time to finally listen. I stepped back and observed the life with my husband: we were emotionally awesome yet the remainder of our partnership looked imbalanced e.g. clutter at home, no living will, neither of us knew how to cook or invested the time in learning, and why did that retirement account still look empty despite us philosophically supporting savings, retirement plans, etc?

After answering these questions more directly (…wasn’t pretty learning how much we sank on eating out), I knew that more urgent than learning how to be an expert video tech was learning how to balance my (our) home situation. Our future would have little options without this direction.

With a few months under the belt of analyzing what needs to be done & taking action, it’s clear my liberal arts degree and experience in sales have awesome challenges ahead. It’s really, really a blast.

Asset Management. Communications. Stewardship. Negotiation. Networking. Cooking (yes it’s fun, necessary-duh!, and a preserver of the bottom line). Retirement savings. Retirement savings for parents.

This egotistical-feminist-video-producer has had her reality check of what a strong home life is — and is not.

That’s what this blog is about.