Monday, August 20, 2018

My Personal Finance Journey | Finance 101

Over the past six months, I've started feeling more confident with my personal finances. I've been thinking about starting a series on personal finances. Honestly I was thinking about starting this series a year ago - when I was really struggling. There is no perfect time to share my experiences and what I've learned so why not start now? I think it's important we start out with my story.

My journey with my own finances has been rocky, to say the least. I've struggled with managing my own money for years. As a child, my parents taught me the value of money. I had an allowance and neighborhood pet care jobs. My parents were cautious but never stressed by money. Luckily they have always been comfortable. I did grow up around a lot of wealth [outside of my family] and always thought we weren't well off, as a result. While my parents taught me about budgeting and having my own money, it was never really reinforced. If I ran out of money, my parents always gave me more. I didn't really understand the consequences of living beyond my means. 

In college, my parents paid my tuition and gave me money for my living expenses each month. They sat down with me [via Skype or phone] to create a monthly budget. I somehow always came up with unexpected expenses and had to ask for more money during the month. They were always there so I never stressed about not affording groceries or textbooks. 

After college, I moved home. I got my first full time job 20 minutes from my parents. I knew I wanted to go to grad school so living at home made the most sense. I started saving chunks of each paycheck. Luckily I managed to save close to $30,000 before I left for grad school two years later. My original plan was to pay for grad school myself but then I got accepted into New York University. NYU is a private school and extremely expensive. My parents had the money and offered to pay my tuition. Once again, I didn't have to stress about debt. I moved to New York City and paid my own living expenses for the first eight months. Then I ran out of money. My parents didn't pressure me to get a job and wanted me to focus on school. I did have several part time jobs during grad school. None of them paid well or were permanent. 

After I graduated, I started job hunting. I actually decided to switch fields - that's a whole other story. I took the first job I was offered. It wasn't permeant and it paid pennies. Joe and I moved to New Jersey and I was able to scrape by. I learned a lot about managing my personal finances and goal setting. Six months ago, I got a new job, which put me in a better financial spot and allowed me to save more money. While things are headed in a good direction, I still have a lot of learn. 

This is just a peak in my background but context is key, right?

My goal with this series is to share my financial journey - what I'm learning, how I'm managing my money, and my goals. If there are specific posts you want to see, please leave them in the comments! 

Finally, I really don't think this needs to be stated but here it is: I am not a financial expert [obviously]  and I am sharing what works for me, which may not work for you or your situation. 

Look out for this posts every Monday!

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