Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Getting My Money Together

I have $25 left in my account.

I do this every month.

I've been reading a book about mistakes women make about money (yea, yea, but honestly, read up on it. I do believe women have been trained to view money differently than a lot of men, if only in the way so many women are taught that either men automatically know more about money than they do or that they should just sit around and wait for a guy to take care of them. Not many guys do that), and I found myself perusing the magazine stacks at the airport yesterday looking for more magazines about weight training and nutrition. About halfway through my survey, I realized just how much time and money I've put into figuring out how to eat right and exercise.

And how little time I've put into figuring out how to

1) save money

2) make my money grow (that means investing, etc)

Now that I've got my nutrition and health stuff together, I figure it's time to switch gears and put all that energy I was using for the pursuit of a balanced diet and healthy attitude toward exercise and focus it into money matters. So it's time to read up about money, investing, get my fucking savings account fucking opened this week and set up the paperwork to get money automatically deducted into it, and then to start deciding how I'll invest bits of that once I have loose bits to invest.

Sure, I have a company 401(K) that I put 3% of my income into every month automatically, but that's chump change. I don't want to be one of those writers who has to beg people for money when she gets sick. I want to be financially independent.

I want to be able to take care of myself.

And money is a big part of that.

8 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

AFM said...

Absolutely. I've been trying to get that crap together too. I found that I had to make up my own excel spreadsheet to be able to see what I spent and how to budget. I've never been able to get things like Quicken and such to really help me.

If you want a copy of the empty spreadsheet let me know.


Posted by marsha

Kellie said...

Which book are you reading? Just curious. I'm writing a grad paper on women and money, and I've been tracing the gap between women's intellectual and emotional expectations of money. Several books so far have pointed to the disconnect experienced by women who were brought up in "traditional" families but taught that they had the power to earn their own money and take care of themselves. They were told to be independent, but their upbringing showed that they would be taken care of. Essentially, there's a lag between feminist education and feminist training, so your brain and your gut say different things.

What I can't figure out is what that means to me as a *child* of that generation. The books I've read so far seem aimed at women aged 35-44; at 29, my family experience is pretty different, but I still have the same damn problems. (And then I frustrate my writing because it's a real live issue, not just some academic exercise.)

Anyway, if you've found anything worthy of recommendation, please post it! The last book that really helped my work was Money, A Memoir, by Liz Perle.

gwenda said...

We recently embarked on the same journey. I highly recommend a book that just came out called Generation Debt; very common sense, very doable, invitingly written and not judgmental. Here's the author's blog. Bonus: The library had it.

ScottM said...

Everyone teases me about being a spendthrift. (Of course they also tease me about stockpiling butter when it's on sale, so...)

Unfortunately, I found that while I can not spend money, I too have little idea how to invest it. Well, that and the way that everyone suggests that their company's the perfect place to stash it... no promises, but...

If you figure out a good plan, let us know.

EL said...

Hey, you have a 401k. That's a lot better than most people I know, gender regardless.

Ismone said...

I was just trying to talk my second oldest sister into a 401(k). My two brothers both have Roth IRAs. When I was working, the only reason I started one is because my firm put money into one for me instead of a cash bonus, and had matching, so I thought what the hell. I am trying to be more responsible now, and I don't do anything dumb with my money, but I'm not a brilliant financial planner either.

Try upping it to 5%. Trust me, the more you put in younger, the more you'll appreciate it.

Sumana said...

It is so very awesome to live debt-free, with disposable income, knowing I am putting aside enough to be okay in case of emergency/for retirement. So very empowering.

Random bits for you and/or anyone else reading this (e.g., scottm):

Book recommendation: "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" -- not specifically for women or feminists, but very very good. Once you figure out your ability to take risk and what longterm goals you're planning for, you're most of the way there.

Savings account with automatic contributions from your paycheck -- awesome!

If you have any credit card debt, that is a number-one on-fire top priority financewise. Stop paying interest on it with an interest-free balance transfer to another card to give you time to pay it off COMPLETELY, ASAP. The magic of compound interest makes credit card debt a monster.

Max out your 401(k) contributions, as much as you can, to take advantage of your company's matching -- basically free money. $20 you put in today is worth more when you retire than $20 you put in later -- make the magic of compound interest work for you!

I should shut up now. Best wishes! I'm sure you will kick ass at taking care of your financial independence, just as you kick ass at ensuring your independence in all other ways.

Kameron Hurley said...

I'm reading "Nice Girls Don't Get Rich." Which, despite the use of the word "girls" in the title isn't really aimed so much at young women or girls, as the author talks a lot about how to talk to your nanny and gardener and cut back on things like the $50 every week you spend on Starbucks coffee...

I feel like she's assuming I'm a 40-something living either in Manhatten or some posh suburb where I pay somebody to walk my dog.

But hey, it's an introductory book. It's giving me a place to start, in any case.