It’s the end of a long month. Before you hit the weekend, you deserve a virtual drink!
The central tenet of this site is that if you show up and make steady, incremental improvements to your money system, you will find yourself decades ahead of your peers. I’m also a big believer in the idea that you only improve what you make an effort to measure. So this thread is a place to keep us all honest and account for the progress we’ve tried to make in our money lives. Think of it as a place to brag about the financial things you’ve accomplished in the past month, big or small.
I spent a good chunk of hours researching a new fixed income option for my portfolio. I spent hours reading through the prospectus, the company’s last 10-K, talking to the investor relations department, and chasing down open questions. I took a several hundred thousand dollar position just this week. I even wrote an entire post about the decision making process, which will be published next week.
Small wins are kind of the bread and butter of this whole process, so I’ve got a few of those, too. I am terrible at returning things, but I finally sent back some Zappos shoes that have been sitting sadly in our kitchen for four months ($80 back to my bank account!). I beat down the temptation to buy a $5 cupcake yesterday. I learned about and vetted the rates at several mortgage brokers in my area. And I filed my tax extension – I have forms that don’t come until the summer that I need for the full filing.
It’s been a good month in the money management department for me. How about you?
Hit a major FI milestone? We want to help celebrate.
Finally set up a brokerage account? I want to hear about it.
Discovered a good deal on hotels? Spill the secret.
Figured out how to read a mutual fund prospectus? Share the win.
I went on a three day streak of buying artisanal donuts. My wallet is $14 poorer and my waistline half a pound heavier. There’s a reason my dog walking route is now devised to go in the opposite direction. I’m hoping this will reduce my fail rate in the future. But damn, there are still three flavors I haven’t tried…
I wanted to sign up for the much-discussed Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It was giving a 100k points sign up bonus. I waited too long and they’ve now cut the sign up bonus in half, making it less compelling to me than other options on the market. I’ll chalk this one up to just too much to do at once. It took a back seat to house hunting, mortgage research, and the portfolio/investment decisions I made above. I’m sure another decent deal will come along.
I spent $7.89 on a bandana for my dog. It was necessary! This dog is unreal cute. Here’s a picture.
The fail was not getting the bandana. It was the fact that it was an impulse purchase and I could have probably found it cheaper online. And did I say one bandana? I meant two. Yeah. Oops.
Did The Month Get Away From You?
Did the time get away from you and you don’t have much to show in the way of progress? Don’t panic. Here are a few ideas that will get you in the game so you can notch a win for the month.
Get A Dashboard Set Up To Track Your Expenses, Income, And Net Worth (5 Min) – In five minutes, you can use my favorite service, Personal Capital, to hook up all your accounts and get a bird’s eye view of your finances. You’ll have a constant window into your financial health and be able to drill down into any spending problems, portfolio allocation issues, and more. Best of all, it’s free. For more detail on how I use it, check out this article or jump right to the good part and get started here.
Figure Out How To Build Your Retirement Budget (12 Min) – The actual budgeting process will take you more than 12 minutes, but get the strategy outlined and in place by walking through this teardown on how to build an airtight retirement budget.
If you’re looking for some interesting, relaxing reads as you head into the weekend, here were a few of the most interesting articles I came across this month.
- Refinery 29’s Money Diaries – Ever wonder how other people spend their money? Refinery 29 has a money diaries series that follows folks in all different pay brackets and careers for a week and shows how they’re spending their money. Financial voyeurism at its best. And the editor in Austin, TX sounds like a money ninja badass.
- James Clear’s The 1% Rule – This couldn’t be more aligned with how I think about The Money Habit and the rules of success. James Clear describes the Pareto Principle (the 80-20 rule you hear me referencing) and talks about a 1% edge building snowball outcomes. That’s exactly what we’re trying to accomplish here with steady, incremental improvements to your financial life. They’ll keep giving back.
- Matt Levine Talks About Finance As Art – This is a little farther afield and gives an example of how a hedge fund is looking at General Motors stock. Really interesting read that gives a glimpse of how the finance industry operates.
It’s bragging time.
What have you learned/done/accomplished in your money life the past month? Snafus and money fails are also totally welcome – they help you fail forward. Make sure you share something! Lurkers don’t have nearly the success as active participants in the finance journey. Get comfortable talking about your progress. Start with this thread!