Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I don't UNDERSTAND!!!

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This topic contains 169 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by avatar Silje 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #694158 Reply
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    csp

    Hey everyone,

    So lately I have had the overwhelming feeling like I am really not making my finances work and I do not understand how everyone else does it. Like, no one talks about money so I feel like I cannot ask questions. I feel like my husband and I make good money but we drive older cars and have used furniture. I see people get new kitchens, houses, cars and the like. I am like, How do they do it?

    Am I just spending too much money on groceries? Are they just loaned to the hilt? Do they all have secret investment strategies that I don’t know about? I just don’t understand how we are all supposed to have the right insurance, save for retirement, save for college, pay bills and daycare and live your life.

    Any ideas and thoughts would be appreciated.

    #694159 Reply
    avatar
    csp

    mid life crisis bump

    #694161 Reply
    veritek33
    veritek33
    Participant

    I bet they are in debt. That’s my first guess. Or they make a lot of money and that’s the things they choose to spend it on.

    I’d recommend some sort of financial seminar or class. I took Dave Ramsey’s but I’m sure there are other good ones. My goal now is to pay off debt and save for retirement, but also to have some fun. So i have a debt fund and a vacation fund.

    It sounds like you and your partner are doing the right things. Maybe set aside a savings account to buy fun things rather than practical things?

    #694162 Reply
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    csp

    I want to add. I was just on the Ric Edelman radio show. He said you should save 20% of your GROSS pay but you can count Social Security in that. So that brings it to 18%. But let’s say you make 100,000 for easy math. You pay 25% in taxes so you make 75K. Then you pay (like me) 24000 in a mortgage (2000/month) and 15000 in day care then this 20000 in savings. That gives you 16K a year. I am not saying that is no money but if you have to buy food, gas, car payment, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, ect. that money goes away fast.

    And that is assuming your a making $100k where most people aren’t. And when you see these big houses that are big mortgages. I just don’t understand.

    #694163 Reply
    avatar
    csp

    It feels like everyone understands and I do not.

    #694164 Reply
    Copa
    Copa
    Participant

    I think a lot of people live beyond their means. I feel financially dumb, but I at least live within my means. I have no credit card debt. I’m behind on retirement savings, even though I’m still relatively young, and know I need to work on that, but I’m also paying down my student loan debt and saving for emergencies, for fun, for retirement, and paying off loans is hard. I feel like something always has to give. My savings are modest, but there in case I have an emergency. I’m able to take vacations and trips and I eat out more than I should, but my furniture is from IKEA. I live in a nice neighborhood, but my apartment is “vintage.”

    I recently had a pretty big medical bill, and the amount I had to pay out of pocket upset me a little because I never spend that much money on myself for fun. I feel like I’m always financially behind on SOMETHING. I’m very comfortable on a day-to-day basis, but do worry about money often. So, what you’re saying here sounds normal to me. If anyone else has financial literacy class or book recommendations, that’d be cool because I’m trying to focus more on mine too.

    #694165 Reply
    TaraMonster
    TaraMonster
    Participant

    I understand the feeling, csp. My parents were and are absolutely horrible with money, and I made a lot of mistakes in my early adult years following their advice. I’ve always felt like there was some lesson or value other people learned that wasn’t passed on to me. I’ve done a lot to learn about finances (Youtube is an excellent resource!), but there’s still that little voice in my head whispering about how everyone else around me has their financial shit together, and wondering if I’ll EVER be more financially stable. I’m working on that. One of those financial guru people who I really like is Ramit Sethi because he starts with getting you to define for yourself what a rich life would mean to you, personally, beyond just the literal definition of having lots of expendable cash. Maybe take a look at some of his content. It’s definitely been helping me get out of my head.

    #694166 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    Many people are living beyond their means. They are saving nothing for retirement and nothing for emergencies and buy everything on credit.

    I was stunned when the mom of one of my daughter’s friends said that they used their home equity loan to buy a car for their daughter because they could pay as little as %50 per month on the car. It was a $10,000 car so at $50 per month they will be paying for over 16 years for a used car. In my mind that means you can’t afford the car. They have a huge, beautiful home but can’t afford a $10,000 car.

    Another friend has been remodeling her kitchen. She says that when her youngest son finishes college they can start saving for retirement. They are in their 50s and haven’t started saving for retirement and won’t start for several more years.

    Other friends have managed their money well and are doing well. They have all lived more modestly than the ones who seem to have everything but then you realize they have an expensive home but no savings and no retirement.

    The people you see with large homes and expensive cars may look like they have more but in the end you will probably be ahead of them financially or they have much larger incomes or they have had help buying their homes.

    #694167 Reply
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    anonymousse
    Member

    Csp, in your example, that’s one salary, though, right? So add another income and that’s how they do it. Maybe they’ve refinanced their homes, or bought when prices were still lower.

    We are the “poor” in our neighborhood, ha ha. One income, renting, student loans, two kids, etc…and most families here are dual incomes, with salaries about $175,000+ per person. We are “looking” to buy but we are probably going to have to move further away from the city, which I’m not looking forward to.

    That said, we make it work and I’d rather have my husband around than working 80hrs a week!

    #694169 Reply
    avatar
    TheHizzy

    I wouldn’t believe everything I see.

    My cousin who was married, had a beautiful home, lavish wedding, he had a new car, they were always on trips and she bought stuff like cray! She’s now divorced and I found out they had over $16k in debt! That’s *JUST* credit cards. They sold their home and she got some money from it but he took on most of the debt. I think she assumed some $5k on her own.

    People let you see what they want you to see.

    #694170 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    Debt. Debt. Debt. Lots of it.

    #694171 Reply
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    Vathena

    @csp, sometimes I wonder about this stuff too. I know how much all the homes around us cost, and I’m Facebook friends with many of my neighbors, and my husband and I are always like, HOW does so-and-so afford that trip to Finland to sleep in the glass igloo under the Northern Lights?! hah! I think a lot of it is luck. Having parents who can pay for most of your education or help with a home purchase. Getting a secure, well-paying job. Not having health problems. Knowing how to invest/do stuff with stocks and whatnot. Not having kids and the costs that come with them! And yeah, there are probably plenty of folks who are just not saving. My husband and I are pretty well off, but we still plan and worry, and there’s a lot of luck involved.

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