As I sit here reflecting on my three year long personal finance journey, I can’t help but laugh at how incredibly fortunate I’ve been (knock on wood). Some of the best decisions I’ve made, in regards to my financial well being, were accidents. Thought I’d share a few examples with you today…
I didn’t know a thing about money all through college. I was actually quite pathetic. I didn’t even have access to my own savings account (I had to call my mom and ask her to transfer money from my savings in to my checking because I didn’t know how. Embarrassing right?). I had two credit cards in college that my mom recommended I get in case of an emergency. I had no clue how to use my Credit Cards and was too darn intimidated by them to use them. Turns out, my ignorance was a huge blessing as I graduated college with no credit card debt. Can I get a booya for ignorance?!
I landed my current job relatively quickly after college and for the first time in my life had a steady income. I had a good chunk of discretionary income from each pay check. I tried to spend it (this is when I bought my motorcycle ), but quickly ran out of things I wanted to buy. Without realizing what I was doing, I made the decision to save my left over cash at the end of the month instead of squander it away.
The first day on the job I filled out a boatload of paperwork: health insurance, life insurance, and every other kind of benefit form there is. I had the 401K form handed to me and decided I would throw 5% of my gross pay into it each month. I didn’t know where these contributions were going, but at least I was contributing something to retirement. A few months later (once I fell in love with personal finance), I realized I had been heavily investing in government bond funds…yuck…and quickly changed my allocations. Even though my 401K contributions went to a crappy investment for the first couple months, I formed the habit of saving for retirement as early as I could.
And the single most important moment in my financial life… I had a conversation with someone about Roth IRA’s, which snowballed into an obsession with personal finance. Realizing that I had already formed decent financial habits, I decided it was time I maximized my potential. It’s an ongoing process and I am definitely not the smartest kid in the room (my mother has always said I was “special”), but I’m excited my eyes were opened to personal finance at 22 and not 52. Thank goodness for accidental intelligence!!!!
What are the best moves you have made to date? Maybe they were intentional decisions like never using a credit card. Or perhaps it was dumb luck, like not being able to afford a home at the top of the market which saved you from being upside down on a mortgage today. I would love to hear what you all have to say so drop me a line.