I’m sure many of you bloggers are aware there has been a “Financial Genie” floating around the PF blogosphere this week. You can check out some of his appearanecs at Your Money Relationship or Budgets Are Sexy. Although, the genie didn’t make an appearance here, he did inspire me. Instead of listing off the three “financial do-overs” I wish I woulda made, I figured I would talk about the best financial move this finance gangster has made.
The smartest financial move I have made thus far: I unknowingly made decent financial decisions. I didn’t know a thing about money all through college. I was actually quite pathetic. I didn’t even have access to my savings account. Confession: I use to call my mom and ask her to transfer money from my savings in to my checking ’cause I didn’t know how. I know…embarrassing. I really didn’t know ‘ish about finances nor did I care to learn. But my financial ignorance wasn’t a completely terrible thing. I had two credit cards in college in case I needed them for an emergency. I didn’t know a thing about the credit industry and it was too darn intimidating for me to get in to. As a result, I never used my credit card. This was possibly the biggest blessing ever. I don’t like using things I’m unfamiliar with so my cards sat dormant all four years of college. I unknowingly avoided the credit demons and was lucky to graduate college with no credit card debt.
I landed my current job relatively quickly after college and had a substantially larger pay check each month, when compared to my part time college jobs. I had a good chunk of discretionary income from each pay check and decided to put it in to my savings account. I tried to spend it (this is when I bought my motorcycle ), but shortly realized I don’t need more stuff. Again, 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.
I started contributing to my 401K since day one. The first day on the job I filled out a buttload 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 had no idea what a 401K was, but figured 5% wasn’t going to kill me. I didn’t know where my 401K contributions were going, but nonetheless I was still contributing. A few months later (once I fell in love with personal finance), I realized I had been contributing in to government bond funds…yuck…and quickly changed my allocations. Even though my 401K contributions went to a crappy invesrtment vehicle 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.
So there ya have it you blogilicious peeps, the best financial moves I have made thus far. So how ’bout it? 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.