If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re trying to do something to improve your financial situation.
Maybe you’re just starting out, really thinking purposefully about money for the first time.
Or maybe you’ve been trying to make things better for a while, but you’ve hit some roadblocks and you’re not sure what to do next.
In either case, you have questions and doubts. And in those moments, it’s easy to look around and find people who already are where you want to be. You look at them and think something along the lines of: “Man, if only I could be like them. Life would be good.”
And you feel something. Guilt. Jealousy. Lack of self worth. Maybe even a little bit of dismissal. Like they have special circumstances or special talents we don’t have. Or maybe they’re just lucky.
We all have those moments. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone. I see a blog with a bigger, more engaged audience than I have. Or I see a parent who looks totally, 100% at ease with their kids. Or I see a financial planner who seems to be everywhere, know everything and have this business totally figured out.
It’s a normal reaction. But it also completely misses the point.
Just about 2 years ago my wife and I decided to get rid of both the collision and comprehensive coverage on our cars. We still had car insurance (including the max amount of liability coverage), we just stopped paying for those particular parts of the coverage.
Which might be surprising if you’ve spent any time here, given how much I love insurance and how much of it I have.
But as strongly as I feel that having the right insurance is essential for any young family, I feel just as strongly that insurance can be a waste of money when it’s not used correctly. That’s one of the reasons why I think whole life insurance is a bad idea for most people.
So today I’d like to explain our thought process for doing away with collision and comprehensive coverage, and evaluate whether that decision has held up as a good one after two years.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
-Leonardo Da Vinci
You already know that you’re supposed to be saving for retirement. I’m not breaking any ground by saying it here.
But how much should you be saving? Ahh, now there’s the million dollar question.
You’ll get a million different answers all over the internet. But most of the are burdened by at least one glaring weakness:
-They’re too generic don’t take into account the specifics of your situation,
-They give you a retirement “number” to shoot for, but don’t help you figure out how much you should be saving to get there, or
-They make you guess at a lot of variables, a complexity that makes them hard to understand AND more likely to give a false answer.
My goal is to help you figure out how much you should be saving, today, in order to reach the retirement you want.
The method I give you here addresses each of the weaknesses above. It’s personal, it gives you a monthly contribution to shoot for, and it’s simple enough to actually understand while still giving you a meaningful result.
I’ll be upfront, if you’re closing in on your retirement date then this is not the article for you. You’ll need more precision then what’s included here.
But if retirement is still a couple of decades away, this will give you a great start. There’s a calculator and everything, so figuring out your target savings is as simple as possible.
So, without further ado, here’s the easy way to create your very own retirement plan.
Money is important.
Money can allow us to do things we enjoy. It can allow us to provide security for our family. It can allow us to decide how we want to use our time.
But money is not an end. Money is simply a tool that allows us to do something else. It’s the something else that’s actually the goal.
Money is only important to the extent that it can be used purposefully. And it can only be used purposefully if we know what we want it to help us achieve.
So how do we figure out our money’s purpose? How do we define our ideal life and start taking steps to make it a reality?
Finding my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
-“Wake Me Up”, Avicii and Aloe Blacc
On November 15, 2013 I lost my job.
It was a sad day, but not a surprising one. I’d been working for a start-up software company for the past 6+ years and the simple fact we had to face was that we needed to move on. It hadn’t worked, at least not in the way we dreamed it would. Sometimes that’s just the reality of a start-up.
But this isn’t a story about losing my job. This is a story about what came next.
This is a story about the opportunities you’re presented when you plan for the worst but dream of the best.
This is a story about all those years of saving finally paying off.
Health insurance. You just take whatever it is that your employer offers, right?
For a lot of people that’s the case, but what if your employer doesn’t offer coverage? Or what if you’re left without an employer?
Well, a couple of months ago my wife and I were forced to figure out how to buy our own health insurance policy (the reason why is a story coming soon). Neither of us had ever done this before, so we had a lot we needed to learn.
And let me tell you, this process is confusing! There are so many options and so many variables that just a few minutes of looking them over can make your head start spinning in about 50 different directions.
But with a little bit of help from an independent health insurance agent and a little bit of number-crunching, we eventually made a decision that we think was the right one for us.
So in case you’re ever in this position yourself and aren’t sure where to start, here are the six biggest factors we considered when choosing a health insurance plan for our family.