Check out the best personal finance content that I found inspiring and educational this week.
When “normal” people see these stories of paying off massive amounts of debt, they figure someone “got lucky” and there’s no way they would ever get so lucky themselves. But when you look at what Ava and her husband did, you see that this is the result of making smart money decisions with unexpected windfalls — plus help from extra income from side hustles. Everyone can do this, even if not on the same scale. When you get a little extra money, put it toward your debt instead of buying something new or celebrating with a fancy dinner and drinks. Make enough of those smart decisions and you’ll see real progress toward paying off debt. You have to make your own luck.
There are flavors of extreme in everything. It’s important to recognize when dogmatic behavior pushes you beyond the desired outcome and into a whole different place than you intended. That’s true in anything, and personal finance is no exception. Ms. ONL (who is hands down one of the most thoughtful, eloquent voices in the space) reminds us to push back on the edges and allow for more wiggle room in the middle on our financial and lifestyle journeys.
I’m not a mom writing about seeking FI, but I have to say a fairly sizable number of my Twitter feed fits into that camp. Liz is right that the options for FIRE seekers with kids are different from those without. Decisions about taking risks and cutting back — and just the numbers you’re working with — are not the same calculus when children enter the equation. Of course, you can make smart decisions that put you on the path to FI. But things like deciding to get two side hustles while going on no-spend binges and cutting everything to the bone to accelerate your savings or debt reduction are far more difficult when you factor in kids. There are also a bunch of expenses DINKs (dual-income, no kids) don’t have to worry about. I really appreciate the perspective Liz and others like her bring to the table.
I’m an index fund investor. There’s no shortage of data showing why that’s the best choice for most investors. But as Roger Whitney reminds us, you should know what you’re investing in and why. While I understand the index concept, I don’t often consider all that goes into those indexes and how they may differ (or not) from one another. If you’re an index fund investor, or thinking about becoming one, this is a great educational listen.