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Agree to disagree
Greg and I don’t always see eye to eye with our money, but the only time we ever argue is when one of us thinks the other is being too cheap. I don’t like to spend my hard-earned money in airport restaurants, and Greg thinks it’s okay to wear pants with no seams, shoes without soles, and a rain jacket that flakes its waterproof lining every time he puts it on. I’m the conscious saver, Greg’s the anti-spender. I work hard to ensure we have both short-term and long-term money, Greg thinks we have enough already and should quit working altogether to go be national park campground hosts. Note: I’m all for it, I am. But I’m going to need a detailed financial plan for how we’re going to survive on $10/day for the rest of our lives. Greg is old school and doesn’t think it appropriate to talk about money, and I whole-heartedly disagree. I learn, and am motivated, by what others have done, and I love to see numbers because I can apply them to my our situation.
We could all use some help
I hate that money is still such a taboo subject, that people are ashamed to talk about it, and especially are too afraid to admit they need financial help. We all need help with something, the vast majority with money. If you don’t believe me, Bing (don’t Google, because with Bing you earn Microsoft points for online searches that are redeemable for Amazon, Walmart, or REI gift cards) “Americans in debt”. It’s a nightmare! High blood pressure, depression, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, suicide. I saw on Twitter recently ⅓ of Americans would rather lose the right to vote than reveal their credit card debt balance. WHAT. This is America, people. Thousands of people died for the right to a democracy. I doubt anyone lost their lives for the opportunity to max out their student loans or apply for a Gap card. I’m starting to sweat.
This is real life
The thing that I love most about discussing money is that no one’s trying to send you down some spiritual path to save it or get out of debt; you don’t have to find God or Allah to become financially responsible. There’s no political agenda, and you don’t have to get three people to sign up for it, and get those three people to sign up another three people. Money is not a fad diet, or a rustic cuff craze, or some lunatic’s (present!) opinion. It’s real life. And when you don’t have it, real life can be just miserable.
Find a friend
So let it out, man. If you’re bad with money and would like to be better, start talking about it. Branch out from your broke friends and family and ask the financially savvy ones their tricks of the trade. Find a mentor to look up to and learn from. Read financial blogs, check out personal finance books from the library, listen to free podcasts on your way to work, follow financial gurus on Twitter and Instagram if for nothing else but for their motivational quotes. It’s easy to stand stock-still, too afraid to make a change when you think you’re the only one having to do it, but you have to know you’re not alone. I didn’t have a strong financial foundation growing up, I’m not a natural saver, I didn’t know anything about living within my means or investing, but I found a mentor in my oldest brother. He picked me up and dropped me off at the trailhead to my path of financial freedom. Now I have lots and lots of mentors and I try to learn something new about money every day, whether it’s an investment strategy, or a tax benefit, or a new app that pays me to scan receipts, or another way to use less and conserve more. I am loud and proud about our pursuit of financial freedom, and encourage everyone around us to join the chorus.