With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we decided to take a poll of the office to see what financial decisions each of our team members were most thankful for.
I am thankful for my first retirement account. I was right out of college and my 1st job offered a 401(k). They had four different investment choices and I researched all four of them before picking two mutual funds to invest in. I decided to invest $30/paycheck. Gosh I was a geek back then! That first investment set the stage for a successful career helping others to prepare for retirement while enabling me to have a bright future with retirement savings that will help me when I need them.
While 529 plans are becoming more common now, they were not as common when I started one for my daughter several years ago. It was a priority for me to help her pay for college and I knew that the costs would be substantial. I am so thankful that I had money invested in an account to help her achieve the goal of receiving her college degree without the burden of college debt.
I am thankful that I decided to move away from roommates and rent an apartment on my own. Several years ago, I realized that I would probably enjoy living by myself. Even though my cost of rent would go up, I believed that the increase in my quality of life would be worth it. I budgeted carefully to determine my limits and found an apartment that I could afford on my own. The decision paid off because the increase in my quality of life was worth the increase in the cost of rent.
My parents always taught me that “little money makes big money” and that has stuck with me to this day. As a family, we would save all of our change and use it for our family vacations. Though it might not seem worth it to some, picking up pennies and keeping change can amount to quite a lot of money over time. I am thankful that “little money” has added up to some big things for me and my family over the years.
In my first year out of college I took a look at the credit card debt that I had incurred while in college. When I added the cost of moving across county for a new job and furnishing my new apartment, it amounted to nearly $10,000. I decided that I would allocate as much of my new salary to paying off debt as possible. I had a very strict budget that allowed me to pay off the debt in a year. I am thankful that I learned the real cost of debt at such a young age.
In life, there are many decisions that we make that might not seem substantial or important at the time but, looking back, they set the stage for big things to come. Financial decisions are tricky. There are times when we spend more at the outset to see a bigger gain in the end. I always buy expensive shoes knowing that they will last longer and save me money in the long run. There are other times when it makes sense to budget and spend less. Most of our office staff brings lunch daily which saves time and money that would be wasted dining out each day. The most important thing is to be aware of the financial decisions that you are making and the long term goals that you have. Being thoughtful about your spending, saving, budget and investments can lead you down a path that you will be thankful for in the future.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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