RIE, a parenting philosophy that makes sense for baby and wallet

A review of why the RIE philosophy mixes well with people who go against the grain. A practice where money and babies don’t collide.

On this blog I have set 3 main goals for myself, not just of things I want to talk about but of things I want to learn more about and get better at. The journey includes retirement, travel, and parenthood, the common denominator is using money as the tool that ties it all together.

So why would someone who is budget conscious like Janet Lansbury’s blog , well simply put the child rearing philosophy she speaks about does not encourage immersing your baby or any child into a sea of toys and one trick ponies. Parents are encouraged to let children develop on their own. That means no walkers, jumping seats or spending time in any other restrictive apparatus.  She explains how children can find entertainment in nature, explore and be creative . That means no on toys that are flashy and distracting.

What does this add up to?  Financially big saving. By deeming most of what we currently believe to be necessary for our kids as unnecessary an even detrimental to their natural development. We end up with encouragement for limiting items, no one is on the hook for “depriving” their children of these worthless toys. Instead you learn to tune in to your children and when they can just be, you are free from having to buy an endless parade of toys to entertain them. 

I found Janet’s blog long before I found MMM. I recommend you to check it out. I think it’s very compatible with the goals here.
I am attaching two posts, I think it is as good a place as any to start, but like with any blog you need to poke around and at least read several article to get an idea of some of the intricacies in the parenting philosophy.child time

So having kids doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and actually I believe you’ll find if you spend more time and less money that baby and budgets don’t actually collide.

http://www.janetlansbury.com/2013/12/rie-parenting-basics-9-ways-to-put-respect-into-action/

http://www.janetlansbury.com/2013/07/unexpected-toy-find-2/

Did you check it out? What did you think?

Choosing between the Baby and the Budget

When numbers like $10,000 on baby’s first year get thrown around regularly, and anecdotes like it cost half a million dollars to raise kids these days. Well it isn’t a surprise that most parent or would be parent feel the walls closing in even as they choose the decor for baby’s room.  $10,000 is what baby center says it will cost ya for baby’s first year. Well I’ll have to disagree as many comment-er on that page did because we just welcomed baby number 2 last year and as far as I can tell those numbers are wacko!

We just celebrated the first birthday of our youngest (a little girl) and it was a nice relaxing event. Our one year celebration was just us and it was nice to not have to worry about all the extra activities you add on to your plate when you plan a big shindig.  We just focused on enjoying the moment.

Thinking and talking about big first birthday bashes makes me see floating dollar signs being flushed down the toilet.  A one year old definitely does not request or need all that frivolous spending.

I’ll put my dollars in the bank to buy myself some extra freedom, and more quality time with the kids thank you. So  now that I’ve hinted at the big expenses for a first birthday if you choose to go that route lets also rewind and see what my baby costs were for the first year.

How much money did we spend on baby?

First Year Expenses, $10,000? I don't think so.
First Year Expenses, $10,000? I don’t think so.

So lets look at each section and do some explaining.

Diapers

Ah diapers this by all is considered to be the black whole and cash eating machine. With my first I had considered cloth diapers but it just didn’t make sense at the time since we were both college students. I hear they save you a bundle but I’ve never had the chance to test them out. With my second I didn’t even consider it since again we were both working so Disposable it was.  So what was my number for the first year with disposables? Well I can definitely say we bought in bulk none of these 30-60 count stuff for $19. We went straight to the 112-150 count for $29, we used coupons, and we bought when target would have a sale(credit a $10 gift card). All in all I don’t think it was that bad but I know I could have done better.

Formula

The joys of nursing. Some women can’t nurse, and there is nothing they can do about it. Other women CHOOSE not to nurse and all I can say is financially that is a horrible idea. I’m not even going to get into the debate about how breast milk is the best thing for baby.  But FORMULA! that stuff is expensive! Especially if you need it for every meal. So how did we keep that cost down? Well first we predominantly nursed and only slightly supplemented. However, to further keep costs down you should try the following. Sign up for the manufactures club. Enfamil has something of the sort and it was really beneficial. At the hospital we left with a parting gift, bottles and bottles of ready to drink formula. Then we also got a box at home with 36 more of the ready to drink formula.  They also send coupons to save $5-$7 on their product purchases. Nursing is still the most affordable, so I say give it a real shot. With the first child nursing was a piece of cake, with the second it was a disaster lots of crying from mom and baby, but they advise you to stick with it for 3 months. You know what, once we got to 3 months it wasn’t a disaster anymore. So if you can give it a shot not only will your baby thank you, so will your wallet.

Clothes

Since we found it more exciting to not know baby’s gender the first little Roamer had neutral clothing for up to 6 months. This worked out great for little Roamer number 2 which we also did not find out gender till delivery.  This meant I could reuse baby clothing  from first baby. We also aren’t to proud to accept hand me downs and a generous coworker gifted us a whole year of outfits.  Also while out one day we were gifted a nursing cover from a complete  stranger … sure it was a bit of an awkward situation for us but hey it was free! So if you want to keep costs down ask friends and family if they have any left overs from their baby. Looking forward I am checking out Craigslist for her next batch and I see big lots selling for $45 or $1 per item. So that looks like a great resource as well.  When it comes to clothing Appreciate family, friends, and even strangers generosity.

Furniture

Crib?  I’ve never actually owned one. For my first well we were poor college students and we moved so frequently across the US that a big bulky piece of furniture just didn’t make sense when you are trying to fit everything including baby in a car. My first survived and thrive just fine in a Graco pack n play with the bassinet conversion. He did have a crib for a 3-6 month stint when a family member loaned us one.  Luckily we kept those items and when baby 2 came well we used what we had.  I definitely caught a lot of flack for not having a crib from my family but I just didn’t see the need to upgrade. So making a price comparison it looks like the pack an plays range from $70 to above $200 depending on the add on and configuration compared to cribs which start at $200 and go up to the thousands(does that include a mattress? i don’t know). This is  buying new so you have lots of room to save here. Plus with a pack and play you also save by not buying all that unnecessary bedding which is dangerous for a newborn anyway (SIDS anyone)

All the other furniture went like this Car seat? Yes and new. Old car seat was past the 6 year mark so new it was. Stroller? bought as a set with car seat.High Chair? found on Craigslist Used $45, the cheapest new was $95.

Food

Well this post is turning to a book so I’ll keep it short. We heard of baby lead weaning which means you go straight to solid food. Soft solid food but none of this puree stuff. This meant a lot of saving in the food department. Did you know Gerber or whatever cost $1 for about 5 oz. For that price you can buy a bag of carrots and get multiple days of meals. Turns out cooking baby food is really easy. So we did that and only supplemented with packaged food for convenience. This is obvious in our chart  food costs.

Medical

Sheesh it took me doing the research for this article to really realize this cost. In the first year my baby had 3 emergency room visits at $100 a pop. These incident were by far the most costly expenses. I never knew what a nursemaid elbow was with my eldest but now I do and I feel so sad that my youngest baby got them, but the worst part is that apparently after they get them once they are more likely to get them again until their stuff is all set at age 5. I had the ER visits with my oldest as well, but I didn’t have insurance back then so those were like $500 a pop. So I can see the costs adding up for those who don’t have insurance.

So that should cover most of the costs. However, I’ll assume that I lost a receipt somewhere and make that $1,300 a nice round $1,500. Even so I don’t see any other costs that I missed and that means out of the $10,000  my total amounted to about 15% . Now lets assume that this is likely the case and that child expenses are grossly overestimated. Well that means that raising a kid to 18 really shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg and that the expenses are well within your control and open for interpretation.

I did not follow the fast growing ridiculously lavish first birthday trend.  My daughter did not receive a pile of gifts, I didn’t buy fancy decorations and order a custom birthday cake piled high with sugar and fake coloring. I didn’t hire a professional photographer either ( I know how to work a camera and I don’t need Photoshop magic changing reality). Maybe some people will say she missed out, some how I don’t think she’ll ever complain.

So what have you done to cut baby costs? Do you feel your missing out? Do you really need to choose between the Baby and the Budget?

 

7 years of travel: The power of looking back

How well do you remember your past?

I would not consider myself a traveler. It is more a goal and aspiration. In comparison to some family members with less means than myself, I have been to fewer places. And I definitely learn a lot from travel hackers ( by default I guess that means I don’t know a lot ) but I guess I haven’t given myself enough credit. Sometimes looking in the past has it’s benefits…

During the application process for a job I was asked to provide my addresses for 7 year to do a background check. 7 years!
I knew I moved around a lot for school but I guess I never thought of it before. As it turns out I had a really hard time coming up with 7 yrs of history but after some digging these are the stats I have to report.

Where have I lived?

So within the past 7 years I have held an address in all the following cities for 3 months or more.

    • Flint, MI.
    • Costa Mesa , Ca
    • San Leandro, Ca
    • San Francisco, Ca
    • Anaheim, Ca
    • Bellflower, Ca
    • Norwalk, Ca

(Can you tell I really like California) 😉

Now I know what you are thinking.. you are probably saying “Wait a minute that doesn’t look so bad. Why did you have such a hard time gathering that up.” Well in reality even though I have only live in 7 different cities in the past 7 years my housing situation was more complicated then that.

In that time I have lived in 14 different houses/ Apartments. That is a lot of addresses to try and remember. But I guess that’s the life of a wanderer( Hence the Roamer).  No but really it was due to my University’s school schedule.

 Places I have Traveled to in my last 7 years

Not only have I lived in 7 different cities in the past 7 years I have also had a chance to visit quite a few places. These are the stats of places I have spent 2 or more nights at.

  • Dearborn, MI
  • Madison, WI
  • Port Huron, MI
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • New River Gorge, WV
  • Yosemite, CA
  • Kentucky
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Chicago, IL
  • Oil City, PA
  • Philadelphia, PA
Things I’ve seen

I have also had the chance to  spend a few hours and briefly pass through sites such as, Niagra Falls, from Canada side,  The Rock and Roll hall of fame in Ohio, Frank Lloyd Wrights  house Falling Waters in PA, Hearst Castle,CA; Zion National Park, UT; The Grand Canyon, AZ; The Saint Louis Arch, MO

So why do I say all this ? … How is it going to help?… Well I guess really this post is more about reflection. Sometimes life happens so fast you miss what’s happening. And I’m glad to know that even though trips haven’t been as grandiose as I’d like( India sigh Japan , China,  3 months studying abroad) .  Sure it might not have been what I wanted it to be, but it’s surely nothing to scoff at. I have found a way to feed my passion even if it means getting to know my backyard better. For example my time in San Francisco was really amazing specially with the random meeting of an Asian tourist an impromptu dinner date in china town and late night walk through the city will be a memory and story I tell for the rest of my life. To realize that those story like adventure don’t just happen to everyone but happen to me too.

So take a break retrace your step and realize those amazing accomplishments you’ve already done, you have a few… But if you really feel you don’t, take control it’s your life, you only have one… Realize there are challenging,attainable goals to be reached, but don’t sacrifice your future self, save and pay for them out right. There are adventures to be had in your own backyard if you are open to the possibilities.

Maybe I’m not such an inept traveler. I think it’s pretty good for 7 years of travel.

– The Roamer

Feel free to share with me your accomplishments. Lets inspire each other.  

University Debt Freedom

Hello Sunshine, Hello breath of fresh air, Hello Freedom!

Today was the day, I recently sent in the last payment on my last student loan and today I received the marvelous confirmation that proves it all.

When I started this student loan repayment journey it was 2011 and I was over $46,000.00 in the hole. The school loan companies(government included) in all their infinite wisdom gave me 10 years to pay it all off.  How thoughtful and generous of them??

Let me see I thought I am 23 soon to be 24+10=34. I would be 34 years old when I would finish paying off my loans! 34! really? No thank you. Plus what about all the interest? Lets see if I did my math right it would come out to about $18,000 that’s a total of $64,000 after everything is said and done. Nope. Nope. Nope.

I knew from the very beginning there was no way I was just going to give $18,000 away.  I mean that is what you do when you pay interest. No, instead I figured out what my payments needed be to pay it all off in 5 years. Heck, I even did the math to pay it off in 6 years in case I had some emergency or something but that was it, 6 years was my MAX and 5 years was my goal. That goal included dropping extra cash that came my way with things such as tax refunds.

5 year plan

With the 5 yr plan I would only give away ~$8500 in interest with a monthly payment of $880 and $2500 in tax refund money. This would save me about $10,000 and 5 yrs of worry and stress paying everything off by Jan 2016.

What really Happened

Its Early 2014 and I already reached my GOAL! Paying off my student loans in 3.25 years. I’ve included a table below to show how it all breaks down. Now the numbers on the table are ball park calculations using 7% interest rate but that’s not 100% since really my loans ranged from 4.5% to an ugly 10.63%. Even my payments for year 3 are the average. The way it really went down was starting off with the $880 payments to finish up in 5 years and then upping it all the way to $1480. With extra cash dropped in when it came along (tax refunds) . But I wanted you to get an idea and the difference in the interest rates is no joke even if you do think I’m off $100 its still several thousand dollars difference for every year you add on.

Isn't math fun!

Isn’t math fun!

 My Advice

So here is my advice for any graduating students use the grace period to your advantage and start paying some dollars right away. If it means you are not pay interest great for you.

1. Do the Math

Unfortunately nobody is going to advise you about this, thinking of what’s best for you. Most people will try to get you to extend the life of the loan to minimize the payment per month. That’s like buying a pizza on credit and by the time you actually pay it off it cost you $100 buck. Would you pay $100 for a pizza? Not likely so forget about the monthly payment for a little and do the math to figure out what it really is going to cost you down the line. Some interest rates are so high that by the end of it you end up paying double what you owe. Does that sound like a smart thing to do?(refer to pizza example and hopefully be saying no). I mean you could have gotten a second degree or gone on vacation with the interest you’re paying.

2. Pay Attention

Don’t submit extra money and assume it’s going to the most logical place. I have a secret its not! Yup this is the most annoying thing of all but as you learn about finances you’ll realize that you want to pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first. But nope the loan companies wont do that, that just makes to much sense they will most likely apply it to the loan with (GASP) the smallest interest rate. Well of course they would this means they can keep extracting from you the biggest amount of money. So PAY ATTENTION, CALL as many times as you have to make sure your money is going in the right place. For people with big balances this could be thousands of dollars in extra interest.

I’m really jazzed about this life event, And I hope this makes you realize that doing a little math can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars. ..And even though I am glad I got my education I don’t want to pay anymore then what its worth.

Do you have Student DEBT ? When will you reach freedom? Will you do the math to get there sooner?

-The Roamer Out

 

 

Challenge: Save for your Emergency Fund

What do you do if you have an Emergency?

DUDE, My car just died
Honey, I need a root canal
The pipes burst, and water is dripping form the ceiling
I just got laid off

Lets face it an emergency can happen to anyone. Unexpected expenses can be a financial disaster waiting to happen.  Usually when an emergency happens you are stressed out enough with out having to add the financial stress of “How am I going to pay for this?”

So why put yourself in that situation?

As you have learned finances are in your control you have the power to cut out the fluff to make room for what really matters.  Do you want to have to deal with financial stress when your already stressing about some other emergency? NO!  Great! So lets get started.

Building your Emergency Fund Safety Net

Now I know there are lots of financial levels out there from the paycheck to paycheck to the savvy investor. This is for the beginners.

Level 1

This is for the paycheck to paycheck people. We have got to get out of this routine. Living paycheck to paycheck means you have no room or money to absorb any sort of financial emergency. This is a dangerous game to play. However, the good news is you probably have money to save it just keeps getting sucked up by you fun pile. So your challenge is save $1000, every month find a way to scrape together $100. Sure this might seem hard but its doable. You know that fun pile I mentioned it probably includes shoes, restaurant meals, clothes, lunches out, new gadgets, excessive driving. Lets say you go out every day for lunch at work and spend about $10. $10 x 5(days a week)x 4 (weeks)=$200. Take lunch to work 2 days a week and you’ll save $80.  Skip out on one dinner date out and instead prepare something new at home that is probably another $30. See $100 not so hard.  Now that you have it build it to $1000.  Remember this is not for a new TV.

Level 2

So you already save money, you pocket about $150 a month into your saving account. The problem is you don’t really have a safety fund because you keep using it to go on awesome vacations or buy new gadgets. Chances are you could probably handle a small emergency couple hundred dollars or so but you’d still be a fish out of water if you had a major expense or lost your job. Lets fix that. Your challenge is to save enough to cover 1 month of expenses. Your rent, Utility bills, insurance, car loan payment and so forth. Some expenses in your month are probably flexible like food, and entertainment. So you can adjust your spending in case of an emergency. For example cut down on meat  and eat more beans and rice and vegetables. But either way lets get you to an actual safety net. Your challenge is to figure out your necessary monthly expenses and save that amount. Put it somewhere and don’t touch it. IT’S FOR AN EMERGENCY. Then you can go back and start saving for that next trip you want to take. For now.

Level 3

This is the level we all really want to get to but it might be really daunting to those of us who live paycheck to paycheck. In this level you have cut your spending so much so that you automatically have about 25% of your earning free to save. Since you have breathing room in your budget you can absorb an emergency with out even needed to withdraw on your emergency account funds. Plus since you have extra room your emergency fund has grown steadily and is able to handle 3-6 months of your expenses and if you keep it up well its just going to keep on growing. However, in this stage you run the risk of sacrificing your opportunity cost. So figure out how much you need for 3 months and start investing the rest. You can always sell shares if your 3 month emergency blanket isn’t enough.( but that’s a different upcoming post.)

Finally

Finally I am currently checking out online banking. Some of you are probably veterans and well aware of that system so this is for the newbies. I know how comforting it can be to have your money in a brick and mortar bank, Like Chase or Bank of America but WAKE UP! those banks aren’t even paying peanuts for all the money you are going to start saving. Online banks at least offer a much higher rate. So do some research and test them out. (Post on that also up and coming). This will make sure you earn the highest interest you can on your safety funds.

Don’t wait for that horrible surprise emergency. You’re in charge of your finances so start today get the ball rolling.

What level are you in? How will you meet your challenge goal?

 

Life is a strict teacher

I’ll be honest I also started this blog because sometimes I felt  like it was hard to relate to the pack leader Mr.Money Mustache himself. This guys is the alpha dog in early retirement ( plainly seen by all his followers) ….but as I was saying sometimes its hard to relate to this guy. He’s already retired, he only has 1 kid and he didn’t have to try to juggle raising that kid with work. He doesn’t have to juggle living now with living later. He’s already retired and free to do as he pleases. It’s an inspiration but sometimes hard to relate.

So I said, HEY.. I have to juggle work and kids, I have to budget for a 5 person household, I still have debt. I still work in the rat race and am learning about investing. I can be that middle link! I can help people relate and spread the message, So that they too can get their financial house in order, climb out of debt, learn about family and work and balancing it all. Then still be able to enjoy money building new experiences(travel). I’m not so untouchable that people can’t relate. I’m not so extreme.

UGH! but then…then I read some articles or hear complaints from friends and I have to bite my tongue and cross my arms to keep myself from shaking some sense into them.

Meh! maybe I am not as chill as I thought. Even at my much lower level of badassity compared to MMM and the mustachians some of my suggestions might still come off as extreme compared to my target audience.

So I’ve become slightly concerned with how to deliver my content. I want it to be useful, attainable. Then I realized that this is my house and my journey and being genuine is key.

The Roamer has jumped lots of hurdles since the MMM sun cleared the clouds and if the Roamer is better off well, that’s just the truth.  That’s the reality. So this is a heads up. The Roamer will say things that are critical of your spending. Especially if it sounds like this stuff

Oh I’m so broke that I can’t pay the gas on my lifted truck
or
Oh I just bought the newest gaming system, yeah playing is the only way for me to relieve all this stress from this mountain of student debt.
or
Can you lend me $100 I’m low on cash and my payday loans ran out

Critical is GOOD. You only fix something when you realize that it is broken. So lets identify the problems, then we can work on the solutions together. After all life is a strict teacher.

-The Roamer

Happy New Year Debt!

Narrator Note:  So I've been pondering how best to make this post. I know it's an important one and highly needed to set the baseline of what I, The Roamer, am working with in regard to debt and to better highlight any accomplishments. So, I decided to take the plunge and just keep it short and to the point. 

The Start of 2014 greeted the Roamer clan with the following debt numbers, savings, and retirement contributions.

Student loan debt $9046.44 with 6%

Toyota loan $8902.75 with 2.99%

Honda loan $17,479.69 with 1.99%

That’s a grand total of $35,428.88

With a joint saving account with ~ $11,000.00

Actively contributing to a 401k 15% of one earners income so less than 15% of our total earnings.

But more significantly was the mindset we were actively only concerned with quickly paying off Student loan debt and had even just financed a new car in September. Effectively increasing our debt.

So there you have it the baseline for 2014

First Understand, Then Escape Plan

I.

So, since the last post, there was lots of time to accept the challenge and calculate your financial health by figuring out your net worth. Lots of articles these days claim Americans are in a sorry state financially so maybe(and very likely) the numbers you saw didn’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Nope they most likely  made you feel upset and maybe even angry.  The uncomfortable truth for many is plain and easy to see. Maybe the idea of ignorance is bliss jumps to your head, but before you go dig your head in the sand realize the awesome power of knowledge.

I know a little ditty that goes ” If you can’t see , you don’t know,  and if you don’t know you can’t control”

The great news is now we see it, now we know and now we can control it.

No longer will you be just a lowly passenger on your financial journey. No it’s time to grab your traveling wallet and sit in the drivers seat. The time for action is now.

II.  The Escape Plan

Now it’s my understanding that any negative net worth is due in large part to a lack of savings, but even more likely to a big PILE OF DEBT! Now who here is in any sort of debt? ( I am) And who thinks their debt constitutes an emergency?  Sorry to tell you but Debt is an emergency! You need to acknowledge it!

So now what? Well I can tell you what I did. If this sounds good follow along and implement the plan.

1. STOP ADDING DEBT

Your goal is to get out of this mountain of debt.  Don’t add more , Don’t take any detours. No more buying on credit if you can’t pay off the balance in full before you get charged interest.

2. Track your spending, get in the know

I did this for 3 months when I was starting out. Figure out how much you are spending in all the categories: rent, food, restaurants, utilities. After seeing how much I was spending I could move to step 3.

3. Make a Savvy spending chart

In other words budget. Now is the time to tackle your spending. Identify the areas you can cut down on and do it! Like I said debt is an emergency which means, you can’t afford to go to those $15 a pop movies,( If I need the big movie screen experience I wait till they come out in 2nd tier theaters only $2 a pop) just wait for the Redbox. You need to brush up on the haggling skills and get better deals on insurance and phone plans. Possibilities to cut down are endless.

4. Build your safety cushion

Shoot for $1000 . The point of this money is that if you have an emergency you will be able to cover it without going into debt. (it’s not for a vacation or new big screen t.v.)

5.Pay down that Debt.

Once you have that small safety cushion its time to put the pedal to the metal. Figure out the debt with the highest interest rate.  For me it was my student loans, start to roll the money in! I designate big money to student debt. Go heavy, debt isn’t going to destroy itself. I have been actively contributing 15-25% of my paycheck since 2011. More then 3 times higher then the minimum payments, more then some people contribute to retirement. Like I said debt is no joke, and I can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

III.

Now you can bask in the awesome feeling of power.

Calculate your new arrival date. No longer is the future shrouded in the smog of uncertainty.  You have a plan and if you stick to it you know when you’ll arrive.

Maybe its just me but I get a happy feeling knowing that I have control of my life. I’ll be honest even married with finances always being a group discussion I have been the one to put the challenges on the table. Cutting  down on eating out at restaurants didn’t faze me, but my spouse wasn’t happy about it. So yes even with the awesome power of control you might experience some discomfort. But I’ll ask you this… Isn’t the destination, that light at the end of the tunnel, ridding yourself of debt worth some discomfort.

Or in a true travel analogy.  That discomfort is like being on a plane. Most don’t like the hassle of waiting, boarding, fighting for over head cargo space and being cramped in your seat. But we deal with the discomfort because the destination is worth it. In the end we’ll be somewhere new and exciting, and we will get to stretch out and breath some fresh air. Don’t remain trapped because of the chance of discomfort.

The destination is worth it. Start the journey.

First things First

Now The best place to start is at the beginning.

Before we can dream about staying home with our kids and supporting them as they develop into amazing human beings. Or dreaming about telling our bosses they can shove it because we have a steady stream of passive income. Or even before we plan that 3 day weekend to Las Vegas we really need to understand where is our money going.

REALLY UNDERSTAND.

How long have you been working? What do you have to show for all that time? What are you worth? You know financially.

Have you thought of it before? If not its a good time to start. I personally have been reading financial blogs and articles for a while now. I devour the information hungrily and even though there are benefits to reading about methods for getting out of debt, how to create a budget and smart shopping techniques the biggest eye opener was when I finally sat down to figure out my net worth.

This is where I think you should start. So I CHALLENGE you to figure out your net worth!

How do you figure that out? Now I’ll be honest I am about to over simplify things here. The correct and most accurate way to figure out your net worth is by apparently adding up all the things of value you own (and could potentially sell, for example that big screen t.v., the xbox, the 5 pairs of manolo blahnik in your closet, even the car) but I think that’s a bit too much work to start off so here is my more general formula.

Figure out the Positive value : Add up all the money you have saved up.

Formula

Lets also include an example we have 2 people one named Jane and the other Joe.  Jane and Joe both use the following formula

401k Balance + Bank account Balances+ Secret personal stash(cash)+ Safety net savings+ home equity = (positive)$$$(YAY!)

Figure out the negative: Add up all the money that you owe (your debt).

Car loan balances+ Student loans+ credit card debt+ (anything else bought on credit for example furniture your still making payments on)+ mortgage = (negative)$$$( ugh! boo!)

Now add them together (positive)$$$+ (negative ) $$$= ???

Joe: 401K (10,000)+Bank(5,000)+ Cash(2,000)+Equity(26,000)= $43,000

Car loan(11,300)+ Student loan(46,000)+Credit card(3,000)+Mortgage(214,000)= $274,300

Total= $43,000 + (-$274,300)=$231,300 That is a negative net worth

Jane hasn’t bought a house : 401k( 7,500)+ Bank(7,200)+ Cash(3,000)= $17,700

Car loan( 18,300)+Student Loan(13,000)+Credit card(5,800)= $37,100

Total=$17,700+(-$37,100)=$19,300

What did you get? Are you in the green! or in the red!

When you look at only what you have in your account you might be pretty happy with what you see Joe and Jane both have around 17 K in the bank but it’s not as pretty a picture after you consider your debts.

Now when I did this calculation I was pretty disappointed. I had been aggressively paying down my student debt and saving for retirement and I made good money, how was I still in the red?  The good news, now that my number was right there in my face I could clearly see it and I made a plan.  The amazing part was that once I had made the plan the finish line kept getting closer and closer. If you had the same thing happen to you, well now you know and can also make a plan.

If you find that you are in the green Congratulations! that’s great!

– The Roamer

Did this help? feel free to leave some comments and share your wisdom and tips.

*** I don’t own a house so I don’t include equity or mortgage balance if you think this is causing confusion see what your number is without including these 2 items.

Break the Mold (Family, World and Riches)

Thanks for visiting me at traveling wallet.

This Blog is about money  and its relationship(role) to Parenthood, Travel and Early Retirement. (See tag line 😉 )

I’m here to talk about my journey in working to optimize these 3 areas. Currently we (spouse and I ) are working parents. My current goals in life are to spend more time with my family( i.e. kids) and still save enough money to Travel and reach Early Retirement. But  the first thing is  to get rid of all my/our debt.

The GOALS

– Destroy Debt!

– Actually raise our children

-Travel (1-2 trips a year any combination of  in state, out of state, and international)

-Early Retirement (as in 50 or younger shooting for 45)

So lets talk about why savvy spending and savvy saving are the best way to see the world while working toward other goals. I mean I  don’t know what can be more fulfilling than becoming financially independent (early retiree) while also having a chance to taste life with all its cultures,customs, people and dishes and have the people you love most along for the ride. I also want to help you get there, whatever your goals maybe. Life and trips are always better with friends so I hope to see you again.

– The Roamer