On Being Content: Getting Rid of Things

Things get worse before they get better

On Being Content

On the surface, being content doesn’t sound that bad. But take a look at my experience with contentment and decide for yourself:

I stayed in a mediocre relationship in college because I was content- it seemed better than being alone, but I didn’t love him.

I stayed overweight because I was content- it seemed like it would be harder to change than to just ignore it.

My apartment was messy because I was content- I had more stuff than would fit in my room. But everyone has a lot of stuff, right?

I tolerated a lot in my life. I tolerated the things that weren’t that great but didn’t seem that bad. They didn’t change because I didn’t do anything about them. I just sat there and let it happen.

Sometimes, it has to get worse before it gets better.

My ex-boyfriend turned into a total jerk, and I finally broke up with him. Now I’m in the most amazing relationship of my life.

I gained more weight and hated how I felt. I’m making progress towards being healthy.

I got bedbugs and gave away (or threw out what was infested) over 50% of the things I owned. I have room in my apartment, and when I want to buy something, I actually have room for it!

Sometimes it sucks

The bed bug debacle alone was awful: 4+ weeks of my life, thousands of dollars, and everyone who had been around me or my stuff had to deal with it, too. But suddenly, having so much stuff was a huge obstacle instead of a minor inconvenience. The easiest thing before the bed bugs had been avoiding the situation, but the easiest thing after became getting rid of the excess!

For a deeper example, take the United States right now. Whatever your political views, it’s clear that we are going through a state of turmoil. But one benefit I’ve seen is that people are much more likely to speak out now than several years ago. Many of us feel that things have gotten so bad, we have no other choice but to speak out against hatred. I deeply wish that people would look more to understand than to preach or to argue- but that’s a story for another day. The point is, people are talking. And I believe that the situation will get better because of it.

I hear this all the time with my clients

They don’t tell their husband that they’re overworked until they are on the point of collapsing from exhaustion. They don’t tell their family to back off and let them make their own decisions until they have suppressed their anger for years. Tolerating can have a very real effect on your physical, emotional, and mental health.

What if you could recognize this before it gets worse?

Sometimes you don’t notice until it really does get bad. And in those situations, just recognize that you’re not going to be in that place for ever.

But many times, you can prevent this by taking a deep look at your life and noticing where you are just content and not happy. Look at your relationships, your finances, your career, and anything else that’s important to you.

What are you tolerating? What would have to happen for you to change it?

signature

Net Worth Update: July 2017

My Net Worth Story

I started tracking my net worth the month after I graduated from college. I was lucky enough to have in state tuition which was covered by scholarships, so I graduated with a net worth of $3K. Once I started seeing the numbers go up every month, I wanted them to go up even more! I started reading personal finance blogs, early retirement blogs, and investing blogs. As you can see, the numbers did go up.

My progress flattened out some when I switched jobs in June 2015, as I couldn’t contribute to my 401(k) for 6 months. It shot up again in September 2016 when I started saving to get my coaching certification through IPEC. It’s amazing how much more you save when you’re working towards something meaningful!

It’s also true that your first $10K is the hardest. I’ve heard the same about your first $100K and your first $1M- I’ll let you know when I get there ūüôā But it took me almost a year to hit my first $10K- then in two more years, I went from $10K to $50K!

So don’t feel discouraged about starting off small. It’s easy to look at big names like Dave Ramsey or Mr. Money Mustache and only see where they are today. But remember they were once right where you are!

Tracking Net Worth

July 2017 Net Worth

Asset Total Monthly Change Percent Change
Wells Fargo (401)k $23,662.37 +$1,076.22 +4.76%
Betterment- Brokerage $14,195.42 +$352.49 +2.55%
Synchrony- High Yield Savings $10,044.48 +$867.87 +9.46%
Checking Account $1,127.86 +$217.80 +23.93%
Total  $49,030.13 +$2,514.38 +5.41%

 

Income and Expenses

Below is my updated Wall Chart for the month… you can see my income and expenses. The bottom line is income from my investment accounts- once this line crosses my expenses, I will have reached Financial Freedom! For more on Wall Charts, see my recommendations on building a better budget.

Wall Chart

 

How does tracking net worth reflect events in your life? Let me know in the comments!

Check out the whole net worth series!

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Wishing for Something More

You’re sitting at work reading this, wishing you could take that awesome trip to Italy that your friend just posted all over Instagram. Wishing that you could start your own business or at least work from home. Basically wishing for a dream life.

But not doing anything about it.

How many dreams have you dismissed because you don’t think it’s realistic?

Your fears about money quickly bring you back to earth.

I’d ask you to trust me on this, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Which of these futures do you want?

Which future will you choose- doing something or doing nothing?

Confidence and Clarity

You decided that your current job in consulting was too stressful- long hours, lots of travel, and never having time for yourself. After weeks of journaling and texting your best friend 500 times, you decided to pursue your dream of designing websites. You spent six months saving up for your expenses and then applied to Code School. A year later, you have a new job that you look forward to going to most days- because let’s be honest, I don’t care how awesome your job is, no one enjoys every single day of work.

Your job challenges you and yet you feel confident in your work. You took a pay cut when you switched careers, but it’s been worth it to enjoy your work and to go to dinner with your friends, even on a week night! You spend money on what really matters to you, like the trip to Spain you’re planning for next summer. You’re even setting new goals- a promotion to senior developer and buying your first house.

Resigned to Your Fate

Or, a year later, you could be sitting at the same desk, thinking the same thoughts.

Yeah, your job sucks, but everyone’s job sucks, right? You put your head down and continue working. You see another friend’s wedding and honeymoon to France on Instagram. You sigh, if only that was me!

It doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re anything like me, the idea of being stuck in the same blah situation a year from now is the best motivation to change. My challenge to you is to start exploring what you want to accomplish, and what you need to do to accomplish it. Take it one step at a time, and get started today!

If you want confidence and clarity on reaching your goals, I’d love to offer you a free coaching info session.

You’ll walk away with an idea of what you need to do to make long-lasting changes in your life and how to anticipate how money could prevent you from reaching your goals.

Until next week,

signature

“15 Minutes Can Save You 15% or More”

Geico can save you 15% on car insurance- I’ll save you 15% of the stress you feel around money. No promises on 15 minutes, though!

The 80 20 Rule

There’s a rule called the Pareto principle (or, the 80 20 rule): for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s the principle behind Geico’s famous slogan- one small change can make a huge impact.

From my experience, 80% of your financial stress comes from 20% of your expenses. If you can change even the top most stressful expense, you can save yourself SO much mental and emotional energy!

The Few Vital Tasks

In this case, it’s the few vital expenses. These are the major stress points that can make a huge difference in your life!

The 80 20 Rule
Photo Cred: TheViewInside.Me

Find your most stressful expense

You may already know what stresses you out the most- that one payment you dread making every month. Is it student loans? Are you paying more for rent than you’d like to? Are you in total denial on how much you spend eating out?

If you’re not sure, take a look at your expenses from the last month. Rate every expense as a 1, 2, or 3.

  1. This expense drains my energy. I don’t like to think about paying for this, in the moment or after.
    • “I hate paying for car repairs. They are expensive and stressful, and I get irritated even looking at the statement.”
  2. This expense is neutral. It’s fine that I pay this, but I don’t really enjoy it.
    • “I don’t care either way about my water bill. It doesn’t stress me out, but it doesn’t bring me any fulfillment.”
  3. This expense gives me energy. It’s totally worth how much I spend on it, and I would even consider spending more for what I receive.
    • “I love getting massages. They are so worth the money for the relaxation and bliss I feel.”

Why is it stressful?

My most stressful expense is my cable/internet bill. My boyfriend and I pay almost $200/month to Comcast, and I hate paying it every month. Comcast is not a company that supports my values, and I don’t feel like a valued customer. It’s also one of those things I feel like I “have to” pay, even though somewhere deep down I realize I have a choice.

Change it or Accept It

Is your stressful expense something you can change? Can you get rid of it or spend less on it? Even if your initial thought is yes, I challenge you to take some time and really think about it. You may find that you can find a cheaper apartment or you don’t need to spend money on restaurants to go on dates.

For my Comcast bill, I’ve started looking at my other options. I definitely need to have internet to run my business from home, so I want to keep that part. My boyfriend loves sports, so we definitely want some kind of cable package. My question is, can we cut the bill down by getting rid of some premium channels that we don’t watch?

I need to do some research, which will include talking to my boyfriend, Comcast, and potentially other cable providers. Whether I cut down the bill or not, I am exercising my right to choose what I spend my money on. If I continue to spend $200/month on cable, it will be a decision that I put a lot of thought into. Every time I pay the bill, I will remind myself that I am choosing to pay this bill because I ultimately decided that the cost was worth what I’m paying.

How much more empowering does that sound??

Take Action

Ok, your turn now!

  1. Find your most stressful expense.
  2. Can you change it? If so, make the change!
  3. You can’t or don’t want to change it? Learn to accept it!

Want more exercises like this to get rid of financial stress?

Start with my guide to the right budget!

signature

 

 

 

Sources:

Pareto Principle

Net Worth Update: June 2017

Those of you who get paid bi-weekly- don’t you love the months when you get 3 paychecks?? Look at the impact in my savings!

Asset Total Monthly Change Percent Change
Wells Fargo (401)k $22,586.16 +$1,135.11 +5.29%
Betterment- Brokerage $13,842.93 +$97.76 +0.71%
Synchrony- High Yield Savings $9,176.61 +$3,611.57 +64.90%
Checking Account $910.06 -$196.39 -17.75%
Total  $46,515.75  $4,648.05 11.10%

My biggest update is that I set a date to leave my job- August 3! I’m going all out with taking coaching full time instead of a sabbatical. I’ll be writing a post on the details next week, but you can check out part 1 of how I made my decision¬†here.

Net Worth Update June 2017

A breakdown of my accounts and my progress:

Wells Fargo 401(k): +$1,135.11

This is my retirement account through my company. I contribute 6% of my income and take advantage of my company match, which is up to 6% as well. My Betterment brokerage account is my first priority, not my 401(k), because I don’t want to pay tax penalties for withdrawing money during early retirement. I use Smart401(k) to determine my allocations within the account and maximize returns.

Betterment (Brokerage): +$97.76

Betterment¬†is my main account for my early retirement goal, but I’m focusing on my High Yield Savings account right now.

Synchrony (High Yield Savings): +$3,611.57

I am 62% saved for my original goal of $15K, but I’m 92% saved for my new goal of $10K. This savings will supplement the money I’m already making from coaching, so I won’t be relying entirely on this account.

Checking Account: -$196.39

Normal fluctuations based on when I paid my credit card.

Income and Expenses

Below is my updated Wall Chart for the month… you can see my income and expenses. The bottom line (the one you can barely see in yellow, ha) is income from my investment accounts- once this line crosses my expenses, I will have reached Financial Freedom! For more on Wall Charts, see my recommendations on building a better budget.

Wall Chart June 2017

Do you track your net worth? Did you reach any milestones this month? Let me know in the comments!

Check out the whole net worth series!