DiscoverMarriage, Kids and Money
Marriage, Kids and Money

Marriage, Kids and Money

Author: Andy Hill

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The Marriage, Kids and Money Podcast is dedicated to strengthening your family tree and guiding you to financial freedom.

Andy Hill, a mid-30’s father of two, hosts the weekly podcast and takes you through the trials and tribulations of being a young parent and husband who is planning for his family’s future and winning with money. Hill interviews millionaire entrepreneurs, early retirees and financial industry experts to provide you with easy-to-understand information you can use to give your family the life they deserve.

Carpe Diem!
195 Episodes
Where does giving back and generosity fit in when pursuing financial independence? Author Dave Mason thinks it should be a major part of everyone's FIRE journey. He shares 3 ways for you to give back as you are working toward your version of financial freedom.
Are you wondering if you have enough saved for retirement? Joe Saul-Sehy shares why we should focus on our expenses over income when it comes to retirement. Also, Bob Lotich shares how he went from $46,000 in credit card debt to mortgage-free.
Do you want to achieve financial independence? Author of The Simple Path to Wealth, JL Collins, shares how we can all work to achieve financial independence through index fund investing. We review how to start your journey to financial independence, where to invest your money and why index funds are a better investment choice. 
Student Loans are already a confusing subject. Now when you add Coronavirus into the mix, it becomes even more complicated! Robert Farrington from The College Investor joins us to explain why you shouldn't pay back your student loans right now.  Also, we hear from Brian Harrison from SAVVI Financial about how we can take 3 steps to financial empowerment this year. 
Patrick Aime shares his journey around the world that helped him go from bankruptcy to a young millionaire in a decade even in the midst of a recession.
With all the pay cuts, furloughs and job loss from the global pandemic, families are looking to save some money quickly. Here are 10 ideas to consider that will help you and your family save money during this quarantine season. 
Couples financial counselor Adam Kol stops by to share smart strategies to end money fights and improve communication in your relationship.
This season of a global pandemic has caused a lot of issues for families. Elle Martinez and Andy Hill discuss ways for parents to thrive financially and personally in this crisis. They discuss how to handle debt, investing and parents working from home.
Keith Robinson shares his journey to becoming mortgage-free and offers tips for anyone who wants to pay off their mortgage early. We also discuss how complete debt freedom gives his family security during a financial crisis.
As a featured speaker at Ally Invest's FOMO Free Financial Future Conference, I had the chance to speak about our family's pursuit of financial Independence and my thoughts about the FIRE Movement. Read the full blog post:
The potential recession has already had an impact on our family and we expect things to get worse before they get better. Here is how we're preparing financially and personally for our new normal.
Do you want your child to understand money better or become a teen entrepreneur? Rob Phelan of The Simple Startup shares his tips to make that happen.
Michael Lacy and his wife had $61,000 at the start of their marriage. After failing to get his wife on board with paying off the debt, Michael opened up to his wife and shared why it was so important. Here's how they partnered to pay it off in 16 months.
After sitting on the sidelines of the real estate investing conversation for a few years, I'm ready to become an investor. But it's going to be the minimalist way. Here are 3 real estate investment options that honor minimalism and keep things simple.
There may not be a single right way to achieve financial freedom, but supersizing your savings is certainly a powerful strategy. But what does supersizing your savings mean? More importantly, how does someone go about doing that? I sat down with Kelly Smith from Freedom in a Budget to learn more about how she and her husband are crushing their goals and enjoying their lives while living on 50% of their income.  In our chat, Kelly proves that budgets aren’t constricting. They’re a pathway to freedom. She shares details on making the decision to take the 50/50 path, milestones they’ve already crossed, and where they are headed. Plus, she offers actionable steps for people who want to make more money and want to make saving 50% of your income a reality.  How They Decided to Live on 50% Although she adopted a frugal lifestyle prior to getting married, Kelly wasn’t always a super saver. In fact, she says that there was a time in her life when her car was repossessed and her electricity was turned off. She recalls living off spaghetti and butter—not just because she loves pasta—because it was a cheap meal her bank account could actually afford. Before she got on the 50/50 path to savings, any time she saw money in her bank account, she was tempted to spend it. If her balance was $20, she interpreted that as having $20 to spend. She didn’t think much about saving.  Once she realized the value in savings, she began to reevaluate how much she was spending and how little she was saving. She says that she quickly pushed the pedal to metal in order to get more aggressive with her finances. After her “enough is enough” moment, she started budgeting and closely tracking all of her purchases. Once she started putting the time into monitoring her money, she realized that she actually had more leftover than she thought. Tracking her spending reduced her impulse purchases, allowing her to have $200 leftover at the end of one month. Motivated by that progress, she says things started to snowball.  Prior to getting married, she and her fiancé decided that living on 50% of their income was an important goal. It required some back and forth and open communication. Kelly quickly realized that even though she was interested in living as a frugal spreadsheet fanatic, her husband had other interests. She says that he does eat out more than her, but that works for them. The most important thing is that they dream and plan together. She says that one of the most helpful reminders they give each other is: “If we do this, then we can also do that.” That helps them stay focused on all the opportunities the 50/50 path affords them. The Financial Milestones They’ve Achieved Living on 50% Saving 50% of your income can push you closer to your financial milestones faster than you’d imagine. Though Kelly and her husband have only been living on 50% for a handful of years, they are checking boxes on their goals. Here are some of the milestones they’ve already crossed. Affording The Wedding of Their Dreams As a South Florida resident, Kelly points out that the cost of living in her area is high. In fact, she mentions that it isn’t all that unusual to see some people spend close to six figures on celebrations like weddings and even bar mitzvahs. When she and her fiance started talking about their own wedding, Kelly knew that she was not interested in spending six figures. She didn’t want to spend anything close. Ultimately, she and her fiance worked with a wedding coordinator to design a wedding they loved for around $30,000. Their ability to live on 50% of their income allowed them to pay cash for their dream wedding. Buying Her Dream Car in Cash Kelly also purchased the car of her dreams. Though people often mistake it for brand new, she drives a 2016 Jeep Cherokee. This purchase is something she and her husband started saving for right after the wedding. It took them a little over a year, and then she was able to buy a car she loves in cash. She emphasizes two things: combining finances let them hit their goals faster, and her new-to-her car is a true luxury vehicle compared to what she used to drive. Saving for a House Downpayment  After crossing two big milestones on their 50/50 path, Kelly and her husband had another goal to conquer: buying a house. To do this, Kelly and her husband started to make small cutbacks in different parts of their budget. She says her goal was to see where they could save even more money. By earning more money and reducing their expenses, they were able to buy sooner than they thought. The fact that closing costs were less than she originally thought helped, too. Thanks to the work they put in as a couple, they were able to afford a down payment on a home mortgage of over $370,000.  Planning Your Finances on the 50/50 Path It’s clear that the 50/50 path leads to financial freedom. How exactly do you go about saving 50% of your income? You have to plan for it. That kind of aggressive savings doesn’t happen on accident. Kelly is a self-proclaimed numbers and Excel nerd. That means that she deals with a lot of the household numbers and data.  However, their planning truly is a team effort. She and her husband make time each month to go over their financial wins and failures of the previous month. Together, they also review their progress toward monthly and yearly goals. This helps them understand how much of their income is going towards savings and how much their net worth is growing. Setting Goals for the Future Because Kelly and her husband are still living on 50% of their income, they know they can continue to set ambitious goals. After taking an Alaskan cruise this year, Kelly says travel will continue to be a big goal for them. She also says that they hope to close on their first rental property by the end of the year. Specifically, they are looking at saving up in order to put 20% down on a 30-year fixed mortgage. It’s no small feat in a high cost of living area, but she thinks they are up for the challenge.  How others can go from 0% to 50% It’s hard, maybe even impossible, to hear Kelly’s story and not want to start saving 50% of your income. But if you’re not saving anything, is it even possible? Of course it is. After all, that’s exactly where Kelly started.  Kelly’s advice is to simply start by creating a written budget and committing to tracking your spending. To avoid this becoming a daunting and time-consuming task, Kelly suggests spending a few minutes every few days looking at your numbers rather than waiting until the end of the month. In addition to saving you time, you can also make corrections as you go. If you notice that your grocery spending is nearing the top of your budget in the middle of the month, shop your own pantry for meal ideas for the next week. Once you start to end the month with money leftover, make sure to send it to savings or invest it.  How to Make More Money In addition to cutting costs, Kelly and her husband worked hard to make more money. Since she started her YouTube channel four years ago, Kelly says their income has grown over $100,000. Both she and her husband have earned raises. He also changed jobs. Plus, they both side hustle.  Kelly says there are so many side hustles available to people. While they may not always be fun, the extra income does add up quickly. Even if you feel that side hustling isn’t right for you, Kelly challenges everyone to reconsider that. In particular, she says working overtime is a great side hustle. When she found her overtime hours getting cut, she asked to help out in a different department. That meant extra training and working overtime in a role that wasn’t her real passion. Still, she knew it wasn’t a career change—it was only a side hustle.  Of course, the key part of making more money is also to save it. Kelly says that she and her husband will celebrate with dinner at a nice restaurant. However, they also work to keep lifestyle inflation in check. One way that Kelly recommends people do this is to increase their retirement accounts when they land windfalls, like raises or bonuses.  Final Thoughts on Living on 50% of Your Income No matter where you are on your personal finance journey, you can learn to start saving 50% of your income. Check out Kelly’s Freedom in a Budget YouTube channel archives to see her own progress through debt on a low income if you are at the start of your debt pay down journey. Her more recent videos are great reminders of the power of building income, investing, and living on 50% of your income. If financial freedom is a destination you want to reach, explore how the 50/50 path can help you get there. 
Imagine being able to take your side hustle to the next level and quit your full-time job? That’s exactly what Kelan and Brittany Kline managed to do after working on their blog for over a year. They were able to leave the shackles of their day job and go full-time with their passion project: The Savvy Couple, a blog and community that helps families organize their lives, simplify their finances and unlock the freedom to do more of the things they love. We chat about how they get into blogging as a side hustle, how they first started making money and their future plans for their business and family. Discovering the Idea of Blogging Kelan and Brittany both had full-time jobs before getting into blogging. Brittany was a 4th-grade teacher, while Kelan worked in law enforcement and was a jail deputy. Kelan wasn’t too happy in his job. He was doing forced overtime, had to work on weekends and felt burnt out. Although Brittany enjoyed her job, they were working opposite hours, and so weren’t able to see each other much. Eventually, they sat down at the dinner table and decided to make a plan. They saw how other bloggers were making a full-time income, such as Michelle Schroeder Gardner and Bobby Hoyt. They saw their blogging income reports and decided that they could do it too. One summer, they decided to get into blogging as a side hustle. The low upfront costs meant they could get started away. How was their financial situation at the time? $40,000 in debt, most of it being Brittany’s student loan debt. And a mortgage payment that made them feel it was difficult to make ends meet Brittany is the saver in the family whereas Kelan is the spender - this creates a nice balance in their marriage. Brittany, Kallie and Kelan Kline How They Made Their First Dollar They started blogging in the summer and treated it mostly as a passion project. They shared stories, helpful tricks and wrote about how they budgeted and stayed frugal. For the first 9 months, they would work nights and weekends to get their blog off the ground. At the 9 month mark, a company reached out to them for a $100 sponsorship deal. Although Kelan negotiated it down to $50 (lesson learned!), they immediately knew that this was a sign that they could make money blogging. One week later, Kelan started making a plan to quit his job.  Related Interview: Building a Million Dollar Blog in Your 20’s – with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Transitioning into Blogging Full-Time  Kelan and Brittany had one year’s salary saved up and had successfully kept their expenses low. Kelan quit his job and picked up some freelance work. He was working with VIPKid and doing some digital marketing work for a company. This meant the transition into blogging was nice and smooth.  Brittany was 100% supportive of Kelan quitting his job. She saw how excited he got and discovered a new person in him when he stopped complaining about his job. This excitement is what encouraged her to consider quitting her job later on. Four months into entrepreneurship, Kelan was wondering if he should focus on The Savvy Couple or on other freelance projects. He was making the same hourly rate with his blog as with his other side hustles. His side hustles were teaching him a lot; the digital marketing work meant he could learn about SEO, Wordpress and digital marketing, essential skills for his blog. After asking for some advice and thinking about it, he decided to take the leap of faith and focus 100% on the blog.  Related Interview: How to Make $10,000 Per Month Working From Home as a Writer – with Eric Rosenberg How They Made $250,000 Last Year Kelan and Brittany made a staggering $250,000 last year. Nearly 50% of the money came through sponsorship deals. They had built an audience, an email list and a good social media following, so companies pay them to promote their products. To many companies, it’s much cheaper to pay for ads through “micro-influencers” such as Kelan and Brittany than to pay for a TV ad or a billboard. The Savvy Couple only promotes products they use themselves. They have a reputation and are highly trusted by their audience, so they need the products to align with their brand.  Later that year, Kelan and Brittany had a baby daughter, Kallie. That's when Brittany decided she preferred to stay at home to be able to take care of her. Also, the blog was making more money in a month than she made in a year. It was a no brainer.  Plans for their Business, Money and Family Thanks to booming business and efficient financial planning, the Kline family is now debt-free. They aren’t so stressed about their money, and instead are focused on building their legacy. As they say, they went from surviving to thriving.  Their next goal is to become financially free by 35. To Brittany, financially free means not having to worry about money. To Kelan, that means being able to drawdown 4% from their portfolio every year.  Currently, most of their money goes back into their business. Kelan takes out a salary, and they’re also able to max out their IRAs, contribute to their taxable accounts and keep their checking accounts as lean as possible. They’re also proud to say they have a Savvy Couple team, which consists of a Virtual Assistant and a freelance writer.  The new challenge has been managing their time between a baby, a business and their marriage. They’re still trying to figure it out: usually, Kelan does the work during the day and Brittany does it at night. They focus on getting 4 hours of solid focused work done each per day, totaling around 20-30 hours per week. Related Article: 26 Smart Ways for Moms and Dads to Make More Money Advice For Others Kelan and Brittany have some excellent advice for others. When it comes to blogging, they say it's essential you’re doing something you're passionate about. It must be something you’re willing to work on full time. This is because when it comes to blogging, you’ll be putting a lot of upfront time and effort. If you love what you do, it’ll be easier to stay motivated.  For those who are looking to increase their blogging income, Kelan recommends to stop seeing the blog as a hobby and more as a business. Your blog needs to have a business model, and you need to treat it as a profession. Once that happens, stuff gets serious and so does the money! Kelan and Brittany’s story is an inspiring adventure of managing finances, getting out of debt and working together to build a business that started out as a hobby. From thousands dollars in debt to making over $250,000 in a year from a business they love, it's easy to see why their blog is so successful! CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN OR subscribe (Free) and Listen ON: Show Sponsors Flo by Moen: Receive 20% off by using discount code “Marriage20". Learn more here. Fetch Rewards: Earn when you sign up here (use code “MKM”). MKM Podcast Resources Thriving Families Facebook Group:  Join our new FREE Facebook Community! Young Family Wealth Playbook (FREE):  7-Steps to Solidifying Your Family’s Future Wealth Questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom. Leave me a voicemail or connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Carpe Diem Quote "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony." Thomas Merton What do you think of becoming a micro-influencer? Please let us know in the comments below.
One of the most important decisions anyone can make is who you choose to spend your life with. Marriage impacts us emotionally, socially, legally, financially, and in so many other ways. While the divorce rate in America is dropping, so is the marriage rate. That means married couples understand marriage is important, we might not know exactly where to turn for good advice. Today, I sat down with Kimberly Holmes, the CEO of Marriage Helper, to learn more about the reasons why marriages end and what couples can do to save them. Kimberly explores three broad categories of marriage trouble, details some of the warning signs, and outlines steps that we can take today to be better partners tomorrow. The Top Three Reasons Marriages End You’ve probably heard it said that money ends marriages. You might have also heard of people divorcing because they didn’t get along. It turns out that those common explanations aren’t the biggest reasons why marriages end. Kimberly says that research from the University of Washington shows that the main reasons that marriages end can be divided into three broad categories ... not feeling: Liked, Loved, or Respected  So where does money come into play? Often times, financial issues are symptomatic of something bigger. When a couple divorces due to finances, they are not on the same page. As a result, that can often lead to one partner feeling continually disrespected. That’s not to say that money can’t take a toll on someone’s marriage or relationship--it can and it does. In fact, financial problems are often symptomatic of a core issue--like a lack of respect--impacting the couple.  What Does It Mean to Feel Liked? Often times, people treat the idea of liking someone and loving someone interchangeably. Other times, we might think of love as the next step after we already like someone. Not so, says Kimberly. There is a difference between like and love, and partners crave feeling both.  When you feel liked, you have the sense that your spouse wants to be around you and wants to interact with you on a daily basis. Kimberly says that there are ways to evaluate this in your own relationship. Do you like your partner's presence? Do you enjoy spending time together? Do you want to converse and interact with them often? Thinking about how you would answer these questions about your partner and then considering how they might answer should unlock more insight into what it means to feel liked in a marriage. What Does It Mean to Feel Loved? Love is more than day-to-day interaction and wanting to spend time with someone. That is why Kimberly is so quick to point out that feeling loved is different than feeling liked. To feel loved is to feel that your partner puts you first. When we feel loved, we feel that our partner is selfless. They consider our needs before their own. According to St. Sternberg’s Triangular Theory, there are three aspects to love: Intimacy Passion Commitment A couple who is in love is committed to the relationship, even if things aren’t going well. There is a craving to be one, and there is a deep connection between partners.  What Does It Mean to Feel Respected? People often give and believe incorrect advice: men need respect and women need love. Kimberly emphasizes just how inaccurate this is. She says that every human craves to be liked, loved, and respected in their relationship. Kimberly elaborates further, saying that respect is key, no matter the person.  Understanding how finances impact your marriage can help you also understand what it means to be respected in a marriage. For instance, if one person in the relationship wants to save 10% of their income and the other person chooses to spend differently regardless of their partner’s ambitions, this can be a sign of disrespect. Couples don’t have to be in total alignment or agreement with every value and want; instead, it is important to think about how our words and actions complement our partner. Without this consideration, you can end up making your partner feel disrespected, which can start to erode your relationship.  Related Article: My Spouse Doesn't Want to Talk About Money. What do I do? Ways to Avoid Marriage Problems Every couple fights. Disagreements are part of life. But there are ways to avoid or minimize marriage problems.  Get to Know Your Partner Again As a married couple, it is vital to learn what is more important to your partner. Kimberly says couples often start out strong but then stall out. Frequently, couples ask plenty of questions when they are dating and when they are engaged. However, once a couple gets married, it can almost feel like the final level of the relationship has been unlocked. Kimberly says that for many couples, this is when they start to grow apart. They feel like they’ve already achieved what they wanted, so the conversations and the questions slow to a halt.  To remedy this, Kimberly suggests deliberately asking your partner one question each day. She also says not to worry about finding the “right” question. Instead, simply attempt to learn a little bit more about them. Some possible questions include: “Tell me about a trip you enjoyed as a kid.” “What is your favorite restaurant near ____?” “Who was your best friend growing up?” The point is to show your partner a continued interest in their life. Continually asking questions can help you grow that knowledge and interest over time.  Speak Up In addition to getting to know your partner, take time to reveal more about yourself. For instance, let your partner know what you consider to be a sign of love and affection. Of course, there are certain things--flowers, chocolate, or champagne--that people associate with symbols of love and caring. However, it’s really important to know your spouse and to let them know you. If you would much prefer a thoughtful note or a kind gesture over a dozen roses, communicate that. Don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader.  Assess and Act Intentionally  In addition to communicating clearly, we need to be more intentional. Ask yourself what you know about your partner and what you don’t. Then, make it a point to start to fill in the gaps.  Kimberly suggests doing a quick self-assessment by asking three questions: Do I want to see this relationship through to the very end? Do I have a craving for my spouse? Do I feel a deep connection for my partner?  If you aren’t answering an immediate yes, don’t fret. One of the most crucial ways to build a stronger marriage is to identify where gaps exist. Kimberly says taking the time to complete this mental inventory provides an awareness of where to start.  Kimberly's Personal Experience  Kimberly isn’t just speaking from a theoretical perspective. She knows firsthand how one experience can make it seem like you and your partner are on two totally different pages. Kimberly recalls the moment she learned that her husband wanted to buy a car at auction. She says she wasn’t actually opposed to the idea of buying the car. The problem was that he had actually already placed a bid for $5,000. She had no idea.  In that moment, she knew she could respond one of two ways: With anger, or With respect Even though she felt justified in her anger, she knew that by being angry and possibly even disrespectful, she would only perpetuate the issue. That is why she chose to focus on what she wanted to happen next time. To her, it wasn’t about buying a truck. She wasn’t trying to question his wants; instead, she needed to communicate to her partner how important it was that she be looped into conversations and decisions, financial and otherwise.  Kimberly Holmes and her family The Importance of Communication When our busyness becomes overwhelming, that’s a recipe for disaster. Or it’s at least a recipe for arguments and strain on your relationship. That’s why communication is crucial. In addition to having daily conversation and interaction with your partner, communicate to take the guesswork out of marriage. Speak up when your partner does something that you don’t like and make sure to tell them what you do like and value.  Additionally, Kimberly says speaking up at the right time can make all the difference. Sometimes, we can feel so attacked or hurt that we speak up out of anger. The problem is that type of communication is rarely productive. Conflict is rarely the emergency that we think it is. Addressing an issue outside of anger almost always yields better and more productive results.  It can be challenging at first, but once we learn to accept that we are not perfect spouses, we can commit to learning and growing alongside our partners. Kimberly recommends asking yourself ... “What do I need to work on?” “How do I work on that each day?” These incremental strides will go a long way.  The Importance of Time There’s no way around this. You have to make time for what really matters. Kimberly’s advice is to focus on how to de-scale your schedules. To know what is truly important, ask yourself what matters right now. Then ask yourself what will matter in 5 years, 20 years or even 50 years. Chances are, your answer is centered on family, not the current project at work that is claiming all of your time or the four different travel sports leagues you signed your child up for.  You don’t have to eliminate everything; instead, make sure that you are carving time out for what really matters to you. Once you identify your priorities, focus on them. Kimberly suggests literally blocking out time on a schedule. No matter what else you do to improve your marriage, Kimberly emphasizes that making time makes the biggest difference.  Incorporating Rituals A key way to avoid marriage problems is to incorporate rituals into your relationship. The ritual does not have to be anything dramatic or over-the-top. Instead, it can simply be a way to underscore what you know about your partner. For example, if you know they loved playing board games as a child, planning monthly game nights can be a fun throwback. If your partner grew up taking a road trip each summer, make it a point to plan some kind of travel together. Related Interview: Why Date Night is So Important in Marriage The point isn’t to recreate the past or live in it. Instead, you simply want to show your partner that you know them and that you value them.  Of course, communicating expectations is key here. It’s impossible for your partner to plan rituals if you never share what is meaningful to you. Finding a way to say what you need from your partner is important.  Continuing to Work On Your Marriage A marriage is always a work-in-progress. If you and your spouse are willing to continually put in the work to make each other feel liked, loved, and respected, you can avoid many of the challenges others face. No spouse is perfect, and no one needs to be. Make a commitment today to reflect, think, and start speaking up. Investing in your marriage is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make.  CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN OR Listen and subscribe (free) ON: Show Sponsors FLO BY MOEN Receive 20% off by using discount code “Marriage20“. Learn more here. DEBT.COM Get your free consultation by visiting here. Mention Andy from MKM sent you! MKM Podcast Resources Thriving Families Facebook Group:  Join our new FREE Facebook Community! Young Family Wealth Playbook (FREE):  7-Steps to Solidifying Your Family’s Future Wealth Questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom. Leave me a voicemail or connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Carpe Diem Quote "The more time you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes." Amy Grant What strategies do you use to have a happy marriage? PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
Adam from Tampa is skeptical about working with a financial advisor and wants to know how to invest on his own. Andy,  I have a hard question for you.  For most of my life, I have been told what to do with my money. I had a family member work for Morgan Stanley and he invested for us for years.  Last year, we had some issues within the family and decided to part ways. My wife and I quickly decided to go with another guy who does good but the last email was life insurance focused. The main question is I want to handle all of this on my own. I feel like I can’t teach my kids what is best without knowing. Any advice? Thanks for reaching out Adam! That is a tough situation you’re in and it sounds very familiar to me. I wanted to invest for the future, but I didn’t know much about investing.  I got hooked up with an investment broker that ended up having very high fees and I felt didn’t have our best interest at heart.  Based on that experience, I wanted to learn as much as possible about investing so I wouldn’t get burned again. That’s part of the reason I started this podcast ... to learn, grow and help my family get to the next level.  Regarding your situation, I’m going to share with you 7 thoughts I have. 1. Consider a Fee-Only Certified Financial Planner Before you dive headfirst into the world of investing by yourself, please consider looking at a different type of financial advisor first. It sounds like you have been suspicious, burned and otherwise uncomfortable with the investment advisors you’ve met with so far.  Fee-only certified financial planners are a bit different from other financial advisors. They have signed a fiduciary oath and are legally and ethically bound to ensure your interests are put above their own. Additionally, they are not in the business of selling products (ie. whole life insurance) as they only receive compensation through the fee you pay them.  To test the waters, set up a free consultation call with a potential advisor from partners like Facet Wealth or XY Planning Network. These groups are focused on the fee-only model and may restore your hope in the financial advising profession.  Make sure to ask questions about how they are paid and how the fee structure works. If you don’t feel like the person you are working with has your best interest at heart, keep moving along. This is your life savings we’re talking about here! 2. Read Books About Investing and Personal Finance Whether you decide to go with a fee-only advisor or not, I believe it’s smart to educate yourself on investing so you can make informed decisions for the betterment of your family.  Here are 5 books that helped me become a better investor: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson This book was written in 1926 and it was based on parables from 8,000 years ago. Although ancient-sounding, The Richest Man in Babylon has principles that hold true today.  This is a refreshing and fun personal finance read that is more of a story than “how-to” non-fiction. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach David Bach shares strategies that make becoming a millionaire simple and easy. The Automatic Millionaire touches on the importance of automation and how not overthinking it can help you succeed with your money.  The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley This book dispells the myths of what it takes to become a millionaire. These philosophies and exposed truths in The Millionaire Next Door help us to stay the course and achieve real wealth.  MONEY: Master the Game by Tony Robbins One of my favorite authors and speakers is Tony Robbins. In Money: Master the Game, he tackles investing and personal finance by interviewing top investors and billionaires to find out their secrets to financial success.  The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins Investing can appear very confusing for most people. JL Collins creates a simpler path for readers of this book by breaking down complex topics and making them easy to understand. The Simple Path to Wealth explores the success and simplicity of index funds and how they can give you a successful portfolio.  Now, these books aren’t going to give an answer on how YOU should invest. They are going to help you understand different strategies and principals for you to consider. With this new knowledge, you can have more engaged conservations with a fee-only financial advisor and you’ll feel more equipped to invest on your own if you choose to.  If you’d prefer to listen to your books instead of reading them, try Audible for free for 30 days. I love it.  3. Choose a Low-Cost Brokerage Firm If you decide to go it alone, consider a low-cost brokerage firm like Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab. These companies have low fees and a huge selection of investment options for you to choose from. In fact, these three are in such competition with each other that there is a “fee-war” going on right now and the consumer is winning! They are battling each other for who can provide the lowest fees to investors with some going completely to a no-fee model for ETFs and some index funds.  I’ve used Vanguard for years and before that, I was with Fidelity. Both have phenomenal customer service and are more than willing to help you get started with investing.  4. Take Advantage of Target Date Funds and Index Funds If you’re not sure where to start, utilizing a Target-Date Fund with a partner like Vanguard gets you good diversification and low fees. This is a quick and easy way to invest by yourself.  There are pros and cons to Target Date Funds and all Target Date Funds are not the same. Check out the fees associated with the Target Date Fund you’re considering and compare it to other low-cost brokerage firms.  Additionally, index funds help you to keep fees low and they can diversify your holdings across different market indices like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000. By investing in major market indices, you can track the market and invest in top-performing companies. There are also index funds for bonds and real estate (REITs) as well.  5. Diversify Your Portfolio Depending on a multitude of factors like your age, assets, liabilities, income and general goals for life, you’ll want your investment portfolio to be diversified. That way, your eggs aren’t all in one basket.  Some areas to consider for diversification are as follows: Stocks Bonds Real Estate (REITs) Cash Even in these categories, there are sub-categories to invest in. For example, you could have international stocks and US-based stocks. Or you could even diversify further within US-based stocks by investing in small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap mutual funds.  A simple rule of thumb for stocks and bonds is as follows: 120 – YOUR AGE = STOCK PERCENTAGE For me this would be: 120 – 38 = 82% Stocks So based on that rule of thumb, my portfolio would be based on 82% stocks and 18% bonds. I like to add real estate into the portfolio as well to diversify even further. This works for me. It might not work for you. Here is the diversification breakdown that I use in my retirement based on my age, assets and risk tolerance: 60% Large Cap US Based 10% International 10% Small / Mid Cap 10% Bonds 10% REITs As I get older, I will increase my bond holdings as that is typically a less volatile investment. The older you get, the more conservative you want to be so your money doesn’t all disappear in a big market crash right before you retire. 6. Make Sure to Rebalance Your Portfolio Rebalancing is important and can be crucial to a successful portfolio.  For example, let’s say you decide that a 90% stock and 10% bond portfolio (90/10) is what you want. Over time, especially if the stock market continues to soar as it has been, your portfolio may start to look like 95% stocks and 5% bonds (95/5). At this point, you’ll need to sell off some of your stocks and purchase more bonds to get back to your 90/10 portfolio. Set a reminder for yourself to rebalance annually or twice per year. Or partner with a company like blooom to do it for you. This way you’re making sure your plan is still in place.    7. Get Automatic with your Investments Once you have your plan set, set up recurring investments on a monthly basis so your balance continues to grow.  By purchasing new index funds repeatedly, you’re taking advantage of dollar-cost averaging and removing the emotion out of investing. This way, you’re deciding in advance that you want to grow your investment portfolio. Although you still want to rebalance periodically, this methodology allows you to set it and forget it.  Over time, your investments can grow substantially with your consistent investments and with compound interest. It’s an incredible thing to see your money grow while you sleep! I started investing in my 401k in 2013 using the steps above and almost 7 years later, I have around $200,000! Time, compound interest, contributing the maximum possible and receiving a 15% employer match made that healthy balance possible. Related Interview: Simple Millionaire Investing Strategies with the 401k, IRA and 529 Invest Alone or With a Financial Advisor? I’m not a financial professional so take my advice with a huge grain of salt. Adam. You and your financial advisor know your situation better than I do. If you don't trust or like the one you have today, try to find one that feels like a partner instead of a salesman. If you have the time, interest and drive, you can definitely invest by yourself. Decide what is feasible and smart for your family and go for it. I hope these 7 steps give you an idea of where you can go with your investing path. CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN OR subscribe (Free) and Listen ON: Show Sponsors FLO BY MOEN Receive 20% off by using discount code “Marriage20“. Learn more here. FETCH REWARDS Earn when you sign up here (use code “MKM”). MKM Podcast Resources Thriving Families Facebook Group:  Join our new FREE Facebook Community! Young Family Wealth Playbook (FREE):  7-Steps to Solidifying Your Family’s Future Wealth Questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom. Leave me a voicemail or connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Carpe Diem Quote “You either master money, or, on some level, money masters you.” Tony Robbins ARE YOU considering investing without a financial advisor? PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
In May 2010, I married my dream girl. She was funny, beautiful and chock-full of 90's TV trivia. Our first couple of dates consisted of a lot of Saved by the Bell and Seinfeld jokes. Outside of knowing the Soup Nazi episode verbatim, Nicole and I both came into the marriage knowing the general basics of personal finance. You know, advice like: "Don't carry a credit card balance" "Always have some savings for a rainy day" "Good debt is okay to have" In the years before our marriage, we did rack up a hefty amount of "good" debt. Car payments and student loans were a few of the good debt offenders we carried into our marriage. Hey, you NEED a car to get around, right?! And how else are you going to pay for college?!  After some research and personal soul-searching, there really was no good debt or bad debt in our eyes. It was just debt to us. This was all just money we owed someone. It wouldn’t go away until we decided to clean it up. We decided that being in debt was not something we wanted for our new family. We vowed to become debt-free (outside of our mortgage) before our first child was born. In September of 2010, we owed $20,908 on my wife’s car and $27,124 on my student loans for a grand total of $48,032 of good/bad/indifferent debt. During the next 12 months, we took that $48,032 of debt and clobbered it! By September 2011, we owed $0. Zilch. Nada. Bye-bye debt. Here are the 5 steps we took to rid debt from our family forever: 1. Develop a Monthly Budget We developed a monthly written budget that defined our way forward. We knew we had to reduce our expenses and increase our debt payments. The written budget guided us to ensure we would stay the course. For budgeting, we used a simple spreadsheet. It wasn't too fancy. We just listed out our income and our expenses and made sure we allocated each of our dollars to an assignment.  As the years past, we decided to upgrade to Mint. This online budgeting tool gave us more flexibility and made the monthly budgeting process a lot quicker through its ability to link up to your bank and credit card accounts.  I developed a simple 10-step guide to get started on Mint. (For couples, consider checking out Zeta. This is another free budgeting option that will help you win together.) Good old fashioned pencil and paper will even do! Make sure you have a budget and stick to it. 2. Choose Your Debt Elimination Strategy There are multiple debt elimination strategies to consider. Choose the one that works best for you and your situation. Debt Snowball How it works: Take your debts and line them up from smallest amount owed to the largest amount owed Pay the smallest off first by making extra payments each month Given that you’ll now have less interest to pay with one of your eliminated debts, take that extra amount of money and start paying down the principal on the next debt The process continues with your payments growing larger like a snowball down a hill Debt Snowball Example: You have $2,000 in credit card debt, $500 in medical debt, $25,000 in a HELOC Pay off the medical debt first, then the credit card, then the HELOC Why the Debt Snowball works: By getting some quick wins in paying off your smallest debt first, you’ll feel motivated to keep going! If you started with the $25,000 HELOC, you could be at it for a quite a while and become uninspired to continue paying off your debt Debt Avalanche How it works? Take your debts and line them up from largest interest rate to smallest interest rate Pay off the debt with the largest interest rate first by making extra payments each month The process continues similar to the debt snowball Debt Avalanche Example: Credit card debt (20% interest), medical debt (4% interest), HELOC (6%) Pay off credit card debt first, then HELOC, then medical debt Why the Debt Avalanche works: Mathematically, this helps you pay off the most financially draining debts that you have and will (in theory) help you save the most money. Other Debt Elimination Options Hybrid Model You can also look at using a Hybrid Model of these two approaches where you pay off the debt with the largest interest percentage first, and then get some quick wins on the debt with the smallest balance. Debt Hatred Or simply just choose the debt that you HATE the most and smash that one first! We chose the Debt Avalanche method because our student loan and car debts amounts were nearly similar. The student loan had an interest rate of 6.8% so we decided to blow that one up as soon as possible and then tackle the car loan. If the student loan refinancing companies like SoFi were around then, I definitely would have taken advantage of that for a lower interest rate (and even a cash bonus!) 3. Increase Your Income Outside of spending less money, another great way to eliminate your debt fast is to make more money! Before we decided to go crazy on our debt, I received a promotion to a sales position that allowed me to make a commission when I brought in new business. At that time I was making around $70,000 per year without commissions. When Nicole and I decided to rid ourselves of our debt, let’s just say, I became highly motivated to sell … a lot. I expanded our portfolio with a major client and doubled our business in 2011. Our business grew, my team grew and so did my commission checks. I ended 2011 with just over $100,000 in total income! With that additional income, we did not adjust our lifestyle and buy new clothes, fancy dinners, and jewelry. We took the extra money we received each month and slowly but surely paid down our debt using the Debt Avalanche. Now you may not be in a sales job like I was, but increasing your income is completely in your hands. It just takes extra effort. 10 ideas to increase your income Here are 10 ideas for increasing your income immediately. I’ve done 5 of these personally: Detail the value you bring to your company and ask for a salary increase Sell household items you don’t use anymore on Facebook Marketplace Become an Uber or Lyft driver in your downtime Airbnb a room at your house Get a roommate and charge a monthly rent Use your skills to create something and sell it online (Etsy, etc). Help people with everyday tasks through services like Task Rabbit Become a freelance writer or start a blog Sell unused gift cards on eBay or Cardpool Start a weekend dog sitting service Related Article: 26 Smart Ways for Moms and Dads to Make More Money 4. Stick to the Plan It is incredibly easy to stray away from your budget and your debt elimination strategy. There are always shiny objects that will distract you and take you off course. Although I consider myself a frugal and disciplined guy, I had a tough time not spending the extra commission dollars I was receiving at my job. I’m human, right? To help me stay on track, my wife and I would remind ourselves that being debt-free before our first child came into the world would set our family on a course for financial success that would last our entire lives. That reason for pushing hard (my “Why”) gave me the motivation to stick to the plan. I kept thinking about how SATISFYING it would feel to rid ourselves completely of this debt. 5. Celebrate the Wins We’re not robots. Live a little! When you pay off one of your debts, celebrate!! Go out to dinner. Pop some champagne. Share the news with family and friends. This is a BIG deal. You are NOT normal (in a good way)! This encouragement will motivate you to keep charging down the path toward complete financial freedom. Nicole and I celebrated each debt crushing milestone together and it made our new marriage that much stronger. We were partnering together on something so important for our future and we were winning. That year of debt destruction allowed us to have Nicole leave her job and stay home to raise our kids. You can't put a price tag on the bond she's developed with Zoey and Calvin during the first years of their lives. Fast forward to today, we've kept up our debt elimination plans and have paid off our $195,000 mortgage in less than 4 years. That major reduction in our expenses has allowed both me and Nicole to choose the work we want to do instead of the work we have to do.  At this rate, we’re creating a financial future for our two children that we would never have imagined possible. And to think, it all started with taking that first step in making the conscious decision to eliminate our debt once and for all. Now we have the freedom to live the lives we’ve always wanted. CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN TO THIS INTERVIEW OR LISTEN ON: Show Sponsors FLO BY MOEN Receive 20% off by using discount code “Marriage20“. Learn more here. DEBT.COM Get your free consultation by visiting here. Mention Andy from MKM sent you! MKM Podcast Resources Thriving Families Facebook Group:  Join our new FREE Facebook Community! Young Family Wealth Playbook (FREE):  7-Steps to Solidifying Your Family’s Future Wealth Support this Show If you enjoyed this episode, here are some excellent ways to support the show: Leave a review for the show on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher Leave a comment below Check out my Recommended Resources Page Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, Google Podcasts or Stitcher Join our Thriving Families Facebook Community – learn and help other families grow their wealth I truly appreciate the support everyone! Questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom. Leave me a voicemail or connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Carpe Diem Quote "Believe you can and you're halfway there." Theodore Roosevelt SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST TODAY (IT’S FREE): WHAT DOES A DEBT-FREE LIFE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
Being neck-deep in debt can make you feel like all the odds are stacked against you, especially when you reach almost the seven figures! Today, Andy talks to Wendy Mays on how her family is climbing out of nearly $1,000,000 of student loans, home mortgages, car loans, and other consumer debt. Wendy is the host of the House of FI podcast, a part-time work-from-home lawyer and a mother to six children.  We talk about how she and her husband accumulated their debt, the turning point that led them to fix their situation and their progress on their journey to financial independence so far. How they accumulated their debt Wendy and her husband went to college and amassed a huge amount of student loan debt. They started their marriage with six-figures of debt, believing that they would eventually be able to pay it all off. Wendy went to private law school and her husband earned degrees to support his teaching career. When it was all said and done, their total student loan debt was $330,000. Every time they made more money, they would spend it. They ended up getting a beautiful house in San Diego with a $550,000 mortgage. On top of that, they had a few car loans and borrowed money to renovate their house. By the time they reached their 40's, this brought their total debt to nearly $1,000,000. What made them want to improve their financial situation After adopting four children, Wendy realized she wanted a lifestyle change so she could stay at home with the kids. Wendy Mays with her husband Curtis and their six children But she couldn’t figure out a way. Without her income, they wouldn’t be able to pay the debt. She felt very stuck and hopeless. Her situation led her to Google a “laptop lifestyle”. One thing led to another and she discovered The Mad Fientist. After doing her research and learning as much as she could about financial independence, she figured out how she could save 50% of her income and improve her situation. What steps they took to fix their situation The first step was to reduce expenses. Wendy knew they had to be intentional with their spending. They eventually cut $10,000 from their monthly budget, while she was living on her lawyer's salary of $180,000 - $200,000 per year. Here's how they did it. Build a Budget and Question Every Expense To cut their spending down, they need to get aggressive. This meant looking at every dollar they were spending and finding ways to reduce it or eliminate it. By budgeting their monthly spending, this process became a lot clearer. Reduced Spending on Food Spending less on groceries and eating out became one of the first areas that they tackled. Their family, even with 8 family members, spent around $2,000 per month on food. It was too much in Wendy's opinion. Erase the Debt They attacked their debt with the Debt Snowball, and then they switched to Debt Avalanche for 2-3 years. The debt really took a huge cut after selling their house.  Once the house was sold, the plan was to pay off all of their debt outside of their student loans and take what was left and get into real estate investing. They are now saving $1,100 per month on housing expenses by renting the place they live as opposed to buying another home. Related Interview: 15 Ways to Save More Money When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck Bringing the family on board Was Wendy's family happy with this plan? At first, Wendy’s husband was reluctant. But they had some important conversations about their future and eventually got on the same page. By sitting down and understanding their goals, they were able to work together.  How about the kids? Wendy and her husband have been teaching them about how to use money as a tool, about passive income and valuing experiences over material objects. By having little conversations here and there and talking about saving, she hopes they will grow up to be more financially aware.  Related Interview: 5 Steps to Getting on the Same Financial Page as your Spouse Their progress so far When they first started out, their savings rate was 5-7%. Now it’s at a healthy 30%, with a goal to be retired at the age of 55. They receive regular cash flow from their real estate properties (around $1,100 a month) and want to leave their retirement accounts as a legacy for their children. Why real estate and not some other investment strategy? Because they found the financial independence movement in their mid-40s and realized that real estate investing would be the fastest method to get them to financial independence.  In November 2019, Wendy retired from work (or semi-retired, since she has one client!) and is able to stay at home with her kids. Although they still have debt, it’s now their tenants that are helping them pay their student loans. Related Interview: How We Paid Off $300,000 of Student Loans in 6 Years – with Okeoma Moronu Wendy's advice for others tackling huge debt If you’re someone struggling with a lot of debt, Wendy’s recommendation is to attack it as soon as possible. Look at your situation, evaluate your expenses and be willing to think outside the box.  What is she hoping for her kids? She wants them to be able to get an education without drowning in student loans. She wants them to understand that saving is important and that you don’t need to spend everything you’ve got. Wendy and her husband had a huge amount of debt but were able to fix their situation with intentional spending, careful planning and clever financial strategies. Their path to financial independence is now clear. CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN TO THIS INTERVIEW OR LISTEN ON: Show Sponsors FLO BY MOEN Receive 20% off by using discount code “Marriage20“. Learn more here. Fetch rewards Earn when you sign up here (use code “MKM”). MKM Podcast Resources Thriving Families Facebook Group:  Join our new FREE Facebook Community! Young Family Wealth Playbook (FREE):  7-Steps to Solidifying Your Family’s Future Wealth Support this Show If you enjoyed this episode, here are some excellent ways to support the show: Leave a review for the show on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher Leave a comment below Check out my Recommended Resources Page Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, Google Podcasts or Stitcher Join our Thriving Families Facebook Community – learn and help other families grow their wealth I truly appreciate the support everyone! Questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom. Leave me a voicemail or connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Carpe Diem Quote "All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me." Walt Disney SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST TODAY (IT’S FREE): Are you pursuing financial independence? Please let us know in the comments below.
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