Investment Portfolio Review: What to Do When It’s a Bear Market

Worried about how your investments are doing right now? We'll look at how to do a investment portfolio review so that you'll not only feel less stressed but take productive steps to help you invest better!

Why Investment Portfolio Reviews Are a Smart Move

If you've been following the news, especially finances. It can be pretty scary right now. It seems like all the headlines are focused on high gas prices, how inflation is affecting basic goods, and how volatile the market is right now.

We're in a bear market, which if you're not familiar with the term means that there's been a decline of 20% or more from recent highs.

While staying on top of the big threads of what's going on is good, being too tuned into the news can backfire. Look, I've been writing about personal finance for almost a decade and a half and I can still get a bit anxious about it.

This is where doing a portfolio review can help. When we're doing our monthly reviews for our money dates, we get a snapshot of what's going on with our accounts to make sure everything's moving along well. But a few times a year. Around once a quarter for us. We'll also look at our investments more closely.

It's like a financial checkup. That's beneficial for finances for sure, but believe it or not, our marriage. For us, this is an opportunity to hit pause. Just sit down and really talk about what's been working and what's not working with our family finances.

We can also take a step back and discuss the big picture about what we want to do in the near future and then longterm. It's a low key, but productive way for us to stay on top of things.

And I want to show you how you can do it too.

In this episode, we'll dive into:

  • why less is more when it comes to portfolio reviews
  • what questions to ask to make sure you're on track
  • things you can do to improve your portfolio

We have a lot to cover. So let's get started!

Resources to Stay on Top of Your Investments

Whether you're new to investing or looking to level up, here are some resources to get your there faster!

Don't forget you can always send your questions in either through private voicemail or the form here for an upcoming episode!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start to finish – for FREE. Yes, that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Cashing Out: Creating a Flexible Financial Plan That Fits Your Family

Looking to pursue financial freedom on your terms? See how Rich and Regular's Kiersten and Julien Saunder's book Cashing Out can help you lay out a path!

Why Your Family Needs a Financial Plan

When I mention this idea of having a financial plan, people tend to imagine is only for those who already have some money. But that’s not true.

Many families can benefit from creating a financial plan. 

Here are a few that come to my mind:

  • you’re feeling under-appreciated and underpaid at work
  • you want to have flexibility, leverage, and options when it comes to how you work
  • the pandemic really threw your finances for a loop and you’re looking to get back on track
  • you’re sick and tired of the opportunities (or really the lack of them) that are out there for your family
  • the idea of financial freedom and independence is something that excites you because it means you’ll have more time for the people and projects that matter most to you

These are all situations where having a flexible financial plan makes sense. The trouble is that financial plans seem complicated, unattainable, and well, boring. 

Here’s the thing – you can create one that reflects you. Your situation, your priorities, and your goals.

Kiersten and Julien from Rich and Regular are on the show to share some thoughtful points and stories from their new book Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away.

It offers a framework and path based on key principles in financial independence and retiring early on how to build your family’s finances in a way that opens up options.

In today’s episode, we get into:

  • Why money matters and how to use it in a meaningful way for your family
  • The challenges and triumphs of changing financial habits and mindset
  • Aligning your finances to your priorities

You can listen to or download the episode here or read the edited transcript below.

Hope you enjoy!

Resources for Families Interested in Financial Independence

If you're looking to get ahead with your finances as a family, here are some resources to check out!

Join Our Thriving Families Community on Facebook to chat with other families and swap tips and stories about working towards financial independence.

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start to finish – for FREE. Yes, that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Financial Freedom By Cashing Out

Elle Martinez: Last time I chatted with Kiersten Julian on the podcast, we talked about real estate investing. One of the things I immediately appreciated was how they gave an honest account about the pros and cons of managing a property.

One of my goals on this podcast is to be honest about family finances so you can be better prepared.

With their book cashing out. Julian and Kiersten take a similar approach. Yes, it does address the mechanics of financial independence and freedom. But they don't discuss finance in a vacuum. There are a lot of ties into the real world. And that struggle of juggling all your different goals, taking care of your kids. And in some cases, helping out your parents.

That's actually how the book begins. Both of them had a parent get hit with a health crisis. That opened up their perspective about so many things including believe it or not money.

Kiersten and Julien Saunders: Those particular stories that we share are not just personal, but I think there's stories that a lot of people, especially working professionals deal with. I also think, unfortunately as one of those things that just continues to catch people by surprise.

Especially when you're parents, you are so like head down focused on your children. You kind of forget to think that your parents are aging, as well. As the age, they tend to have these health challenges that don't just disrupt their lives. They disrupt your life as well. Depending on their situation, you could impact how you spend your money, right?

It was really just a wake up call for us. In Kirsten's case, it was her father being a hit with cancer. In my case, it was my mom facing some pretty intense blood pressure issue and she wasn't quite able to kind of solve it. The good news is they both have got over the hump.

As we started thinking about that and asking them questions, what we really learned was that like, they come to what to do, right? Like they weren't surprised by any of this stuff. And it's not to say that they're bad people or that they irresponsible. I think what it really does is it just highlights that this is kind of, part of the human experience is certainly a part of American culture.

In many cases, we know what to do when it comes to money. We know that we're actually spending more. We know we should probably be asking certain questions, but all of the other parts of life kind of get in the way. And as a result, you kind of end up in a sticky situation. We just thought that there was an interesting parallel and something that a lot of people could actually identify with.

And so sharing that story we hope that people can kind of see themselves in that situation as well.

Family Finances Is More than Just the Numbers

Elle Martinez: I know reading it. I definitely connected with what they were saying. I mentioned before that during the pandemic, my mom moved Raleigh.

She wanted to be closer to the grand babies and us. Because she has respiratory and other health issues. I was the one physically out there with her real estate agent house hunting.

Thankfully we found the place within her budget not far from us. This decision in turn affects us and that we can drop off the girls for overnight stays with her. So again, Uh, family and finances are so much more connected than we realize. That's what I loved about the book.

It does take you through how to create a financial plan and have this vision. But the reality is finances, it's all in context. What's going on with your kids? What's going on with your parents. You have to have a certain amount of flexibility. 'cause you never know when you're going to get thrown a curve ball.

Another big moment I had while reading. Was seeing how their parents made significant changes with their habits. With both cases, a health issue was the motivation to get them to what they already knew they should be doing. With finances. It can be a bit of the same mentality. Change can be hard, especially if you're doing something significant, like working towards financial freedom or independence.

I was curious about how Julien and Kiersten themselves handled it.

Kiersten Saunders: I think for me, it was two of them because I'm in the camp of people who have always focused on income. And so earning money has never really been my challenge where I encountered challenges where some of them. That you're talking about now and then just the overall financial habits that I had.

My first one was unlearning the habit of always looking for validation from my friends and family. I would decide that something was a good idea. I would feel confident about and something like index funds or setting up a 529 for my son.

Then I go and tell people and I'd be really excited about it and they would come and express their doubts. I would take that as the idea of being less credible. So I had to unlearn the habit of seeking validation. Now I can share, and I really don't care if they agree or not, because I've already put this what I'm doing.

The second habit that I had to unlearn was my endless optimism. Not allowing me to save for things that I know inevitably would happen in the future. So it was more of a savings mindset. I think I thought of savings as like the absence of income. And so I was a good with an emergency fund, but I wasn't saving for things that would inevitably happen.

Needing new tires, needing to replace a refrigerator needing, like all the bad things that you can just don't account for that your goods and products don't last forever. You're going to need to replace these things.

As I started thinking about saving as money that I'm going to spend later, it became much easier to actually set aside for the things that I know I want to do. Take vacations. Update my wardrobe. So that's been hard for me to change, but that I've worked on.

Pursuing Financial Freedom in a Broken System

Julien Saunders: I'm in a similar boat. I actually had to confront my own issues with optimism. But mine wasn't necessarily around a habits. It was really around the workplace. I was very optimistic. You know, feel really good about the company or the department or company culture kind of based on some of these big splashy diversity messages.

I would always feel like change was coming. And I always felt like, things were just on the up and up and we were not going to be our parents' generation.

Then, life happens right? Really no different. It happens both outside of work and happens inside of work. And he starts to see and get confronted with things that you really have to do. I think for me, it was a huge reconciliation of uncomfortable truths.

The uncomfortable truth was that we'll be looking at the broader set of economic factors that were impacting the black community many of the those have not changed since the 1960s. So with respect to home ownership rates, like the same percentage of black people in the United States own a home today as they did in 19, in 1968.

There were studies that were coming out in the late 2010s that were talking about the pace of black wealth or median black wealth, which was actually slated to be zero by the year 2053.

Again, these were numbers that were slated prior to the pandemic. When you factor in the loss of homes, loss of income and all of these other things, it's pretty safe to assume at this rate, that things are actually going to accelerate that median wealth will be zero for the typical black family far sooner than 2053.

Very few people, wake up, wanting to talk about those things, but we really had to confront those things and say, all right, what does that mean for us? What are the likelihood that corporate America will continue to fail miserably at creating equality at paying people fairly for the work that they do and so on.

The effort for us, kind of all culminated Figuring out a way to ensure that we protect our finance to wellbeing and figuring out the way that we protect our relationship and our family in the event that history repeats itself.

Elle Martinez: Yeah. Honestly, it's frustrating in sad. This past spring, I was invited to speak on an online panel for mothers working to improve their family finances. And I looked at some similar data that Julian had mentioned. And I think this brings up a good point.

When we're talking about money. We cannot just focus on our immediate needs or immediate family, but look at the bigger picture in context.

This can help us to have more meaningful conversations about things that do need to change, but then also, how do we need to adjust our family finances to deal with the reality of the situation?

Why You Need Your Own Financial Plan

Elle Martinez: Every family is going to be different with what you're dealing with, what challenges you face. That's why personal finance isn't a one size fits all approach.

It's great to get information online and in books and podcasts like this, but just understand that this is just one piece of the puzzle. You really have to tailor it for your specific circumstances.

For example, in our family, we have two different cultures. Initially we didn't even consider this. But from there, we have different expectations about certain circumstances. For example, when our parents get older, what's going to happen.

And these are ongoing discussions. We try to be respectful and understand where each other's coming from, but that doesn't mean there aren't moments of some tension, some friction. That we have to work on until we find a compromise we're both happy with.

And we shouldn't feel like we need to avoid or kind of tiptoe around these difficult and maybe awkward conversations. In fact, this is an opportunity for real growth.

With our marriage and finances, they both improved. We were more honest and open about money and how we feel about certain things in the situation.

And yes, it does take time to work out a solution that you're both happy with. But it makes it more meaningful and it keeps both of you on the same page and on the same side.

I'm always curious about how other families handle their finances. So I had to ask Kiersten in Julian, how they approach their finances and talk about it.

Kiersten Saunders: I would say we're probably on a monthly cadence. Depends on the month. Sometimes as bi-weekly, when we're talking about the numbers associated with them.

A lot of times we're talking around money, we're talking about the larger factors that contribute to the way that we earn or the way that we spend. Those conversations are happening almost daily. We're talking about, the ads that we're seeing, we're talking about how credit cards are now positioning debt and new and innovative ways and how these new financial institutions are creating. Concepts that are really just old concepts you know, change names.

And so we're always talking about money and then we probably look at our personal finances bi-weekly or monthly on a regular basis.

I'll say we've never been lazier with respect to budgeting the name. I feel like that's a bit of an earned privilege. You just reach a certain point where so many of these things become Muslim or just flat out on a wearable.

I'm sure there's some, there are savings opportunities that we could uncover if we were to dive back into the budget, but to Kirsten's point, we're very fortunate in that a lot of these problems or challenges that we face are whatever my pop-up can be solved through income.

And so the business that we have and the position has allowed us to to tackle that problem by focusing in, on another part of the equation.

Yeah, it's an interesting, I'd never really thought about it. So you asked that question, but it is a by-product of not being under the fixed cadence of every other week.

I get a paycheck and it's the same amount. And I got to figure out how to pay the bills that I have within this month, within this fixed amount. We now understand that our upside, our earning potential is basically unlimited.

When we anticipate that there will be higher expenses, we've been turn up the income dial. When we anticipate that the income dial isn't doing what it's supposed to do, then we can turn down the expenses, but it's a very fluid relationship. I would argue to Julie's point. It is an earned privilege of being a business owner.

Better Conversations Around Money

Elle Martinez: Yeah; And if there was a time or reason to pay attention to your finances, I think these past two years were it. If you were making great progress with your finances before the pandemic hit. You were typically in a better position to have more leverage and make decisions that were best for your family.

Unfortunately, if you were just starting off your financial journey. From conversations with friends, family, and some of you in the community. It really was difficult. You almost felt like you were forced into these situations.

It literally was a matter of we're living paycheck to paycheck, and I need to take care of the necessities and take care of my family.

Many times on the podcast I say money is not the goal, but it's a useful tool. And I hope you see it that way. We shouldn't be chasing a particular number, but really looking at, ‘Okay. If I have my finances in a good spot. What are the options that I have to help me make better choices for my family?

Again, it loops back to having better conversations about money, making them more meaningful and deeper, focusing on your values and priorities and also consider what's going on with your day to day.

Julien Saunders: It's something that we actually talk about pretty regularly. Even within the black community, there's a lot of diversity that a lot of. I think people don't even really acknowledge this.

What I mean by that is while I do identify as black culturally identify as Caribbean and specifically I'm from Jamaica, which brings it's entirely different set of nuance conversations and beliefs.

And in some cases, even languages and approaches to managing money and respect and caring for elders and all of those things that Kiersten proves family is mostly from the south, from Texas. She didn't have any of those challenges. Right.

Then on top of that, you have the fact that we both come from two different socioeconomic backgrounds.

So she comes from an upper middle class, a dual household earning family. Whereas I come from a working class, borderline working poor single income family. I was raised by my mom for the most part. And so there's a lot of backstory there that obviously influences how we are in how we think about our lives.

But when we even look at our lives today we financially support my mom. She's sort of built into the budget. We've gone to the extent of bringing her closer to us so that she could have a better quality of life and such now. I see our son, her best friend only grandson. As often as she wants, she can pick them up from daycare.

She can come back for dinner, she can hang out with us on the weekends and she's literally just five minutes away. But that doesn't mean that it's always rosy, right?

Like it very much, it's still a part, a point of tension, just being honest. It's something that I struggle with because again, We know that we would just pull back just a little bit, right, and invest that money. We could expedite potential plan. So we could really put that money to, to other uses.

But having had a lot of conversations with people elders, mentors, it's one of those things that I think is truly priceless. So right now we categorize it as giving our son, the benefit of building experiences with his grandparents, which is something that we did not have.

I have entire sets of grandparents that I'd never even met, whereas our son has met his great-grandmother. We have video of that. We have video of his, Grandmother and great-grandmother being there at the moment he was born.

So all of these different things to take trips and, you know there are financial implications to it now, but I think in our book of our family, it's considered money well spent.

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Kids and Money: How to Teach Them About Bank and Investing Accounts

Want to help your kids get comfortable and confident with managing their money? Today we’ll talk about giving them a head start by opening up bank and investing accounts with them!

Helping Your Teen Open a Bank Account and Invest

Do you remember your first bank account? I think I was in 6th grade and there was a program with a local bank where they would come in every two weeks or so and open up a school branch in the library. 

Different grades were assigned a time slot and if your parents had opened an account for you, you could go in to deposit, withdraw, or just check the balance. 

It was super basic, but let me tell you, everyone was excited. Why? Because it was their money. 

Later when I started working, my mom and I went to her credit union – she’s a teacher – and I opened my checking account. 

Each paycheck, I set aside something for savings, something for my checking, and kept the rest for fun. 

These early lessons didn’t involve a ton of money or anything complicated, but they gave me confidence when it came to finances. 

Earlier this year we had an episode about essential financial lessons to pass on to your kids. 

This time I want to move a bit forward from those initial conversations to giving them tools to practice their financial skills such as having a bank and investing account. 

Today we’ll dive into how to help your kids become financially savvy.

In this episode, we’ll dive into:

  • Why your kid should have a bank account and when to get them started
  • Three types of accounts you can use to help your kid get started with investing
  • Essential investment lessons to pass on

Hope you enjoy it!

Resources to Teach Your Kids About Money

If you're looking for ideas and resources to prepare your kids to be money-savvy, here are some to check out! 

If you want to chat some more about creating better money habits, questions, or share your own tips please join us over at Thriving Families on Facebook.

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start-to-finish – for FREE. They handle the process from start-to-finish, and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Photos by mentatdgt and Monstera

House Hunting: Tips to Buy a Home in a Seller’s Market

It's house hunting season, which can be an exciting and yes, stressful time. Living in a sellers market, it can seem like an incredible challenge.

Today we'll go over how to financially prepare and give you a map on finding a place that you love that's still within your budget!

Home Buying Tips for a Hot Market

If you’re thinking of buying a house, you have to be prepared. Besides being a huge purchase, you have rising interest rates and hot markets that can make it difficult to find a place you love that’s still affordable.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer or it’s been awhile since you’ve had to house hunt, I want to lift some of the burden.

Today I’ll give you a high-level view of the buying process so you’ll have an idea of what to expect along with some tips and resources to keep you on track with your big financial picture. 

In this episode, we’ll dive into:

  • Ways you can prepare your finances 
  • What to look for during the house hunt so you’re finding a hidden gem and not a money pit
  • Explain what to consider with your offer and the closing process

We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started! 

Resources on Buying a House

If you’re looking to buy, here are some resources to help you find an affordable place you love!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

See how Coastal can help you with your mortgage needs!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start-to-finish – for FREE. They handle the process from start-to-finish, and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Before You House Hunt, Get Your Finances in a Good Spot

Even before you start shopping around for a lender or real estate agent. Take some time to run the numbers and review your finances. Verify that you can handle this transition to homeownership.

I know interest rates are rising, so there's this temptation to jump in and get started as fast as possible, but it really does pay off for you to sit down and use those mortgage calculators online to get an idea of what you can comfortably afford.

Budget Beyond the Mortgage

Besides the mortgage, you need to include in your budget home insurance, property tax, and maintenance costs. Knowing those numbers puts you in a better spot when you do shop around for lenders.

So, how do you find lenders? The first time we bought a house, we used a mortgage broker who compared different lenders.

The second time we did a little more legwork on our own scouring online and we went with our credit union Coastal since they not only had great rates but they offered some discounts with their Daymark Realty team.

It is a bit of work upfront. But you can significantly save money.

As you're shopping around, make sure you're not just looking at the lenders, but that you also are looking at the right mortgage option for you. If you don't have a significant down payment.

There are different loan programs like FHA, VA, and USDA that can make it easier to buy. Weigh the pros and cons of each of these to make sure that you qualify for them and that they work for you.

Pre-approved Versus Getting Pre-qualified

I do want to clarify two terms. You want to get pre-approved versus getting pre-qualified. Pre-approval means the lender went over your numbers and told you how much you qualify for with borrowing. Versus a prequalification was, is just an estimate.

If you're in a seller's market where you have to move fast, you definitely want to have that preapproval letter.

As you talk with your lender, they're going to give you their rates and numbers. But you still want to make sure that what they say you qualify for is what you feel comfortable with.

You can also start shopping around for a real estate agent. Ask for recommendations from people who not only bought a home, but they're happy with it. Also interview your agents, see how knowledgeable they are about the area, the market, and how effective they've been for their clients.

Now, with those pieces in place, you have a lender. And you have your agent. You can now go house hunting, feeling comfortable that your finances are in a good spot.

The House Hunt

While you're working with your lender on getting pre-approved and you're trying to find a real estate agent. This is also a good time to sit down and figure out. What are your priorities for the house that you want to buy?

What type of house, first of all, are you looking for. Are you going with a single-family, condo, or townhouse?

Do you want to live in a neighborhood with an HOA? What size house would make you most comfortable? If you have a yard, how big do you want it? Or do you even want a yard and have that maintenance?

What distance from work are you looking for? Or if you have kids, how far away do you want to be from their school?

Talking about and defining your must-haves is incredibly helpful for your real estate agent because then they can tailor their search for what you need. They can also temper your expectations about what you can find in the area for your budget. We have an entire episode where I interviewed Coastal's vice president of real estate, Louis gamma.

And he broke down how to go about your house hunt so that you can find neighborhoods that are hidden gems. And that checkoff a lot of things on your list while still keeping you on your budget. I'll include a link in the show notes.

As you're going through this house hunt. I just want to tell you. Sometimes that is an apt description, especially if you're in a hot market. It can be chaotic with other buyers competing for a limited amount of homes. As you're going through the houses and places and taking these tours. You'll start noticing. That certain things on your list are going to get adjusted.

There may be priorities you felt were must-haves. That moved down on that list and vice versa. Where there's something you thought that wasn't such a big deal, but when you're in that space, in that house, you realize that it's very important to you. That's normal.

This actually happened with my mom when she was buying a house here in Raleigh in 2020. She had a list. She had prepared her must haves and want to have, but as we were looking at different properties in the area, Things got adjusted and shifted.

It seemed a little stressful at the time, making these adjustments. But it worked out to her favor because now she's in a home that she loves and it has all the main features that she wanted.

Just make sure you're not sacrificing too much just to buy a house. I would hate for you to be in a home that you don't like with the 15 or 30 year mortgage. Ideally, you want to find a place that has all your must haves in a neighborhood that you love.

When you do find that spot. You can then put in your offer.

Putting In Your Offer and The Closing

All right. Let's talk a bit about the offer. You may include contingencies with your offer. Meaning certain things have to be fulfilled such as a home inspection. Financing selling your existing home or appraisal.

Depending on the market, you may decide to waive some of those contingencies, but please be aware of the potential downsides of that.

Personally with how large a purchase. This is, I'd keep the inspection and appraisal.

How much should you offer? This is where you want to work with your real estate agent and why it's so important to interview them beforehand. You want someone knowledgeable so that they'll have the information about what's selling in the area and give you recommendations on what's more likely to be accepted.

In a competitive market, it can be emotionally exhausting because you have so many sellers. Making multiple offers on a few homes. When I was helping my mom out with buying her house, that was the situation. We saw quite a bit of homes we put in offers and yes, there was a temptation at one point to break the budget because of the timing.

Of her going back to work in the fall. But with some patience and diligence, she thankfully found a wonderful home in a fantastic neighborhood. So if you're buying any sellers market, Please don't get discouraged. If your first offers aren't accepted.

When you put in an offer. You're also going to be putting in some money upfront. It's known as earnest money deposit. Some people call it good faith deposit.

Basically, you're signaling to the seller that you're serious about buying this money will be held in an escrow account and we'll go towards your down payment or closing costs.

It's there as a protection. If the buyer falls through on their end. The seller gets to keep that money. However, if one of the contingencies in your offer happens, let's say the home inspection failed. You'd get that earnest money back.

Now let's say the seller accepted your offer. Now, what? Typically, this is where things like your home inspection and appraisals happen.

A home inspection lets you see if there are any major issues with the house and an appraisal is for your lender to verify that home is worth the loan.

Some needed repairs may come up during inspection. Depending on that market and whether or not you waive those contingencies. You may or may not be able to negotiate on the price.

In the meantime, your agent's going to be assisting in getting the paperwork prepared for closing. This can include things like checking the property title. So make sure you're in contact with them. So if they need anything from you, you can quickly get that to them.

Assuming everything goes smoothly, you'll get a closing disclosure from your lender, telling you how much you need to have ready. You and your agent will do a final walkthrough of the house you're buying. Then it's closing day.

Just a heads up, expect a lot of paperwork. The good news though, is that your agent and the attorney there should be able to walk you through step-by-step with everything. Ask any questions you need to and have before you sign.

Finally, we get to the best part. Getting your keys and moving into your new home. There you have it.

If you're a first-time home buyer, it might seem a lot. But once you have a place that you love. You know, what's worth it.

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Photo by Daniel Frank

Quick and Easy Guide to Streamline and Simplify Your Money

Today we’ll see how you can streamline your finances and easily manage your money! 

Simplify Your Finances

With summer unofficially starting this weekend, I can understand if you’re ready to switch gears and go into vacation mode. However, if you’re willing to set aside an afternoon or evening, you can streamline your finances to have much more time to relax and focus on the big picture. 

How?

Last week Bob and Linda shared a framework that I think could be incredibly helpful for busy families. This week I want to break things down so you can go through your finances fairly quickly and arrange things to make it easier to manage for the rest of the year. 

I’m also happy to have Gaurav Sharma co-founder and CEO of Capitalize, here to explain how you can have your old 401(k)s work for you. 

In this episode, we’ll dive into:

  • An easy and effective way to manage your money
  • Tools that can help you 
  • How to get the most out of your investments

Hope you enjoy!

Resources for Families Interested in Simplifying Their Finances

If you're looking to get ahead with your finances as a family, here are some resources to check out!

Don't forget we have the free course 5 Days to $5K. It's a week-long email course designed to help you find, save, and earn extra cash so you can reach your family and financial goals faster!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first including an annual loyalty bonus. We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start-to-finish – for FREE. They handle the process from start-to-finish, and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Simple Money, Rich Life: How One Couple Dumped Debt and Became Financially Free

Learn how one couple came together to pay off $400k of debt, become financially free, and give over $1 million!

Simple Money, Rich Life

Let’s start off with some good news: You don’t need a complicated plan to achieve financial independence or freedom. 

In fact, that’s probably either slowing down your progress or keeping you from even starting.

I’ve seen and personal experiences how a simple plan can be an effective way to keep you moving in the right direction. 

Bob and Linda Lotich are on the show today to explain how. They’re the creators of SeedTime and the authors of Simple Money, Rich Life: Achieve True Financial Freedom and Design a Life of Eternal Impact

Linda and Bob are coming on the podcast to discuss how families can reset things and have a rich life.

I had a chance to read their book and loved how it had s money great takeaways. 

I thought Bob and Linda did a really good job of balancing the head and the heart with this. You have this story of getting out of debt and showing the bits and pieces, but more importantly, those conversations they were having about the purpose behind this journey.

Besides working towards financial freedom, the book also examines doing something meaningful with the money, especially on the giving side. 

In this episode, we get into:

  • how Bob and Linda synced up with their finances and goals
  • tactics and strategies they used and recommend to pursue financial freedom
  • creating an easy to manage financial system that allows them to live debt-free and be generous givers

Hope you enjoy!

Resources for Families Interested in Financial Independence

If you're looking to get ahead with your finances as a family, here are some resources to check out!

Don't forget we have the free course 5 Days to $5K. It's a week-long email course designed to help you find, save, and earn extra cash so you can reach your family and financial goals faster!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first including an annual loyalty bonus. We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize

We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years

And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more 

It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?

One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer. 

If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.  

With Capitalize, they handle the process from start-to-finish – for FREE. They handle the process from start-to-finish, and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Syncing Up on Money and More

Elle Martinez: In case you miss Bob on an earlier episode, discussing forming new habits. Here's a quick overview of how he started his financial journey with Linda. Those initial conversations, not only began setting the tone for their money but their marriage.

Bob and Linda: I think we need to start with the shoe box. All right. So we would explain the shoe box. It was kind of our first money conversation. I'm not great at setting up systems or organizing things, right?

Or spreadsheets. I I'm bored by it. I get lost in it. I get distracted easily by shiny objects. My filing system was a, well, it was actually like a file folder that I had in a drawer. That was not meant for filing.

Once that got overloaded and about yay thick, I would start putting things in a shoe box and then that would go in my closet. That was my official filing system.

So we are engaged and it is what it is. I know, but it's helpful because we're not like this anymore and it's valuable people were there. So we were engaged. We're not like this. I'm still like that around so much. So we're engaged and we get to that point where it's like, all right, let's have the money talk.

Where we both kind of like show our cards and reveal what's on the table and, Come and tell her, I was like, all right, I've had a lot of credit card debt, but I'm working to pay it off. I'm making some progress. I got a plan, blah, blah, blah. Then I say, all right, so show me yours. What's going on?

Then she takes a shoe box and just slides it across the table. I'm like, oh, what's this? I pop it open and we'll tell her to test. A lot of credit card on envelopes in there may be some of them on opened. Hadn't been looking at that is why at that point, you're getting calls from debt collectors in your parents' house while you're living there.

It wasn't a great start. So, yeah, so that was her start. I mean.

I was in a similar situation, does about three months ahead where I was living off of a credit card, living off a macaroni and cheese, you know, I had nothing else. And I had just kind of come to my financial head where I was just realizing I was a complete mess.

So we didn't have great beginnings, you know, and we came from middle-class homes and, you know, just buried ourselves in debt and doing silly things but that's where the journey began for us.

Talking About Money (without the Judgement)

Elle Martinez: I can definitely relate. When we had our first chat about money. I also, after we got engaged. It was an eye opener and to be honest, a bit awkward. Part of it is you're coming at it from a perspective of. This way of handling money makes total sense. But your other half is also thinking that.

What's interesting and encouraging from reading Bob and Linda story is how they felt comfortable enough to open up about finances because so many couples who are married or getting married. They have the shame and a lot of guilt and that stops them from really opening up and getting on the same page.

Uh, having a judgment free space where you can go over more than just the numbers. I can be a game changer. And this may be a new thing for one or both of you.

Bob and Linda: I mean, for me, honestly, I didn't grow up in a judgment free zone so it took me a little time. He was not judgmental. He wasn't trying to put shame or guilt on me for the mistakes that I had made in the poor decisions that I had made, but it did take me a while to get that off of me, because that was something that I grew up with.

It was like, well, you just kind of hide all this stuff. If you don't want anybody to know, you just hide it. And I think part of this is just growing in my relationship with the Lord where he doesn't put that on us and he doesn't want us to feel ashamed in front of him.

And Honestly, that was kind of the journey that I went on and I, a big part of it for sure was Bob not trying to put any of that on me.

I think just walking through all of that. I think it really came down to what was already in my heart. I don't know if you've ever heard that analogy. It's like, if a glass is full, here we go. This glass has a chai latte in it. If Bob bumps into it, chai latte is going to come out. If I'm already filled with shame and guilt and, tension around a subject, what's going to come out.

I think is helpful for me growing in this whole thing, because we got into this and again, I'm the spreadsheet guy. I'm the math guy and So I'm looking at the numbers. I'm like, all right, this is right. It's like, this is very black and white, you know?

This is a quantitative thing. It's like, this is right. This is the answer. This is the thing, what you are doing the way you're spending money, whatever, like that's wrong, that's wrong filing system, whatever the thing is.

The thing that I grew to realize that helped me a lot and helped our marriage a lot and I think bring a lot of healthy balanced is that she isn't wrong. And that I'm not necessarily right. This, honestly, this is really funny, but helped me just kind of understand that God creates people differently.

He wires people differently, and everybody has different strengths and weaknesses, and they're oftentimes offsetting and corresponding, with the person you're marrying. I was able to, and I'm really thankful, but I start to get an understanding for some of the value that she brought to the table and how I needed it.

I needed what she brought to the table, instead of just assuming that her way is wrong, my way is right, because I have the numbers, you know. That I think a lot with all of this and with our marriage health when it comes to money.

Yeah and that also gave me confidence to say, I actually do have something to say, I actually have value to add. Instead of, for a long time, I just thought, well, he knows what he's doing and I don't so I'm just going to do whatever he tells me to do.

I started going well, instead of coming out at well, like, wait a second, I'm going to do I want to do it this way? I didn't have to come at it from an anger point of view. I could come at it like, actually, what if we did it this way? Have you ever thought about that? You know, because he was treating me with so much respect in this area.

Simplify Your Money with this Framework

Elle Martinez: I'd love the honesty about the give and take with working with one another respectfully. Because sometimes it is difficult when you have such different approaches. After working on this foundation. Linda and Bob were able to get some real momentum with getting out of debt and building up their finances.

A huge help was systemizing things with what Bob likes to refer to as the straight a approach. Attention. Automate adjust an accountability.

Bob and Linda: One of the things I'm always trying to do with money, and I've been in this world now for over 20 years from banking to financial services to now being a whatever online blogger podcast or all that stuff, just talking about money for so long. I'm always obsessed with trying to simplify things and like trying to pull them out of the complexities and make them digestible and put them in a little package.

That was a big part of what we tried to do in this book. As I was taking this big picture perspective of right. How would I start over now, knowing everything I've known, everything I've learned from these last couple of decades, how would I start over now? How would I talk to myself in my mess and say, all right, this is the simple little path you can follow to get out of that and to get on a firm footing?

So the first one, like you mentioned is paying attention. This is something that I think, for people like you and I, and honestly, probably a lot of people are listening to a financial podcast, probably already do this, but most of the world doesn't.

We have to actually pay attention to what's going on with the money. This is the same thing what'd you hear with nutritionists? Have you ever been a nutritionist and you go talk to them and say, all right, I want you to write down everything you eat every day. Let's do a food journal and see what you're eating, see where the problem spots are and whatever. Simply by writing everything down, you suddenly start eating better.

It's like, you don't even have to try to eat better. You literally just write everything down and because you see clearly what's actually going what what's actually happening. Like, you'd get your behaviors begin to shift and change.

You know this, but it's the same way with money. Like when we actually see what's going on, when we actually are paying attention and some people do write everything down and that's a great exercise. It works well, but, but even simply using a tool like mint or personal capital just to actually be able to look back and say, all right, the last 30 days we've spent this much on groceries, or we spent this much on eating out because so many people, like Starbucks have no idea how much they're actually spending.

Right. So to be able to do that, like, it's just such a headstart for so many people. I don't know how you really succeed with your finances. If you're not paying attention to what's going on. You know what I mean?

Elle Martinez: I think most people will be shocked by certain areas with their budget. Like, you know, there are certain ones where you look at and you go, okay, that makes sense. And then there's always one where you're just completely surprised.

Bob and Linda: Something's wrong. Somebody hacked my

Elle Martinez: that's not right.

Bob and Linda: yeah,

Elle Martinez: It seems small, but just being aware of how your money is being used. Can shift things in a better direction. Another key way to get more control over your finances is by automation.

The Power (and Ease) of Automating Your Money

Bob and Linda: I remember reading probably four or five different books that just talked about automating, saving for retirement, building up savings, emergency fund or giving or whatever the thing is. Okay. Like, I'm like, oh yeah, that's fine. That'll probably help a little bit.

I'll get to that eventually and I just kept on putting it off and, and I don't know why it's like a five minute thing. It takes like no time. But I kept on putting it off, but if I trace back my trajectory like there is a clear inflection point from the day. I decided I'm going to automate this to not because again, so many of us depend on our willpower.

That's the thing that financially successful people like they don't have more willpower than everybody else they just learned to automate. Like, it's just that simple. They automate the things that are most important that they know they need to do. They don't depend on waiting till the end of the month to see if there's enough money to see if they remember if they feel like it, whatever any of those things.

And so automation is such an important key and it's the way to like set it and forget it and make your life easier. So you don't have to think about it. Like it's just a no brainer. This is super important for people like me who want to have it together, but just don't is it's like you just make it so that you don't have to ever think about it again.

You think about it once and then you're done. Yeah. Yeah, cause for me, there's no way I could remember, or it just wouldn't happen for one reason or another. Yeah.

Elle Martinez: Automation has always been helpful for us, but in all honesty, These last two years with everything going on. It's been a huge time saver.

During the pandemic, we were taking care of things: switching the kids to remote learning work, had shifted for both of us, and then my mom in the middle of the pandemic wanted to move closer to us. So we had a lot on our plate. What gave us some peace of mind is that we knew that our system was mostly automated.

All we had to do was check in with it once a week, just to make sure everything was paid off.

So you might think of it as a small thing, but it can have a huge impact. It can help you have the space to focus on the more important things instead of stressing over the bills. Again we're trying to go with a effective yet simple plan.

Keeping One Another Accountable

Bob and Linda: That's the thing it's like, so many of these things are just quick and simple. It's a one-time decision that you make that will pay dividends. I mean, literally and figuratively, you know, for years and years to come.

Elle Martinez: I definitely appreciated how Bob and Linda also covered adjusting things. You have to have a flexible financial system. Life happens and you need to be able to change. And switch numbers as needed, or as you were getting more comfortable with your new budget. You might find ways to further optimize.

And then of course, accountability, which is kind of built in when you're married, you're encouraging one another. You have someone you're accountable to.

Now I know sometimes people hear accountability and they think this is another word for the blame game. But Bob and Linda have a different approach with that.

Bob and Linda: I think the thing I would add to that is just again, like I'm always looking to systematize things as much as possible because it's how I roll. With that accountability, it's like yeah, we do have an accountability factor with each of us, but at the same time, like we both need external accountability.

This is where having a budget that actually will hold you accountable is so important because I think, you know, one of the things that we struggled with for so long was we were using budgeting tools. The extent of the accountability was that the number on the screen would turn red and it would let us know.

And it's like, is that really, at least in our case that did not keep us from going over it. Didn't like, it's just, now we're just like, well, we'll fix it next month. We just keep on kicking the can down the road in any way. We just found that wasn't holding us accountable financially. It wasn't giving us a wall to actually bump up against.

So finding that finding tools that actually help you stay accountable are just really, really important.

Staying Balanced with Financial Independence

Elle Martinez: between how they communicated and the system they built, Bob and Linda were hitting some major goals, including financial freedom and independence. Many people get excited about this part.

This idea of, I don't have to work again. I'm free. I can appreciate that, especially if you're not happy with work and how things are handled at your company or in the industry you're in. However with financial independence. There's so much more to that.

One of the things I appreciate about the journey.

Is how it helps you become more aware. It can also nudge you to prioritize your goals and start shifting your habits so that you can reach them. This framework can be a game changer, but as Bob and Linda noted in their book, There's a balance to keep.

You have to be careful that this path to financial independence is not just focused on the numbers and optimizations. I've seen conversations online, hearing from others about how it's all focused on getting to a million dollars or whatever that number is. Or trying to get to this number as fast as possible.

There's no mention of quality of life, maybe shifting your work schedule so you can have more time with the family and no discussion of what you're actually working towards. It's simply getting out of the rat race.

I thought Bob and Linda had some fantastic thoughts about that.

Bob and Linda: A lot of people forget, and I know that I forgot this or never realized it and it's so common sense, but you have to be wary when you have moving goalposts.

Oftentimes with a lot of these financial goals, especially when it's an arbitrary number or whatever. It's like when I have a million dollars in the bank, then I will do X or Y. Then it will be at peace. Then I will be comfortable. Then I will give more whatever the thing is.

Those goalposts it's just always move and so this was one of those things.

Giving has always been a really important part of our journey and just something that has always been done in our heart and how it's been the big motivator for us to actually try to earn more. It's been that. And within that, even though we had that kind of desire, We still have the desire to spend too much money on ourselves and to whatever. Like, so both of those desires are there. They kind of fight against each other.

One of the things that we began doing that has helped this a lot, was we at age 31, we began giving basically giving our age. So we've been given a 31% at age 30, one of an increase in that a 1% every year when we turn we're the same age, you know?

That has been so great for us because it's forced us to grow in the direction that we want to grow. Our giving is automatically growing. Presumably our income will hopefully continue going up as well. And and it just puts us in a position where we're doing the thing kind of automatically, that is most important to us.

We found that to be really, really helpful to kind of handle tension of not getting too hung up on whatever the financial goal is at the moment and keeping first things first, you know what I mean?

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and becoming financially free, please share.
  • Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on AppleSpotify, or Audible.
  • Buy me a cup of coffee!

Helping families with kids find the right path and pace to financial independence that fits them

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