Tag Archives: podcast

When’s the Best Time to Buy Stuff, Find Deals, and Travel?

Want to maximize your money? Find the best time in the year to buy electronics and other big purchases, and find travel deals!

The Best Time to Buy

One way to start planning for next year’s budget is to review and discuss what big purchases you need or like to make. 

Because these are outside your typical budget, you want to start saving ahead of time to keep your cash flow smooth. You can also try to time things, so you have the money ready to buy when it is on sale. 

After scouring resources like Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, NerdWallet, and more, I’ve compiled a list of the best times to buy things for the year. 

In this episode, we’ll get into:

  • Each season and month so you know when a good time to snag a deal
  • Tools that can help you get rebates or find the lowest prices
  • How to make room in your budget for those big purchases

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

Resources to Stay on Top of Your Money

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

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

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

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost 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 of an IRA is choosing 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 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 become 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 Apple or Stitcher.
  • Become a Member.

Photo Credit: cottonbro and Sam Lion

5 Major Money Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Progress

Today we're going over 5 major money mistakes families make and how you can pivot things to hit your financial goals faster! 

Major Money Mistakes Families Make (and How to Fix Them)

It’s funny how we perceive time and seasons. Like right now, we’re moving towards autumn, which means the year will technically wrap up in a few short months. 

However, fall is also a bit of a reset or a do-over for many. 

Maybe it’s because we’re in back-to-school season, and we see kids preparing and gearing up for classes. Or we’re excited about the upcoming breaks and trips we’ve planned to see family and friends. 

Either way, over these past 13 or so years I’ve been writing about finances, I’ve noticed that September seems to be when people get a bit of a second wind. 

Which is great and I want to be right here to cheer you on. 

I like to embrace the energy and use it, so you have a win or two with your family finances before the year finishes.  

To start off, I want to discuss some ways we sabotage ourselves when reaching our money goals. 

How we approach finances almost always fails because it’s either – let’s be honest – boring. Or, it’s so rigid you immediately want to escape because life happens as these past two and half years prove. 

Of course, there are many ways it can go wrong, but in the 13+ years I’ve been writing and covering family finances, I see some mistakes come up again and again. 

I want to go over these five major mistakes and cover habits and strategies that speed things up if you’re doing well or can help turn things around if you’re not happy with your current strategy. 

In this episode, we’ll get into: 

  • The five major money mistakes families make
  • What you should be doing instead that will make managing your money so much easier 
  • Share a few tips on how to make it a lot more fun. Seriously

So much to cover, so let’s get started! 

Resources to Manage Your Money Easier

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

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

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

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost 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 of an IRA is choosing 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 and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

#1 Not Having a Clear Plan or Reason for Your Money

If I had to rank money mistakes, either by how serious they sabotage your success or how frequently I see them, this mistake is at the top of the list in both cases, and that's not having a clear plan and reason for your money. 

This applies no matter where you are in your financial journey or what goal you're trying to pursue. 

We're talking about saving up for an emergency or vacation, investing for retirement ( whether that's traditional or early), or you're looking to pay down debt. You need to have a roadmap that you can follow and a way to stay motivated through tough times. 

Let's face it: if you are tackling something big, like paying down massive debt or investing for retirement, you're talking about a large amount of money. That it's not going to be an overnight thing. It's going to be a process. 

I want you to have a clear idea of what you need to do monthly but also have that long-term view, that big-picture plan. I want you to have the reason for why you're doing it firmly embedded in your mind because that will keep you motivated through the tough times. 

How exactly do you do that? 

Now I'll link to the episodes in the show notes that go into more detail,but two key things you need to master are creating SMART goals and then also defining and visualizing why you want to tackle this goal as a priority. 

With smart goals, you're not just taking a very vague goal, like paying down You're attaching a number I want to pay. $20,000 of debt. I want to pay $30,000 of debt. Whatever it is.  

You then come up with a timeline. You can work backward and see, ‘okay,if I want to hit this in the next year, following two years, three years, whatever it is. I need to put aside this much money to pay down.’ 

Creating a Game Plan From Your SMART Goals

When you have a concrete number, you can compare it to your current budget. Is it possible for you to achieve this? If not, what adjustments do you need to make?  

It could be that you have to optimize your budget and look for ways to lower your expenses. Or maybe you have to increase your income. Either by negotiating with your current employer, switching jobs, Or earning extra money on the side with a side hustle or a gig. 

That initial piece of getting specific with your goals can then help you craft a real plan to achieve them. 

The second component is having a visual way to remind yourself. Now for some, what they like to do is change the background on their devices, on their computers with the goal that they're achieving. 

For example, maybe you are trying to pay off all this unnecessary debt because you want to switch careers. So you could put the career that you want as a screen saver, as a reminder.

Maybe you want to have more flexibility with your schedule and time with the kids. Well, then a family photo could be a way to do it. You can also put a picture on the refrigerator. 

There are a lot of goal-based apps that you can use, Whatever method you prefer, go for it. 

The idea is that you are feeding yourself this motivation regularly to keep on the plan.  We'll get into this a little more, but when you have those check-ins also keep that in mind, not just the numbers, but the why behind your goal. 

So that's the first money mistake and how you can fix it.  

#2: Having One Person Handle ALL the Finances 

The second mistake I see with family finances is that they have one person handle it all

I'm not talking about someone who's the go-to person. Most families, including us, have that it where one person takes care of the logistics. 

I handle the day-to-day with the budget. I run the numbers. I love to put together a spreadsheet. And we find it's a convenient way to delegate and take care of that. It doesn't mean that my husband, Rob, doesn't have a say.

I make sure it's baked into the system that we talk about not just the goals but that he has access to the numbers. That's important in a relationship, marriage, and your finances for a few reasons. 

One, I've seen a lot of resentment from the person handling the finances. In some cases, they feel like there's a lot of pressure that they have to get it right. At the same time, they feel that the other isn't participating or maybe that the family doesn't buy into the budget that they put in. When the family breaks the budget, it frustrates the finance person and they want to give up. 

Then I've also seen the opposite where the person handling the finances is a bit controlling (and this is an entirely different episode, whether that's intentional or not). How that affects the relationship is that the other feels like they have no say, no power in their marriage. It doesn't feel like a partnership. 

In fact, some describe this feeling as being a child in the relationship. Not only is that damaging for your marriage, but practically speaking, also your finances, because you're not on the same page. 

Team Up with Your Finances

One of the things I suggest is even if you have a go-to person is to make sure that it is easy for both of you to see the numbers and have a regular way to check in so that. You both have input on the budget and on the goals. 

It's easier said than done if you haven't had these discussions before. I do have some tips in my book Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money where you can have these conversation starters to make it easier to talk about finances more productive and not play the blame game with each other. 

I want the two of you to feel like you have a say in the direction of both of your goals and then also with the finances. 

Mistake #3: Thinking a Particular Budget Will Solve Your Problems

let's talk about this third one, cause this is another huge mistake that families make. It's thinking that a particular budget or tool is going to solve all your financial problems.

No one budget, apps, site, or even podcasts has the corner on the best financial advice. The reason why there are so many tools and resources out there that do work. It's because we have different goals as families that we want to achieve and we also have different circumstances that we're all dealing with.

So it makes sense that what tool works for someone. I may do a great job for them. But might not be the right tool for you.

For me, I love talking about the 5 20, 30 budget. I think that's a great budget to start off with. If you knew to that system with budgeting. But then also for those that just want a high level, easy to manage way to approach their numbers. But that doesn't mean, I think it works for every family.

But that's the beauty of this. You can test things out. Same with budget tools and apps that are out there. There are some incredible ones. Some of them specifically designed for married couples, some of them designed for families, with kids, things that are very much automated and things that give you control over every single penny.

And tracking And if you've listened to this podcast or my other podcasts, couple money. You've probably heard the different approaches that families have taken. And yet. They've still achieve some of the same goals. Like for example, I've interviewed families who have retired early and for some tracking, every single penny and transaction was the way that made the most sense for them. And that's great.

And then on the other side, I've had families tell me that they don't budget. They do have a system that they handle their finances, but they don't have what some people consider a traditional budget.

While all of them have a plan and the timeline, how they handle the day to is going to be different and has been different. So I hope that makes you feel better, that if you're not happy with the tool, the problem It could be that the tool's just not the right fit for you.

Now later this month, I'm going to do a Q and a session. Or I talk about different apps and tools that are out there for managing your money. And if you want to join in and ask a question, maybe get some ideas of what could be the right fit for you based on your goals. And how you like to handle your finances.

Please make sure you're subscribed to the VIP podcast list. It's add simplify and enjoy.com/join. So that you can get an update for that. It's going to be free. I like to keep it smaller for listeners and people as part of the community. So I can give a little more attention.

As we'll discuss in that particular session, The great news for you is that there are some fantastic tools out there that are either free or low cost, and they can help you get over that finishing line.

Mistake #4: Not Automating Your Core Finances

We're hitting the home stretch. I'm getting excited and this one is an easy one to fix. This mistake that a lot of families make is they don't automate their finances. It, I feel like this is a really big opportunity. That's being missed with families. Because let's be Most of us are busy.

We ourselves have full lives that we do enjoy. We have the kids. We have work, volunteer, hobbies, things we have to do around the house. Very quickly, our weeks do get filled. I would say it's normal. Uh, To have some things kind of slipped through the cracks and yes, that includes paying bills and finances. So you would do yourself a huge favor if you spent just one evening and get your essential bills taken And also schedule any transfers to savings. Little extra debt payments, contributions for retirement and so forth.

That investment of one evening pays off in dividends. Either once a month when you're reviewing the numbers or some people do it twice a month. It takes 15 minutes tops. For me to, for example, just go through the budget, make sure the numbers are adding up. Make sure that payments were correct. And for those. Bill's that do fluctuate. I schedule the average payment.

And then it takes I'll say one minute. To adjust the number to the correct amount. For example, certain utilities. Might vary depending on the month, whether it's electricity, water, trash, whatever. And so that's an easy fix, but I'm spending. I'll just estimate on the high end and our total each month. To get things done, but realistically it's probably half an hour just to do the budget review and the bill pay review for the entire

So I feel like for an investment of a little bit of time, You get so much time bought back for yourself. To enjoy life a little bit and take care of the more important things.

Mistake #5: Not Having a Way to Track Your Progress (and Adjust) Regularly

We're at our fifth mistake. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a second.

The fifth mistake I see families make is not having a way to regularly track your progress and adjust things. If you listened to this podcast for a bit, or you've read my book, jumpstart your marriage and your money. I talk about money dates.

And the reason I feel like money dates are important is that they're regular low key check-ins with each other that will allow you to go over the numbers. You can make adjustments if needed, but more importantly, it's also to make sure you're still aligned with each other and with the goals that you have.

Too many times, we don't acknowledge that our goals shift and change or something happens and we just can't sustain a certain momentum on a goal. For example, maybe the car breaks down. You have to reset things for a month or That's fine, but acknowledge it, talk about it and then readjust your budget.

Initially it might take a little bit to kind of get into the swing of things, but if you grab my book, I give you some icebreakers. I just want you to feel less stressed when you're talking about finances.

And then also it's a great protection. Unfortunately, I've seen where couples don't check in with each other. And the Goes off the rails. And even though it was initially a small mistake by not having that conversation, it snows vol.

It snows ball into something much bigger. And then it becomes a problem where you're more stressed And now you have to dig yourself out of this hole and completely pivot how you handle your finances.

This is great, both as a preventative measure, but then also proactively planning and adjusting for the future. It is a wonderful thing for your relationship, your marriage.

Because you're still trying to keep each other on the same page. So these open and honest conversations. I feel like should be at least monthly. Some couples do a little more frequently.

With a monthly cadence, it's easier to catch things when they're small. And then also you get to enjoy them when they become a regular part. You're not saying, okay, we're going to bring out the spreadsheets. It's more like, all right, let's just review the numbers.

What's working for us? Do we have any vacation coming up? How do we want to plan and save for that? And then it becomes the two of you working on the goals together. Instead of attacking each other with the budget.

So those are the five biggest mistakes I see families make over and But then hopefully you can see there are different strategies and solutions you can do instead.

That will make managing money so much easier, less stressful, and a little bit more fun.

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 become 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 Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money

Photo Credit: Guy Kawasaki

Listener Mailbag: Juggling Multiple Goals, Revamping Budgets, and Family Vacation Tips

We’ve brought back the listener's mailbag. Today we’re answering your family and finance questions about saving up for multiple goals, revamping your budget, and travel planning tips!

Family and Finances: Better Budgets and More

One of my favorite parts about Simplify and Enjoy is the community.

While I'm happy to share our journey as a family: the projects that we're taking on, the goals we're trying to reach, it's always fun to get your take on things to hear your questions, stories, and celebrate your wins.

Today, we're going to wrap up this set of episodes by answering three questions from you.

First, we're going to get into how to save from multiple goals. This is a challenge for a lot of families because not only are they trying to save for retirement, maybe put aside something for their kids, college expenses. They also have to make sure there's enough money to replace the cars, take family vacations, get gifts for others and so forth. So, how do you juggle it all?

Next we'll talk about how to adjust or if needed, revamp your budget. We're halfway through the year. So I knew a lot of families are looking at things that are working and what's not.

They want to finish this year strong, so they want to redo their budget. We'll go over some tips on what you need to adjust and surprisingly, some things to avoid when working with your budget.

Finally we'll examine how to plan and budget for family vacations. I think it's something that we all need, and many of us are excited about getting back to. And at the same time, we want to stick with some of our other financial goals and keep that on target.

I'm going to share some tips that have helped us manage family vacations and still stay on budget. We got a lot to cover today. So let's get started!

Resources to Manage Your Money Easier

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

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

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

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost 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 of an IRA is choosing 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 and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf. 

Find out how and get started today

Juggling Multiple Goals

First, I want to give a shout out and say, thank you to Adam for sending this question in. Adam emailed me and we were discussing budgets and handling different goals. In particular, he was curious about how we handled our finances with saving up for retirement, car purchases, gifts, college savings, the whole deal.

I think a lot of families are dealing and honestly struggling with this, right? Because we're trying to take care of multiple things simultaneously.

Everyone handles their budget differently so I'm going to share how we handle this and why I think it works for us. Then hopefully it gives you ideas on things to try out and to discuss so you can come up with a plan that makes sense for your family.

Like many people when we first started off budgeting. We used one of those recommended tools online. Where you give your income and it gives you a very basic breakdown based on percentages. Where you cannot spend more than 25 to 30% for housing. Have 10% for giving, certain percentage for utilities, groceries, so forth and so on.

I do believe that those can be a helpful springboard for a conversation and can give you a guideline of where to start. But even within those categories, Things can vary greatly.

For example, housing is a huge expense for families much more than what's recommended. I'm not saying you shouldn't adjust it, but you may be at a point that now currently you're spending more than what is recommended.

At least having those numbers and seeing what's in front of you gives you an idea of what needs to be adjusted down the line.

For many families, I recommend start out with a simple budget. You can use one of those templates. You can use the 50, 20, 30 budget and then test drive that for a month or two. It gives you an idea of specific areas in your budget that you're doing really well in. Maybe you're spending less on groceries than you anticipated, and then areas where you looking at. Okay. We do need to get better with this expense.

By being consistent, we did make progress and we knocked out multiple goals. But we didn't do it at once. The critical thing for us was setting up priorities.

When you're weighing everything you could be doing, saving up for emergencies, family vacations, paying down debt, investing for retirement, setting aside something for the kids' college expenses. Listen. It's easy to spread yourself then so thin that if you're trying to knock them out simultaneously, You're progressing at a snail's pace. Not only are you not seeing the numbers move as fast as you want? You're giving yourself ammunition to quit.

Instead, what we did is we review our goals. Regularly. And then we break them down and there's four things that we look at.

One, the timeline of the goal. Is this something that we want to finish by the end of the year? A few years or something that's 10 years or more.

What are our current needs and concerns? For example, these past couple years, we've been a little more conservative with our financial goals than we had previously just because of the uncertainty of what was going on.

The third factor is discussing how much. For example, with buying a car, how much are we setting aside for that? With debts, we're looking at the amount and add interest rates to.

Finally, is this a reoccurring goal or is this a goal that once it's done, it's done.

When we have those discussions, we can have a clearer idea of the one or two goals we're going to give our attention to.

For example, when we were first married, we had around a little over $30,000 of debt and a little bit of savings. Our priorities at that time were to pay off the car and student loans and then make sure that we build up our financial cushion.

With once we knocked out the car loan, we then reevaluated things. We definitely wanted to focus a bit more on savings, including replacing future cars. That led us to the decision of going cash with our cars. Meaning we haven't had a car loan in over a decade.

We prefer to pay for it ourselves. So we set aside a ballpark range and initially we were looking at the 5,000. Now I say we save about $10,000 for cars.

Focusing on Nissans, Toyotas, and Hondas with good reliability records has meant that we have the money saved up well, before we need it thankfully. My advice to you when it comes to cars is make sure you're as diligent as you can with the essential maintenance.

The benefit of tackling it one goal at a time is we gain traction when we hit a goal. We now have more momentum to work on the next, and it might seem like it's slower because we're only doing one or two goals at a time. But looking back, it really does go fast.

You probably know why, if you're familiar with Dave Ramsey and his baby steps. When you direct your money to fewer goals, it speeds the process up. It also serves as motivation to keep moving forward, which to me is a double win.

Finally, I would say the other key factor is once we had a budget in place, we would then automate it to make things go smoother.

I hope that helps you with figuring out one what goals you want to tackle first. But then to having a system that helps you follow through without stressing you out.

Revamping Your Budget Mid-Year

With this year being just over the halfway mark, the second question makes total sense. How do we revamp our budget?

To a degree, our budgets reflect what's going on with our day to day. A lot of families right now are seeing certain areas of their budget increase with inflation. They're trying to keep things under control and they're trying to juggle things well, if I'm paying more for groceries or if I'm living in an area where rent is jumping. Hi, how can I adjust my budget so that I'm still making progress on my goals? How do I keep that momentum going?

One of the best ways that you can pivot and update freshen up your finances, whatever you want to call it. Is by creating a roadmap for your money. Yes. That definitely includes having some kind of budget in place. Like we discussed with the first question. But more importantly, it's looking at the big picture.

Before we assess and adjust the numbers, we do need to go back to talk about those goals. When you have multiple goals going on. It is especially important to learn, to prioritize them and make an adjustment if the circumstances have changed enough.

Let's talk about a goal that I think a lot of families are worried about. They had been planning on buying a house. But depending on the area you live in, the market might be a sellers market right now. Prices might be jumping for even a fixer-upper. And then on top of that, you have higher interest rates.

What should you do? Well, there are a few questions that you need to sit down and really figure out before, you know what your next move is.

You may decide that now is not a good time to buy a house. You ran the numbers and if you purchase a house now, you would now be house poor and financially vulnerable. So you may decide to push out the timeline and build up your down payment and finances in a way that you would feel more comfortable buying a house, then.

Or you may decide that no, this is a priority for us. We want to get this done. You can then discuss what are some things we're willing to forgo with our smaller or less urgent goals so that we can reach this.

Depending on your circumstances, the market you're in and your finances either choice could be valid for your family. The important thing is that you're discussing this and you're weighing the pros and cons of revamping your budget towards that priority.

Finally, there's something else that you might want to consider and this might make you feel better. Chances are, if you are listening to a podcast like this, which talks about finances. You're probably doing better than you expected. In fact, you may not have to completely revamp your budget or reprioritize things.

It could simply be a matter of adjusting some of your smaller, less important expenses. And redirecting it to your bigger, more urgent goals. And that's the great thing about having a budget. It is supposed to be flexible and supposed to be reflecting on the things that matter to you.

Dealing with everything in the past couple years, all of us. I have probably had to make some significant changes. So give yourself some credit with the progress you're making.

Just focus on being consistent and having a regular time to review your numbers. For us it's around that monthly mark. It helps us stay on target. Because yes, some things do come up. But when we catch it, then it's usually a small adjustment.

Then we can focus on relaxing and enjoying the time we have together. So I hope these tips help take the stress out. If you do need to revamp your budget, it might not be as drastic as you imagine it. Or if you do have something that you're trying to knock out this year, a priority that's important to you. You know how you can discuss work on it as a team and knock it out.

Family Vacation Planning Tips

Alright; our last question is fun. It's about how we plan for vacations. We actually just got back from our summer trip. We went outside of Asheville, spent a week out there at an incredible Airbnb. We could just see the mountains from it had a beautiful large deck.

It was a great time to just decompress and explore the parks around there with the kids. We find getaways necessary, not just during the summer, but throughout the year.

There are a few things we do to make that happen and still stick with our budget. First off, here in Raleigh, they offer traditional and year round schooling. Our kids are in the year round program. They're in school for about like nine weeks and then they get three weeks off.

Over here, they call them track outs each season. For our girls there in October, the big one is in the winter with five weeks off in December and January, a couple of weeks off in April, and then in July.

What I love about that is it gives us some off season time to travel and that itself can save us some significant amount of money.

Our big family vacation tends to be around October. That's in between the summer crowds and the families going out for holiday trips leader in the year, we can usually get a great deal. So time of year is definitely a big factor.

Then also the types of vacations or trips we take do matter and help us to stay on budget. We try to use that schedule and take a trip every season, but it's not always a long trip. Sometimes we do what we called the small getaways . Being in North Carolina, we feel really grateful because we can do road trips. That include going down to the beach. Or we can go to Asheville and get that mountain experience.

We really enjoy. Both of those vibes. What we found is by timing those trips and how long we go. We can get a lot more vacation time. Without really seeing a jump in our budget. If we want to go, for example, to the beach in the summer, we're going to go but we're going to do it maybe for an overnight or a short stay.

It's going to be during the week. That is great because it's a little less crowded and we can usually find a deal on Airbnb. If we're going to go for longer getaways at a certain point, like five to seven days. I would go for the week because some hosts offer a discount for renting it out for a week.

That's also something to consider when you're planning out your vacation. If you remember, I did an interview with Justin who right now is in the middle of Europe.

One of the tips he offered was looking for those longer stays. In his case it was the same price to stay four weeks in The Bahamas then, just two weeks because of that longer stay discount.

Look for those opportunities. Don't automatically assume that if you stay longer, it's going to cost much more. You might find an opportunity where it's a huge win-win for your family.

With remote work, being a possibility for some, this can open up opportunities to take vacations off season. I'm really happy that we ended this round of episodes with tips on vacations. If you have any more questions, please reach out to me. And also I will put some of my favorite travel resources in the show notes.

I hope you have a great summer break!

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 become 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 Apple or Stitcher.
  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money

Photos by Torsten Dettlaff and Suzy Hazelwood

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 founders Kiersten and Julien Saunder's new 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.

There are many families that 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

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