9 Ways to Reduce Student Loan Debt

Give a man an education and he will build a new world, but give a man a loan and you can own that man forever.

It’s been 10 years since I graduated from grad school. I still proudly hang up my diploma because it put me on a better path for my career and my income. It was also FREE. No loans, no debt, no soul to be sold. With that, I thought I might offer some ways to help reduce debt if you are a college student or have a child that is about to head to college.

Book Notes: Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere (4 Rules to Follow to Be Financially Smart)

“They sit mesmerized before advertising campaigns telling them to buy trifles they don’t need using debt they can’t repay.”

In “Financially Stupid People are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them,” Jason Kelly opens your eyes to the debt driven world we live in and what you’re up against in society.  He posits the only way to truly safeguard your own well being is to look after yourself. Provide security and ensure your freedom by following the 4 financial rules that will keep you from being financially stupid.

The Four Tendencies and Personal Finance: How to Motivate Yourself to Take Action Towards Financial Independence

“It’s been freeing to focus on what works for me rather than what’s wrong with me.” 

I just recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. In the Four Tendencies, Gretchen Rubin, outlines four different personality types based on how each one deals with inner and outer expectations: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel. By understanding our Tendency, we can harness that to find our own internal and external motivations.

When A House is More Than An Investment

“After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.”

Next week, my parents will complete the sale of their home and journey back to the Philippines. Whether they end up staying in the Philippines for the remainder of their retirement or come back is yet to be decided. For the past few months, our entire family has gone through the exercise of cleaning out the house that we’ve called home for the past 23 years.

4 Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids About Money

Talking to kids about money does not make money hungry kids.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately about where I first started to learn about money and how best to talk to others about money. I’ve also been doing a fair amount of research and found a few books I thought were worth mentioning if you are a parent or an adult that is looking for ways to talk about money to your kids or your students. The reality is that the money conversation should start at home. It think it is the responsibility of the parent to expose kids about money concepts, otherwise, media and peers will create money influences that may lead to a distorted money mindset later on.

An Environmentally and Socially Conscious Path to FI with Laura Oldanie of Triple Bottom Line FI

I don't want to protect the environment. I want to create a world where the environment doesn't need protecting.

Back in June I launched a financial independence blog, not because I wanted to, but because I needed a way to crowdsource the information I haven't been able to find anywhere else on the internet. What is it that I couldn't find on the vast internet, where all the answers to so many of our questions are just a Google search away? Well, no search engine was able to lead me to any websites discussing how people can achieve FI while pursuing a triple bottom line, which equally values people, planet, and profit (3p). I think it can be done, but it's not as straight forward as setting up monthly automatic deposits into low-cost broad based index funds or investing in rental properties and later living off the 4% withdrawal rule, which seems to be the mainstream approach to FI currently.

Socially Conscious Investing and the Women in the Movement

“Right now, your prosperity is provided by a plentiful supply of clean air, water, food, and energy. Although some of you like to take all the credit for this, it’s really my ecosystem that does all the hard work: the plants, animals, oceans, air currents, and especially the atmosphere. Without these services, you would lose your ability to create the food and products that form your current prosperity.” - Earth, Mr. Money Mustache

My two passions of sustainable living and sustainable investing are merging as I dive deeper into making my money work for me in a way that aligns with my personal values.

5 Things A Triathlon Can Teach Us About the Journey to Financial Independence

“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”

This past weekend, my husband competed in his first ever half triathlon, let alone his first ever Half Ironman. To say that I am awed and inspired my him and all of the other athletes is an understatement. As I was watching the entire race play out before me, I couldn’t helping think about some of the similarities to the Journey to Financial Independence. So here are my thoughts.

Book Notes: The Energy of Money

Life is hard when you don’t do what you truly value because you are putting all your energy into trying to get rid of your fears rather than into materializing your dreams.

You can dream about money, you can tell the universe you want money, but if you don't take any action towards it, it will never materialize. All of the people in our lives have instilled upon us THEIR beliefs about money. Our past circumstances may have dictated where we are now in life, but at this moment in time, we have the power to change that. All it takes is purposeful action. 

We will look at what times in the context of The Energy of Money by Dr. Nemeth.

Sisters for FI Wealth Building Strategies

We recently created these postcards as a friendly reminder of the many things we can do today to set ourselves up for financial independence. The 3 Guidelines of Personal Finance is Spend Less, Earn More and Invest the Rest. These are what I also call the 3 Wealth Building Strategies. Do all 3 and you are sure to have a sizeable nest egg to help you fulfill your dreams, but I am going to change the order a bit and actually make it Invest First, Spend Less, Earn More.

Have You Told Your Boss How Great You Are

I always dreaded completing my annual self-review because I had to condense everything I had done in 1 year into a paragraph. Then when I became a manager, I had to remember all of the other things my team and direct reports did. It became a chore. I was lucky though because as program manager, I was organized. I tracked milestones and I communicated successes and failures. Still compiling those at the end of the year was time consuming. The one thing I learned during my years as a program manager was to make sure my boss knew the good things I was doing. So this post, is all about reminding you to tell your boss how great you are.

How to Have a Financial Checkup With Your Aging Parents

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”

I never thought I would write this or be adult enough to have a discussion with my parents about finances, but it happened and it's been happening folks. I feel like the more I talk about money, the more comfortable I am getting and the more people around me are also getting comfortable talking about it.

Is the Point of FI Social Enterprise?

The point of FI is social enterprise. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Perhaps, I am being idealistic with thinking that the point of financial independence is social enterprise, but what is the point of putting yourself in a position of financial security, of having time to do what you want? Is the freedom that we all crave all for the sake of building our own islands, separate from everyone else? I would think such a life to be boring and unfulfilled.

The College Series - Back-to-School Prep with Financial Independence in Mind

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

It’s that time of year...the Sunday of Summer. In the blink of an eye, your days of vacationing, interning, or working elsewhere become days of mental and physical preparations for back to school. August rears its head a lot faster than expected and you scramble to pack for move-in or buy books for classes. Across the country, students just like you are trying their best to get through back to school season and trying not to break the bank (or your parents’). Broke college students seem to be the norm, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you already started classes or will begin in September, here are some helpful tips to get you in the money-saving mindset for back to school!

How to Unlearn Everything

Most people are living in an illusion based on someone else’s beliefs.”

I was a great student in high school and mostly in college. I did what I was supposed to do. I memorized facts. I handed in work on time. Today though, I wish I wasn't a good student. What I am realizing today in my 30s is that being a good student was actually a detriment. I was so caught up in having the right answer that I barely made mistakes. I didn't fail enough to want to keep trying again. I didn't fail enough to be more resilient. I took things just as they were without questioning why. Today, I am unlearning everything.

Substitute the Word Money with the Word Freedom: Phrases to Try

"A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life."

I recently came across an article written by Whitney Cummings on the last page of Money Magazine. She talks about her personal money management, but more importantly how she started substituting the word money for the word freedom. So I thought I would compile a list of phrases with this substitution. It's important to note that sometimes changing our language changes our mindset in a whole new way even if we haven't fully internalized it yet. Try these on for size. Speak them out loud. How does saying one versus the other make you feel?

Are We Spoiled Because Our Luxury Baseline Has Changed?

"Our luxury baseline has changed."

This is one of those small quotes that stood out to me from The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. The quote was in context to the fact that today's and tomorrow's kids have a different baseline for luxury. Their expectations of the world are completely different from ours. Most kids growing up today have everything at their fingertips. While we should be grateful for the new luxuries available today, we should continue to instill good values that allow ourselves and our kids to appreciate the simpler ways of doing things. This is the same for us adults too.

Why Take Advantage of a 401K: It's Part of Your Compensation

Without vision you don't see, and without practicality the bills don't get paid.

If your employer told you you would get a $5000 bonus each year, would you take it? Of course we all would, but we would ask the question, what do we have to do to get the bonus? How much to we have to meet in sales? How many projects do we have to complete? What performance metrics would be tracked and what do we have to do to meet it?

Guess what? That $5000 bonus is actually easier to get than you might think. All you have to do is to save money. Easy right? The reality is that many people don't do this because they don't understand what a 401K is or why they should take advantage of it. Today, we are going to breakdown why you should be taking advantage of your 401K to build your nest egg, to build your retirement accounts and get you to financial independence faster.