All in Financial Basics

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Financially Successful Woman: How to be Financially Empowered

“A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own.”

The gender gap is everywhere. Women are usually paid less in spite of their male counterpart doing the same job. Finance and women are also considered to be poles apart.

According to a survey conducted by Forbes, around 58% of men were of the view that their financial understanding was up to the mark, whereas only 47% of women said so.

But, the situation is changing day by day. Women are now gradually climbing the ladder and gaining financial success.

The College Series: What I Did With My First Paycheck

"No matter who is watching or paying the paycheck, we are ultimately each our own boss."

A few weeks into my summer internship, my bank account was graced with a direct deposit. As a student still living at home with my parents, my expenses were minimal when it came to things like extraneous bills and insurance.  It was pretty tempting, and fairly easy, to have just spent it all on new clothes, food, and drinks, (especially working in New York City) but with some thoughtful consideration, I realized I probably shouldn’t blow my first paycheck, or all of them for that matter. Here’s how I prioritized where all my money went and things I needed to consider as a student and emerging young professional.

10 Decisions I Might Change to Get Me to FI Faster

Hindsight is always 20/20.

My sister and I (who are in our 30s) recently sat down with our 22 year old sister to talk about finances and lessons learned. This got me thinking about some of the things I would change if I could to get me to financial independence faster. Of course, these are nice to think about and perhaps if I really did come across a time machine, I may change one or two decisions, but I do have to also say that the decisions we make get us to a certain point in our lives and we just need to learn and let live.

We Almost Fell Into The Trap of Buying a Larger Home

"If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

My husband and I just closed on a condo a few weeks ago. After a few calculations and looking at the prices in the market and towns we wanted to be in, we came with a number that we were comfortable with. When we first started the process, we met with a mortgage loan officer and provided our financials. His first statement to us was “you know you could afford more,” but we stuck to our guns and kept our original budget in place.

How I Will Raise Money-Smart Kids (Not Spoiled Kids)

"How can we be the future if you're not going to teach us about money, which is our future?"

I don't have kids, so this will sort of be my manifesto for when I do. It will also serve as a snapshot of my thoughts at this point in my life. I know perspectives often change especially when there is an actual human being in the picture so I hope this helps me navigate how I want to raise kids that understand what money can do so that I may set them on a good financial path. These are my thoughts today. It could be different tomorrow as the world changes and I change. My husband's perspective and plans will be different. At some point, we will have to compromise as our goal, in the end, is to provide a good financial background for our future kids.

You Can Travel Hack and Still Have an Excellent Credit Score

It's better to see something once, than to hear about a thousand times.

One of the biggest eye openers for me in the past few years has been the idea of travel hacking. I had my first credit card when I was a senior in college. It had a $500 credit limit. A few months later, I was already maxing out that limit. I had no concept of credit (despite majoring in Econ), let alone how to use it wisely. Fast forward a few more years, I got into more credit card debt. Thankfully, I was able to put a stop into my credit card debt and started getting wise about its use.

What Barriers Do Young Australian Women Face in Reaching Financial Independence?

Australia is popularly known as “the lucky country.” It holds the OECD record for economic growth at 26 years and counting. While there are some definite advantages of living in Australia over the United States in terms of reaching financial independence (like free universal health care) there are still many reasons why Australian women need to think about financial independence differently than their male compatriots.

The Power of F U Money

Save for your freedom.

OK, I didn't necessarily call mine F U Money, but I did have a fund setup in case I needed a break from the 9 to 5.

I first had this sense of wanting to get out of the race early on in my career. I had just graduated from college and was working full time in IT at a pharmaceutical company.

Should You Pay Off Debt or Invest? FIRE Logic

This has been a question that's been weighing on my mind lately. Today, my husband and I have two large debts: a car loan and his student loans. I've been trying to weigh what our best strategy is towards these. Should we pay these off quickly or use some of the money to invest instead. Those in the FI/RE community will probably have a different way of looking into this.