We’ve all heard the financial gurus out there telling us we need 3 – 6 months worth of expenses, 8 months worth of expenses, and even up to 2 full years worth of expenses sitting in a safe, accessible account in the event of an emergency. I’d like to dissect this advice a bit and get to the bottom of where it comes from and why you should or shouldn’t follow it.
Last week I was reading all about how Mr. and Mrs. Our Next Life paid off their mortgage! Kudos to them. When I read that I suddenly felt this sense of urgency. We, too, are focusing on paying off our mortgage. In our household, we really value living debt-free. And yes, we know we have the potential to make much more money if we would keep our mortgage and invest our extra cash instead of throwing it against an already low-rate mortgage. We also know that there is a potential for us to NOT make as much money by investing and NOT paying off our low-rate mortgage. And so, the debate continues. Should you invest extra money or pay off your mortgage? In case you’re wondering, Our Next Life also did a similar post about this very topic. Check it out here!
I warned you that before Mr. MMM and I met and decided to light ourselves on FIRE (figuratively speaking, of course) we made all the financial mistakes in the book. Lucky for you, earlier today I was scrolling through my mental roladex (do they still exist?) and found the file categorized One of the Dumbest Mistakes Ever. I decided I had to share this story with my readers so I can prove to them that making mistakes is normal, and making big mistakes doesn’t mean you’re financial future is doomed.
When it comes to higher education there are generally two sides of the story. Which side you tend to find yourself often correlates with your experience. I know when I was younger all I wanted to do was go to a flashy school. Flashy when I was in high school was the local expensive private college that everyone raved about. Still do. Now that college and graduate school are behind me, I see the world through a different filter. I’m no longer enamored by a price tag or olympic-sized swimming pools. I’ve also been in the corporate world long enough to know that it just doesn’t matter. Go ahead and read that last sentence again, because it’s true. That brings us to the time-honored classic Great Debate – Your Passion Or Your Money.
As the new year starts to take shape and I take inventory of all that I have and all that I have done, I realize that I am oftentimes too hard on myself – I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat. I don’t give myself enough credit for the things I’ve actually done right in my life. Given my Type A personality, I usually just focus on the bad stuff and why I’m not already early retired. Read all about that here. Today I’d like to share with you something Mr. MMM and I did right, before we started on our personal path to financial freedom. We both graduated college with very little debt, on our own, years before we even met.