When You Tell Me Not to Be Scared

scaredThis isn’t about economics. This isn’t about politics. This is me letting you know what it feels like when you tell me not to be scared.

Last night, much of the world got a lesson in stock market futures. Now that I’ve had this personal finance thing under my belt for a while, I actually knew what that meant. Well, at least sort of. Maybe. The market was nervous. Investors were nervous. I was nervous.

I still am. Continue reading “When You Tell Me Not to Be Scared”

When You Tell Me Not to Be Scared

My Biggest Money Mistake

money-mistake-1I’ve made more money mistakes than I can count. There were $700 wedding shoes and a $26,000 new car. Then, there was the actual wedding that I still haven’t blogged about because I don’t even know what it cost. A lot. It cost a lot. But these mistakes actually don’t bother me. In fact, unlike many people in the personal finance world, I don’t actually consider them to the biggest money mistakes I could make.

When it comes to ruining myself financially, Jimmy Choo isn’t going to do it. Toyota isn’t going to do it. I am. I continue to allow a powerful combination to exist in my life: fear and a lack of information. While I’d like to blame all of the things in my life–and if you’ve read my blog at all you know there is a lot of stuff–I am my worst money mistake. Continue reading “My Biggest Money Mistake”

My Biggest Money Mistake

Money Lessons from My Garden

My GardenWhile I’m a far cry from an expert gardener, it’s been a hobby of mine since I was little. And it’s always been a family affair. I can’t ever recall a summer where my dad and I weren’t trying our hands at a tomato plant or twelve. Not to mention the ill-fated encounter with a pumpkin vine and his riding lawn mower. When I was even younger, my grandma taught me how to grow moss roses from seed and then harvest them for seeds for next year’s gardens. Then there’s my mom. She has a remarkable eye and knack for landscaping that I wouldn’t put it past her to retire a second time and start working for a gardening center. Now that Mr. P and I have been living in our home for three years, he’s been roped into the gardening mix as well. We’ve had our share of successes and failures, but he’s equally enthusiastic about gardening.

While I still can’t really explain the difference between a brandywine or a beefsteak tomato, I can say that there are quite a few parallels between starting seeds and planting pennies. Here’s what my garden has taught me: Continue reading “Money Lessons from My Garden”

Money Lessons from My Garden

Harnessing the Power of Not Yet

Power of Not YetLetter grades are one of the hallmarks of the American education system. Whether it’s an A or an F or something in between, letter grades define our academic abilities as students for nearly two decades of life. And then what? People still talk about succeeding and fret at the notion of failing. What would happen if we altered the verbiage and recategorized failure? 

That is, in fact, one of my favorite parts of summer school. Since these are non-credit classes given my students’ ages, I assess individual skill strands. I don’t have to worry about assigning letter grades that have to translate into GPA points and transcript data. My favorite category? Not yet. There is no F. There is no no. Instead, a student is either mastering a skill, developing a skill, or hasn’t done it quite yet. More chances will be offered, and there is more work to be done. She hasn’t failed. He hasn’t flunked. They’re just not ready yet.

As someone who obsessed obsesses over failure regularly, removing the notion of failing from my mindset has been liberating. I haven’t flunked personal finance. I haven’t failed a goal. I’m just not there yet. I’ll get there. I might be on mile two while everyone else is eyeing the finish line, but I’ll keep trudging on. In the spirit of summer school, here are my not yets–financial and otherwise. Continue reading “Harnessing the Power of Not Yet”

Harnessing the Power of Not Yet

3 Investment Mistakes I’m Trying to Fix

Investment MistakesSince this is a post on investments, let’s get the platitudes out of the way: You’re in it for the long-haul. Look at the market’s performance over time. It’s just a bump in the road. That many Bogleheads can’t be wrong. This also isn’t going to be a post about how my dividends are now another income stream or how my returns are outperforming my spreadsheet estimates by six months on my FIRE journey. Why? Because that isn’t my reality right now.

Right now, my savings account is outearning my Roth IRA for the current year and year-to-date. My Roth is only .2% ahead of my savings since inception. The numbers are bleak. But I get it. I understand the power of compound interest. I think the estimates are far too generous, but I get the principle. I’m sold on investing. Since my big goals for the year centered on investing, I thought I’d share three mistakes I’ve worked to correct this month: Continue reading “3 Investment Mistakes I’m Trying to Fix”

3 Investment Mistakes I’m Trying to Fix

Goals are Good: I Should Set Some

GoalsI thought I had goals. But it turns out, I have mostly hopes and dreams when it comes to personal finance. Paying off our mortgage in the next 10 years isn’t a good goal. Staying out of debt isn’t a good goal. Increasing my net worth isn’t a good goal. They’re undoubtedly important aspirations, but they’re not measurable. They’re also quite vague.

For someone as fond of spreadsheets as I am–I love them, I do, I do, I do–you’d think that I’d be all about SMART goals. The more specific the goals, the more observable the metrics. Hello, spreadsheets. For too long, I’ve let fears prevent me from setting specific goals. Fear of failing and fear of investing have kept me locked in a holding pattern of saving but not really allowing our money to work for us. So here’s to shaking off the fear and setting some real goals for once and for all. Continue reading “Goals are Good: I Should Set Some”

Goals are Good: I Should Set Some

Un-Learning Perfect: A Quest for Courage

PerfectGiven the choice between perfection and courage, choose courage. Perfection is easy because there is often a measure of safety involved. There’s no great unknown, no proverbial leap. No net needed. As someone who has strived for perfection for nearly three decades, I haven’t only mastered the art of playing it safe, I’ve relied upon it as a default setting.

Of course, there have been brief experiments. I’ve dabbled with the unknown. But every time I push off the wall out into the uncharted waters, I find myself clawing my way back, desperate for the familiar. The terror has little to do with the new experience and everything to do with the unrecognizable. I can tame what I understand. Continue reading “Un-Learning Perfect: A Quest for Courage”

Un-Learning Perfect: A Quest for Courage

I’m All for Investing, I Just Don’t Believe in Those Rates

RatesWhen my grandma was alive, one of her favorite things to do was to marvel at the cost of everything in the grocery store. We’d scoot up and down the aisles, and she’d rattle off the cost of a loaf of bread, a sack of sugar, or a pound of butter from her Depression-era childhood. Though not nearly as consistent, either my mom or my dad will regale me with tales of CDs and savings accounts rates from their early adulthood once or twice a year. Anyone who has ever overheard those conversations knows they’re talking about the past. So why are we still talking about investment returns at 10%-12% mark in the present tense? It’s not that I don’t believe in investing; I just don’t believe in those rates. I especially don’t believe in those rates as a guideline for fledgling investors or people who are just trying to get their finances in order in 2016.  Continue reading “I’m All for Investing, I Just Don’t Believe in Those Rates”

I’m All for Investing, I Just Don’t Believe in Those Rates

Simple Advice to Combat Investing Woes

Investing WoesMy husband doesn’t read my blog. He convinced me to start it, cheered me on enough to actually convince me to purchase a domain name and self host, and that was about it. Except for one day very early on when he clicked and clicked to get my page to 100 views…and promptly got busted by moi.

To say he’s not interested in personal finance is an understatement. We make smart money decisions together, but it’s not his hobby or his passion. So imagine my surprise when the stock market tanked this past August and again at the start of this year, and Mr. P started spouting off investment advice like he was Warren Buffet read a blog even realized the market was crashing.* Here are some of the little gems here’s shared with me over the past few months: Continue reading “Simple Advice to Combat Investing Woes”

Simple Advice to Combat Investing Woes

Beyond Financial Fitness in 2016

Financial FitnessWith the new year just days away, now seems like a fitting time to look to the future. Many of the posts on She Picks Up Pennies have had a financial focus this past year. Looking ahead, I plan to continue to pay down debt (we’re shooting for well above the $18k mark for 2016!), work towards financial independence, and slash away at aspects of our budget. However, I hope to explore more of the heart of this blog – that is to find many ways to live more purposefully.  Continue reading “Beyond Financial Fitness in 2016”

Beyond Financial Fitness in 2016