If you can just take control of your finances with your check register (which I’ve never used) and your intelligence, then good for you! Unfortunately, I anticipating needing LOTS of back-up to get me out of my mess. Like anything in life, I imagine some financial tools will stick while others will fail me. But what if there were a set of personal finance tools for women? Is there such a thing? There is now!
I’ll post these in sets and only include the resources I found of most value. I’ll include hyperlinks when possible so you can check them out for yourself. Set 1 includes the tools and inspiration that has gotten me up to this VERY preliminary phase only.
Be a Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell
I found this book in the local library and chose it for its title. I’ll admit I didn’t finish reading the whole thing but it may have been the tool that truly put me on this new life path. The author has many great points but the main thing I got from the well-written book is that having one “secure” job is simply not smart. Having multiple streams of income from things you enjoy will produce a happier you. Throughout the book, she challenges you to do some serious soul-searching and complete some simple thought exercises. When challenged to identify my top 3 “Free Range” career ideas, “blog writer” claimed the top spot. And here I am. Thanks, Marianne!
The Financial Mentor by Todd Tressider
Currently, I have no car. I currently take the bus to work. On one random hour-and-a-half commute (one way), I rediscovered that little podcast icon on my phone. I found myself listening to Episode 20 of The Financial Mentor. It was an interview with J.D. Roth of the How to Get Rich Slowly fame. Of course, I had never heard about this before but J.D.’s story resonated strongly with me. His past was like me now, struggling with finances. He started his own journey toward a profitable life and began a blog to document it in the mid-1990’s. Since that time, J.D. Roth has become one of the preeminent and profitable blogger in the personal finance space. The podcast alludes to him recently selling his blog for a undisclosed (and surely absurd) amount of money.
BINGO. This Lady’s desire to blog just gained a focus! Thanks Todd and J.D.
By the way, I plan on listening to more of Todd’s podcasts and further exploring his site.
MINT by Intuit
Confession. I had tried the personal money management tool years ago with no success. But like the saying goes, try, try again. This app has some pretty remarkable capabilities and I’ve only utilized a few so far. Essentially, it can become your one-stop shop for managing all of your debt, savings and household budgets. I’ve been focusing hard on their goal-setting function. There is lots of great embedded suggestions and calculators. It has really helped me shape some of my crazy thinking into organized plans. (They really should get a medal if they haven’t already!) The other cool thing is that you can link it to any number of credit cards or bank accounts to consolidate information. Unfortunately, I currently bank with a small credit union (that I love) that doesn’t link. Oh well.
Capital One 360 by Capital One
I literally have NO savings and Mint suggests linking a saving account to each savings goal. I then started to research high-yield savings accounts. Apparently, “high-yield” right now is a pathetic 1%!!?!? (Obviously, more research is needed on this front.) The Capital One 360 was listed. Since I already had a Capital One secured credit card (my only credit card, $200 limit), I figured what the hell. I’m currently in the process of setting up separate accounts (I think they offer up to 25 under one name) for each saving goal. I’m going to set up direct deposits so the money goes straight in. No getting my grubby hands on it. I’ll keep you updated on this front. I think the multiple accounts thing (all in one space) will be easy to track.
I would be profoundly remiss if I don’t credit some of my closest friends and family as valuable financial tools. Over the years, they have given my countless hours of patient-filled, non-judgmental advice. To them, I will just say that I was listening, really. I just couldn’t make your suggestions work for me. Or perhaps, I wasn’t ready to. Thanks to you all! Special call out to Alex, Andrea, Melissa, Katrina and Kevin.