We've recently gotten out of all debt aside from our mortgage and car payment (I really wish we could have nixed that car payment, and we will keep trying for that). You'd think that would mean we could breathe a little.
But it's actually the opposite. Now, I find myself scared of ever having debt again. Especially because I'm chronically ill and I'm not bringing in what I thought I'd one day be able to. All this doesn't even bring into account how precarious doing okay actually is in our country right now- most of us are one serious illness or injury away from financial disaster because of our high cost of healthcare.
Climbing a mountain is scary, but it's worse when you've started that climb and look back down at how freaking far you will fall if you mess the hell up. So 2019 is my year of figuring how the fuck I can avoid ever being back in that spot and find more secure footing for my family.
Enter some cool money books...
I'm not a big financial guru person. I'm glad they exist, and glad there are people standing up out there screaming that it's not okay to work your life away to pay for things you thought you deserved on credit, but I found many of them didn't resonate with me.
But these people did, so when I felt like I could use some guidance, these are the first books I went for.
We love Gail at our house. We found her first on the show streaming on Amazon Prime called "Till Debt Do Us Part" where she helps families get their spending and credit habits into shape.
This book contains all of that knowledge, but in a more straightforward package and I feel like that's actually pretty useful. The best part is the budgeting portion-take some notes because you'll be going over your spending and keeping track of every penny going out with each paycheck.
If you are confused on where to even start changing your relationship to your money, you need some Gail Vaz-Oxlade in your life, and "Easy Money" is one of the best starting places I can think of.
This next book I came across not from the author's blog, but from the man who wrote the foreward, and he's mostly just known as Mr. Money Mustache-the guy who retired at 30 and made not giving into consumerism the badass thing to do.
This book right here is a little bit different.
You'll find the same message in "The Simple Path to Wealth" by JL Collins as in Gail's stuff (DEBT IS A FUCKING TERRIBLE MISTAKE and you need to be saving what you are earning by having a frugal lifestyle) but the bulk of this deals with making your savings money work for you in the passive spread of index funds.
It's not an unfamiliar message for me, having read some of Ben Stein's books, but this broke it down in a way that not only I could understand, but it gives you the names of where to go and what to ask for to begin investing. That felt like moving mountains because as someone who grew up poor and is only slightly less poor now, investing always seemed like some crazy thing rich people did. Who had time for imaginary money? Not us. But we should have been doing this in more than just our 401k. You can't out-guess the stock market. You can buy a safe spread of index funds and ride out the bumps and drops to overall growth, though, and this is the first and foremost book I recommend to you to learn how to do that. The author's blog is here, and he has links to several other blogs like MMM that are really helpful too.
Learning about money and how you can attempt to get out of our blind spending in a world screaming "BUY IT RIGHT NOW!" is about the best damn way to start the first month of this new year; these are the best resources for that I've ever seen.
**credit to the photographer for the background image for my artwork Madison Kaminski