A few weeks ago, I ran into a colleague of mine from my old law firm. After exchanging the normal pleasantries, we got to talking about who from our class was still working there. It wasn’t many. I graduated law school back in 2013 and started my first biglaw gig soon after. Just four years […]
One of the things that I think holds a lot of people back financially is this total aversion to even a moment of discomfort. Sure, being successful with money requires an ability to handle money well – that’s probably a prerequisite. But I think there’s more to it than that. When it comes to success with money, you’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The price of comfort is pretty high. Living in a luxury apartment, getting food delivered to you, or running that air conditioner throughout the summer is going to cost you. If you opt for 24/7 comfort, you’re basically doing two things that are bad for you financially:
When you’re married to a dentist, you tend to learn a lot about the world of dentistry. Turns out dentists love to talk about teeth and when you hear them talk about it all the time, you end up picking up a few pieces of information here and there.
In addition to learning about teeth, I’ve also been learning about the crazy amount of student loans that most new dentists graduate with these days. I’m definitely no stranger to student loans. Law school is notoriously expensive and in the legal world, student loans are pretty much a given. When it comes to student loans though, lawyers don’t even compare to the type of debt that dentists can graduate with.
I was recently talking to a buddy of mine about personal finance when we ended up on the topic of saving money. He knew he needed to save more money, but was having trouble actually doing it. To him, saving money came down to self-control. As he explained it, he was struggling to save more because he couldn’t resist the urge to spend. If he could just avoid buying the latest gadgets or going out to eat so often, he’d definitely be able to put more money away – or so he told himself. Saving money came down to willpower. If he wanted to save more, he needed to will himself to do it.
I’ve always seen it a little differently. I’m admittedly a terrible budgeter. I don’t give every dollar a job and while I track my account balances regularly using both Mint and Personal Capital, I rarely, if ever, actually sit down and review my spending. I’m also horrible at self-control. I go out to eat all the time. And if I see something that I want that isn’t too expensive, I’ll just buy it without much thought…
I’ve always been wary when it comes to credit cards. Even though I’ve never been shy about trying out new fintech apps or opening up new bank accounts, for some reason, credit cards have always scared me. Maybe it’s the fact that a credit card goes on your credit report. Signing up for a new card just seems so … permanent.
My fear of opening up new credit cards probably comes from the fact that my history with credit cards isn’t very robust. I got my first card back in 2006 during my sophomore year of college – a Citi mtvU Visa Card which gave me extra points when I used it at bars and restaurants. The card seemed pretty good and it served as my daily use card throughout my 20s. In 2012, Citi changed the card over to a Citi Forward Card, which was the card that I was using all the way through the beginning of this year. The only other card I’ve gotten during that time is a Target Red Card that I accidentally got when I was actually trying to get the Target Debit Card.
Because of this fear of credit cards, I’ve pretty much missed out on the whole travel hacking craze…
I’ve often lamented about getting a late start in the savings game. Unlike many of my peers that went into the workforce at 22 years old, I opted to head off to law school (and goofed off for a year before doing that). Choosing this path meant that I had to take out nearly six figures worth of student loans and made it so that I earned essentially no income for the majority of my twenties. By the time I started my first job, many of my friends had already been in the workforce for 4 or 5 years.
When it comes to late starts though, I don’t think anyone can beat my wife. She spent five years in college, another four years in dental school, did a one-year general practice hospital residency and is now currently in year two of a three-year specialty residency. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 8 years of post-college training! And unlike medical residencies, most dental residencies pay nothing or offer their residents a tiny stipend (usually a few thousand bucks a year – my wife made about $4,000 total in 2016). By the time Mrs. FP earns her first real paycheck, she’ll be 32 years old. Oh, and she’s also got a healthy six figures of student loan debt to boot. Quite a position to be in at 32 years old.