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Retirement Planning

Finance-like Things I Don’t Understand

I have a personal finance confession. *Takes a deep breath* I know this will shock a lot of you because I seem so smart and financially aware, but there is a lot I don’t understand about the personal finance “rules” people have just accepted as common sense. And I am willing to bet I’m not the only one. Or at least I hope I’m not. Please tell me I’m not the only apparently financially illiterate person around here. Anyone? Anyone? Oh well, here are my financial “huh?”s.

– Cash hoarding. Some people weren’t thrilled with my comparisons of cash hoarding to stuff hoarding and/or sexual experiences, but whatever, I do what I want! (If you read that in Cartman’s voice, you’re my new best friend. Call me every five minutes.) Cash hoarding is weird. I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet. (Okay, I’m done. Three TV quotes per bullet point is the limit.)

– Checking account cushions. I understand the point of checking account cushions, I just don’t understand how they are realistic in practice. So basically, if I understand this correctly, there is $500-$1000 in your checking account that you aren’t allowed to spend and you are to pretend it’s not there. I just…I can’t. If there is money in my account and my bills are paid, it’s going to wine. Just being honest… This is why I have a savings account, to move my money to a place where I can no longer see it.

– Meal planning. I freaking LOVE the idea of meal planning. I do. I love it. However, excuse me if I don’t know what I’m going to be in the mood for next Tuesday for dinner. What if you planned for chicken but you are really in a pasta mood? Are you supposed to suck it up and eat chicken? Enlighten me, please.

– Saving more than 15-20% of your income in a retirement account (when you don’t plan on early retirement). I know you want to be nice to your future self, but why does your seventy year old self need baller status when your thirty year old self is eating Ramen and forgoing a social life? Balance, young one. (I say this like “balance” is something I’m remotely good at. I’m not.)

– The war against lattes. Why lattes? What did they ever do to deserve the shunning the personal finance blogosphere gives them? They are delicious. I’m very much in the “make more money” camp than “cut out every little expense” camp. Frugality is fine but leave the lattes alone! On a semi-related note: I just discovered chai lattes a few weeks ago. Um, yum.


[Image from Buzzfeed]

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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