I have a confession. We haven’t put money into my kids’ Educational IRA accounts yet for 2016, even though the year is about 3/4 over. We also don’t pull together a budget every month, and haven’t for a few months.
We have done good things like starting IRAs when we first started jobs and have contributed to them most years. I also got into the 401k at the first opportunity, although I only contributed about 10% of my pay between our IRAs an my 401k the first ten years or so of work. Today I’m contributing around 15%.
We do eat dinners in most weeks except for one diner out as we have been doing since we were first married, but we have started going to lunch or breakfast after church or if we’re out on a Saturday here and there. We also probably impulse buy at places like Wal-mart and the guy really saw me coming with that Kirby vacuum. (I have noted, whenever I decide to just “buy something nice for once,” I usually end up regretting the purchase.)
Obviously, even though I write a blog that is about personal finance about 80% of the time, I don’t have a perfect financial life. I’m like the fitness guru who has a doughnut and a cup of coffee sometimes before work. Yes, I know better, but that doesn’t mean I always do better.
We have been able to pay off out home in about 12 years, however. We have also not had a car payment for something like 15 years now. I purchased a new car on payments back when I was credit-ignorant, and probably won’t do so again. But who’s to say, maybe in a weak moment I might. We also have put away money for our childrens’ college and I’m predicting we’ll have way more than enough for retirement.
The point is that no one is perfect in anything, even when it comes to personal finance. Often we try to find gurus to improve our lives, but then give up and stop taking their advise when we find we can’t do everything perfectly. We also watch and wait for those who seem perfect to slip up, then use their failure to be perfect as an excuse for our not even trying.
Yes, you’ll end up better financially if you never buy stuff on credit, put away 15% of your paycheck for retirement religiously, and buy a really inexpensive home. You’ll be better off if you budget to the penny every month and stock to your budget. You’ll do better making sure you eat every one of your leftovers and avoid wasting money on food that you throw away. You’ll probably be better, both financially and physically, if you never buy a car and instead ride a bike to work everyday. But you probably won’t do these things, or do all of these things, every time.
But don’t let that stop you from making good choices as often as you can. Don’t think you need to be perfect financially or it isn’t worth doing anything financially. And just because people who give good advice sometimes fail doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice. Nobody’s perfect.
Your investing questions are wanted. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.