Thanksgiving – Financial Security

There are so many things we can be thankful for in our lives.  All too often the greed inside pushes us to look at what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what we do have.

Financial Security

Which bill should I pay?  This seems to be a common problem for protagonists in today’s film and tv world.  As the protagonist faces a mountain of past due bills and threatening collection letters they usually either do one of two things.  They either hatch a hair brained plan to miraculously make all of their financial woes disappear (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) or they bury their face into their hands and start bawling (Malcolm in the Middle).

Malcolm In the Middle

Thankfully, Shae and I have never been in either position.

Gainful Employment

Shae works in the corporate world for a Fortune 50 company.  The best way to describe her compensation would be along the lines of “She makes more by 10 o’clock than I make for the entire day”.  I run my own software business and while its biggest perk is being able to take large irregular chunks of time off, it still brings home enough money to cover all of our living expenses.  Without jobs, it would be impossible for us to be financially secure right now.  The money that we have saved up until now would eventually run out because it hasn’t reached a critical mass to be self sustaining (true financial independence).  Having jobs is not enough to keep one financially secure.  According to a survey from Sun Trust, one third of households earning more than $75,000 a year were living paycheck to paycheck.  That income level is nearly 50% higher than the median household income for the United States, and there are still people having to stress about bills.

Savings Minded Spouse

I consider myself to be very lucky to be married to a woman like Shae.  The old saying goes, “it takes two to tango”.  Well, it takes two to squirrel money away for rainy days.  I visit various personal finance blogs and online forums, and one of the common laments is that a spouse is a constant spender.  There is a reason why money is always a top contender for marital feuds.  As part of our engagement period we each took a ‘test’ that asked a series of lifestyle questions (children, money, sex, etc.) to make sure that we were aware of one another’s viewpoints.  These types of topics should be discussed with any potential life partner because they are the most common reasons for divorce.  I remember the genuine shock of an ex-girlfriend when I dispelled the belief that $100k+ salaries were the norm for new college graduates.  She went on to marry a doctor, so I’d call that a happy ending for everyone involved.

Paying Off Debts

With good jobs and a like minded spouse, we have been able to pay off all of our debts and achieve financial security.  Two years out of college and we had our student loans paid off.  Two and half years after buying a house and we had our mortgage paid off.  Eliminating creditors that can send bills or collection letters is a great way to remove stress from one’s life.  I see peers that are putting themselves into dangerous financial positions

  • Negative equity on mortgages
  • Buying Debtmobiles because they can afford the monthly payments
  • Buying houses that rival their established parents homes
  • Prioritizing fun over necessary spending (YOLO)
  • Trying to pay off 5 or 6 figure student loan debt with jobs that do not warrant that load

We are both very thankful that we can sleep easy at night without having to worry about the car being towed away.  It is wonderful to not have fights about money.  I am thankful that we share similar financial goals and the tv and film scenarios are comical instead of reminders of a present living situation.

What financial security are you thankful for?

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