What I've Been Learning About Money Lately

One of the primary goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year was to get my finances in order during 2018. To that end, I’ve been reading blogs, listening to podcasts, taking a finance class on Coursera, talking to friends about budgets and investments and generally doing whatever I can to get smarter about money. 

So I figured it was time for an update about some of the things I’ve been learning.

What Is F.I.R.E.?

In my money research so far this year, I kept running across a term: FIRE. It stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. As with most personal finance strategies I’ve discovered, the FIRE community has its proponents and its critics, but as a newbie to the whole idea it seemed pretty interesting to me. Who knew there were a bunch of millennials out there in the world saving 50% of their income with the intention of retiring in their 40s? I certainly didn’t. If you want to learn a bit more about this topic, I’ve been listening to a podcast called the FIRE Drill Podcast which provides a pretty good overview through a series of interviews with FIRE bloggers and writers. 

Where Should You Open a Brokerage Account?

Heck if I know, honestly. What I do know is that you should open one. 

In all seriousness, I did a ton of research about where I should set up my brokerage account this year. I knew that I wanted to invest, but the sheer number of good brokerages and reviews of said brokerages was getting to the point that it was paralyzing. If you find yourself in the same boat, just pick one of the top rated brokerages and open an account. You’ll feel better when it’s done.

(For what its worth, I chose to open a brokerage account at Charles Schwab and so far I’ve been happy with that decision.)

How to Save More Money

In addition to a focus on investing this year, I have been focused on upping my savings rate. In April 2018, I officially went for a 50% savings rate for the first month ever… and achieved that goal. However, I still went a bit over budget in several categories, which I was able to fund with a bit of unexpected income from my tax refund. 

May is even more of a budget challenge, because both my birthday and my first international trip of 2018 fell in this month (yikes). I had a few frugal tricks up my sleeve for saving money on this trip, which I’ll be sure to share as soon as I get those thoughts organized... but making my savings and investment goals this month is still going to be tight! I’ll follow back up with another money update soon to let you know how it went.

How are you doing on your 2018 money goals at this point, and what are you learning? What type of money content would be the most helpful for you? Feel free to share in the comments!