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Confessions of a personal finance blogger…

May 31, 2011

So, does a guy with a finance and economics degree, a blog about personal finance, and a job that manages the finances for a non-profit have any financial fears…

ABSOLUTELY!

I’m still on the journey and I haven’t arrived.  My wife and I still struggle to stay on budget, we don’t always make our retirement investment, and feel we could be more generous.  In addition, who knows what our economy will do in the coming years.  So yes, we have some fears!  Here are my top financial fears and what we’re doing to mitigate them:

1.  Not being prepared for emergencies.

We just completed funding for our “911 fund” in January – so I feel pretty good about the “broken-air-conditioner or need-a-new-roof” emergencies.  However, we’re not as prepared for the unexpected disability or death kind of emergency.  Now, I’m not trying to be morbid, just realistic.  We’re currently making adjustments to our life insurance policies, which I will share in the coming days, to at least be financially prepared for the unexpected.

2.  Work/Life Balance

Amanda (my wife) works part time, and that income has helped us fund our 911 fund and be more generous.  We are currently discussing the timing of her going back full time.  Our situation is a little complex in that our children’s schooling is important to us, and she’s a teacher.  Given the right opportunity at the right school, we might be willing to pull the trigger, providing better educational opportunities for our children.  That being said, we understand the challenges that could bring to our family.  However, we always want to maintain that proper balance – no amount of money is worth adding unnecessary stress to our marriage and/or family.

3.  Long-term Savings

I know we can do better here, and we’re currently looking at our budget to find some more dollars for our retirement accounts (our goal is 15%.)  Now, I don’t worry about retiring, don’t think I’ll ever retire.  But, we’d like to be in a position sooner rather than later to explore opportunities and provide flexibility to our future.  How awesome would it be to do what you love, and not have to take a salary, or to be so generous that you could change a life.  But I’m concerned with the markets, the economy, and with my savings rate.  We’ll continue to do everything we can, and understand there’s a lot out of our control.

4.  College or Equivalent

Our kids are 9, 7, and 4.  That’s a lot of college or secondary education.  We’re praying for scholarships.  We’ve also started ESA accounts.  I’ll post on college savings in the near future.  The reason this is 4th on the list though, is at the end of the day, your kids can do college with limited or no help.  That being said, we’d like to be able to help.

So, what are your biggest financial fears?  We’re all in this together! (Yes, I just dropped a High School Musical reference.)

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