Binge read all things wealth building, debt reduction, & lifestyle.

Should I pay off debt or invest?

debt May 27, 2021

I paid off $161,000 in student loan debt in 16 months. I made TREMENDOUS lifestyle sacrifices to achieve that goal, and didn't invest along the way. 

Was that the correct approach? Not necessarily. The answer actually varies for each of us.

Most healthcare professionals are facing this age old question: How much of your income should be going to debt vs investments? Should it be all or nothing?

The answer depends on a variety of factors, one of which being personal preference. In general, investing should be prioritized above LOW interest debt, particularly if you are young. Here are some suggested cut offs:

  • Invest first if your debt is less than 6-7% if in 20s
  • Invest first if your debt is less than 5-6% if in 30s
  • Invest first if your debt is less than 4-5% if in 40s

Above those cut offs, pay off the debt first!

Why does age matter? With age, your portfolio will have a higher bond allocation and generally low returns. In addition, you want the security that complete debt...

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The PA StartUp Podcast with Chris Darst

debt Jan 10, 2021

This episode will definitely inspire you about what is possible for you on your student loan journey!

Listen on YouTube

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The Scrubbed Out Podcast with Kat Bernard

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2020

This fantastic episode is all about paying off student loan debt - tune in!

Listen on YouTube

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Paying for the Holidays

lifestyle Nov 15, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

The holidays are a wonderful season full of joy and family, and a WHOLE lot of extra expenses. If you're stressed about paying for all the extras this season, check out these suggestions.

  • Make a list of people you plan to buy gifts for, and set a specific price point per person.

Having an organized game plan before you go shopping helps you stay on track while looking for gifts, and helps you determine a total price point for your budget. DO NOT plan to spend more on gifts than you can afford to spend - racking up credit card debt to buy gifts isn't worth it. 

  • If you realize you can't swing buying gifts this year, make something.

You may look at your budget and your list of people you would like to give a gift to, and realize there is no way to buy traditional gifts and stay on budget. Make something! The...

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3 Ways You're Crushing Your Finances

lifestyle Aug 24, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Let's chat about a few of the most common money mistakes out there, and how avoiding them can dramatically improve your financial future. 

1. Not taking advantage of free money
- Depending on which study you look at, somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 Americans are not taking full advantage of employer matches at work. This is FREE MONEY. You should be contributing at least enough to your employer retirement plan to obtain the free match, no matter what. Don't forget HSA matches as well! HSAs offer triple tax savings as is, so the potential for free money being added to your account just sweetens the deal. Employer matches (if they match dollar for dollar), are literally an automatic 100% return on your investment REGARDLESS of the market. Compound that money over decades, and you have completely changed the...

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Mindset Matters

lifestyle Aug 10, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

Mindset is a buzz word these days, but for good reason. Your mindset matters. This is true in all aspects of life, and money is no exception. 

YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT MONEY WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE.

What things can you do to "check in" on your money mindset?
1. EVALUATE HOW YOU VIEW "RICH PEOPLE"
- The narrow viewpoint that "rich people" are in some way "other" or fundamentally different than you is a lie. Most of us take it a step further though, and develop a social box that we put wealthy people in and then make unfounded assumptions based upon our social construct. If you find yourself assuming that wealthy people inherited their wealth, are greedy, or are lazy... you need to do some fact checking. Multiple studies have found that less than 20% of millionaires inherited their wealth (see ...

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So You Want To Be An Investor

wealth Aug 03, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Are you wanting to "get into the market" or "become an investor", but you're not sure where to start?

IF YOU HAVE A 401(K) OR OTHER WORKPLACE RETIREMENT ACCOUNT, YOU ARE ALREADY AN INVESTOR. 

Surprised? Most people don't realize that their retirement accounts are simply a big bucket labeled with the way taxes are applied, with INVESTMENTS inside. 

Let's review a few tips to make sure you are investing well. 


1. USE TAX FAVORED ACCOUNTS FIRST
- You cannot underestimate how much taxes will affect your investments over time. 401(k) plans offers pre-tax contributions that give you an immediate tax benefit. A Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA offers tax free withdrawals in the future, but requires contributions with money you have already paid taxes on. HSAs have tax benefits as well. All of these options...

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Cutting The Grocery Bill

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Groceries are a HUGE money suck for families. Let's be honest, you go to the grocery store in a rush and probably hungry. You start adding things to your cart. Next thing you know, you're checking out and wondering why your weekly groceries are somehow hundreds of dollars. 

Finding ways to reduce your grocery expenses can free up a LOT of room in your budget, which can then be channeled into debt payoff or investing.

Let's break down some ideas:


1. MEAL PLANNING
- Honestly this is fundamental. If you don't know what you're going to eat, you don't know what you need to buy. If you're not one to want to sit down and craft a meal plan, check out $5 meal plan. It's a service that will provide you meal plans for $5/month and then auto create a grocery list based on the plan. I've used it and felt it saved me a lot of...

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How I Started My Business

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

 

If you have a desire to start your own business, the first thing I would say is JUST DO IT. The process can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Even if it doesn't become your full time job, it can help you diversify your income. 

Here is a brief overview of the basic steps of the process:
1. Choose a name for your business
- Make sure the name isn't already registered as another business in your state, or is trademarked. This can be done with a simple internet search. I would also check that the domain name is available at this time if you are dead set on one for your website. 

2. Legally form the company
- I formed an LLC in Indiana. Which type of company to form is beyond the scope of this post (lots of tax implications), but consider reading a book like LLC for Dummies. I...

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Financial Independence

wealth Jul 13, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

People talk a lot about "financial freedom" or "financial independence". But what does it really mean? There are so many different variations of this out there and different people use different terms. We will keep things simple. 

Financial independence means you can live entirely off of your investments. 

Some people utilize stages to describe financial independence. One example is the following:


1. FINANCIAL SECURITY
- This means your investment returns could cover your bare minimum expenses, with no thrills or extras. Few people will quit their job at this stage (unless they have some source of additional income), but it allows you the security of knowing your investments could cover your major bills should you need them to. Some people call this "lean financial independence". 


2. FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
-...

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