The 7 Personal Finance Articles We Love This Week

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Summer is in full swing, and I find myself straddling the same two horses that I always do when the weather gets warm: 1) My To Do List, charging ahead at full speed and growing longer every day, and 2) The sun-starved, patient, long-suffering Inner Child who wants to go out and luxuriate in the sea and sand because she’s convinced IT’S SUMMER VACATION. The July 4th weekend was a much-needed respite from the city and its relentless hubbub (cue “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”), but now that I’m back from my paradisiacal escape to the shore, I’m haunted by a few rapidly-approaching personal deadlines. I need to find a new roommate and secure next month’s rent on that room. I need to beef up my savings with another transfer. I need to check in on the progress of my (luckily, small) student debt payments. I STILL need to finesse the “spending categories” of my Mint account.

The majority of my most passionate goals (honing my editorial vision for TFD and finessing my delivery of that vision; producing a series of shows at my comedy theater to lay a foundation for teaching classes and exercising more artistic leadership in the community) are very long-term projects that require daily dedication. I will only get where I hope to be if I immerse myself in the healthy pressure of time-sensitive deadlines, tireless hours of organization and study, and vigilant goal-setting and task reprioritization. The rush of pursuit is counterbalanced by delayed satisfaction — I love waking up filled with purpose and anticipation, but I also struggle with the emotional fatigue of chasing lofty goals that hover on a vanishing horizon. And goodness knows, the goal of earning my way to sound financial security — especially when I’m juggling two lines of work — can feel overly-ambitious when I parse out my income and measure it against spending on the unavoidable necessities (housing, groceries, transport).

That’s why I found “Harnessing The Power Of Not Yet” such a reaffirming read. Penny’s advice reminds the fatigued overachiever in all of us that incremental, consistent effort will get us farther along than nail-biting, white-knuckled bursts of work will. She assures us — by example — that even if we are farther behind than we’d like to be, the horizon isn’t receding as quickly as we imagine it is. Put one foot in front of the other, and we’ll get there.

On that hopeful note, here are J. Money’s astute picks for the week. May you read your way to sanity!

How I Retired with $1 Million by 30 – Not! — Debtless In Texas

“Retiring early is not about reading about someone else who did just that.  It is about wanting something more out of your life and building that desire within you to make it happen.”

The Financial Sanity Fund — Hey, It’s Just Money!

“I set up this fund to work like an emergency fund, only it isn’t for non-emergency spending but for planned spending. I don’t know exactly when I will spend the monies in the fund but I know that I eventually will. Like an emergency fund, this fund helps me sleep better at night, knowing I can still live the life I want to now while building a better one for my future.”

When Your Bank Account is Like Your Phone’s Battery Life — Mixed Up Money 

“I am pretty sure I hate having zero savings more than having a dead phone, but what do you think most people would say?  To become the true scientist that I am, I posed a question to my Twitter followers and friends.”

How We Paid Off $124,000 in Debt in 3 Years — Jason Does Stuff

“The one thing that stood out to us, and that would become critical to our success in our war on debt, was building a better income flow.”

Harnessing the Power of Not Yet — She Picks Up Pennies

“As someone who obsesses over failure regularly, removing the notion of failing from my mindset has been liberating. I haven’t flunked personal finance. I haven’t failed a goal. I’m just not there yet. I’ll get there.”

The Financial Surrender — Gundo Money

“I want to make the distinction that there’s a big difference between surrender and denial. Denial is not wanting to look at the credit card balance. Denial is not paying attention to your spending because really, you’ll have time to save later. A financial surrender is being aware of your financial truth and not giving into fear and anxiety.”

“I Just Don’t Know Where to Start.” — Ninja Piggy

“From purely a financial perspective, your net worth statement illustrates all you have to show for at a given point in time. A high paying job isn’t a guarantee of success, just as a low paying job doesn’t mean you can never be financially successful.”

Image via Picjumbo

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