The 7 Personal Finance Articles We Loved This Week

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means: time for another round of awesome personal finance articles hand-picked by ESI of Rockstar Finance!

Between getting married and all the different costs that entails, other people’s weddings, and totally-unnecessary-but-much-wanted vacations, I have an expensive year ahead of me. I need to book about four different plane trips and several hotels and rental cars. In the past, I would have just saved up for one thing at a time — but this year, we just have so much going on at once. It’s really been stressing me out lately, so I finally came up with a lump sum total of what I need to save for each of these things, and mapped out my savings plan for the next 4-6 months — and I feel so much better about everything. Writing it down ensures I’ll still be able to reach my ongoing savings goals (mainly my retirement contributions right now, as we’ve filled out our emergency fund) without having to sacrifice all the fun to be had (and obligations to attend) this year.

For me, planning is my comfort zone: it’s how I know I can stay on top of my finances without giving up things I really love. I could not do everything I really want to do without planning ahead. So I really loved this post about how to avoid saving regret — especially these tips:

  • Forecast the future. I know it’s tough to tell where you’ll be in five or ten years. Sometimes, it’s impossible. All the same, it’s important to try. Having a plan reduces saving regret. The researchers found that “saving regret was highest among respondents who stated that they do not have a financial plan”. The longer a person’s planning horizon, the lower their levels of regret.

  • Plan for problems. You cannot predict when bad things are going to happen. You don’t know if (or when) you’re going to get cancer, a drunk is going to crash into your car, or a typhoon will wash away your beach home. You can, however, be relatively certain that something bad will happen sometime. Your best bet is to be prepared — just like a Boy Scout. Maintain an adequate emergency fund.

  • Be proactive! There is never ever a reason that your Social Security benefits should come as a shock. The Social Security Administration issues periodic statements about estimated benefits. Plus, it’s easy to look up projected benefits online. This is but one example of how you can take steps to prevent future surprises.

Be sure to check out each of our great picks this week!

1. The Dark Side of Systemizing – Savvy History

“I realized my relationship with anorexia (the label) had been replaced by my relationship with money as an adult, and what tied it all together was my extreme enjoyment of systemizing (the underlying condition permeating a lot of my behavior, including my switch from anorexia to songwriting as a daily obsession when I was 17).”

2. Financial Windfalls: 15 Stories of the Money That Changed Everything – Topic

“Winning the lottery. Having a long-lost relative put you in their will. Selling your TV show. We interviewed 15 people on the subject of windfalls. How they got their money, and what they did with it, was both as intensely personal, and shaped by cultural expectations, as anything else.”

3. Saving regret — and how to avoid it – Get Rich Slowly

“Obviously, you can suffer from saving regret at any age. When I met 31-year-old Debbie for dinner last week, her issues boiled down to saving regret. She wishes she’d saved more when she was younger. But for the purposes of this paper, the authors turned their attention to folks aged 60 to 79, people of traditional retirement age.”

4. The KonMarie Spark Joy Method: You’ll Finally Tidy Your Home – Birds of a FIRE

“By now, you’ve probably heard of the KonMarie method either due to the two books Marie Kondo published, or the Netflix series that has set Twitter on fire in 2019…We’ve documented the KonMarie process here so that you can get started on living a life that sparks joy.”

5. The Myths of Fast Fashion – Super Greener

“’But it was such a great deal! I saved $80!’ News flash: You didn’t save anything. Retailers factor all of their discounts, coupons, and loyalty rewards into their prices at the outset. They still turn a profit even while you’re enjoying your 30%, 40%, even 75% off.”

6. Don’t Choose Fear as Your Financial Advisor – Tony Isola

“Phobias hijack life and can destroy careers, ruin marriages, and cause bugged-out behavior…Fear of [spiders, arachnophobia,] is curable…One solution is to learn the facts. There are no spider-squads seeking ways to stalk human prey. Can we connect those who fear spiders and investors who fear market volatility?”

7. Being a Functional Alcoholic Made Me Think About the Dichotomy of Discipline – Accidental FIRE

“Looking back on it, it’s not like I was actually trying to stop getting drunk all the time in those days.  I was excelling at my day job, making money, and saving money. So I got drunk a lot with my friends, whatever. It was Baltimore, everyone did.”

Image via Unsplash

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