Life Decisions Center

 

 

Welcome to the hub for making life decisions!

 

Living a life where you can look back and say, “that was worth it,” will take money. Making good life decisions also requires the right money mindset.  

In the Life Decisions Center we share our decision making process, help create a healthy money mindset, and then tackle those big life decisions. We share the good, the bad, and the ugly so you can avoid the pitfalls.

Here is where we’ll light your fire to find your next project and not let money get in the way.

And if you really want to go all-in, you can binge all life decision articles here.

 

Healthy money mindset

 

In the past twelve months, we’ve made a lot of decisions. We’ve decided that:

  • Jordan would leave his job and we’d live off my income
  • We’d pick up and move 7,000 miles from the UK to Hawaii
  • We’d sell pretty much everything in our home

Surprisingly, those decisions weren’t actually all that difficult to make. They took research and 5 money mindset shifts over our journey. Read or listen here. 

But once we knew who we wanted to become and the life we wanted to live, these decisions were pretty easy to make. Read or listen on our financial decision making process.

 

Other money mindset and life planning must-reads:

 

Don’t set financial goals, do this instead (the famous 3 life planning questions)

Creating a life that is worth it

How we are ditching “someday” and finally living our great life

Struggling to do something? This is the best advice I’ve ever heard

The financial advice I’d give my younger self

 

Money and relationships

 

I get it. Money is touchy. Money and relationships combined? Tread even ligher with your opinions.

Jordan and I use a system that works for us. And we love it. But I also know that everyone is different and what works for us likely won’t work for you. That is why I wrote the complete list of options on how married couples should split their finances. Read more.

The good news is that once you decide on an approach and you make it easy with your spending plan, you don’t have to keep having this same conversation over and over again.

 

Other money and relationship must-reads:

 

Don’t set financial goals, do this instead (the famous 3 life planning questions)

5 ways to manage money in a relationship

How we combined finances when married

Setting financial goals as a couple: the process that worked for us

How we easily doubled our savings while living more

 

Buying a home

 

When Jordan and I decided to buy a home we were well aware that this was going to be an expensive endeavor. We did our homework, made the big purchase, and then the reality sank in.

We don’t regret buying our home. We love it. But we learned a lot in the process.

This may be the largest financial decision of your life (no pressure). I break down the home buying process in 3 phases: the pre-work, the home search, and the closing process with this guide on home buying. Read more.

 

If you’re still deciding to buy vs rent a home, check out the articles below:

 

Is it better to rent or buy a house?

How do people afford houses?

The unexpected cost after buying our house

Our favorite calculators for home buying: NY Times rent or buy calculator and NerdWallet mortgage calculator.

 

 

Saving for college

 

Even before our sweet baby Henry was born we realized there was one big financial uncertainty: college. Will he attend? Where will he want to go? How much should we pay for? Will the price keep skyrocketing?

After combing through way too much information on 529 plans, how they work, and why we should care about them, at 38 weeks pregnant I waddled my way in front of the camera to record this video for you on the basics of a 529 plan. Read or watch here.

 

Other saving for college articles you won’t want to miss:

 

Why we chose the Nevada 529 plan

The 5 most important decisions we made after having a baby

How much do you need to save? We used the education planner (watch video clip tutorial) within Personal Capital and loved it. Sign up for free.

 

Babies and other life decisions

 

Our sweet little son Henry was born in March 2018 and to say that having him changed things would be an understatement.

Having him brought up some tough questions we had talked about in theory, but were now a reality. Things like:

  • How much does a baby cost in the first year? Spoiler alert: $24,032. See where it went here.
  • What do we actually need to buy for this baby? Read our 10 must-have items here.
  • How do we make sure his future is as secure as we can make it?

Do you need life insurance?

The most uncomfortable question was how do we ensure life for him is comfortable should things not go according to plan. And we all know things in life don’t go according to plan.

My research to answer this question led to a guide answering the financial decision, “do I need life insurance?” Read the guide. 

 

Favorite resources for life decisions

Everything we use and love

Personal Capital

Personal Capital’s free tools were created for the person who wants to GSD. They offer investment tools, including a top-notch retirement calculator and college savings calculator. My favorite part about using it for investing is that I can log into one place and see exactly what I own: stocks, bonds, and others. Plus, there is a fee analyzer that will tell me exactly how much I’m paying in fees. This makes keeping track of my investments a breeze.

Ladder Life Insurance

Getting life insurance was on my to-do list for a very long time. Once we had Henry, we knew it was time to ditch the employer plan we had and get the coverage we wanted. After a bit of searching, we found Ladder: the easy, online way to sign up for term life insurance.

Want to go deeper on life decision articles?

Take the plunge and browse all life decision making articles here and get our latest and greatest below.

Working from Home with a Toddler: 10 Must-Do Tips

Working from Home with a Toddler: 10 Must-Do Tips

  When I used to work a corporate 9-5 job, I’d cherish those rare days when I was able to work from home. It was a luxury to ditch the commute, hang out in yoga pants, and throw in a load of laundry between calls.  When Henry was born I made the decision to start...

Setting financial goals as a couple: the process that worked for us

Setting financial goals as a couple: the process that worked for us

One of the best things Jordan and I have ever done is sit down and create goals together. While we’ve always talked about what we wanted in the future, setting financial goals as a couple helped us to create something concrete and put our money where our dreams are. ...

How Should Married Couples Split Finances? What you need to know.

How Should Married Couples Split Finances? What you need to know.

If you want to wade into an emotionally charged topic, this is it: money, relationships, and how to do it right. The only topic that might elicit a more emotional response is parenting (which we’ll steer clear of here). But really, is there a *right* answer to the...

How do People Afford Houses?

How do People Afford Houses?

After graduating from college I moved to San Francisco and even back then home prices were crazy. I happily moved into a budget-friendly rental and the idea of buying a house never even crossed my mind. But a year or two later an acquaintance bought her first home....

Why We Chose the Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan

Why We Chose the Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan

This post was originally published on April 5, 2018, and updated on August 1, 2019   I’ve written a lot about opening a Vanguard 529 because even before Henry was born, college costs were weighing heavily on my mind. And for good reason: costs are skyrocketing...

Episode 22: What you want might not be as expensive as you think

Episode 22: What you want might not be as expensive as you think

"Should we sell everything and travel?" This is one of a few ideas that we've had over the years. We always hear about people who sell everything and use that money to fund their travels for a year. Can we do that too? While we decided that it was a better idea for...

Episode 20: Separating Worth and Work with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

Episode 20: Separating Worth and Work with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

How much do your work and your paycheck influence your idea of your self worth? Anyone who has gone through a job transition, been in a career rut, or found themselves out of a job probably knows the struggle of tying their own personal worth to their job. As Jordan...

How to Make Good Decisions Faster

How to Make Good Decisions Faster

  Join the Project! Everything you need to be smarter with your money, delivered weekly.  Introducing Henry to our lot. Now we have to break the news to him that he won't actually grow up here. I’ve never been particularly good at making decisions. I changed my major...

Creating a Life That’s Worth It

Creating a Life That’s Worth It

When I met my husband, Jordan, at the tail end of our senior year in college, he got my attention with an unusual pick-up line: “I promise that with me, you’ll have a lifetime of adventure.” And here we are 14 years later. I guess it worked. With that promise of a...

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