One of the very first articles I ever wrote waaaaaay back in the day was about things I wish I knew before buying a house. I had just setup a website, felt pretty darn proud of myself that I had added an image to a blog post, and was waiting for someone to find what I wrote. Luckily, someone did find it and an editor ended up re-publishing it on the homepage of the Huffington Post.
I had nearly forgotten about that article – since it seems like a lifetime ago – but this week we just got notice that our beloved tenants are moving out of our house. We’re still living in London and need to scramble to go through the process of finding new tenants, while being 5,000 miles away. (side note: anyone know of someone searching for a house in Oakland, CA? It’s cute and the landlords are pretty great.)
Because I have real estate on my mind – and because I don’t have anything on the site about home buying yet – I’m spending this next week writing content to help future home owners navigate the financial side of the process.
But I don’t want this to just include my advice. I’d love to include your story! If you’ve already bought a home (or you’re in the process of finding one), I’d love to know: what do you wish you knew before buying a house?
The 1% experiment. I normally advocate being pretty thoughtful with money. Dive into The Worth Project archives and you’ll see a lot about spending on the things that make you happy and cutting out the rest. Our monthly savings + investment rate has skyrocketed since we adopted this approach. But, that strategy relies on willpower. And well, sometimes willpower sucks. Nobel prize winner Richard Thaler created a system to help people save more without really trying. This tactic can be used to pay off debt, save more, or invest more, without feeling a lifestyle pinch. Curious? Read on for the details of the system and how you can adapt it to your life.
Ready to implement the 1% but not sure where you want that money to go? Should you pay off debt, save, or invest? A framework to help you decide.
Prep your money for a baby (on The Everymom): I’m going to be honest (and you can judge me if you like), I broke down this week and bought a Snoo. If you’re not a parent or if you have a baby that somehow sleeps like an angel all the time, you won’t know what I’m talking about. But if you do know what I’m talking about, you know that this is a ridiculously expensive bed that is supposed to get your baby to sleep. I swore I wouldn’t get one but…desperate, delirious times. While the jury is still out on whether it will work for little Henry (please work. my sanity is depending on it), I only had a mild heart attack about the price. Why? Jordan and I spent 9 months prepping our budget for a baby. Last month on The Everymom, I walked through the steps we took to not have a total meltdown over money when Henry arrived.
Care to share? Speaking of The Everymom, I’m working on a piece for them on couples who keep their finances separate and how they navigate that with a baby. Sound like your situation? Hit reply and let me know. I’d love to interview you and include your advice in the article.
Make me smart: smart-ish reads from around the internet
Get more done. I’m all about trying to be as productive as possible, especially now that summer has finally made it’s way to England and I don’t want to spend quite as many hours locked inside working. And while there are plenty of productivity “hacks” out there, there’s something refreshing about this simple approach. I’ve tried it this week and while it hasn’t worked 100% for me (see above about my lack of sleep), I think it could be a winner. Want to get more done? Bring it back to basics and try this.
The divided decade. They always say you’ll remember where you were when historic things happen. 10 years ago I remember where I was when the economy fell apart. I was working as a CPA and had hedge fund and investment banking clients. The morning Lehman Brothers collapsed, I was sitting alone near the trading desks watching the CEO – a tough man in his 50’s – on the verge of tears as he watched the news. While I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I found it all fascinating. As it’s been 10 years since the start of the Great Recession, Marketplace is doing a series of stories exploring how the financial crisis has changed our lives. Watch, listen, and read – it’s all so interesting.
Get out of survival mode. What is your morning like? Morning routines are great. I swore by mine, pre-baby. Now that I have less sleep, less time, but bigger ambitions, I’ve wanted to switch things up a bit. If you have a big life goal that you’re working towards (and you do, I know you do), how can you carve out time in your busy day to make progress? This article list out 8 things every person should do before 8am to help move toward your goals. 8 things is a lot, but if you need a reboot or want to stop saying you’ll get to that thing “tomorrow” this might be the reset you need.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”
Harold Hill, The Music Man
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Erica Gellerman, CPA
Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project: a weekly money newsletter you actually want to read. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom, and Lifehacker. When she's not writing about personal finance you can find Erica exploring Europe from her temporary home base in London.