First, Thank You!
Having just started this blog in November 2017, I can say enthusiastically that these first two months have been everything I had hoped for. Mainly the interactions with so many of you, at so many different points on your personal finance paths. I am especially satisfied that together we have a foundation to build on, and I’m excited to begin expanding on the themes in the coming weeks and months.
Before I jump into a short “year in review” (which can also serve as a springboard to the New Year), I would love to hear from you on what you would most like to explore. I can say from many conversations that there will be upcoming posts on taxes, student loans, and what to do in a stock market that seems to only go up (spoiler: be careful!). Feel free to drop me a message, and don’t forget to sign up for the GBC mailing list for first dibs on new material.
Grab Another Cup …
When I say “foundation”, we are talking mainly about the building blocks of a successful financial plan, including Budgeting, Planning, and Money & Life topics.
For these first two topics, I’ve posted some detailed guidelines on how I have used simple spreadsheets for my own budgets (which you might actually enjoy!) and long term plans (that let you see what’s possible), which I then followed up with articles with the “Getting Started” theme in each of these areas: from “how much should I budget?” to “what should my first real investments be?”.
And of course whether you are new to Guided by Coffee or have been following along from the start, you know how I feel — it’s not all about money! My goal is to have a conversation about financial independence that leads to your own contentment around money.
I can tell you from personal experience that being content does not mean being “rich”. It’s more a mindset of having just what you want, and not chasing superficial things that probably won’t make you happy anyway!
Also remember, Independence isn’t just an endgame, it’s a process. The feeling of having independence over your money decisions manifests itself at all stages, from forming that first base of investments to planning for retirement and beyond. So even if you’re 25 or 30 years old, with perhaps 30 years or more of working life ahead, you can still feel that you control your destiny with the right tools and the right approach.
Having Visibility Is Great At Any Income Level!
I talked to some people over the holidays that either have kids, friends, or siblings that are first-time wage earners, either just out of college or in an early part of a career where money is tight. I immediately stress the importance of setting up a budget, no matter how humble your earnings may seem.
At least setting a structure allows you to not only get your basic income and expense assumptions in place, but gives you flexibility to create alternatives (i.e. more car, less travel?), and to plan for larger one-time expenses down the road.
Are you starting the new year with some specific goals in mind, but not sure how to reach them?
Remember: Planning gives you visibility, visibility gives you options, and having options gives you peace of mind!
Once you’re “established” in your saving and investing plan (and this can mean everything from that first steady paycheck or collection of side gigs up to the six-figure corporate grind), it’s not hard to see how the power of compounding can be harnessed so that eventually your money earns even more than you do (especially if you’re in a certain age group that may or may not like being referred to as Millennial)!
Do you already have a budget, a plan, and a mindset that has you on the right path? Congratulations! That is the best gift you can give yourself (followed closely behind by a lifetime supply of coffee at one of the many fine establishments I’ve been profiling, or the boxed set of Bob Dylan’s Complete Album Collection).
But we can all still benefit from a process of continuous improvement, hence my suggestions of 10 things you can do now to improve your prospects for the coming year.
So I’ll keep this post short and to the point, and give you a chance to assess your gameplan for the year. And don’t forget to follow along on Twitter and Instagram (@guidedbycoffee).
From my family to yours, here’s to a great 2018! (And yeah, we’re all in a bathtub — for the lighting, ya know)