I don’t often get to have conversations with other people (in real life) about money. I would love to know the intimate details of everyone’s spending habits and financial philosophies – I don’t know why this is. I guess I want see what “regular people” (not personal finance bloggers) are doing.
I do understand that some people don’t want to share the intimate details of their finances – so I force myself not to press anyone for those. However, I’m happy to share with others our financial circumstances, especially in terms of debt repayment. (I’m not always comfortable sharing our salaries with our friends, and I couldn’t tell you exactly why that is…. I share it here, at least.)
I’ve been trying to analyze why it is that I’m comfortable sharing details of our monthly payments, our cost of living expenses, etc. I’ve come up with a few ideas:
1. I’m not ashamed of our debt.
All of our debt right now is student loan debt, and people are usually not very judgey about that. Even when we had consumer debt and a mortgage, I don’t think it was so astronomically high that people would be shocked. I understand how people get into huge amounts of debt – so no judgement here – but I might worry how other people would perceive me if they thought I was carrying mountains of consumer debt.
2. We’re actively trying to get out of debt.
I might be more reticent to share our financial information if we were holding on to all of our debt and just paying the minimums. Since we are working hard to reduce our debt load, I’m actually proud to share information like, “We’re living on 50% of our income, and the rest is going to debt!”
3. We are fortunate: our finances are in a pretty good place.
While we may never be millionaires (not even prior to retirement, when you’re “supposed” to have somewhere even OVER $1M to comfortably retire), we are conscious of our finances and have the belief that it will only improve (barring some horrible, unforeseen circumstances). Yes, we’re in debt, but we have retirement funds. Yes, we may never make 6 figures (combined!), but we have jobs. I know how fortunate we are.
Given the above, I enjoy talking about our finances (especially expenses and debt repayment) with others. Sometimes people will open up to me about their situations, too, if I share some details.
So… I’m starting a “series” of posts in which I will outline someone else’s financial story (with names and details changed, of course) based on a recent conversation! I’ve had three such conversations in the past two months, and I’ve turned them over in my mind and decided that sharing them might be interesting, especially if I can extract a few lessons. I hope to share the first one next week. I can’t predict whether I’ll have any more to share after these first three, but I’m excited to see how these turn out!
Happy weekend, everyone!