Question: Do you consider yourself financially self-reliant (owning assets with little debt, sustainable income through retirement)? If so, what are the most important things you did to get there?
Danielle (and Jake)
Yes. We paid every debt in full ever month, with the exception of Auto loan and Home loans. We never ate out because we did not have the money for it. We prepared every meal from scratch and watched every penny on the grocery bill. We did not purchase much from Costco or Sams. We did not do garage sales. All of which can be addictive, in my opinion. We basically lived a "Spartan" existence. It was worth it.
Karen (and Lance)
My husband is the money guy. He has been saving money since he was a teenager. They didn't have a lot of money when he was growing up so he decided that if he needed something he had better save for it. One of the sisters-in-law once told me that if she ever needed a little bit she knew where she could get it, as he was generous to a point. He did need to have his money to do what he wanted. He even was able to buy a car. He has been very resourceful during our marriage. He keeps track of our savings, which was hard to do in the beginning of our married life, as we didn't have that much to put away. He had three jobs in the beginning of our marriage so I wouldn't have to go to work. He also brought two children to the marriage, of which he had custody. So he wanted them to have a good home life. He taught school, taught Seminary, worked as a Park Director at the local park, organizing games and other things that had to be done at the park. He also was going to school to get his Masters. He was a busy guy, so you can see how important it was for him to keep us solvent. When he was able to secure a job that paid enough he was able to quit those jobs and then spent more time at home. Since the two children were old enough to help I didn't have such a hard time with the little ones. We had all the expenses that others had but tried to pare down our wants. I did some sewing and took classes to improve. My sister-in-law would watch my children while I went to class then I would watch hers while she did something. So that worked out well for us. I tried to buy clothes that were on sale for the children, which were really good buys. We didn't have anything but TV dinners to buy, so I made my own from scratch. That saves a lot. When it was Christmas I would have a certain amount ($100.00) to buy all the presents and that was all I could spend, so I really had to watch it. Guess they didn't get everything they wanted, but too bad. I think that we get caught up in what "everyone else" has and forget what we really "need". It has worked well for us and we have a great retirement. We are by no means wealthy and still have to save for a vacation or something we really want, so it was worth it to learn in the early days to be frugal. We only owed money on a car, and the home. Some things had to wait.
Marsha (and Richard)
We are financially self-reliant, own two homes, our cars, have not debt and have a good savings. I would like to say that it was because we saved regularly but that would not be accurate. We have been blessed. With a large family there was not much for savings, but my husband was blessed with a great job opportunity that gave him stock in exchange for building a small company into a large one. Then later, he helped some sons start a company by making the financial investment and it also paid off. We keep making investments in young companies, especially those started by our own children which are mainly to help them get established but could pay off in the future – hopefully while we are still able to enjoy it. We do plan to keep a reserve to supplement our Social Security, which is also a blessing.
The best key to our financial success has been to live in harmony with our beliefs, serve in our Church, pay 10% of our gross income in tithing and counsel with the Lord in all our decisions. He has always provided and we have done our best to be generous with our donations and the help we can give to others. The Lord has seen us through many challenges and we are grateful.
Rachel and Bennett
Yes, we feel we are financially self-reliant. We have tried to live frugally, stay out of debt, and save on a regular basis. We had a fund for our children's education which I think is a must.
Cynthia (and Brad)
Yes, we are financially self reliant at age 75 and have been our whole lives. It started when we were kids and we have never wavered. However, we probably missed some fun along the way, being so frugal. Even though my husband was a physician, we had a very modest home, car, etc. We did splurge on a lake cottage, but that ended up being a money maker when we sold it. Biggest thing we did not do--rack up a credit card debt, ALWAYS paying off each month. We buckled down when we sent four kids to college, two masters and three missions. No borrowing money for that either. I went to work after staying home with the kids, when our youngest was 16, to help pay for the college and missions. Our kids also worked and saved their money. I can see that the influence carried through with our children, as they are all careful with their money, and NONE are living in our basement, which is unusual for Utah. I personally feel that the Utah Mormon mentality babies the children, and many are not self reliant. (coming from out of state, that is our observation).
Next week's question: What did you do to create a sense of family identity (family motto, slogans, heritage stories, particular traditions, etc.)?