Hey everyone! Welcome to July and Happy Canada day everyone in this beautiful country! While I make the long 14 hour drive today to the mountains, I have a cool interview with Pamela from mymoneycounts.org
I love her story and it’s a great example of how you money challenges never go away, they just change into new ones as you make your way through this crazy world. I hope you enjoy!
Let’s talk a little bit about who you are and where you are coming from. Tell me about your money journey? What got you started in learning about personal finance?
Personal finances was not always something I was passionate about. I had very little experience managing money as a young kid (my parents never talked about money) so when I became an adult, I found myself with a lot of student loan debt and some credit card debt at the age of 26. That’s when I started caring about how to manage my money well.
What would you say the biggest money obstacle has been for you to overcome?
In hindsight, getting out of debt was the easy part (although it did not feel like it when I was going through it). The biggest struggle now is staying out of debt. I mean 100% no consumer debt as a lifestyle choice. That’s kind of tough. Also, my husband and I are saving A LOT each month to catch up on the savings growth opportunity we lost during the 2.5 years we were getting out of debt. It’s a lot to overcome, but it’s doable and we have no regrets.
How has overcoming that obstacle changed you?
I am much more aware of where my money goes now. Saving now at the age of 30 for retirement is big priority, something I never use to think about before. Although I still enjoy spending money, I see a lot of value in saving money as well. I also don’t look at debt the same way. If I ever get into debt, I would definitely have a game plan and a time frame for myself on how long it would take us to pay it back. Those were things I never thought about before.
Are there any obstacles you are still working on?
Yes, spending money on groceries and eating out. Although we don’t get into debt doing it, I do find myself using funds from other line items on my budget to cover the additional money spent. Also, learning more about investing is really important to me. Luckily, I have my husband which not only finds investing interesting, but works in banking. He manages all the investments in our family, but I would like to really understand it more and get a better handle on it.
There’s a moment in the Godfather 3 when Michael Corleone is trying to get out of the “Family Business”, and he says: “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in.” What is one bad money habit you just can’t seem to shake?
Overspending monies that are budgeted for eating out. Both my husband and I are a sucker for this. It bugs me because food is the fastest depreciating asset a person can own. Oh well, it’s a work in progress.
If you were to start your money journey all over what would you do differently?
Work one year full time after high school to save money for the first couple of semesters. Do the first year of my accounting degree in college, then transfer to university for the last 2 years. Work more years than I did before pursuing my masters and fully cash flow my master’s degree. It might have taken me twice as long to complete the degree, but I would have had less debt coming out of it. Oh, and I would also save $50-$100 each month for retirement from the age of 21. Even if I didn’t have the money I would find it somehow. There is not a month that goes by after being debt free that I do not pay myself first.
What is your proudest money accomplishment?
When my husband and I paid off $120,000 of student loan debt in 2.5 years. It was Dec 15, 2015 when we made the last payment. A very exciting day for us.
Who is your money hero?
I don’t know if I had a ‘money hero’, but my motivation to get out of debt came from listening to Dave Ramsey’s show. He was a huge factor in my decision to get out of debt as quickly as I did.
What was your worst money mistake?
Getting into that much student loan debt. I don’t think student loans are bad in and of themselves. Most people, including myself would not have been able to receive an education without them. I do think though a lot of the money goes towards the ‘university experience’. When your 17 years old and have that much money available to you with little to no money management skills, it’s difficult not to misuse it.
What money habits do you see in yourself (or others if you are perfect) that make you cringe?
Money habits that I use to do that I would cringe if I did now are: using an ATM that is not my own banks to take out money, missing making payments on a credit card bill, going out and dropping $60+ dollars on drinks at the bar.
Would you classify yourself as a Spender or a Saver?
Ever since my money journey, I would definitely say that I am a saver.
What’s the one personal finance book that had the biggest impact in your life?
Ok lets get into the good stuff and find out some more about Pamela.
Give me a list of your top 5 foods?
- All Italian food
- Most seafoods
- Butter chicken and naan bread
- French fries
- Pretty much anything that tastes good
What is your favorite drink (alcohol or non-alcohol)?
I don’t think I have one. I do enjoy one Smirnoff Ice with wings from time to time.
What kind of daily traditions or habits do you have?
I don’t think I can call them ‘traditions’ as I am have only started this for 2 months now, but I call it PREP. Prayer, Read the bible, Exercise and Personal development. I wake up every morning on Monday to Friday at 5:30am to pray, read the bible and watch a personal development video/ listen to a podcast before work. Then at work on my lunch break I work out for 40 minutes.
Which group do you fall into:
Apple of Samsung? Samsung
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Night owl or morning bird? Night owl, but an aspiring morning bird.
I’m a huge music fan, what’s one (or more) of your favorite albums?
I don’t have a favorite song or album, and don’t listen to music a lot except on my drive to and from work. I do miss music from the 90’s though.
What book are you reading right now?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Do you have a favorite quote?
I have so many quotes that I love, but this one just popped in my mind
“If you don’t plan your day, then someone else will”.
Where can people find you online if they want to get ahold of you? (Think social media accounts)
What did you think? Let me know in the comments below then head over to Pamela’s site and check out some of her great posts!