It’s that time of year when a lot of people are making goals for the upcoming year. ^_^
When I decided that I wanted to learn how to manage my money (finally), I read so. many. books. about finance.
That wasn’t the brain melting part. That was fun. 😉
The part that was difficult to reconcile was the part where they all had different approaches to the same end goal: to give me, the reader, the tools and confidence to manage my financial life.
Some people suggest having 6 or even 10 months of paychecks in the emergency fund. Some say 6 months of expenses. Some say credits cards are important. Some say take ’em or leave ’em. Some even say, “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” When it’s all said and done and all the books are read, though, we have to go with the one we connect with the most. Which one/s lines up the best with our personalities, depositions, and goals in life.
I personally think it’s overkill to have 8 months of paychecks for your emergency fund. In an emergency, after all, you’re not trying to keep up your current lifestyle – you’re trying to keep disaster at bay and keep from going into debt. In an emergency, I’m cancelling my cable and Netflix. I’m not eating out. I’m not buying fancy yogurts. It’s bare minimum, the least amount of money I can live off of to “survive” – and that is in quotes because let’s face it, life will still be pretty cushy for most of us as long as we can keep a roof over our heads.
I listen to a few different podcasts about finances (and I’ll talk more about which ones soon), but when I was looking to expand my finance podcast subscriptions after the Suze Orman Show was retired, at one point I had random episodes from over twenty different money podcasts downloaded to my iPad.
That’s way too many, and I can’t keep up with all of them and stay productive. So, I listened to (or skimmed through) an episode or three of each and went from there. I whittled it down to five. Here’s the process I went through:
Anyone who didn’t stay on topic got axed.
Anyone who wasn’t organized got axed.
Anyone who said something blatantly wrong got axed.
Anyone who said car debt was okay got axed.
And anyone whose podcast I couldn’t make it through one episode of, for whatever reason, be it that I was bored, annoyed, lost/confused, or just didn’t care, they all got axed. This includes some high rated podcasts, but everyone is different. There were a couple I really wanted to like, but they just didn’t hold my attention.
What I ended up with is mostly advice-driven shows, and one show where the guy only talks for about five minutes once a week, hence why I like it so much, regardless of what he’s saying. 🙂
Shows where they drifted aimlessly from topic to topic, and advice shows where the advice giver was too wishy washy or “polite” – I didn’t bother with them either. I want to listen to people who are focused and people who have strong opinions and stick to them. This helped me weed out a lot of people as well.
I do have a couple of podcast episodes from a few other people I’ll listen to from time to time when I want something different, but I don’t like them enough to subscribe or check in with them on a regular basis.
When it comes to getting advice, it’s best to know exactly what you want advice on. You can’t just walk into the advice store and say, “I want some advice.” You’ll melt your brain in the process of looking for what you really want. In this case, I wanted advice on how to motivate myself to save, stay out of debt, stick to my budget, and start feeling competent in the handling of my money.
Anything that doesn’t line up with these goals gets set aside. I don’t want to subscribe to a podcast and get conflicting information on debt. Everyone I listen to agrees on the fundamentals, if nothing else. So, I can listen to whoever I want in peace, knowing that even if I don’t 100% agree, I can trust them not to feed me false and nonsensical information.