Tales from the Wallet: A Money Roadmap

money roadmapWe’ve talked about a ton of different money issues here, but it occurred to me that it might be helpful to do a simple “roadmap” post — a listing of what to do, in what order, with links to the appropriate posts.  So here’s my list of what to do with your money — if I were advising a friend, this is what I’d say.  Readers, what would your roadmap look like? Would it be any different? (Pictured: Halogen Cassie Patent Leather Phone Wallet, originally $48 but currently $32.16.)

1. Figure out what your money situation is.  Do you know how much you have in each account, where it is, and how much interest it’s earning?  Do you know what your debts are, and how much interest you’re paying?  I like Mint.com to keep track of multiple accounts (and I particularly like that it will email multiple email addresses with weekly updates — great if you’re married or otherwise in a joint banking relationship). [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet: Emergency Funds – How Much & Where

Your Emergency Fund: How Much, and Where? | CorporetteHow much do you keep in your emergency fund?  WHERE do you keep it?  How often do you re-evaluate it? We haven’t talked about emergency funds in a few years, so I thought we should revisit. (Pictured: Tory Burch Priscilla Wallet, was $250, now $175 (also available in fuchsia, as well as in a zippered pouch on sale for $66).)

The basics remain the same:  the suggestion I always see is to keep three to nine months of living expenses (mortgage, rent, loans, food, basic living needs), easily accessible in case you’re laid off, fired, quit, or are otherwise unable to work — or if you have some other huge unexpected expense, like if your car breaks down or you get in an accident and have bills to pay.

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Tales From the Wallet: Insurance Fun!

What Kind of Insurance Do Women Need? || CorporetteWhat kind of insurance do young working women need?  Reader D wonders…

Kat, I’m wondering if you would consider a post about certain types of insurance such as life insurance, disability insurance, and umbrella policies? I’m wondering how people decide on buying additional insurance beyond what may be included in work benefits?

Great question!  (Pictured: Tiffany & Co. Coin Purse, available for $85.) Personally, I’ve had: [Read more...]

The Best Splurges

The Best Splurges || CorporetteWhat items are “worth the splurge” if you have a healthy amount of discretionary income? Reader S wonders…

Here’s my idea for a post – what are the central items that are “worth the splurge” for those of us with a healthy amount of (but not unlimited) discretionary income? I’m thinking there are certain purchases – the classic Burberry trench, a Chanel clutch – that would be well worth the amount spent, since you’ll potentially be using the item for a decade or more, but what are some non-obvious items that would fit into this category?

FUN question, reader S!  There are definitely things I bought in my 20s — when I was single and making six figures at a law firm — that I wouldn’t necessarily buy now, with a husband and kiddo in the mix (at least not without thinking about it looong and hard).  Since I’ve always known that my weight tends to fluctuate, most of my splurges have been in the accessory category. Here’s my $.02, but I can’t wait to hear what the readers say…

My top splurges:

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Tales From The Wallet: Help! I’m in My 20s & Have No Idea What I’m Doing with My Money

Money Moves to Make in Your 20s | CorporetteWhat money moves should you make in your 20s — and what should you avoid doing?  Rhiannon Payne, editor in chief of Feminspire, reached out with a fabulous guest post on this very topic.  I think her tips are solid however old you are, particularly if you’re just starting a new career with more money (like I was at 27, my first year in BigLaw).  Thank you for guest posting, Rhiannon!  (Pictured:  Lodis Accessories Audrey Cassie Cell Case with Wristlet, available at 6pm for $36.99.)

So you’ve finally landed that amazing job, the one that pays you enough to not only cover your rent and other basic expenses, but also affords you the luxury of having money left over – money that you’re not sure what to do with. The options seem limitless. While you once had to count up the pennies in your change jar if you wanted to buy a new outfit, you’re suddenly thinking about all the exciting ways you can improve your life with your new funds. Things you would have never considered are suddenly options – a tablet for working on the go? A newer, shinier car to replace your old model? The fancier silverware sets from Bed Bath & Beyond?

This is a trap that a lot of young people fall into, especially when entering the workforce after college or going straight into the professional world in their early 20s (the latter was me – I set my sights on an industry where a degree was more of an option than a requirement, and I didn’t want to risk a negative ROI on my tuition). Unfortunately, the financial education provided to American students, in both high school and college, is generally pretty limited. When a young person starts earning a healthy income, they often have no idea what to do with their money. Thus, some unfortunate financial decisions usually occur. This is especially true for women, who not only make less (on average, $0.77 to the dollar) than men, but are traditionally given even less financial guidance than their male peers. [Read more...]

How to Plan a Vacation

How to Plan a Vacation | CorporetteIt seems counter intuitive, but I’ve read that at the end of August is one of the best times to plan a vacation because you can get the best deals.  We’ve talked about how to deal with vacation stress (including how to be a good employee while on vacation, and a vacation time poll to gauge how much you’ve actually taken) and we’ve talked about office etiquette around the holidays — but we haven’t talked about planning a vacation in a long time, so I thought we could discuss.  How do you budget for a vacation, both in terms of money and time?  (Does anyone do the “extra savings account just for vacations” thing?) Do you like to vacation in the summer or some other time of the year?  Have you taken the same vacation multiple times (for example, I’ve been on FOUR Paris vacations — I love the city and love seeing new sides to it every time I go)?  Or are vacations all about family for you, spending time with your parents (either in your childhood home or at a family beach house or the like)?  [Read more...]