When there’s money left over at the end of the month, we celebrate in the most adult way possible. I don’t mean we go out there and find an Eyes Wide Shut party to attend either. Jenny and I are far too antisocial for those kinds of things.
Our extra cash doesn’t go toward a fancy new gadget. We may not even spend anything on a nice meal. We’re practical humans, after all. Extra money is something to be celebrated humbly and without ticker tape.
When a new month begins and we’ve calculated how much we saved, we distribute any earnings into four different places.
None are gold, crypto, or collectible stuffed animals. Any extra we have is turned into protection for the future–and I’m not referring to a blaster gun either.
25% of our monthly savings goes toward each of our ROTH IRAs for 50% total investments
We made the mistake of not starting ROTH IRAs until later in life. We weren’t financially literate enough until recently to fully grasp how important it is to have a ROTH IRA.
Fortunately, it’s not too late to play some catch-up. The smartest thing you can do with money is to not give up. Just because you’re behind others doesn’t mean you can’t be smarter now and make up for lost time.
Unless Jenny and I know we will have a big expense coming up that we’re not yet prepared for, we try to put 25% of our savings into each of our ROTH IRAs. This means half of our monthly savings gets invested on top of what we’re already putting into our 401K accounts.
This is a lot of money. Not every month are we able to reach the $500 total to average out for the maximum of $6,000 per year. Some months, we’re able to do more. Some, we do much less.
Other expenses have their way of creeping up on us like a strange mole on the side of your neck or an old classmate whose face looks vaguely familiar yet you can’t place a name to it.
And when they do start talking to you at the grocery store, you silently pray they don’t recognize you. But if they do, you hope they tell you how good you look because who doesn’t like being told they’ve aged well?
As long as we’re staying active in investing and doing our best to maximize what we put into our accounts, we feel like we’re winning regardless of whether or not those compliments we get from old classmates are genuine or not.
They’re probably not!
25% goes toward our savings account
Our emergency fund is higher than what most people will have just because we like the security. It’s the same reason why we hide baseball bats around the house and study Jackie Chan fight scenes carefully. We want to feel secure.
Our goal is to have a year’s worth of expenses in our emergency fund. This is abnormal advice. Most people recommend 3 to 6 months. We each have a tendency to panic if we lose a free bookmark from the library. We play life carefully and try to prepare for the worst.
On top of that, we’ve recently started putting a percentage into a brokerage for two different accounts depending on what our next month’s schedule looks like. One brokerage is our sinking funds for things involving our house or car. Another is for medical.
We recently decided this was the smarter thing to do than have the money sitting in a “high-interest” yet-still-incredibly-low-savings-account. While it does come with some risk, anyone who knows a Jackie Chan fight scene the way we do knows there always comes a point where you need to jump from one building to the next.
Otherwise, the bad guys will win.
25% goes toward paying off our mortgage
We broke the cardinal rule of some investment experts and got ourselves one of those evil 30-year mortgages. How dare we!
Realistically, a 15-year mortgage wasn’t doable. Even when both of us are working full-time, the extra couple of hundred dollars a month could really come back to bite us. It’s a few hundred dollars more. I already have enough lack of flexibility in my left ankle. I don’t need it in my highest monthly bill.
Our goal is to be able to maintain a similar lifestyle on a single income if needed. It was a big part of why we chose the house we did. The payments were something we could sustain even if one of us lost a job.
With a 30-year mortgage, the goal is to pay it off sooner. The allowance to pay it off in 5, 10, 15, 20, or all 30 years lets us be flexible to whatever life throws our way.
It’s not the soundest of advice when looking purely at numbers. The larger total in the end when you factor in interest is petrifying.
Because we are able to throw 25% at it every month while investing and saving, we should hopefully be able to get this one debt from our life exorcised before all 30 years have passed.
We have three decades to figure it out. We got started in month one. We’re optimistic there won’t be too many more hundreds more.
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The book that convinced us to start investing and being more proactive with our money and lives: The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias
The gear we use to make our YouTube videos at the Practically Humans YouTube Channel
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