I am currently a 26 year old happily married women, riding the uncertain waves of this recession.
I graduated in May of 2006 (with a good amount of student loans), and started a job right away. But in December of 2006, I was part of a company wide “restructure” and was laid off. I was lucky enough to find a new job in March 2007, and survived 2 more rounds of layoffs in 2008 and 2009. However, in 2010, I was let go again. I couldn’t believe I was 25 years old and had already been laid off twice in my life. It was a really low point for me. To complicate matters more, my husband had been in graduate school for the past few years and had accumulated his own student loan and credit card debt. And, after he graduated in May 2010, he had trouble finding a job.
Needless to say 2010 was a tough year for us. At one point we were both unemployed, struggling to pay bills, student loans and our mortgage, and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fortunately we both have jobs now, and can finally start to implement everything that you have taught me over the past 5 years.
You see, this letter is long over due. Let me back up.
When I graduated in May 2006 a close girlfriend of mine gave me a copy of Smart Women Finish Rich. I had NEVER talked about retirement, or savings, or financial planning with my parents – it was something that no one really prepared me for. I sat down and read your book cover to cover. And then I read it again. And again. And then I bought it for all of my friends. It was such a life changer.
The lessons and principles were so well explained and easy to understand. I was so motivated to get my act together and SO excited that I had found this gem at such an early age. I made photocopies of the Time/Value of Money chart and put them all over the place… just as a reminder that although it may seem harder to save now, it is WAY more valuable to save now. I found myself in competition with Lucy, Susan and Kim. Lucy had clearly surpassed me at that point, but I wasn’t to far behind Susan. So I vowed to get going and that I would eventually get ahead of Lucy and finish rich!
Despite the turbulent times over the past 5 years, I never quit paying myself first. Whatever I could manage – 1%, 5%, 12% – I continued to contribute to a 401K and a ROTH and put any extra money (bonuses, birthday money) toward those accounts. I have read nearly all of your books, each one even more insightful then the last, and I am so grateful for all of your guidance. I have currently saved almost $40,000 toward retirement and I am ahead of Lucy, which was my ultimate goal.
However, my husband and I still have a long way to go. I have paid off my student loans – but now we must tackle his student loans, credit card debt and our mortgage. I just finished reading Debt Free for Life last week and I am already starting to put your advice into action. I can’t begin to thank you enough. Not only did you help me make such wise decisions as a recent college graduate, but now you are helping me to tackle and take charge of our financial future as a family.
Thank you for what you have given me – it is truly PRICELESS!