I picked up “Smart Couples Finish Rich” at an airport sometime last year. I’m very frugal, and it was a signed copy, on sale, so I figured I could sell it on Ebay once I was done. I won’t even lend that copy to friends, I just buy them copies as gifts! My husband and I were on the right track, investing 6-10% in our 401K’s, saving as much money as we could at the end of the month, automatically investing $200/month in mutual funds, and proud owners of a co-op apartment. Not bad for a couple of 25 year-olds, even if we did have some debt.
I read your book cover to cover that same day, and I have never looked back! I was able to get lots of new insights on really paying us first, and how to “trim the fat” from our monthly expenses. Our latte factors were not that big, but with both of us working and only one of us cooking, I would often come home tired and decide to eat out instead. We never go to expensive places, so it didn’t seem like a big deal – until I checked our checking account statement and realized we were blowing close to $1,000/month on things like dinners out! That was a wake up call, and my husband finally stopped listening to what I was saying and read the book too. I’m the financial person in our marriage, but I was amazed by the change in him, just because he read the book! He stopped eating breakfast out, and really started to pay attention to what he spends on lunch. I made a concerted effort to cook more often, even on those days when I am tired – once you get started, it really isn’t too bad!
We also decided to increase our 401K’s. My husband landed a new job, so instead of getting used to the increase in take home pay, we immediately enrolled in the 401K and contributed 15%. I changed my election as well, so we are both at 15%. That will enable us to add about $17,000/year into our 401K’s. We have been automatically deducting $200/month for a Mutual Fund account for years now – we consider it a “debt” (to ourselves!), and will continue to invest that money. Also, I really took the pay yourself first principle to heart, and I started doing just that every time we received a paycheck. We started at $500/month, and now we save $700/month and barely feel the pinch! The filing system is great too, so I went ahead and got everything in order.
Our savings have been growing steadily, and given the low interest rates at the bank (even at the internet bank), we figured our money would be better spent in Real Estate, rather than sitting in the bank. We still have about 5 months worth of money in the bank, and that is our comfort zone. The rest is going to purchase our first rental property – we are closing in the next month! A few days ago, I was getting some papers together for the mortgage – it was so easy to do w/my new filing system – and I found our financial inventory planner, which I had filled out 6 months earlier. Wow! What a difference we had made in 6 months! I can’t wait to officially close on the home – I will be updating the financial inventory sheet, and I can’t wait to see us progress further along to becoming millionaires!
Giving back is also very important to us, and while we don’t have any automatic tithing program in place, we donate money to worthwhile causes and we prefer to give in other ways – by helping those around us.
I have since purchased “Smart Women Finish Rich” for a few of my friends, and “The Automatic Millionaire” for myself and a few of our male friends. I hope they take hold of the message and make the necessary changes in their life – it really isn’t about how much you earn, but what you do with the money! We are living proof of that – I don’t know many other 28 year olds who own two properties and have a good sized nest egg ready for their retirement and future. It has always been a goal of ours to retire well before 65, and thanks to David, we are on our way to achieving that goal!