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Early Retirement, Financial Empowerment, Financial Planning, Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat, Kids and Money, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, On Investing, On Self-Development, Retirement Planning, Women and Financial Literacy

All I Needed was an Inspiration (and a Free Gift to You)

November 30, 2017

I Didn’t See Myself Being a Good Teacher/Coach

I’m what some people might call a Type A, perfectionist, or over-achiever. I have high standards for myself. Growing up and while in school, unlike many other Asian parents, mine didn’t pressure me to receive certain grades or go into a certain profession. I was always the one that was self-driven and put lots of pressure on myself.

Knowing that about myself, I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, despite having contemplated becoming a teacher during my freshmen year in college. Yet, somehow, being in academia attracted me (and the over-achiever in me) and I went on pursuing a doctoral degree. While finishing up my advanced degree, I was a teacher’s assistant for two semesters. I did not enjoy that experience. I lacked the patience. Being a mother has been a trying experience for me every day. I’m very thankful to have an extremely patient partner along my side.

inspiration financial coaching

Several months ago, when my husband suggested to me to consider doing financial coaching with him, specifically to work with couples, I immediately closed the conversation. It was not that I lacked interest. Everything I do and share on this blog stems from my strong desire to inspire, encourage and promote smart and savvy financial skills. I just didn’t see myself being a good coach. I lacked the confidence.

Self-doubts were casting all over my head. To give you an example:

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Financial Empowerment, Financial Freedom, Financial Independence, Financial Journey, Financial Planning, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, Purchase Decisions

My Husband and I Created a Fun Fund!

May 25, 2017

Our “Fun Fund”

My husband and I recently created a “Fun Fund”. And the size of this fund is about 39.6% of our current projected/planned annual expenses. This Fun Fund includes the following categories: travel (we’d like to do two international trips and two U.S. trips per year as a family), gifts, charity, wardrobe items, entertainment and dining (e.g., treating others to meals; we’re already allocating $1,000 outside of the Fun Fun each month to spend on groceries and family dining).

fun fund

In a previous article, I mentioned that our projected annual expenses for year 2017 (and possibly the near future years, too, at the time of writing) was $50,000. Then, early this month, we’ve decided to move that number back up to $60,000 (our annual expenses in year 2015 and 2016 was $60,000), even though we currently don’t have child care expenses.

With a budget of $50,000, we were allocating about $13,700 toward the categories aforementioned. We’ve (most, I) came to realize such a number was a little over-stretched and won’t bring me much happiness. So, my husband and I looked at our financial numbers again, and we’ve decided that we can spend up to $60,000 a year and still be able to save a lot.

In my husband’s own words: “I feel I’ve lived my 60s while in my 20s, and now I’m living my 30s in my 30s. Maybe I’ll live my 20s while in my 40s!”

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Financial Empowerment, Financial Freedom, Financial Journey, Money Psychology, Purchase Decisions, Women and Financial Literacy

My Financial Transformations

January 27, 2017

Financial Independence Mindset

It’s been six months since I learned about financial independence (FI) and this way of life. What does financial freedom look like? How would you structure your life when you no longer have to answer to an employer and/or manager? You can read about this lifestyle in an earlier article I wrote here.

In this article, I’m sharing six financial transformations I have gone through since I became aware of FI. These observations and self-reflections surprised and fascinated me. I used to think I was stuck in a certain way and that was how I was going to be. Nowadays, I believe in the transformative power of adapting a financial independence mindset and the psychological freedom that comes from living life this way.

financial independence financial transformation

Six Financial Transformations

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Financial Empowerment, Financial Freedom, Financial Journey

Push for Change (that You Wish to See)

November 27, 2016

I am not a sales person. Marketing is not my forte. I don’t like taking risks or putting myself out there. Promoting myself and my work feel downright unnatural. Yet, most of the work I’ve been doing related to this blog needs me to be creative, social and promotional.  In the process of developing those skills, I have to learn to face and overcome some of my biggest fears. And that has been hard. However, frequently, I find myself pushing harder (in personal growth) so that I can do more. Advocating for a way of life that I truly believe in and feel passionate about is worthwhile. 

Push for the change that you wish to see.

push for change financial freedom

It’s been a little over two months since I published my first post. For weeks, I hesitated clicking on the “Publish” button. Despite having a clear vision and a powerful message I want to share with the world, I had self doubts. Seeing that I was struggling with my feelings, my husband reminded me of my cause. In my husband’s exact words: “You care about the girls and women in this world. You’ve got a beautiful message to share with them. Your contents are important to spread”. Over time, his encouragement provided me the clarity and strength I needed to work through my doubts. And I’m grateful for him.

This blog has been growing in readership. Thank you for taking the time to share your financial stories with me. I’ve been inspired and I’ll continue doing my best to be resourceful. You can always reach me through email and Twitter and Facebook direct messages. To the 78 of you (!!!) who have subscribed to my weekly newsletter, thank you for being my loyal readers. Thank you for welcoming my messages into your Inbox. Your support gives me the energy and motivation to keep bringing new contents to you. I am touched knowing that my messages have inspired and encouraged so many of you to seek financial clarity and financial confidence. I love this community and am grateful we’re able to connect through the Internet!

Push For Change

My husband and I used to be very private about our financial life. We allowed money topics to be a taboo during conversations. Starting this blog has been adventurous for us. However, we aren’t doing this alone.

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Financial Empowerment, Financial Independence, Women and Financial Literacy

Putting Women’s Financial Independence at the Forefront of Advocacy and Philanthropic Work

October 11, 2016

women financial independence financial security self-reliant

 

Running this blog is a passion that’s second nature to me. If my resume is an indicator of what I value and what I’m passionate about, it would say that I’ve been a strong proponent of advocacy work. I’m grateful for all the leaders who are volunteering their time, energy and money working tirelessly turning their visions into realities. It’s no surprise then that once I created a Twitter account, I followed @MelindaGates and @LeanInOrg. I enjoy being part of this inspirational and uplifting community. As for myself, even though Ms. Financial Literacy blog is a small platform now, I feel like I’m spreading an important message here while sharing practical and valuable contents.

Recently, @MelindaGates and her supporters have been doing lots of work and running campaigns empowering more women and girls to become technology innovators. I absolutely believe in and support this cause. In the same spirit, in this post I am sharing why I believe empowering and supporting women to be financially independent is good for the world, too. Knowing what I know now about the freedom and sense of fulfillment that comes with being financially independent, I have this vision of my own–that our world would be a much better and sustainable place to live in when (1) we aren’t constantly worried about money and we can take care of ourselves and follow our hearts and passions while making a contribution in the world; (2) we are able to build meaningful relationships with those we truly love and care about and (3) we are thinking about our planet as we align our behaviors with our core values.

 

Recommended reading: Your Money or Your Life and Money, A Love Story

 

#1) Focusing on Personal Growth and Your Contributions in the World

As women across the globe join high ranking/high paying job sectors, we need the tools and skills to help us become financially secure and stay self-reliant. Having a high income is not the whole story to a woman’s financial independence (FI), but supporting a woman to have a FI mindset and live her life according to FI principles and values is a step closer.

The first step in the process is becoming aware of what lies ahead once FI is achieved, which is freedom and self-satisfaction. The process also requires us to reexamine our values and identify what makes us feel fulfilled. If staying in the “rat race” is not a priority, then we need to come up with an exit plan in order to pursue what truly matters to us. That is, view the high ranking/high paying job as a means to FI (having high income certainly helps speed up the process), but always keep in mind the end goal. Once one decides that FI is what’s desired, then there is a need to make conscious choices to live life a certain way and be okay with that (e.g., minimizing spending, minimizing waste, having a long-term view of money invested today). From my own experience, working toward financial independence takes discipline and hard work, however, I believe that all the hard work is absolutely worth it. True individual freedom cannot exist without financial security and freedom from all money woes.

Once FI is achieved, we can begin to lead a life without financial constraints, where we can take care of ourselves financially, be free from owing others and free to do as we choose. With FI, we can finally sleep well at night and take care of our health. And we can finally summon back the life and creative energy that our money worries once sucked away from us and begin putting this energy toward pursuing our passions and building our dreams. From hereon, when we choose to do something, it’s because we want to and not because we feel obligated to do so. And when we do something, all the big and small decisions we make will be in accordance with our values and our own terms. In other words, financial freedom allows us to focus on personal growth. We now have the time to work on improving our health, pursue hobbies and learning of our choice, and do meaningful work. Yes, knowing that we no longer owe anybody anything puts us more in control of our lives, and as a result, we feel empowered and become more confident. This sense of empowerment and confidence is not of the same kind that one would derive from having a high status and/or high paying job.

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