Radical Millennial Money

A Bit More Background: February 28, 2024

My wife and I were married our senior year of college and moved promptly 1100 miles away to Amarillo, TX for a position with my first (and only) company. I had little knowledge of personal financial planning however quickly began consuming information from any sources. My first job paid $20K/year (a good sum for 1980) and our first house was purchased in 1981 when mortgage rates were over 14%. We had two vehicles, both financed, and it seemed we were gasping for air when the next paycheck came. In 1984, we relocated to South Carolina where my wife gave birth to two children. So along with a higher house payment and two additional mouths to feed, any increase in salary was quickly consumed.

So, after ten years of insanity, I resolved to do things a bit differently and out of the norm. I began with intentionally evaluating what I wanted our money to do for our family. It began by making some tough decisions. With each salary increase, I made the conscious decision to first take 10% of the raise and add to our church contribution and charitable giving. I then took the next 10% and added to my company’s 401K plan. With the next 10%, I began building an emergency fund. And then with the next 10%, began paying additional on our home mortgage. So even before we began thinking about other neat stuff to spend money on, we very intentionally began addressing what we saw as the real needs and priorities in life. And I’ll have to say we really didn’t feel deprived.

Fast forward a few years, and we had reached a 10% charitable giving level, maxed the 401K at 10% to get all the company matching funds, and paid off our home mortgage by age 45. A lot of other stuff has happened since, but I will defer that for later. So where are you in your financial journey? How have you approached decisions around your finances? I'd love to hear from you.