Personal Finance Round-Up: Issue 1

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Welcome to the inaugural Round-Up here at Planner At Heart! I’ll be posting an article at the start of each week with summaries and links to the finance stories we enjoyed from the previous one. I hope the wisdom and tips in these articles are helpful to you in your own financial journey.

If you missed my announcement about this new section, hubby and I have challenged ourselves to see how we could ‘FIRE by Fifty’ in a high cost of living area (HCOLA). We’ve dubbed our big plan Renegade Retirement. It’s a subtle nod to the Rage Against the Machine fan in the house: Me!

Like a majority of Americans our age, the pandemic created an opportunity to think more about our finances, and frankly, the next phases of our life.  70% of millennials and Gen Zers said COVID-19 made them reevaluate how they handle their money. Even though we are technically on the edge of being a millennial: Who knew were are so trendy?!? 


Heeelloooo 2021

Has there ever been a year so looked forward to? The turning of the calendar to 2021 is to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It might be the smallest speck of light, but we’re the closest we’ve been to the end of a very difficult time.

If you’re taking this moment to set financial goals within your New Year’s resolutions check out “New Year’s Resolutions: 8 Money Experts Offer Advice and Predictions for 2021.” There are a lot of What If’s that actually came true in 2020, and it’s been a wake-up call to get more prepared and organized. Feel like the act of writing things down helps you? Check out the best planners and journals to organize the coming year!

One quote from Ask Zeta’s article really hit home with us as we become laser-focused on mapping out how we could FIRE (Financial Independence; Retire Early) in ten years.

“My New Year’s advice for 2021 is to take the time to get really intentional and focused on what actually matters to you and your partner. Getting clear on your priorities and setting shared goals is a great way to cut through the noise, societal pressure, or external expectations of what you should be doing in regards to your life and your money.”

Jessica Bishop, CEO, Budget Savvy Bride

The first week of a new year is the perfect time to think about the next 51 weeks of 2021. Love the idea but don’t know how to get started? Check out the approachable Three Steps to Make a Plan by Money Saved Money Earned.

Shocker: Planner at Heart Plans Even More

As we are in the early stages of our FIRE plan the article “Define Your Life BEFORE You Reach Financial Independence” was really insightful. Was it Yogi Berra who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else?”

As we read more about FIRE, my eyes were opened to the fact that within the movement there are different types. The Fioneers outline the different lifestyle options at the various stages of Financial Freedom in their easy to understand article. It’s a great read if you’re hearing these ideas for the first time.

Building Income Streams

If you’re new to the idea of FIRE, you might be thinking: If you’re under 65 how do you have money to live off of? This movement is all about building income streams that aren’t tied to traditional employment. As we investigate, and start, some of the income streams out there, I’ll be sharing it with you all here!

Passive Income: Dividend Payments to Shareholders

If your head is spinning by the title alone, take a read of Tim Thomas’ “What is Dividend Investing.” Whatever the reason you’re looking to create additional income, people often purchase stocks that produce a small payment multiple times a year. Shoes or Apple Watches don’t do that!

“Dividends are a payment of some of a company’s earnings to individual shareholders who own parts of the company. When creating a diversified portfolio, investors tend to favor dividend-paying stocks. This is because they create a regular stream of income. Over time, this can be reinvested into more shares and creates an exponentially growing income stream.”

Tim Thomas, Blogger & 20 Year Investor

Whether you’re on vacation, sleeping, or spending time with your family, your money is working hard for you instead of you working hard for money! Now, that’s my kinda working.

In our 10 year FIRE plan, we know that dividend payments will make up a large part of our income when we stop working. During the pandemic, we’ve been spending much more of our time reading about the stock market and actively investing. We started a weekly call with two friends also interested in investing and started reading Seeking Alpha and Barron’s daily.

Is part of your 2021 Money Resolutions to also start investing but you know that you want a professional to handle it? Check out some advice on How to Use Financial Advisor’s Reviews during your search for a Professional Financial Advisor.

Passive Income: Blogging

This section is about to get meta. I had the idea to start this blog about three years ago, but with young kids, it just never got off the ground. As we read more and more about building income streams and their role in FIRE, practically every single article mentioned starting a blog.

Here’s the thing that 99% of these articles don’t tell you: It’s not as easy as they all make it out to be. Even someone who wrote as a big part of her career loves photography, and has experience with publishing- there is a lot to learn. You’re trying to be a Jack of 4,000 trades.

How to Start a Blog: The Ultimate DIY Shortcut!

If you’ve also read similar articles that say to start a blog for passive income, but don’t know where to start, I highly recommend both the free and very reasonably priced courses from Heather & Pete Reese. I tried a couple of other resources before theirs but it’s these courses that brought my idea into reality.

They are the family behind a Top 10 Travel blog – It’s a Lovely Life – who spend 150 days of the year traveling while making $25,000 a month! Their 15+ years of blogging experience and very supportive Facebook group is the shortcut you need to get a blog off the ground quickly, even if you’re pandemic parenting! Only got 1 hour a day? You can do it with these resources!

FREE Courses

Paid Courses:

In the Spring of 2020, I completed two of their paid courses offered at a combo price. They both were excellent and featured information, insights, steps, and advice I would have never been able to find on my own. In the very limited time I had every day, I worked my way through it at my own pace and was able to launch a website. Seriously, if I can do this anyone can!

That’s All Folks!

Thanks for joining us on Our Journey and taking the time to read what we’ve been up to! Have any questions on what I mentioned or want to see a specific topic in next week’s Round-up? Send me a note at [email protected]. I promise I don’t bite 😉