I opened a Vanguard account almost five years ago.
Somehow, I managed to land $0.07 in the settlement money market fund.
I still don’t know how I did it, and just the other week, it disappeared.
It is April 1st, but that’s actually the god’s honest truth. My initial instinct was to figure out how and why the handful of pennies appeared. But then it sort of became One of Those Things.
Maybe it was a harbinger of fortune yet to come. A prelude, a portage, a presage. Whatever it was, it’s gone. And hopefully, my Roth is seven cents richer.
In the spirit of that mystery that I can’t be bothered to solve, I thought I’d share some other money truths that seem like jokes in the personal finance community.
Our grocery purchases smack of convenience.
I don’t make my own bread often. I don’t make my own yogurt ever. Occasionally, I buy latte concentrate. We’ve even purchased pre-made baby food. Despite all of this, we manage to keep our grocery budget between $200-$250 a month. I also try to keep us eating healthfully more often than not. But I figure all the preservatives in store-bought bread just ensure that we’ll get the most bang for our pension-buck. Because that’s how they work, right?
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We pay for labor sometimes.
Just last week, we had our contractor install a storm door for us. ABSURD. I know. But here’s the thing. The door has been in our garage for an entire season, and I really want to be able to pull in a cross breeze now that the weather is getting nice. I know I’ll be looking at a $50 bill (I didn’t even get a quote! ABSURD-ER!) or more, but it’ll help us cut down on our energy bill and it’ll go a lot smoother than the back screen door we installed ourselves. We don’t outsource all of our work (we do much of it ourselves!), but I’m not actually afraid to pay someone to do work. Especially when it saves time and my marriage.
Investing still feels like gambling.
I know it’s not the same as pulling a handle on a slot machine. It’s actually a lot less fun. Vanguard could learn a thing or two about user interface from a little time inside Aria or Cesear’s.
I understand the principles of investing. I get that it isn’t gambling. But it feels like a gamble to me. That doesn’t mean we aren’t investing. We are, and we are investing quite a bit (for us anyway). No matter how long I’ve been moving money into our Roths or my 403b, I still hold my breath just a bit every time I click.
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My partner isn’t a money nerd.
I try to respect my husband and my baby’s privacy for the most part. That’s why when I tell stories on this blog, I always use the pronoun I. Their stories aren’t really mine to tell, at least not in any significant way.
But I will tell you this.
My husband couldn’t care less about money. He was perfectly happy spending all of his paychecks because that’s how he grew up. (Full disclosure: I was really happy doing the same.) He doesn’t geek out with me over spreadsheets, and he’s definitely only hanging out at FinCon for the pool and the Vanguard cookies.
He also landed us a $75 credit on our Boost Mobile bill. And he hasn’t done anything with it. In months. They won’t let him use it toward our auto-pay set up, so…he just gave up.
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Occasionally, I lose sleep over this. Just the other night, I woke him up at 2 AM to ask him if he thought he should stop by the brick-and-mortar shop to get an answer. I do know that I will ultimately end up tracking down this money. It’s at least partially mine in the eyes of the law right?! Unless we go by Maritime Salvage, then once I get my hands on it, it’s MINE!
But I’ve also come to terms with the fact that having two people who are obsessive about money isn’t actually going to help our finances any. In fact, it might hurt them. Because for someone who isn’t all that interested in money, my husband’s pretty good with it.
Final Thoughts on April Fools’ Money Truths
There’s no one single way to do money well. I’m mostly at peace that we are on the slower path to FI. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a lot to learn, and that also doesn’t mean that my current choices are going to be the choices I make forever.
But for now, we’ll keep investing, plugging away at our mortgage, and trying to live a little more purposefully. Even if that does mean buying a loaf of bread from time to time.
So Tell Me…Do you have any money truths that seem like jokes?