If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that adulting ain’t easy. While I’ve never been happier, I’ve also never been more stressed out. Granted, I’ve had an unusually large amount of massive life events occur in a relatively short period of time (check “graduate from Wharton and Penn,” “launch business,” “buy car,” “buy house,” and “marry love of life” off the list). But still…adulting ain’t easy! If there’s anything I wish I had before starting it all, it would’ve been a bit of direction. Sure, I had a circle of the most amazing peeps supporting me through each moment. But having some actual teaching on the hard stuff would’ve been SO useful – way more useful than the microeconomic policy and advanced corporate accounting classes I had to suffer through (#ThanksWharton). Luckily, there’s some help for that.
If you click under the “Life Stages” tab on the Ameritas website, J and I have got 4/7 stages covered…within the last six months. Our life together has been on hyperspeed since May – heck, since January – and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing, cos boy are we #blessed. We’re surrounded by such absolutely amazing family and friends, we’ve got a beautiful roof over our heads and the best cat children, and we each live out our dream careers every single day. We’re lucky. It’s also a curse, because it can
sometimes often feel like life is just passing us by. I’m a savor-the-moment kinda gal, so the second I feel like I’ve lost control of the moment, I freak. J is the same way – he’s very reflective and needs time to himself to mentally catch up and re-center. So when we barely have enough time to catch each other up on ours days, let alone do something like watching a movie or going out somewhere fun, it can become exhausting and overwhelming reaaaaaal quick.
I’ve gotten SO many requests from y’all for content centered around “how we did it,” and how to go about tackling some of the “biggies” in life, from launching a business to buying a house at a young age, to shifting careers or budgeting for a wedding – the works. I’m MORE than happy to do comprehensive posts on all of the above (just let me know in a comment or through social media or email what you want to see the most, and what would be most helpful to ya!), but today I’m teaming up with my friends at Ameritas to share some SUPER handy resources that you need in yo’ life ASAP if you’ve got big things on the horizon for 2017 and beyond. Here’s a lil’ bit on what J and I have done this year, and what YOU need for any of the same bucket list items.
We just got married.
We got married in September. And as happens for many newlywed couples, SO MUCH TO DO happens in SO LITTLE TIME. You’re bombarded with a bajillion questions (Where are you living? Are you changing your name? Have you thought about merging your bank accounts? BABIES?!) before you’ve even jetset off to the honeymoon.
Under Ameritas’ “Just Got Married” section, they’ve got a handy dandy “How much home can I afford?” calculator. Y’all. This is LIT. I so wish I had had this when J and I were doing our home financing research back in April. However, knowing I can spare y’all some time now is almost just as satisfying. 😉
Besides all of the costs around actually throwing a wedding, there are all of the financial talks that naturally arise when merging two lives into one quasi-thing. Where you live totally impacts your financial status. Whatever the earned income tax (or, EIT) is in your area takes a percentage chunk from your paycheck; it’s higher in metro areas, so we saved literally THOUSANDS of dollars by living 20 minutes farther away from the city. Nobody tells you this up front, but with some digging…holy moly, the truth comes out.
We bought a house.
A lot of the above Q’s apply here too, since so much of it is based in big financial talks. The biggie here for us was this: We did not (and do not) want to be “house poor.” We knew from the get go that we wanted to be able to LIVE and do what we wanted to do and have that financial freedom…not be tied down for the next 30 years, too tied to a mortgage to leave the couch.
This was a wildly important decision, so if any of y’all are hoping and dreaming and goal-setting towards becoming homeowners…DEFINITELY take advantage of the Ameritas home calculator. There is nothing that previously prepares you in life for something as whopping as buying a home. This is not like buying shoes or bags. This is challenging. 😉 It adds great perspective, plus it’s so helpful to compare any current rent costs to the price of a monthly mortgage payment. For us, our mortgage payment ended up being right around what our rent would’ve been at J’s old place, but we’re in a nicer area and have waaaaaaay more space. There are *so many factors* that come into play, so do your due diligence to make a smart decision. No, that culdesac home for half a million might not be in your price range as of right now. But you never know…you might actually be able to afford more than you think.
BUT BUT BUT, that being said, J and I were both told to house shop BELOW your means. Meaning, whatever the house calculator says you can afford…go well beneath that. There are *so* many unexpected costs that pop up when house shopping, and the LAST thing you want is to be blind sighted with so many random expenditures that you end up actually not being able to afford your place. Go comfortably below your means and you’ll be more comfortable in the long run!
We both have new jobs.
Mine is less new, as I graduated school and launched my own gig full time in May. But, J got a new job very recently. We’ve had to put our heads together and get majorly financially savvy STAT. Good thing my hubby is a WIZ with numbers and dollar signs – I’m a dollar sign wiz, but only when it’s connected to an “Add to Cart” button. 😉
As a fulltime entrepreneur, I don’t have the luxury of insurance, a built-in 401K, automatic taxes…basically, any of the things that the good ol’ 9-to-5 allows. There was a LOT we wanted to do within a short time span. Heck – we’re both ridiculously ambitious, and ain’t nobody got time to waste on anything other than a best life. So, with everything we had lined up and everything we wanted to make happen within 2016, we’ve had to sit down on multiple occasions to talk our individual and familial financial strategies.
Do we merge accounts? How do we each think of money, and spend versus save? What are our viewpoints on debt…is debt ok?
So many Q’s come flying atcha when you get hitched, especially on the financial front. And when two people are ALSO both in new jobs with new salaries, it’s even more challenging. Both J and I made our biggest career decisions of our lives during the course of our relationship, and then we made more just recently. So it’s HUGE and it can be HARD, but it’s hella important. Knowing things like insurance policies and take-home pay and EIT and retirement programs…all mega crucial to long term success. I lovelovelove that Ameritas has this calculator to see how any adjustments to your payroll or taxation will affect your take-home pay. Cos let’s be real. The REAL digits you care about are the ones in yo’ pocket. 😉
We’ve gotta think ahead…
…and plan for retirement. I’m sorry, whaaaaa?!? First they tell me that 2017 is right around the corner, and now we’re dropping the “R” word? Ameritas has a super straightforward page on thinking ahead to retirement with various points of consideration, whether you’re in a traditional 9-to-5 vibe with things already built into the framework, or not. Either way, you’ll hands down wanna get used to playing with this calculator to help determine how much you need to start saving NOW for when it comes to retire to a nice shorehouse down south. 😉
Maybe you’re already contributing to a 401(k), maybe you’re investing in an IRA (if not, there are Ameritas peeps who can help can you set up with that ASAP!), maybe you’ve already got an emergency fund up and running just in case. If not…you need to get on all three of the above, like, yesterday. While it might feel far off and distant, starting to think ahead now can literally earn you HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for the future. I kid you not. Do the math. Freak out a bit. Then get to planning and saving like a champ.
If you’re feeling at all overwhelmed and/or anxious after reading all of the above…you should be. HA. But really tho, these are all HUGE life decisions. I graduated from Wharton and launched a business, moved in with J, and bought a car…we bought a house, got married, and J got a new job…all in the past seven months. That’s NUTS. This stuff is not easy, nor is it to be taken lightly – it’s LIFE we’re talkin’ about! But luckily, there are peeps like the folks at Ameritas to help you through it all with grace and gumption. The one thing I overwhelmingly felt through the last few months was the need for a manual – some sort of playbook or guide to help me navigate everything. I graduated and BAM – ’twas thrown in the fire of life. Ameritas offers insurance across the board, employee benefits, and financial services, as well as just general counsel, which makes a HUGE difference when you’re in the midst of #life.
This year was by far the most wild, jam-packed, unexpected, challenging, and beautiful year yet. We’re for SURE not planning any other additions to 2016, and we’re trying to keep 2017 a *bit* more tame.
But if any of YOU are on the baby bandwagon, Ameritas has planning options there, too. 😉
What big events are on your radar for 2017?
And I wanna know – can I help ya with content/advice/posts on any of the above for the new year?? Anything and everything you wanna know that would help you somehow, let me know so I can cook up some tips + tricks to make yo’ lives easier!
*This post is sponsored by Ameritas. As always, all opinions and thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!