Paying off my student loans

Student Loan

I have come back to this post many times in the past weeks and rewritten it. This is supposed to be the part where I tell you why I started this blog now. Why start a blog and why now. The thing is, most ideas I come up with have been written before in the PF community. Often more than once, and by writers who wrote it much much better than I can.

I feel like since I’ve paid off my student loan, I have been ‘drifting’ with my finances. The number of blogs I kept reading decreased. That was part of me, and partly because some of the bloggers stopped/slowed posting or sold their websites.

I won’t feel more engaged again, because I think finding your ‘tribe’ increases your likelihood of success. I can read the calculations posts for saving rates and the first 100k is the hardest over and over, and still, feel like FIRE is a far and seemingly unreachable goal. Despite knowing the numbers indicate I’ve got a good start.

I remember reading over finance that she saw a lack of female Asian voices in the PF blog-sphere, and thought maybe someone will find her perspective helpful or insightful. Then so maybe, someone out there will find my experience or struggles helpful.

I’m single, in my late twenties, and renting. I struggle with filial piety, Sherry at Save Spend Splurge explains it in this post. My parents’ money problems have cost a lot of anxiety. Unlike many other bloggers, I’m not naturally frugal. My father was an entrepreneur and many of his friends are very successful businessmen (think multi-millionaires to billionaires). So I grew up in a bit of a dichotomy. When I was young, my family was well off and lived a fairly modest lifestyle surrounded by very close family friends who lived a very lavish lifestyle.

For example, it’s instinctual for me to recognize the brands people are wearing/carrying while many of my friends don’t. I have now come to terms with that’s just how I am. And stopped feeling guilty that maybe it made me more vain or superficial to notice these things.

I have expensive tastes. I love live theater, especially musicals. Disney movies, Disneyland, Disney World, and the whole nine yards are right up my alley. And I love to travel. All this does not make for a good money blogger, I know. So I hope this blog will help me refocus my finances, document my struggles and introspection, and keep me accountable for my spending. A year or so after I paid off my student loans, I stopped tracking my spending. Spreadsheets have grown on me, so I kept up tracking my net worth, asset allocation, etc. I started traveling. I loved it. And the number of trips I went on grew each year.

I traveled 8 times, 7 of which were for fun, and 6 were international. As you can imagine, my spending also increased significantly. Along with travel, I’ve also been overspending on eating out and entertainment. Of course, my saving rate for these years decreased accordingly. While a 40% saving rate is decent, I’ve spent more than most PF blogger families in 2017. I know I can do better, much better than this. I want financial independence, but I also want the journey to include luxuries like traveling, good food, and entertainment.

The important thing for me is to remember not to grow dependably on luxuries. To be aware of my decisions, and make sure I’m conscious of why I do what I do and what I don’t do. To make sure I don’t fall back on making decisions because of convenience or complacency. I hope someone will find some of what I have to say to be useful or helpful.

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