Money management is for lovers

episode 7. Awkwardly slurping tea

It's cool enough to sip tea but it's throwing Chris off his podcast game. We talk about Chris's recent trip to Austin, Kelsey's weekend managing the tots (which included an update to our gallery wall, below) and the spa vacation that Kelsey deserves in the near future.

Matrimoney podcast

We combine our money talk and listener questions and start off with a clarification on our strategy for paying off our mortgage early. Our strategy is this: each month we put $1,000 or more into a Vanguard index fund. We plan to continue to save money into this account and then pay off our mortgage with this money in one fell swoop in about five years. We are doing this instead of making extra mortgage payments each month because we expect the money in our index fund to earn better interest than our mortgage interest rate (4%). 

We also answer a listener question about saving and budgeting for spending around holidays and for gifts. This is something we have been working on and we've had disagreements about it! We now budget about $100 per month or $1,200 per year for birthday gifts, Christmas and holidays. We don't find that we spend much on holiday decor each year so this budget really goes to gifts and Christmas gifts. 

In One Big Thing, Chris is loving Mugglecast and is looking forward to speaking along side Peter Singer. Kelsey is loving the slightly cooler weather.

We are loving your emails and questions, keep them coming!


episode 4. Beatboxing a budget

We reflect on how we're doing on getting into a school year routine so far (dishes front: good; coffee date front: not so good). Kelsey is eager for fall weather but all Chris wants to talk about is his birthday.

In money talk, we look back at August, as tracked in Mint, and reveal how we did at sticking to our budgets. We had wins and losses. For those of you who love to break it down graphically, here's what our August spending looked like:

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We budget a total of $6,100 for our expenses each month but in August we spent $6,800, womp womp. We had overages in the categories of childcare, home repairs and car repairs although we did well on our entertainment spending (a challenge for us!). We also determined that our coffee habit is the gateway for unnecessary spending and we need to do some soul searching about it. Overall, our spending resulted in not being able to save as much last month. 

And we've got our current budget to share with you! Find it on our Resources page.

We also give some more context to our advice that you probably don't need a financial planner. First, let us say that for some people a financial planner could be a great resource. This might be if you have overly complex finances (many rental properties, self-employed, are so intimidated by your finances you don't know where to start or you are preparing to retire soon and draw down your investments).

If you do plan to see a financial advisor we recommend choosing someone who does not work for a large investment firm and therefore will be more likely to evaluate your finances objectively with your goals in mind and not push a pre-determined investment strategy or products. And be sure to choose a fee-only advisor and not fee-based advisor. Fee-only means you will pay a flat fee.

We have gotten by without a financial advisor following these steps:

  1. Identify life goals and the financial strategies to support those goals.
  2. Increase income (only partly under our control, such as raises and changing jobs).
  3. Drastically reducing expenses (nearly completely under our control). This is where we have done a lot of work. We discuss several of the ways - big and small - that we have decreased our living expenses in episode 3

To determine where and how to invest our money we did lots of reading and research and determined that Vanguard investment accounts are the right choice for us (low fees and perform well). We invest in an index fund, which means that the fund is a diverse portfolio of stocks, is not actively managed and tracks with the stock market (goes both up and down with the stock market).

We close the show with Chris reflecting on the philosophy of creating more value than you take in and both of us getting emotional about how fast our boys are growing.

If you are in the United States, happy Labor Day! We hope you have the day off and are relaxing, perhaps by budgeting and finding new ways to save. 


episode 1. Work in the summah

We give a run down of our current life and financial situation. It includes two young boys who don't sleep very much and two full time working parents. Chris is a professor who sometimes works in the "summah", Kelsey is a science writer.

We talk about our big financial goal of paying off the house in five years and offer advice on how to split expenses with your partner when your salaries are very different.

Thanks so much for listening! A quick iTunes review or star rating would earn you a place in our hearts. And we love to get your questions, email us!