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How Do You Get Back on the Personal Finance Horse?

If the theme of 2012 for me is change – getting married, quitting job, moving cross-country for graduate school, then that of 2013 is uncertainty. As of right now, I don’t know where I will be for the summer, I don’t know what I’ll be doing for a full-time position in 2014, and I don’t know if my husband will get into his graduate program, or if he will get financial aid, and I don’t know when we will be living together in the same zip code.

Then in the last week or so, we found out some very unfortunate news about CB’s parents’ finances. Long story short, I may find myself the partial owner of a house sometime in 2013, as CB and I are talking about using $50,000 cash to pay off his parents’ mortgage. This will of course have implications on our cash flow / need to take out loans for our schooling. My father is also having some health issues that require surgery, and so I am worried about him but also worried about my mother who is worried about him.

Stressful is one way to put it.

Here’s the truth: I find myself feeling discouraged about finances in 2013. Usually thinking about saving and planning for the future energizes me, but lately I’ve been wanting to just ignore all the money stuff…

If you have words of advice, especially about how to get back onto personal finance horse after a period of serious winter blahs, please share it here.

Here’s to 2013 – I hope it will be a year of new possibilities and progress.


  • americandebtproject - Here's to 2013, friend. It's definitely a lot to take on and deal with, especially when you are in school and far from your husband, but the planning does help. Think about a few if scenarios and what will make you feel less stressed, then see if you can take a few steps towards it. I think you have done so well and put yourself in a good place, so you guys will get through 2013 and prosper. Happy New Year and I hope to see more posts again soon! ReplyCancel

  • wmwo - For the winter blahs (I get it!), I'd suggest popping a couple Vitamin D's and going for a run. It sucks that you've been hit with bad news on both of the parental fronts :( It's tough building everything up just to watch it decline with no definitive end in sight. I'm sure that the financial front will turn upwards for you eventually though; you're too skilled with money and determined for it to not happen. Personally, I found my interest in personal finance peaked back up when I did take a hit financially. It took me outside of my comfort zone, and I was determined to work it out. Maybe you'll have the same thing happen? ReplyCancel

  • StackingCash - It's only money. You have your whole future to make more, a great deal more considering your educational efforts. I never want to dismiss people's own problems, they can be terrible setbacks. However, we tend to focus on our own woes way too much and don't realize that others can possibly have it worse. Look what the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary school students had to deal with. Hang tough and know that you can get through it.


  • seedebtrun - Try to stay positive!.. I know that the uncertainty is scary.. But there is no doubt that starting off with a positive outlook is more likely to lead to success down the road… ReplyCancel

  • Budget & the Beach - I would say just scale back and take things day by day. If you think too far out, it can be overwhelming. So many things can happen and there are a lot of things out of our control. Breathe and you will get through whatever it is life throws at you! ReplyCancel

  • NoTrustFund - Sorry you are having a tough time. I would say focus on the things you can control. Take the time you have right now in school to explore jobs you're really excited about, keep track of your spending so things don't get out of control, and try to take good care of yourself.

    I also agree with WMWO- I've been the most motivated to learn about pf when in a tough spot. Good luck and Happy New Year! ReplyCancel

  • Cristina - I'm sorry you are in a stressful situation! We faced a somewhat similar situation a couple of years ago, and what made me feel better was realizing that one of the major benefits of having money saved is that you can use it to be there for family and friends when they are need. On one hand, you may not have intended to "invest" in your in-laws' home, but on the other, you are in a position to help them in a major way, which not everyone is. Hang in there! Everything will work out. ReplyCancel

  • Tie the Money Knot - Here is to a great 2013 for you. I know that uncertaintly and potentially big expenses like that can be stressful, as I've dealt with similar things. It's not fun for a while, but we can readjust and move forward. Keep doing the great things you're doing, and it will all work out.

    As for the mid-B school internship, full-time offers, etc….those things have a way of working themselves out too. I saw a friend go to B-School here in the midwest, but wanting to return back to NY for a marketing position. I mean, only NY/NJ and nowhere else at all. He didn't get an offer by graduation, but he networked and got a really good position later. It all worked out. His words were, it was "liberating" when he realized that there would be stress and uncertaintly, and accepted it. And, it worked out in the end just great. ReplyCancel

  • Margo - There are a lot of things here that you can’t control. Focus on the things that positively impact your ability to deal with them…namely, take care of your health and stress (eat right, exercise 30mins x 4 days a week, try yoga 1-2x a week) and do focused preparation for the upcoming interview season. By being a little bit “selfish” with your time, you put yourself in the position to be more generous in a month or two, once you’ve landed one or more internship offers. A few extra hours of interview prep can make a world of difference in your long-term career and earnings whereas a few extra hours of worrying about your family just gets you headaches and heartache. Do the things that create options for you, and therefore for your husband and family.

    As for getting back on the PF horse…I’ll offer to do an interview on how to pay back MBA loans and detail out the tricks I’ve used to systematically lower my WACC so I can make increasingly large dents in those loans. 😉 ReplyCancel

  • Little House - Sounds like you have a lot of unknown elements that you can't control and that can be scary. I'd say, look at the things you can control; getting an internship, finishing up your final year, budgeting your school expenses. As for the unknown, all I can say is I'm sure you'll figure it out as these things pop up. Good luck and Happy New Year! ReplyCancel

  • Thequesttobe - Phew! A lot on your plate right now!

    To help get yourself back on the horse, set one goal that is a little bit of a whim and then smash it out of the park!

    I've been on and off the horse for 2012. I've reset the resolve and drive to just get it done and be done with it already in 2013! ReplyCancel

  • mochiandmacarons - My best advice? One bite at a time.


  • thisthatandthemba - My advice is just take baby steps…i have been on and off again all 2012. i was on before christmas then the month of dec knocked me off close to where i had gotten all 2012..grr ReplyCancel

  • Mary Rhodes - For me it's simple, discipline is the way forward!! ReplyCancel

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