I recently announced that I would start featuring some of the budget profiles submitted to my site, including those of fellow bloggers. For those of you who may be new to this site, I encourage others to bare their budgets so we can all benefit by seeing how everyone else is (or isn’t) making it.
It has been an eye opening and uplifting experience to feature other bloggers through interviewing them and posting their budgets. There is so much we have to learn from each other and so much we might never know if we didn’t ask.
This week I am excited to be featuring Hannah from Unplanned Finance!
I was fortunate enough to meet Hannah just a few weeks ago at FinCon. She had already submitted her budget profile, and after meeting her, I knew I had to do an Unplanned Finance feature. Not only is she super smart and an awesome mom, she also works remotely as a business intelligence analyst while her husband finishes up his PhD in something that I probably can’t even pronounce.
Follow the link below to check out her budget profile (it will open in a new window). It consists of her monthly income, expenses, & total net worth. In other words, all of the dirty details that we love to read about.
The Unplanned Finance Interview
1. I know one of your main goals right now is to transition out of your full time job to focus more on family while your kids are young. What kind of approach are you taking, and when do you plan to cut the cord?
Because my husband is still in school, we’re having to attack this transition from both the expenses and the income side. We’ve got a paid for house, and a reliable(ish) car and no debts. We’re forecasting that we can keep our expenses (including out of pocket healthcare premiums) to around $3000 month. We will have to cut back on giving to achieve this (something we’re not willing to do until we don’t have the income for it), but we won’t see significant cutbacks elsewhere.
On the income side, we’re supplementing my husband’s stipend with rental income from another property and a from renting out our basement. I’ve also begun freelance writing, which, if it holds steady will put us into the positive savings category.
The emotional aspect of cutting the cord is much more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve worked very hard in my career, and I like my job a lot. I expect that being a stay at home mom will be rewarding, but it won’t be as interesting as my job (or as lucrative). To counter the negative feelings that I have about this I remind myself of two things. One, my kids are worth it, and two, I can jump start my career later.
2. Where does the name Unplanned Finance come from? What advice would you give others who find themselves in a similar situation?
Unplanned Finance is a name based on the fact that my husband and I found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant just a few months after getting married. Although the pregnancy itself was unplanned, the amount that our child has altered our life and our goals has been completely unplanned.
I know so many people that have had unplanned babies, and their life situation is all over the map. This is one area where universal advice is pointless, so instead I’m going to tell you things that I’m glad we did.
I’m glad that my husband still pursued grad school right away after the birth of our son. I’m glad that we saved a ton of money in between the time I learned I was pregnant and when I gave birth. I’m glad that my husband and I continued to work on our marriage even when it was tough.
3. You talked about going through are hard time that eventually led you to realize that your desire for financial freedom and financial peace wasn’t the ultimate goal and wouldn’t bring you ultimate happiness. Do you still feel that way? Do you think most people need to experience some kind of hardship to have that realization?
I absolutely believe that no amount of money can buy happiness, but how we handle our money and our attitude towards money are supremely important because that reflects the contents of our heart.
I’m still very into the goal of financial independence because I like the flexibility to work for money or not, but I am much more into storing up treasures in heaven. I think of my life as relatively easy, so I don’t think this lesson requires extreme hardship (though it could certainly be learned that way as well), but I do think pain of any type helps us evaluate priorities.
4. I have to ask this one because I know you are a spreadsheet nerd. What’s your favorite excel function (or modeling technique, trick, etc.)? Would you encourage anyone to create a budget using a spreadsheet?
I decided that the VLookup is my favorite Excel function, but only because its one of the most overlooked. (I also like to record macros rather than write real VBA).
I would encourage everyone to budget somehow, but I’m a little less legalistic about a spreadsheet. That said, I also discourage the use of pen and paper (most people suck at mental arithmetic). I recommend either a software, a website or a spreadsheet. That way, the more you budget, the easier it will become.
5. When your kids are older and you feel ready to start working more, do you plan to go back to work for a large company or work for yourself? What steps do you plan to take to facilitate that transition?
Most likely, I will work for someone else. I love the competitive culture in many of the Fortune 1000 companies, and I find it very engaging. The only thing that would pull me away from the huge company culture is if I found a personal mission that could convert into a business platform (not just self-employment).
There is so much good stuff here! Here are a few of my takeaways.
- Focus on what’s most important–you can always jump start your career later.
- Save as much money as you can before the kids come! I’m writing an article on this very thing…
- Money attitudes can be indicative of your where your heart is.
- There is nothing wrong with working for someone else! It’s all about what you enjoy.
- Sometimes the best things come from surprises!
To read more about Hannah, check out her blog form more great stuff.
Your turn to bare your budget
I am currently taking submissions from people who are interested in being featured. If you are interested, post your budget and send me an email.
What insights did you glean from Hannah?