By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor
I spent most of my life living paycheck to paycheck. I left home at 18 and pregnant. My then husband and I earned around $9,000 the year my daughter Alyssa was born. Needless to say, we barely were able to afford groceries and formula. At 23, I went through a divorce. I did not have a college education, nor any higher education for that matter and had only worked two jobs outside of high school. I began a program at the University of North Texas’ Professional Development Department for Paralegal Studies and received a Paralegal Certificate. Following graduation, I found a great job working for AT&T mobile systems I felt that things were going great for me. I met my second husband in 1998 and we had our daughter Savannah in 2003. Eleven months later, he decided a different path was best for him. I was working as an assistant to a financial advisor at the time. I found myself single again, but now with two daughters to feed. I did not have money to save for emergencies, retirement nor for my two daughter’s education. Being in the financial services industry it bothered me that I was not able to do these things appropriately. I did live within my means and I didn’t accumulate debt beyond my home and my car.
I began saving for retirement in a Roth IRA and for Alyssa’s college around 2005. I later began savings in my employer’s 401(k) plan. It was challenging to get such a late start on my future plans. But nonetheless, it IS better to start late then not starting at all. Sometimes I talk with clients that feel ashamed or embarrassed that they are behind in their savings goals or plans. I always remind them that it’s more important to just get started than to worry about wasted years. Yes, when we get started later in life, it may be necessary to fund your financial goals at a larger pace, or work a little longer than you expected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get on track in the future!
Sometimes my clients feel anxious because they haven’t saved like they feel they should have in earlier years. If you feel like you are behind and in turn this anxiety causes you to continue to put off making a savings plan for yourself, please give us a call. Let’s get to work on some ideas to help you succeed.
When I first started saving for retirement, I was contributing $25 per month to a Roth IRA, and about $50 to Alyssa’s college fund. These days, at 47, I am able to max out my 401(k) and have fully funded my second daughter Savannah’s college fund. I am working on doing the same for my 3rd child, Jaggar. Jaggar is 11 and by the time he is ready to go to college, I should have that expense covered. I save money each month into my emergency fund and three years ago I was able to purchase my home utilizing a fifteen-year mortgage to help ensure it is paid off before I retire. My husband and I save money for our future retirement travel expenses and I contribute to a Health Savings Account each year.
In spite of my current savings habits, my late start to saving money left me behind for many years. At 47 I feel that I am just now able to feel comfortable with my own plans.
Again, please know that we are here to help you make new decisions and set realistic goals for yourself and your family. We are human and have been in your shoes! Please give us the opportunity to help you work through a savings plan. Putting your head in the sand will not eliminate the problem and only make you feel more anxious as each year passes. Let’s get this done together.