“My Two Cents”


Attending the Women’s Leadership Institute has inspired me to do something radical.

I attended a powerful session by money management expert Manisha Thakor (http://www.moneyzen.com/) who asked participants to consider how they achieve their financial goals.  I spent several hours over the course of the institute thinking about my philosophy of spending, saving and giving money.  I am one who always believes that “the money goes where the priorities are.” This is true of both personal and workplace budgets.

This session taught me that I am doing one thing very well and one thing…not so well.

I am on track with my investments in my retirement fund based on my age.  By age 35, Manisha advises, you should have at least one year of your current salary saved for retirement.  At 33, I am very close to achieving that goal.  I have always been told that careful planning for retirement is something that you should do early in your career and I have been investing money for retirement since I was 22.

Yay me.

Now the not so good news.  While the only debt I have are school loans, I am not even close to where I should be with my personal savings account and emergency fund.  This is because my long-term priority of having financial security doesn’t always match up with my need to buy a new dress (or five) or pick up the newest Kate Spade bag (guilty as charged).

I am also someone who likes to celebrate successes (mine and others) in big ways that are often expensive.

Plus there is that little habit of going to Starbucks…every single day 🙂

In short, I am living each day in ways that make me happy in the present but do not contribute to financial security for my future.

In 2013 my focus will be on giving in different ways:

I will strive to spend my money on experiences, not things.

I will give my time instead of sending flowers and/or gifts to friends.

I will seek to limit Starbucks to the weekends only.

And…this is the big one…I will attempt to not purchase any new clothes in 2013.

Will I succeed?  I honestly don’t know.  What I know for sure is that we don’t talk enough about financial wellbeing in higher education.  I will chronicle my experiences with striving to accomplish my financial goals through this blog in 2013.

I have a magic number to be saved in 2013 and look forward to celebrating that goal.  Not by buying a new dress to mark the occasion, but by circling the grand total on my banking statement and raising my Starbucks to toast my victory…on a Saturday, of course!

How do you achieve your financial goals?  Please share your wisdom!!

Follow me on Twitter @annmarieklotz

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About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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25 Responses to “My Two Cents”

  1. Shannon Greybar Milliken says:

    WOW – that is quite a great goal! I agree though, I have similar struggles. While I hope to buy new cloths in 2013, it will be because I am getting healthier and need them. I look forward to following along in your journey! I shopped recently with a friend who was a great support too, and she said, “Do you love it? If you love it on you, get it. But if you just like it, its not worth your money.” I found shopping with a friend who was really critical of her purchases to be empowering.

    • Thanks Shannon! While I know that all 4 parts of my financial goals will be a challenge the new year brings a great opportunity to give it my best effort, think critically about how I spend money and learn from the experience! Thanks for sharing your story–I always appreciate having friends around me who think differently about spending and saving, too!

  2. Amma says:

    AMK, I’m working on a similar goal! What with trying to pay for #sadoc without loans, I can stand to be a little less indulgent. Books and clothes are my major money sucks. I’m using my library more diligently, so one is (mostly) solved. I’m with you in spirit on this one, let’s keep each other accountable 🙂

  3. Great post and great goal AMK! Financial well being is something I would like to achieve. Having gone through a number of financial hardships, it will take a while to get there, but putting a plan in action is the best way to start. I’m looking forward to reading Tom Rath’s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements over the holidays, and imagine I’ll be further inspired to make this kind of health more of a priority.

    As always, I appreciate your transparency and willingness to share your journey.

    I know how hard it is to resist those Kate Spade bags 😉

    • Thanks Kate! I was inspired partly by WLI and in part by that very same book. When I took the wellbeing assessment I scored high in all areas except for financial wellbeing. It’s time to make this a priority and the new year is as good of a time as any to begin! I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book!

  4. Erin Also says:

    Wow! You are way ahead of me on the saving for retirement, Ann Marie, but I’m working on the savings and emergency fund, though that could be going to a new house in the next year. I LOVE the idea of not buying ANY new clothes in 2013. I truly believe I could do this, though it will be tough because my past philosophy has been “new clothes make me feel new”…now if I could just change my mantra a bit, I think I could be on the right path. I REALLY wish Student Affairs did a better job of financial planning. That would make a GREAT seminar at a conference. Especially for us previous “live in” professionals that had to learn things the hard way about saving before they got an office that was no longer down the hall from their apartments.

    • Hi Erin–thanks so much for reading! I totally understand your “philosophy” 🙂 All 4 goals will be a challenge for me but I have to believe the payoff (no pun intended!) will be worth it!

  5. Brava, Ann Marie! So excited to hear your resolutions. It’s amazing how powerful just making the decision to make financial well-being a priority can have. (And kudos to you already for being in such a strong place on the long term savings front. I have zero doubt you’ll get there with your personal savings & emergency fund, especially given you’ve so clearly identified the root mental roadblock).

    My friend, Jamie Eslinger blogged about her experience not shopping for a year here: http://thepromise365.com (she’s fantastic, think you’ll love hearing about her journey). And there’s an interesting book you might like called “NOT BUYING IT: my year without shopping” by Judith Levine. Wishing you all the best!

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting Manisha! After hearing you speak at WLI I knew it was time to make some positive changes. Thanks for the support and resources. You are changing the world, one woman at a time! 🙂

  6. Carolyn Golz says:

    AMK – I have to admit, I’ve worried about this part of your life and am glad to see that you recognize the need to make some changes. Good luck and let me know how I can support the process. 🙂

    • Thanks Carolyn! Just because I don’t have debt doesn’t mean that there aren’t massive changes I can make. I am excited to embrace this challenge and all that comes with it. It probably means I will be working more on the dissertation too…which is a whole other set of challenges, lol.

  7. Mary Catherine Jordan says:

    I love this topic … it is so so important. I am very thankful to work for a student affairs department that paid for its employees to take Dave Ramsey’s CORE Financial Wellness course. What a radical way to truly support and encourage holistic wellness! Thanks for sharing, and I hope you’ll write more about WLI in the coming weeks!

  8. Lark says:

    Hey Anne Marie –
    Thanks for this post and for being so open. You have inspired me improving my financial health in 2013 as well. I could especially relate to your “dresses and lattes” comment. I spoke with Julie Murphy Casserly this morning, a financial planner in the Chicago area. She is speaking at DePaul Women’s Network upcoming Brown Bag Luncheon. She explained to me that women in particular are not conscious about money and they give away their personal power to money. She explained that spending unconsciously often is related to failure to process emotions. The spending fills a void and allows us to avoid or push down the emotion. Once we recognize this, she said we can end dysfunctional financial patterns. Thought I’d pass those words along to you here on your blog, since the timing of reading your post and talking to Julie was so in sync.
    -Lark

  9. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to try no spend January. Where you only buy needs and not wants. Personal finances is one of my favorite topics to research and explore. Dave Ramsey is great and so is Suze Orman. I love watching financials shows or radio shows to help affirm my goals. In our society today it can be challenging to stay on track with your financial goals. One cool trend is money centers on campuses that help teach students how to manage their finances. If we can start getting honest with our finances and taking control then we can teach our students as well.

  10. Tosh Patterson says:

    This is great! I also raise my hand to say that I am a recovering Coach purse, clothes, & shoes addict 🙂 Like you I am focused on being more financially responsible by wasting less food…my partner & I buy organic and, sometimes, food goes bad b/c we eat out in addition to having groceries at home…I’m starting to realize it’s not how much you make, but where you spend it.

  11. staci d. gunner says:

    Hi AMK! Thanks so much for sharing this (publicly with all of us). I couldn’t agree more, I too, am someone who “likes to celebrate successes (mine and others) in big ways that are often expensive.” For me, especially in the past, this wasn’t a reciprocated act by others. Still, it’d been a challenge for me to learn how to “give” in other ways; while it might not be what I need, I “felt” the need to have to shower friends and family with gifts. There’s affirmation in this post, and a little fire for me to get serious about my retirement. I’m only three years behind you and I can’t even tell you if I’m close to such a goal. I certainly think it’ll be important for me to focus on this aspect of my womanhood in the new year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Pingback: How Emotions Affect Money: An Interview with a DWN Guest Speaker « DePaul Women's Network Blog

  13. Pingback: 1 Month Down, 11 To Go! | annmarieklotz

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