“Is renting a waste of money?” Bernadette Joy’s money-burning question

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Hi! It’s a burning question, An advice column where I answer your questions about investing, getting out of debt, building wealth, and FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)! I am not a licensed financial advisor; I provide education. The information here is based on my opinions, my personal experience, and the work I have done successfully with clients. In these columns, I’ll give you practical steps to overcome your biggest challenges with money and gain insight into how real people can achieve financial independence in a variety of situations.

In the second installation, I answered questions from two Gen X women who are ready to be FIRE, but there are some barriers (or people) between them and their goals of financial independence.

Am I crazy to quit a steady job, buy a house in Nashville, and become a 53-year-old comedian?

Hey Bernadette! I am happy to say that I am ready to pursue my dream job as a full-time comedian.

I am 53 years old and started my comedy career at 45. I’ve been with the company for 37 years since I was 16! 31 of them were in public relations. I have been in my current job for 11 years.

Jumping is scary, but I know I can do it!

I was hoping to move from Charlotte to Nashville because the comedy scene here is much smaller. I knew moving to Nashville would give me more opportunities. I would love to hear your advice on whether I should buy a home once I get there. I’m renting now and I don’t want to keep wasting more money on rent (or at least that’s what everyone told me).

– Signed, interesting, but I need more money

What an inspiring and reminder that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams!

If dreams were free, we would all do what we love. But pursuing dreams, like becoming a full-time stand-up comedian, will cost you something: your old beliefs about money.

Leap to Nashville, but rent there first! No, it’s not a waste of money:

  • have a roof over your head
  • a safe place to store your belongings, and
  • Opportunity to be part of a new community

Here are three other tips to help you migrate more easily:

1. Stable income before buying. I suspect your income as a full-time comedian will fluctuate. Renting will help you upgrade or downsize if your income changes over the next year.

2. Assess whether you are financially ready to buy a home that will not be a financial burden in the future. I wrote a column about this called If You Can’t Pay 20% Down, You Can’t Buy a Home (Yet).

3. Explore communities in your first year that will help you get more gigs. I love Nashville, but like many other cities, living there is different than visiting.

As a speaker pursuing a stage life, I recently sold my house and started renting again. It shocked many of my friends and family, especially since my house has been paid off!

But I am very happy with the decision! It has helped me downsize so I need very little maintenance at home. There is no more lawn to mow. No more DIY projects and weekends at Home Depot.

Now, I go to the show with more peace of mind and don’t have to think about what’s waiting for me at home. I’m not at home anyway because I’m out there growing my business, just like you!

I suspect the place where you really feel at home is on stage, making people laugh and feel good. Let’s focus on owning the stage, Then own a piece of land. Rooting for you!

I was ready to fire, but my husband of 25 years didn’t help me get there. How to do?

In our 25 years of marriage, my husband and I have never managed our money well. Over the past two years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about our financial situation.

I have paid off all my debts and am now focused on building generational wealth.

My husband is in his early 60s and I am in my early 50s. He’s retired. As my income continued to grow, he only received a small monthly disability allowance. We have a different mindset when it comes to building wealth.

From an income standpoint, what advice do you have for couples who are at a completely different stage of life?

Any advice when your spouse doesn’t want to be involved in financial decisions and isn’t involved in the maintenance budget process? “

– autograph, wife on fire (husband not so much)

My husband AJ and I have been married for 11 years. As you describe, we’ve had a lot of money struggles and periods of huge income disparity. Like you, I was the one who initially took the lead in paying off all the debt and building my wealth mindset and habits. Here’s how I got him on board.

First, I cried. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.

Not on purpose, but one thing I’m trying to do more than I do alone. I can no longer maintain the Beyonce image of an independent woman. I’ve reached my breaking point. I burst into tears and asked for help.

I hope your husband sees your need without tears. Find a good time to sit down and have a serious conversation.

Explain how you felt when he wasn’t helpful in the financial decision-making process. Let him know the emotional stress it puts on you and make him feel like you have to deal with it alone.

Second, share FIRE narratives that appeal to his mind and heart.

The head showed him the numbers, because numbers don’t lie. This is where your FIRE number is calculated. You mentioned that he has retired. But in reality he isn’t because it sounds like he needs your income to not have to work.

Like your husband, most people don’t know how much they need to retire.

Most people living in the US need at least $1 million to retire. Once you’ve figured it out, the number will either send you into action or send you into a spiral of despair.

You chose to act because you paid off all your debts. You have spent the past two years educating yourself and building a wealth mindset! You know better than anyone what you can relate to that number to excite him.

For AJ, I figured our number was $1.2 million, and when we realized that, we were nowhere close. I painted how the number represented the things he cared about. He can stop mowing the lawn (which he despises). We can visit his favorite nephew more than once a year. We could go to more K-pop concerts (he actually loves K-pop as much as I do)!

For your husband, more family vacations may be needed. Maybe it’s his favorite sporting event. Or as simple as knowing that his wife can work less and spend more time with him! Ask him how it affects him.

My last strategy is to talk while walking. I’ve met a lot of women who feel like they have to wait for their spouses to “agreed” before they can act.

We do not need permission from our husbands to act for our own financial independence.

My husband watched me invest six figures and double my operating income. He saw with his own two eyeballs that I would move on, whether he was on board or not.

Actions speak louder than words. If he’s not ready to hear those words, go ahead and do what you’re doing to achieve financial independence. He can decide if he wants to fall behind, or walk alongside you.

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