bad-day-worries

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of friends hit significant, and totally unexpected, hard times financially. One friend’s husband lost his job with no warning. Another needed to buy a new car when his previous one, which still had a couple of years of payments owed on it, was totaled.

In both cases, these were totally “HOLY CRAP” moments. And while everyone involved in both cases is 100% fine physically, the stress that has resulted has been hard for me to watch as a friend. Imagine looking at two of the people you care about most in the world and hearing them both say, in effect, “I think I’m totally screwed. There’s just no way I can get through this.

That sucks. And me, well, I wish I was debt-free and had thousands of dollars to just give away to people who have sucky things happen to them, to be honest. But… you guys know that’s not the case. I prove it every month in my financial updates!

Unfortunately, all I have to offer my closest friends – and all my friends here in the Man Vs. Debt community – is some advice about how to start digging out when life tosses you in a huge hole.

What do you do when financial disaster strikes?

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determination

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.

Last month, I was proud to share a look at what I accomplished financially in 2013 as part of my series of regular financial updates.

This month, I want to share some highlights of the current month, and then focus on a look ahead at my financial goals for 2014, along with some suggestions on how you can set your own financial next steps!

[So what am I planning for the year ahead?]

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budgeting-basics-emergency-fund-2

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.

Last week, I kicked off a series about Budgeting Basics by tackling What Is An Emergency Fund?

We talked about what such a fund should – and shouldn’t – be used for, and I promised then that I’d talk more about the financial details this week.

So let’s dig deeper and peer into the amount that should go into your emergency fund – and how on earth you’re going to get it!

[So how do you figure out your emergency fund amount?]

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budget-basics-emergency-fund

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.

2014 is going to be a “rebuilding year” for my finances. A lot of good things happened in 2013 (and you can read more about the ups and downs of the year here), but some pretty major changes have left me feeling like it’s time to buckle down, get back to basics, work on the fundamentals… insert your favorite sports-team metaphor here! I want to turn things around before a few bad moments become a losing streak.

I think maybe I’m not alone. No matter where you are financially – in debt or not, saving for retirement or not, making ends meet or not – it’s the time of year to get A Plan in place, right?

So as I’m rebuilding my system, I’m going to share a post or two here on Man Vs. Debt each month about getting back to the basics, financially.  These posts are adapted from what we shared in our long-running You Vs. Debt course, plus my family’s personal experience. It’s a good time to remind you that I’m not a financial professional – just someone willing to talk dirty about money and hopefully share a couple suggestions!

To kick things off, I thought I’d spend this week and next tackling a topic I’ve fielded in some reader emails recently: The emergency fund.

[What is an emergency fund??]

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what-after-debt

greg-becker-100This is a guest post by Greg Becker. Greg is an actuary, statistician, economist and social entrepreneur who founded www.GetGuidance.com to help people make better decisions about their health and wealth.  He has traveled extensively and been published in two books, and in newspapers and journals worldwide.

Paying off credit-card debt – or debt in general – is just one part of a well-balanced financial plan.

Getting out of debt can bring a sense of relief, but it doesn’t mean your battle for financial security is over.  There are many other aspects to consider. For instance…

  • Have you purchased the right insurance against accidents, illnesses and disability?
  • Are you building up a savings cushion – an emergency reserve to fall back on in emergencies?
  • And, the example I’d like to talk about todya, have you put enough money away for your planned retirement?

[So how is retirement savings like debt...?]

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2013-new

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.

This marks the end of my first full calendar year of updates here on Man Vs. Debt! (Though I’d done three-quarters of the year in 2012.)

At the same time, our family is in the process of job transitions, personal changes and decision-making.

Seems like a good time to take stock of where we’ve come this year. Next month, when I share our financial update, I hope I’ll be in a position to share some particular news about where we’re going in 2014, but for now, I want to showcase some of the awesomeness (and the less-than-awesomeness) that was 2013, and give you some ways to take a look at your own year in review!

[Here's a look at our wins this year!]

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