#adulting with Finances

I’m 27, moving to Costa Rica, and have no idea what to do with my finances.

Monay-monay-monaaay… we all want it. That power, that freedom, that energy. I like to call it “abundance,” but regardless of what cute name you put on it, some of the time the relationship we have with it can be unhealthy. We can wonder why more isn’t coming in and why we’re constantly running to the finish line that is our next paycheck… and when it comes to dishing it out for things like our phone bills, rent and credit card payments, some of us wait until the last second or actually just ignore it until we have a 1-888 number calling us constantly (don’t feel bad, I’ve been there too).

Source: @visit_costarica

Here’s my ‘sitch,’ I’m 27 and I am picking up my life to move to Costa Rica with my dog. This recent life decision has left me wondering “How can I start effortlessly creating more financial security for myself?” Well, I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dave McGann, from Tangerine Investments, which got my financial wheels in motion.

“I had the opportunity,” that statement right there alone is troubling. Because we all have the opportunity to talk to a caring professional who wants to help us with our money, but it took me being asked to write this piece to actually sit down and think about my finances. As you will learn later on in this article, you too have the opportunity to get started yourself and while professionals are readily available to talk to, it doesn’t even need to involve speaking with a professional. There are some awesome online tools and resources out there that have really transformed how we can learn about investments and get started. It can be so easy; it makes me mad at myself for not having done it sooner.

So, what did Dave say when I told him that I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing with my money and how to manage it, let alone invest it? He laughed…. Seriously. Not AT me, but in an endearing way. If we’re being honest, it was comforting. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what is going on when it comes to finances. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn.

Even though I don’t know how to manage my money, I will say that I have become a lot better with it. There was one point in my life where I came into a lot of money and didn’t do laundry for a whole year – I just bought new clothes. I took friends on trips; I got new cars just because I could afford it. That was how I handled money. I was addicted to spending and knew no value of a dollar. Now that I have worked through my demons, and actually care about my life and my future, I see money as energy. There is give and there is take. Money is a mindset and learning how to manage it is tapping into that frequency.

I digress. Back to Dave from Tangerine. After we spoke about our personal views on money, our history with money, some embarrassing stories…. we got down to the nitty gritty. It was time to talk about my finances, and what I should actually do. Here was the first advisement: read and educate yourself. He suggested a book called “Wealthing Like Rabbits.” I haven’t read it yet – but I will keep you posted. Also, Tangerine has a blog – Forward Thinking! Which I have made myself familiar with and its actually pretty great. It is easy to read and to the point (aka it didn’t give me any anxiety). And did you know that Tangerine is updating its website and mobile app to help you manage and budget your money? I’ll be sure to be first to use this new feature on the app when it comes out.

AH: “So what do I do now, Dave?”

DM: “Alex, you start by figuring out what portion of your savings you need for “now”, versus what you can afford to invest for “later”

Dave’s advice to me was to start out by managing my finances wisely in order to plan for my time out of the country.  Before investing, I need to know what I have, what I need to maintain my lifestyle, and what I can afford to put towards investments for the long-term. I’m learning to manage money this way and am pushing myself out of my comfort zone; it’s helping me feel more comfortable with taking this plunge to pack-up and live abroad. But what does a girl who has no idea what is going on, who doesn’t want to be obsessed with stocks (let’s not even go there), and who really wants to do as little as possible, DO about investing?!

DM: “Mutual Funds.”

Mutual funds. Didn’t know what those were either. As it turns out, the concept is actually pretty cool. And to those of you reading this ‘LOL-ing’ in your head because “is this girl seriously teaching us about mutual funds right now?” Yeah, I am. Because I’m sure most people my age don’t really understand it, or how easy it is to get invested (pun intended). Essentially, a mutual fund is often a huge portfolio of securities, (typically stocks or bonds or a combination of both) that a whole whack load of other people (who may not know what they’re doing either) – pool money together in order to gain instant exposure to all of those securities the fund invests in. So instead of having hundreds or even thousands of individual investments to manage, you can literally buy one-fund that does it for you! Seriously, at Tangerine Investments you can take an online quiz that gets to know you and your goals, and then I guess Tangerine works their backend magic, and BOOM – they show you an investment portfolio that is best suited for you. You decide how much money you want to put in, leave it, and go on with your life. I plan on setting aside $3,000 to start and I am setting an alarm reminder for one year from now. Because that’s the thing about investing, it’s about a long-term view so your money has the chance to grow. Seems easy enough, right? Right.

So, that’s where I’m at thanks to friendly Dave at Tangerine. I’m starting to get it, I’m starting to be less hard on myself, I’m starting to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made with money, because guess what? My mistakes are totally fixable – and so are yours. Not all hope is lost! We grew up thinking we need to have everything figured out by the time we’re 30… a house, kids, a backyard… but those days are long gone. Here I am at 27 packing up my life and moving to Costa Rica, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in my future – because the sooner you start, the better. We have the ability to work from wherever we want now, as long we have a steady internet connection. So, why can’t it be the same way with investing? Oh wait, it can be, and it is!