Living A Better Life Interview – Money Saved is Money Earned
In our brand new interview series, we are interviewing various individuals from across the web. This interview series focuses on how they are living a better life. They can be living a better life by pursuing financial independence, minimalism, simplicity, and many more aspects. Are you interested in being interviewed? Continue reading!
Want to be interviewed?
If you want to be interviewed about how you are living a better life. Contact us at [email protected] and tell us why you’d be a great candidate!
Give us your best elevator speech!
We are a frugal teacher and a financial analyst using research and real-world experience to educate and prevent the exploitation of average citizens by businesses and financial institutions. Teaching Consumerism to Frugalism since March, 2018.
How are you living a better life than you were last year? 5 years ago? 10?
Tawnya – My life has been steadily improving in many ways. 10 years ago I was in my junior year of college. 5 years ago I was living at home, paying out of pocket for graduate school, and working multiple jobs to save up for a down payment on a house. I was also in my first year teaching. Today, I have owned a home for 3 years and almost doubled my teaching income from where I started.
Sebastian – Ten years ago, I was an 8-5 typical office worker working as a Sr. Financial Analyst for a local government. I was looking out the window of retirement. Five years ago, I was planning on retiring and analyzing the financial structure for my retirement life, planning, planning, and more planning. Now, I am a retiree and using my professional and personal experience to volunteer as a financial coach, serve as a board member for a non-profit organization, and especially, having fun with being a co-blogger.
What would you tell your younger self?
Tawnya – The biggest piece of financial advice I would give my younger self is to start investing NOW! Although I’m forced to save for retirement with my pension, I should have started way back when I first went to college. Even if it’s just $20 a month, that little amount would have added up to something pretty significant by now.
Sebastian – My advice would be to assess the probability of being independent in order to survive in this economy and culture. Strike a safe balance; accept the things you cannot change and take advantage of every opportunity at its best. Take every day as if it is your first day of your life and be productive. If you say I will do it tomorrow for no reason it means you just wasted a day!
What made you want to change the way you were living?
Tawnya – I haven’t really changed the way I’ve been living, I’ve just focused it more as I’ve matured and figured out what I want in life. I’ve always been frugal, saved my money, and worked hard to increase my income. However, I did it naturally and was unfocused for many years. It’s only been recently that I’ve really zeroed in on what I need to do to maximize my income, savings, as well as what I want to indulge upon now (such as with travel).
Sebastian – I decided to connect with people and make a difference in their life with the wealth of knowledge, good and bad, through my life and the thirty years of my career. I am lucky enough to do volunteer work since I have enough income to conduct my basic life. The best part of my volunteer job is the rewards are measured by job satisfaction, and it is the best ever for me.
Does financial independence play a role? If so, how?
Tawnya – Financial independence does play a role, and I think it should be a goal for everyone. However, I’m a bit spoiled in that I have a pension plan that I’ll be able to draw on for the rest of my life, and so I don’t need to focus as much on saving for retirement. Having that pension as a safety net has allowed me to balance saving and pursuing financial independence along with indulging in travel and investing in things such as a home. My income isn’t high enough to have it all, but my pension is allowing me to do more than most. Plus, being a teacher allows me a taste of freedom/early retirement while still keeping all the benefits of a full-time job.
Sebastian – I couldn’t enjoy what I do without being financially independent. When I was in my late 20’s my boss twisted my arm to get me to start a deferred compensation plan, saving additional money in addition to my retirement, tax free. I ignored him for almost a year, but as a caring person he continued to bug the stupid young man that I was. I started with only $20 every paycheck just to keep him off my back. As I saw the investment start to grow I started increasing my contribution. Towards the last 10 years of my career, I was putting hundreds every two weeks into this account. I built a fortune and it is taking care of all my unforeseen and special one-time expenses so they don’t become a financial burden since I am living on a fixed monthly pension.
What advice do you have for others in living a better life?
Tawnya – My biggest advice would be to always strive for better, but to have realistic expectations. Unfortunately, we don’t all begin life on equal footing, and some are given a head start. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up or spend your whole time complaining about how unfair it is. That doesn’t do you any good. All you can do is focus on what you can control and try to make your situation the best it can be. Maybe you won’t see much difference, but perhaps your children and future generations will reap the benefits of your hard work.
Sebastian – Tomorrow will be there, no question about it. Being old and poor is the worst thing can happen to anyone. You don’t get old within just one day, but in fact you are getting older every day. So, if you are getting older every day which will lead to old age in the future, do something every day starting today to be a physically and financially healthy person when you get there.
What books/podcasts/blogs have you consumed that lead you to this point?
Tawnya – There haven’t been any books or blogs that have lead me to my philosophy on life or money outlook. If anything, it’s been my job as a special education teacher working with students who have experienced trauma that has helped shape my life outlook. As for finances, I was mostly influenced by my grandparents who grew up right after the Depression and never bought anything unless they could pay for it. They also worked extremely hard to pull themselves up out of poverty, and that combined with the hard work of my parents has allowed me to build off what they’ve done and achieve what I have at such a young age.
Sebastian – Life is amazing! It teaches you what you need to learn if you are tuned into it. In my case, my mom valued education. She said a pot of free money will eventually disappear. She went on to say education is a wealth no one can steal, you own it for good and you can always make a living with it. She also emphasized choosing the right friends who can influence you at a young age to make the right choices.
What’s one area in your life you still struggle with?
Tawnya – Fulfillment, without a doubt. I haven’t landed where I set out to be in terms of my career, and so sometimes I feel like I haven’t accomplished what I wanted. I’m now at a point where I have a good job that I enjoy and great benefits, and I don’t want to give them up. However, I have always needed to be working toward something and I’ve peaked a bit in terms of my current career. That is one of the reasons I wanted to start the blog, to fulfill my need for creativity and advancement.
Sebastian – Just like most of us I have regrets such as I wish I had done this, or studied this etc. I still struggle with those thoughts at times. I grew up without any mentorship or guidance; trial and error is my life. I succeeded regardless just by having an attitude of conquering all adversities that I faced along the way. With that in mind, I often struggle watching youngsters making poor decisions that directly affects their future.
If you had to give just 1 tip that you’ve learned along your journey, what would it be and why?
Tawnya – People will always tell you to do what you love. Some others might push you to find a career that makes good money. I’d say you must have a balance of both. You’re not automatically set with a college degree anymore, and with the increase in student loans many people are entering careers they “love” that don’t allow them to make a decent living and get out of debt. On the flip side, those who chose high paying careers only may find themselves hating their job. My advice would be to find a balance. Find a career you can tolerate that makes decent money, and understand that there will be good and bad points to each job.
Sebastian – Making a good meaningful living takes hard work, discipline, and commitment to succeed. Look for opportunities rather than hanging your head down after adversities. Feel good about getting up and going to school and work, it is a privilege!
Where can readers get in touch with you?
You can always find us over on our blog, Money Saved is Money Earned. You can also follow and interact with us on social media.
If you have a specific question or concern, or just want to chat privately, you can reach us at [email protected].
Check out other interviews here!
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