My Unexpected Joy of Doing Our Finances
There was a short period of time in college when I was the absolute master of my finances. It was during my Junior year. I worked two jobs and received regular funds from my family. I had a system where one set of accounts went to pay my expenses and small account was my spending money. It was probably overly-complicated, but I loved it. I had a sense of surety with funds. I knew how much I had, what I needed to keep to pay expenses and what money I could use to buy beer. That year was 1993.
From 1994 - 2015 - Finances were a nightmare. I got my first credit card in 1994 and it seemed like everything went downhill after that. During that time, I had money managers, accountants, CPAs, and bookkeepers to help manage my money. It was always a huge mess. There were, at times, over a dozen accounts: bank accounts, credit card accounts, brokerage accounts, escrow accounts. The thought of that time still fills me with dread. Often I was making a lot of money, but then I would owe a lot of money, and then the cycle would repeat. I would work harder, thinking once I get to $XXXX dollars, things will be easier. It never was.
In 2016, K and I decided to cut ties with our money managers, who were lovely people. Over time we had winnowed our accounts to just a handful: a personal bank account, a business account, a credit card for travel points (that gets paid off every month). I handle our finances using a combination of YNAB and Quickbooks. Every week, we go through our finances and figure out where we are. It feels wonderful. I know what are expenses have been, I budget for what they will be. We put money away for taxes, for savings, for our girl's education. It feels tidy and neat. This amorphous blog of dread has become something quiet and tame. My general sense of uneasiness about money that I had for decades has slowly subsided. There are still surprising expenses occasionally, but it feels different now. It's like being a good minor league ballplayer and knowing you can handle what comes.
It's really nice.