Personal Finance and Investing Intro
Around the turn of the year, a blog article caught my eye which included a list of 10 things to do related to one's personal finances at the turn of the year. One of the suggestions was to research all of your holdings to find the expense ratios and figure out exactly how much you were spending on your investments. Well, I decided to do this and set up a spreadsheet to help me track the expenses and such. Man was I shocked... astounded actually. I'd never really paid that much attention to my investments (that was what I was paying my Edward Jones financial planner to do after all). I'd spent the prior couple of years trimming the fat in the household's day to day operations. Switched phone service to a cheaper option, cut the cable service, started cooking at home a lot more. I was no spendthrift, but I had decided to try to be at least a little more frugal. I was incredulous when I saw how much money I was spending on the investments I was in. The fact is, since I never really saw a bill for those expenses, it was super easy to ignore.
Anyway, that all kicked off what has turned into a pretty passionate new hobby for me. And unlike most new hobbies that end up costing me money; this one has ended up both saving money as well as even making money. I fired my Ed Jones advisor and have taken a much more active role in charting my own economic future. I started reading books, blogs, forums, prospectuses, IRS tax code and more. I'm pretty happy with how things are looking for me, but the more I talk to friends and even passing aquaintences on forums, the more I realize that I am certainly not alone in my situation. I also found myself repeating a lot of the same good advice over and over. So, to avoid future repetition, I figured I'd make use of the new blog features of my website and start posting some of my lessons learned so that I can refer to people to them later.