By Mandy Froelich | BH Financial Planning
I didn’t grow up rich. Nothing of the sort, actually.
My parents are kind, humble people – the God-fearing kind. My dad is a truck driver, farmer, and entrepreneur (from logger to sawmill owner, he’s done a lot). My mom is an English and journalism teacher in Sturgis. I have to say, I think they raised me right.
Shortly after the ’08 crisis, I began working at a local Safeway as a cart attendant. The money I made there helped me get to and from school and afford a few groceries to help the family out. I can still remember counting nickels, quarters, and dimes at the cash register after filling up on just $5 of gas. It was all we could afford.
Those times were lean. And, over the years, I’ve experienced many more like them. After moving to Phoenix, Arizona, by myself for a new job opportunity (the first “grown-up” job, as being a lifeguard didn’t count), I straggled by on $1,200 of income each month – most of which went to rent, utilities, and feeding my cat.
It wasn’t until I decided to make my own opportunities and left the U.S. at age 19 to be a chef-writer vagabond that I experienced a ‘Lil extra change in my pocket. I’m grateful for the 4.5+ years of traveling through Costa Rica, Kenya, Bali, Thailand, and Cambodia. I learned resilience, how to negotiate (Asian folks expect you to haggle over prices), and most importantly, how to make my money stretch far.
My favorite getaway was in Ubud, Bali. The haven for health foodies and crystal energy work was home for about three months. I rented a private villa (one bedroom with a separate bathroom) for about $220/month. When I wasn’t wrecking on scooters (don’t trust me on two wheels), I was found bicycling through the town and sipping coconut water at a local café. $500 was enough to live on comfortably. I may have played it a little dangerously – no health insurance, travel insurance, or guarantees of any kind. But I honestly loved it.
In 2016, after a 3-month stint in Kenya, Africa, volunteering with Thrive4Good, I decided to return to the United States and return to college. What I learned is that family is everything. And while it was cheaper (and more exciting in some regards) to live as a digital nomad, it wasn’t fulfilling in the same way as when I left at the age of 19.
Back in South Dakota, I had a rude awakening to the realities of adult life. Firstly, car insurance. How did I get by without having a car and car insurance? I was a bit salty about that expense for the first couple of months.
Then, not to mention rent. Being somewhat cheap, I found a $650 2-bedroom apartment in Spearfish, SD, which was my abode while I attended Black Hills State
University. But with the other “adult” expenses that we all consider normal now, the cost of living I had grown accustomed to increased by 3,500%.
And that, my friend, is what we are talking about today. The financial freedom I had experienced as a young adult traveling abroad (due to having low living expenses) gave me a taste for something I hadn’t ever experienced: a lack of worry or suffering due to wondering “How am I going to pay those bills!?”.
My life has changed a lot since I returned to the U.S., earned my degree in business and accounting, and became a licensed professional with The Wealth Store and Black Hills Financial Planning. But, I will never forget the anxiety and depression that accompany not knowing where the money is going to come from.
It’s one of the many reasons I do what I do. I enjoy educating families on how to protect their assets and leave a legacy, but I have a special desire to help more people sleep better at night, fight less with their partners, and actually feel hope – not dread – when preparing to check their bank account balances.
As I mentioned, I didn’t grow up rich. And heck, I don’t pretend or claim to be now. But I understand how money management and investments work. Furthermore, the 16-year-old me who embarrassedly counted the change in front of the gas station attendant doesn’t want the ugly feeling of “not having enough” hanging over so many people.
Statistically, 80% of Americans are struggling to pay off some form of debt. It’s the effect of having convinced ourselves that we can leverage our futures to enjoy the “now”. The big screen TV you purchased 1 year ago, however, isn’t worth the strain that keeps you up at night or creates a knot in your stomach.
Dear reader, it’s not worth it.
Financial freedom. Peace and health. Faith in a future where anything is possible – for you and your children.
That’s what I want for you. If you’re ready to have a conversation about how, exactly, this could be possible, then please reach out today. It’s never too late to compare your current planning to the options and strategies available to you.
Black Hills Financial Planning