I’m turning 55 today. Birthdays are a time of celebration – trust me, I’ll be doing my share – but they’re also a time of reflection. We consider how well we’ve met our goals and wonder if we’ve done the right thing with our lives.
As for me, I definitely missed a couple of my goals, at least in terms of timing. When I was in college, I set a goal to become financially independent by age 30 – I did accomplish that goal, but about 20 years late. Another goal I set back then was to sail around the world. While I didn’t picture myself doing it at this age, it’s still doable – and I’m partway there: I have a boat.
But when it comes to whether I’ve done the right things with my life, I feel both lucky and blessed. Because for nearly 30 years I’ve done exactly what I was put on this earth to do: help other people become financially free.
It’s the best job in the world. I work from home, nobody tells me what to say or do, the pay is fine and I enjoy the best possible reward – perfect strangers frequently reach out to say thanks for the advice. Maybe life could get better, but I don’t know how.
I was a CPA in the late 70s and a stockbroker in the 80s, but since 1990 I’ve been doing three consumer/personal finance TV news stories every single week – no interruption, no hiatus. That means I’ve done more than 3,000 stories about spending less, saving more, paying down debt, building savings and exposing rip-offs.
My earliest stuff is lost (I’ve moved around a lot) but I recently went back through some old tape to see if the advice I was giving way back when would still make sense today. Some didn’t, of course, but a surprisingly large amount of it did. So if you’re up for it, take a quick walk down memory lane with me. Watch me get older – but notice how although I’m changing, a lot of what I’m saying stays the same – it made sense then, it makes sense now.
We’ll start with this story from 1996 – one of the oldest one I could find, but could have been done today. It’s about what to do if you get laid off. You may not see it, but I’m sporting a ponytail…
Now, here’s one from two years later: 1998. It’s become fashionable in recent years to talk about saving by not paying for things like bottled water. I was talking about it when many of today’s bloggers were in junior high.
And one final story, this time from only 10 years ago, May 2000. It’s about repairing your credit – a story I did again last week.
Thanks for sharing part of my birthday and memories with me! And if you’re new here, keep coming back. I may one day take that long-distance sailing trip, but until then, I’ll keep cranking them out.
Sign up for our free newsletter
Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's '205 Ways to Save Money' as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.