October 1, 2008

Introduction and welcome

My name is Laura, and this is my blog, Dollars and Dreams. I am on a journey toward my own personal vision of financial success, and I hope that sharing my experiences can help others, and maybe allow us all to learn from each other. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, I want to start with a little background.

Who I am:
I'm a 32-year-old living in Seattle, Washington. I was born and raised in New York state, and lived there for my entire life until just over a year ago. In August of 2007, I packed three bags, got onto a plane, and came to Seattle. I did not have a job lined up. I did not know a soul here. I found a room for rent on Craigslist and came here with my first month's rent and the last two paychecks from my old non-profit job in New York. Now I live in a beautiful city that I absolutely love, and within two months of being here I managed to achieve a personal goal: I got my first real editorial job. In New York, I worked mostly as an administrative professional, and it bored me to tears. But the parts of my jobs that I loved best always had to do with writing and editing. I felt trapped in office work because I'd been doing it for seven years, and when I came here I promised myself I would try something different and go after what I really wanted. If you think that sounds scary, it is.

What I want for myself:
My goals are many. I want to retire early, travel the world, and write about it. I want to work as a disaster relief worker for the American Red Cross, write award-winning bestsellers, and get back into theater, among other dreams. To do all that, I need to do a better job with my finances. Currently I have almost $40,000 in student loan debt. I have a few hundred dollars on my credit cards right now, but I pay them off every month. I have an emergency savings fund (my first!) that I started when I got my job here. While my parents taught me some lessons about saving as a child, I never saved much money as a working adult. The money would come in, and I would spend it right out again. It has been a struggle to change that, but right now my emergency fund is at $1,400, which for me is huge. Financially, I want to be able to afford to finish my college education (yep, I'm one of those poor souls who has student debt and no degree to show for it), travel a few times a year without getting into debt, buy a house in the next few years, be able to help my family financially, and work toward the eventual goal of being fully self-employed as a writer and editor (with a few other interesting side ventures and hobbies).

Why I'm writing this blog: Over the past year, I realized my financial situation couldn't go on the way it was. While not in really dire straits debt-wise, I still wasn't making any provision for my future. I had lots of dreams, but wasn't taking steps toward making any of them possible. While prowling around online, I discovered personal finance blogs. I read, sometimes for hours, following chains of links from one to the next. I realized there were other people out there in situations similar to mine. Like me, they had dreams, and weren't quite sure how to get from point A to point B. But they were trying, and they were inviting others to take that journey with them. I love helping people, and sometimes I can do things for others that I can't do for myself. Maybe reading my story as I find my way along this new path will help you. I'm pretty certain that knowing you are out there listening will help me.


Kier said...

Congrats on getting on the path to making your dreams reality.

I wish you a great deal of luck--I think you've already got the skill (and, looking at my own balance sheet, I can't offer much of that anyway *grin*).

Laura said...

Thanks Kier! With any luck, I will learn something that can help all of us. :-)

Ireachmygoals said...

Good luck Laura, but more than that. Have a look at my blog called "reach your goals" and I could help you achieve them!