Guest Post on 1500 Days to Freedom

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be sharing a special Saturday guest post over at 1500 Days to Freedom! I participated in their 10 questions series and I had such a fun time answering the questions. I really hope you enjoy reading it!

Here is a copy of the article:

10 Questions with Anything You Want

Today is the 20th edition of our new periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 NEW questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. (If you have already answered the first set of 10 questions, please feel free to answer these new ones.)

Today’s 10 Questions features Ali from from Anything you Want. Ali has had some sweet adventures. I went to Paris, but is was for 3 days. Ali went for 8 weeks; how cool is that?

Even better, Ali has her stuff together. I like what she has to say here:

When you understand personal finance as a way of supporting your values, it becomes more liberating and less oppressive. Saving money is about more than building up a big balance in your bank account; it is about working towards your dreams, whatever those may be.

Right on! As long as we have good values, we should be able to use our money however we choose. Some may choose to retire early while others may take two years off to roam the planet. It’s all good. Unless you buy $2,000 handbags and $100,000 sedans. That isn’t so good.

I’ll be quiet now and turn the show over over to Ali.

 Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Anything You Want is a finance blog about finding a balance between spending and saving. It is based on the idea that you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want. I believe that once you understand what you want – your goals and values – money becomes a tool for achieving those goals and living in alignment with those values.

I focus on the personal aspect of personal finance, sharing what works for me and how I think it can benefit others. I talk about budgeting, investing, home ownership, frugality, and a variety of other topics. I think my blog is great because I try to avoid extreme anything in favor of simple, balanced strategies that anyone could use to live a more financially sustainable life.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
My hope is that my blog will become a great resource for young people who are interested in using money smartly to live a balanced, sustainable lifestyle. I think it is a shame that personal finance is never taught during a formal education, yet money is such an important part of life (primarily as a means to an end, not an end in itself). Many people find personal finance to be scary and complicated, but it really doesn’t have to be. If I can show people that there are easy ways to use money as a tool for achieving a happier life, then I will consider my blog a success!

What post are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of my post about this year’s financial goal – increasing my net worth by 46%. The idea for this post arose organically as I started writing about how my assets are allocated between retirement and non-retirement investments. I came to see that my money really wasn’t where I wanted it to be and I am using this goal to re-balance my assets. I am looking forward to tracking this goal publicly over the next year. I think blogging about my goal will give me a lot of extra motivation. It has already inspired me to re-visit my budget, which I’ll be blogging about soon!

1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
I don’t have early retirement dreams, per-se, but I do dream of a more flexible lifestyle than the traditional 9 to 5 job allows. For example, this summer I am taking a leave of absence from my full time job to travel in Europe for 8 weeks. I will be returning to my job at the end of the summer, but I suspect that I will take similar leaves at various points in the future. It is my love of personal finance and my aggressive savings that give me the freedom and flexibility to live this kind of life.

I’m only 27 now, so I can hardly begin to speculate about when I’ll retire. I’m saving as aggressively as I can so that when I decide to retire, or pursue less traditional work, I’ll be in a financial position to do so.

When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
When I’m 90, my greatest hope is that I feel I’ve led a happy life. I expect that will mean having kids and raising them to be happy, independent people who contribute to society. I also expect that it will mean having contributed to society in some way through my own work.

I love the idea of working to bring personal finance education to high schools. I also love the idea of helping those in a poor financial position manage their money so that they can live better.

As far as my own money, I hope that I don’t remember my money at all when I’m 90, only the amazing things I was able to do and see thanks to being smart with my money.

What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
I am a big fan of Mint. I’ve been using it for years to track my spending and budgets. It is a great tool for people who want to improve their money management but don’t want to spend a ton of time on it. I personally track all of my finances on spreadsheets, too, but that is just too tedious and time consuming for most people. With Mint, you can quickly and easily see where you money is going, which is the first step in getting your money under control.

How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
When dealing with people with drastically different views on money, I try to keep in mind that everyone has different values and priorities, and that perhaps a particular way of spending aligns with that person’s values. I also always remember that the way someone seems with money on the outside often doesn’t accurately reflect their real financial situation. So many people are over-leveraged and up to their ears in debt. Others are insecure and buy things to make them feel better. Ultimately, it is really their business, so I try to enjoy spendy people for who they are and not try to change them.

Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
I grew up in an affluent suburb and lived in an upper-middle- class household. Both of my parents worked, despite the vast majority of families having stay-at-home moms at this time. Even though they had two good incomes, my parents were always extremely careful with their money and lived very frugally. They taught me by example to spend money only on what you value, which for them was time with family, travel, cultural experiences, and education. My parents are now in a strong financial position to make decisions about when and if they want to work. I saw that their hard work paid off, and it has inspired me to live a similarly frugal lifestyle.

What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
I’ve learned a lot about beer over the past few years as I have home-brewed with my boyfriend. Despite learning all about wort and how to make a beer extra hoppy, I’m still a sucker for a fruity beer. Bring on the Abita Strawberry or any watermelon brew and I’m a happy girl.

We notice a lot of frugal people are into board games – what is your favorite?
I do love a good board game and have enjoyed fun nights playing Bananagrams, Cards Against Humanity, and Scategories. However, I have to say that puzzles are really my favorite. They are a great way to keep your mind active while relaxing. They are also strangely addicting!

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