So I am no financial expert, but I feel like I get a lot of questions about money and finances. Both in real life and here on this blog. I find that since I am more open than most about finances, I get more questions than most about finances. In fact, some of the searches that bring people to my blog are, “How much does a horse cost” as well as the ever popular, “Can I afford a horse”. Tomorrow, I am going to do my best to answer that question. Money is a personal thing and what people spend their money on is really no one else’s business as long as they can afford the life they lead.
One of my favorite lines is from the financial expert and guru Dave Ramsey and it is “act your wage”. I feel like I have been obsessed with money forever, I started working at age 14 officially (I would babysit before then) but I didn’t start listening to financial planning advice until I started graduate school, which was about the time that Suzy Orman started to get really popular. I actually think my love of financial planning came from my love of money because I was always told we couldn’t afford a horse growing up, so of course I had to get one the second I graduated college 😉 My love of having a plan for my money may have started with my beloved Suzy, but as the years have gone on, I have investigated at least a dozen different financial philosophies and tried a ton of different plans to see what would work for me.
Where I always got stuck was that financial planners don’t take horses in to account. Some say not to spend money on hobbies EVER. Most say you need to wait until you are 100% debt free with your mortgage paid, six months to a years worth of savings, and of course maximum contribution to your retirement plan. If we all waited for that, well, I don’t think very many people would own a horse. Knowing that I tend to be “good with money” and I still got Gen when I did not have permanent, full-time employment is my best example of the fact that our hearts and our wallets do not always line up.
Even though I think I am good with money, everyone is different and everyone spends differently so you may look at my plan tomorrow and think I am crazy, or that it is impossible. I won’t deny my crazy, there have been times that I have worked multiple jobs, eaten nothing but pasta (even for breakfast) for two weeks straight when I only had $20 a week for groceries, and at times in my life I have been brought to tears trying to figure out how to pay my bills. Those days are hopefully behind me. I took out a loan for the first round of stem cells when Gen’s leg went bad in 2007, putting myself in to debt for my pony. The thing is, I always did find a way to pay my bills. My plan tomorrow is more than just paying your bills though. It is a long term plan to make sure you can afford a horse forever.
My Horse Owner’s Financial Plan is a way to live and live comfortably with owning a horse no matter what your income is. I know horses are supposed to be the hobby of the rich, and I am sure some people reading this never have to worry about money, but most people know that owning a horse with an average income can be a huge challenge. I know friends who make four times more than my husband and I who are up to their eyeballs in debt. I have a single friend who is living off a much smaller salary than I make and is able to save tons of money, she is on her way to buying a home cash.
One thing I have learned is that money is all about choices and if you read the plan tomorrow and it doesn’t work for you I understand. My Horse Owner’s Financial Plan is just what has worked best for me. I have taken what I learned over the years and tweaked it in to a plan that I think would work for anyone. So far, not only has this worked for me, but also a horse friend who is recently divorced who was told by a real financial planner that she had to sell her horse if she wanted to be financially sound, and a third person who is actually working in the horse world. That last one came to me about a year ago in tears after a board check bounced and she is now well on her way to being debt free and living that way for the rest of her life. If you have no financial plan (like I feel many horse people do) maybe it is time to come up with one, even if it isn’t the one I talk about tomorrow.n
Hopefully you will find my Horse Owener’s Financial Plan helpful, or if nothing else, interesting and something to think about.
Tune in tomorrow to learn all about it