Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays – Week 26
1. How I reduced my electricity bill – by installing solar panels Late Starter FI
Unsurprisingly, I am all for posts that cross over between personal finance and sustainability. Our roof unfortunately gets almost no sun year round (hence why my vegetable garden is in the front yard and not the back), so installing solar of any kind isn’t feasible at our house. I absolutely love when I read about personal finance people who do though, because between rebates and the much lower cost of install in the last few years, solar many times makes financial sense as well as environmental sense.
Of course, when you factor in externalized costs, installing solar always comes out ahead (unless you’re like us and don’t have any sun to charge them). The good news is, though, as long as your yard has sunshine, it’s now likely to be a cost saving measure as well, just looking at straight utility bills. Your return may be longer than the three years analyzed here, but almost always the return should be within seven to ten.
I love that through the process of seeing the electricity use as it occurred, she went one step further and adjusted her habits so that her high energy use days now correlate with sunny days whenever possible, ensuring that most of her electricity use is powered by the solar panels. Even if you don’t go green power, check with your utility company and see if there are lower rates in off peak hours (they do this to reduce the strain on the power plants).
2. The dark side of FI Freedom FIter
As it’s probably pretty obvious at this point, I absolutely love the financial independence community. That online interaction is one of the very best parts of this blog, and I am so glad that I am now an active participant after being a silent blog reader for so long (though you can now get this community without the actual blogging thanks to Twitter, blog comments, and email).
That said, there is definitely a “dark side” of that same community as is described in this blog post. By the nature of what it takes to become financially independent at an early age, most people in this community have quite a bit of privilege, myself included.
Acknowledging that privilege doesn’t take away from the huge accomplishment it is to save a high portion of your income, even if you do have a higher than average salary. But by dismissing it entirely, it is easy to dismiss the large population for whom financial independence is a pie in the sky goal, if it’s achievable at all. She does a great job in this post laying it all out, so go read it there.
3. Teacher Talk: Losing a Little Control of a Career I Love She Picks Up Pennies
As someone who also loves her job most of the time, it makes me so happy to see Penny talk about how much she loves her career as well. I think sometimes this community can get too focused on the end goal of ultimate freedom that even decent jobs can get dismissed as awful because they’re currently required. For a goal that takes a good long time for most of us, that may not be the healthiest way to approach a good number of your waking hours.
But even those “perfect” jobs sometimes come with warts and stress and not good days. And sometimes the control over how your career looks in the future isn’t yours to steer. As much as I hope my career is something I want to do for many years yet, just like Penny, this newest shake up at her job is a good reminder that not everything is in our control and financial stability and eventually independence is the best way to hedge against an unknown future.