I have been very open about my interest in personal finance and financial independence at work mainly due to the fact that I publish posts on the blog. There are still many subjects that seem rather taboo but the overall atmosphere around personal finance is rather open compared to other places of work. I have never been on to be shy when it comes to discussing finances and that stems from my parents being open with their finances with my siblings and I. Their willingness to talk openly about finances has become even more apparent over the past year since I have taken an interest in financial independence. My willingness to speak about financial independence has spilled into my work as well. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had many conversations with coworkers about personal finance topics. The greatest thing about all the conversations I had was that I was rarely the one to initiate the conversation. These conversations are not the same conversations I would have with someone at a CampFI where the topics can get very detailed and get very deep about certain areas of personal finance. The conversations I had with my coworkers were surface level conversations and those are a great place to start. Some of them were short and just in passing but it gave me a great sense of pride that they sought me out to come talk to me.
The first conversation I had was a continuation of an ongoing one I’ve had with a coworker for a couple of months. She had originally asked my opinion about her student loan repayment plan. This is a topic that I used try to stray away from mainly because I was in the fortunate position to graduate from pharmacy school with no student debt. Thanks very much to my grandparents and parents. In the workplace, I never wanted to talk about them because I didn’t want it to come off as bragging that I didn’t have them because the average pharmacist graduates with close to six figures of student debt. This past week’s conversation was an update on her repayment plan and she wanted to share her amazing news that she had paid off one of her loans! I can only imagine that feeling of submitting the last payment on a loan and how exciting it must feel. The relief that was shown on her face when she said she had paid one down was enjoyable to see. She then got a little disheartened knowing she still has three more loans to pay off but I told to her to celebrate this win and that she is already a quarter finished! Celebrating the wins like that can keep the motivation going. I can’t wait to continue our conversation and celebrate her next loan being paid off.
Another conversation I had over the past couple of weeks was how a coworker took a HELOC (home equity line of credit) out to do the necessary home improvements on his house. A HELOC is a way to use the equity you have in your home essentially as a credit card. With the money you pay every month towards your mortgage, you are gaining equity in your home. A HELOC takes the value of your home and gives you a line of credit based on a percentage of the value. Here is an article for those interested in learning more about HELOC’s. I have only been vaguely familiar with HELOC’s in the past, but I have known that they are especially good for home improvement projects. Using a HELOC can shelter your traditional savings because you won’t be drawing down on that money. This conversation was extremely interesting for me because I have recently just bought my first home, and while I don’t have any plans for home improvement projects just yet that doesn’t mean I won’t in the future where a HELOC could come in handy.
The final conversation I had with one of my coworkers over the past week was filled with great personal finance tips. She is in the process of going to nursing school and she is amazingly not taking out any extra loans to pay for it. She is still working full time at the pharmacy and going to school full time. She was telling me her story how she took out student loans for undergrad and didn’t want to take out any more loans for her nursing degree. She was telling me her plan of how she was going to pay off her loans as quickly as she could once she graduated nursing school. The conversation then flowed to daily money habits and she was telling me how she has become more aware of where she is spending her money. She admitted that her money was just being freely spent with no consciousness to it, but now she is becoming more cognizant of where her money is going. She has decided to cut back her Starbucks spending, limiting the amount of Doordash she uses, and now she is currently working her way through a no spend month!
These short seemingly insignificant conversations with coworkers make me extremely pleased. With my interest in personal finance, my coworkers are coming up to me to talk about their stories. It’s awesome to hear all the good things my coworkers are accomplishing with their finances. I hope to continue to have great conversations with coworkers and to make the topic of personal finance less taboo at the workplace.
Steven | Rx for FIRE