Six Questions About Money: An Interview with Pocket Your Dollars’ Own Laura Wales

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Laura Wales familyWelcome to Six Questions! It is a new feature where we’ll ask different people from various walks of life the same six questions. I expect that each person will bring something unique to a standard set of questions. Today’s guest is Laura Wales, my right-hand at Pocket Your Dollars.

As you read through this Six Questions interview and all the previous interviews, I hope your thinking is sparked. That as you hear new and different perspectives you will be prodded to think about your own relationship to money. The views of our guest do not necessarily reflect the views of Pocket Your Dollars.com, but are a springboard for thought and respectful discussion.

If you’d like to be featured in a Six Questions column, email me to express interest.

Now to Laura…

Introduce yourself in 75 words or less

I’m a former high school English teacher turned avid deal shopper following the birth of my first child four years ago. Now I’m a work-from-home mom of two (soon to be three!). I love spending time with my husband and children and being active in my church. I’m not as busy with “shopping the deals” as I once was, but I love to help people out and hear how they’re doing on their own money-saving journey.

What money issue are you dealing with in your life right now

The biggest issue we’re dealing with right now is being underwater on our mortgage. We thought we were getting a good deal when we bought the home we’re living in since we bought it at the start of the recession, but then things got worse. We had planned to live in this home for the first 5-6 years of our marriage and then move, but we’ve since made the decision to refinance and make an extra principal payment each month until the house is paid off. We’ll make do until then. :)

One thing you learned about money while growing up that has stuck with you into adulthood

I got my first “real” job (a.k.a. not babysitting) when I was 13 years old working for my dad to get the baseball fields ready before games. I had a real paycheck and everything – it was pretty awesome. But the thing that stuck with me was my dad made me sit down each year and file my own tax return. That gave me the confidence to take care of my own taxes, and I’ve been doing it myself ever since (and I filed my soon-to-be husband’s tax return for him before we were married, too!).

Granted, if my financial situation were to get more complicated than it is now, I wouldn’t hesitate to hire an expert, but for now I feel confident that I can take care of it myself. I don’t stress over it as long as I know I have all the paperwork I need.

One thing you didn’t learn at home about money, but wish you had

I wish I’d learned how to set up my own budget. I remember a brief lesson on personal budgeting in my high school economics class, but that was about it. When I moved out of my parents’ house and lived on my own with a full-time job, rent, insurance, etc., I wasn’t sure where to begin managing my money. I didn’t go crazy with my spending, but I wish I would have had some sort of framework to help me get started.

Name your favorite money tool, resource or book?

Besides Pocket Your Dollars (of course!), I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey. The Total Money Makeover and his radio show were really inspiring to me to get out (and stay out!) of debt as much as possible. I still sometimes listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts while I’m running on the treadmill (yes, really) or cleaning my house.

What’s one piece of money advice you wish every American would follow?

I wish people would be more strategic in planning for their future. My husband started investing when he was 21 years old, which is such a blessing to our family since we won’t have to play “catch-up” down the road. I think people should take more personal responsibility for ensuring that they can retire and be self-sufficient when the time comes.

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It’s Carrie again wondering how you can relate to Laura’s answers to our six questions.

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