Hayes’s Favorites

Kristine Hayes

MY SIMPLE BUT successful financial life is the result of four lessons I learned through the school of hard knocks.

Lesson No. 1, learned as a child growing up on a farm: Chores are not optional and are never accompanied by cash bribes. Lesson No. 2, learned as a college student: Spend all your time studying, working jobs and sleeping, and you can earn a degree without taking out a loan. Lesson No. 3, learned as a member of the workforce: Generous benefit packages may be more valuable than a higher salary. Lesson No. 4, learned as I strove to retire early: Work for 30 years, save as much as you can and always live within your means.

As you’ll see, those four lessons run through my 10 favorite articles that I’ve written for HumbleDollar.

  • From Half to Whole (Jan. 31, 2017). A midlife divorce forced me to reevaluate my financial future. Learning about personal finance and investment strategies became a necessity.
  • My Younger Self (March 6, 2018). Thinking about the financial advice I would give to my 18-year-old self was a fun exercise. It made me realize how quickly life has passed me by.
  • Six Years Later (May 3, 2019). After I got divorced in 2013, I calculated my net worth. In 2019, I wrote this article to update how my net worth, as well as my mix of assets, had changed.
  • My Five Mistakes (May 2, 2018). Reflecting on some of the financial mistakes I’ve made was thought-provoking. I realized I needed a balanced approach to being frugal, while still allowing myself to spend money on things I love.
  • Not What I Planned (Jan. 30, 2021). Setting up spreadsheets, to track my progress toward my financial goals, has become a habit of mine. But no amount of planning can accurately predict all of life’s changes.
  • Talk About Hot (March 23, 2022). Financial success is rooted in deliberate actions. But sometimes luck—and timing—play a major role. I was fortunate to be able to sell my house at the peak of one of history’s hottest housing markets.
  • Farewell Paycheck (July 27, 2022). This article celebrated the realization of a long-term goal of mine—retiring at age 55.
  • Didn’t Last Long (July 5, 2022). Just a few weeks after achieving a seven-figure net worth, my status as a millionaire was already in jeopardy. Stock market declines meant watching my nest egg melt away faster than I anticipated.
  • Hitting the Brakes (Oct. 25, 2022). I’d been dreaming of owning a dog-training facility for nearly three decades. As the opportunity to pursue that dream was about to become reality, I got cold feet.
  • Not Like the Others (Dec. 16, 2022). Reading articles penned by HumbleDollar contributors made me realize some of the ways my financial life differs from that of the site’s other authors. This piece focused on some of those differences, and allowed me to speculate about why my own writing appeals to HumbleDollar’s readers.

This is the third installment in a series devoted to the favorite articles and blog posts penned by HumbleDollar’s most prolific writers. The earlier installments were from Dennis Friedman and Mike Zaccardi.

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