Monday, September 21, 2015

Peace of mind (Women Inspired post #3)

This is the third, and final, post in the Women Inspired series from Prudential. In the first post I wrote about how I became the person that I am today. In the second, I wrote about my aspirations and inspirations. And in this final post, I've been asked to write about what I learned about myself through this process and in sitting on the Prudential panel at the BlogHer15 event.

As I mentioned in the second post, sitting on the panel was very out of my comfort zone. I'm a shy introvert by nature, and the thought of speaking to a room full of people was really scary for me! However, I also wrote that I know I need to step out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals (or even to experience some great opportunities).

In situations like that, I have this little trick I play on my mind - I pretend that I am someone else, an actress, just playing the part of Katie. I'm still ME, in the sense that I am totally honest; but by pretending that I'm acting out a script, I have less anxiety about the whole thing. Now that I write this, I realize how silly this sounds, haha!

One of the scariest moments of my entire life! But in the end,
I am glad that I didn't let my fear stop me from doing it.
Anyways, I didn't come away from the experience with a ton of knowledge about finances - I'm not sure what I expected, but I had hoped I would leave NYC knowing exactly what I needed to do for my financial goals, step by step. That did not happen.

However, that, in and of itself, was a huge learning experience for me. I realized that I am the sort of person who hates to make decisions. The responsibility of being the decision maker is worrisome because I would hate to screw something up for somebody else (like my family). By attending this panel, I hoped a financial advisor would make all these financial decisions for me - basically give me a list of things to do in order to become financially secure. That way I wouldn't risk screwing things up for my family.

I have that mindset with many goals in my life. When I lost the weight with Weight Watchers, for example, I followed the plan right to the letter. That way, if I didn't lose weight, I would know that it wasn't my fault. When training for a race, I still tend to choose someone else's training plan - even though I am certainly qualified to write my own plans. That way, if I don't reach my goal, I can think of it as a faulty plan. Realizing all of this was pretty eye opening for me! I've discovered that I really need to take chances, and take more responsibility when things don't work out. Things don't work out EVERY TIME for anyone, and I'm certainly no exception.

Hearing the other bloggers speak on the panel was very inspiring. Most of them have blogs that are businesses, and they had to do quite a bit of work to build them that way. They had to make a lot of decisions (and mistakes!) along the way to get where they are now. They are very proactive people in general, and I realized that I am not. I tend to be very passive and wait for opportunities to come along.

I've been getting better at stepping out of my comfort zone when opportunities arise. The key is, I wait for opportunities to arise rather than seek them out. I believe that is the big difference between actually getting things done, and just dreaming about them.

Regarding my financial goals, there were two things at the top of my priority list: 1) Start building an emergency fund, and 2) Get life insurance. A third big goal, although not entirely financial, was to write a will. While Jerry and I don't have much in terms of possessions, I wanted to legally appoint a guardian for the kids in case something happens to Jerry and me.

I left the panel feeling very inspired to be a more proactive person when it comes to my goals (financial and otherwise). Since I wasn't handed a list of things to do to become financially secure, I went home and started researching on my own, like a real grown-up. I set up an emergency account to begin building - we now have money automatically deposited there each week, and it is not for spending. It may take a long time to build up a large fund, but it's more than what we had a couple of months ago ;)

Jerry and I each wrote a last will and testament, which was actually kind of fun, and opened some interesting conversations. It feels good knowing that our wishes for the kids' guardian are now on a legal document if something should happen to us.

I won't tell the boys who their guardian would be, because they just may start planning Jerry's and my demise... ;)

Finally, the life insurance is still in progress. I truly knew absolutely nothing about it until I started reading about it after I got home from NY. Hopefully by the time this post goes live, we'll be covered. I was surprised to see that insurance wasn't nearly as expensive as I'd imagined. I had always assumed it would be a couple hundred of dollars a month, but it's nowhere near that.

To sum up this jumble of thoughts, my learning experience from this program with Prudential really boils down to my own introspection. I learned that I love to set goals, but have a hard time being proactive. I worry that I will fail, so I tend to wait for someone else to tell me what to do or point me in the right direction. I learned that I have to take risks in order to reach my goals, and take responsibility if I fail to reach them. I am very grateful to have discovered all of this about myself, because I took charge of a few goals on my list and knocked them off in just a couple of month's time!

From this discussion/advice, what do you find the most valuable? Is there anything you can apply to a personal situation? Join the growing community of #womeninspired.


  1. I also have always had a hard time being proactive in my own life, waiting for opportunities to fall into my lap. Over the last year or so, I've gotten so much better about this, and I've really learned to take control over my life and if I want to do something, I'm the one who has to do it--success doesn't just magically happen! I'm finally starting to see the positive effects of a lot of those changes I made, actions I took, and I'm more excited than ever about the future for me and my family!

  2. I laughed as I was reading this post because I do exactly the same thing! The training plans, counting calories, and waiting for opportunities to find me so that I don't have to feel responsible if I knowingly take a risk that doesn't work out. I have this job that's making me miserable and I've been too passive to make a change. I need to just go for it and take the risk so I can start making my life better. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. They called you by the wrong name in that video! Oh no!

    1. Hahaha! I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out. Kathryn Hanson? Not even close! Oh well :)

    2. I noticed that too, and went to Google. There is an actual person named that who has a blog called Brain over Binge. Maybe she was there too?

    3. Yes! That's why her name sounds so familiar. I loved her book, and I've written about it on my blog. I don't know if she was there or not. I informed BlogHer of the mix-up, but I'm not sure if it can be fixed now.

  4. Katie my husband and I have term life insurance. You are able to get a higher sum if one person dies at a smaller price bc you are less likely to die within that term. We have a 30 year term life insurance policy, so if one of us dies within 30 years the other will get 250k. In 10 years we plan on going back and getting a life insurance policy on top of the term for when the 30 years is over. But it's nice to have peace of mind. If my husband died I would be able to be debt free and be able to take care of our kids for 5 to 8 years before finding a job if I wanted to just focus on being a SAHM. I would suggest getting term for now until you decide on more concrete life insurance. We only pay 35 dollars a person per month for this.

    1. That's exactly what we decided to do! It was overwhelming when you see all the options, but this made the most sense to me for our family.

  5. The first thing I noticed in that video was how they messed up your name! Haha. The videographer didn't do their job/research very well!

  6. Interesting - I think I'm very similar...I'm also pretty passive and wait for opportunities to come up. (except maybe for financial stuff...I think I've got that part down) I'll have to work on making more things happen for myself!


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