Know Your Blogger Series
Financial IQ by Susie Q
I started Financial IQ by Susie Q in the fall of 2018. The impetus for the blog was a conversation with my insurance agent. He was in his late 20s and had just been to a financial advisor. Based on the advisor’s recommendations, it was clear that the advisor would be paid based on commissions, as his recommendations had little to do with the needs of a single, young professional. After a long conversation about a wide range of financial topics, my insurance agent suggested that I find a way to share my knowledge with other people. My mission is “to provide clear, practical, unbiased information to help people, Millennials in particular, make better financial decisions”. The purpose is to help people make better financial decisions to help avoid uninformed choices, such as those that contributed to the 2008-2010 financial crisis.Check out our Q&A with Financial IQ by Susie Q here.
Come learn about the blog Financial IQ by Susie Q and how it is helping millenials learn about finances.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Financial IQ by Susie Q
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind Financial IQ by Susie Q, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Financial IQ by Susie Q to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for Financial IQ by Susie Q for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.
Tell us about Financial IQ by Susie Q
I started Financial IQ by Susie Q in the fall of 2018. The impetus for the blog was a conversation with my insurance agent. He was in his late 20s and had just been to a financial advisor. Based on the advisor’s recommendations, it was clear that the advisor would be paid based on commissions, as his recommendations had little to do with the needs of a single, young professional. After a long conversation about a wide range of financial topics, my insurance agent suggested that I find a way to share my knowledge with other people.
I followed up that conversation by contacting my daughter whose expertise is in technology and graphics. She created the name, logo and all the things that make my web site look terrific.
My mission is “to provide clear, practical, unbiased information to help people, Millennials in particular, make better financial decisions.” The purpose is to help people make better financial decisions to help avoid uninformed choices, such as those that contributed to the 2008-2010 financial crisis.
What makes you and your blog unique?
I write the posts for Financial IQ by Susie Q solely for the purpose of providing practical financial information to my readers. As such, there are no financial consequences related to anything I write, allowing me to be completely unbiased.
I am a semi-retired actuary who spent many years modeling the financial risks of insurance companies. I stopping working 9-5 in my late 50s with enough savings to meet my retirement goals. My experience with both business and personal finances and my strong understanding of the math behind financial decisions gives me unique expertise to provide information to my readers.
What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?
To me, being good with your personal finances means:
- Paying all of your expenses as they come due.
- Having a plan to pay off any debt.
- Having a vision and an implemented plan to meet your long-term financial goals (e.g., a house, a big vacation, college for your kids, retirement).
- Understanding all of your financial decisions and their risks.
What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?
To keep my personal finances in order, I:
- Monitor my investments no less often than monthly.
- Have a long-term plan for my retirement spending that shows the average annual return on investments needed to meet my goals.
- Balance my checkbook every month to the penny
- Discuss our finances and investment choices regularly with my husband.
- Have a good idea where we are spending our money, though I don’t monitor in detail.
- Pay all our bills in full on time.
What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?
These posts cover examples of the range of topics covered on my site.
For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?
My advice is to figure out where you are with your finances, identify your goals and find a path to get there. Eventually, I think people should create a financial plan, which looks at:
- A list of your financial goals
- You’ll want to identify your three to five most important financial goals.
- A list of your current assets
- Assets that a company can sell and turn into cash within a year and liabilities (debts)
- Your budget
- A plan showing targets for income and expenses over a fixed time period, such as a month or a year.
- Your savings and investment strategies to help you attain your goals, including
- Short-term savings
- Designated savings
- Retirement savings
- Desired use of debt, including re-payment of current debt
- Your giving goals
- The possibility that something bad will happen. management strategy, i.e., types and amounts of insurance to buy
- Understanding of your income tax situation
- What you want to have happen to you and your assets
- The value of things the company owns and amounts it is owed when you become incapacitated or die and related documents
In your opinion, what’s better? Renting a place or buying a house to live?
I think that, as with all decisions, the answer is, “It depends.” It depends on your lifestyle and goals. Do you want to own your home? How long do you plan to live at your current location? Do you have money for a down payment and any unexpected expenses? Depending on the answers to these questions, then you can find the answer for yourself.
What are your favorite personal finance books?
The two books I love are:
- One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)
Until I retired, I was invested essentially 100% in stocks (individual stocks, mutual funds and ETFs), keeping a fair amount in cash for emergencies. I invested in stocks because I understand them and their risks and they provide a relatively high return when looked over long periods of time.
In retirement, I keep most of my investments still in stocks. In addition, I’ve created a bond ladder with individual bonds held to maturities of less than 5 years to provide cash to pay our expenses and a gold ETF to add diversification. The latter decision was made after researching my post on the All Seasons portfolio
Do you have any financial mistakes you’d like to share, and how have you grown from these mistakes to improve your personal finances?
When I was busy with my job and children, I hired someone to manage a portion of my portfolio. At the time, index funds were pretty much unknown. This experience confirmed for me that almost no one can “beat the market.” I wished I had learned about index funds as soon as they became available and transferred the money from the money manager to an index fund many years earlier.
What’s a non-money related interest you have and what do you love about it?
I have many non-money related interests, but will focus on playing bridge. My parents taught me to play bridge when I was a teenager. I taught my husband to play and we would spend long evenings with friends until our kids were born. Once our youngest was in high school, we took lessons as many of the techniques had changed from the time I learned to play. We played for many years at the bridge club near our home, meeting some of our best friends there.
When I moved to a new city, I joined the local bridge club and made many new friends. Even though both our friends and we have moved thousands of miles away, we still play bridge on line once or twice a week and coordinate our visits with each other around bridge tournaments. I also play bridge on line with my mother and nephew. Not only has bridge been a great activity for making and keeping friends, keeping in touch with family, and staying safely busy during the pandemic, it is a game with constant mental challenges and learning opportunities which are particularly important as we get older.
How You Can Contact Financial IQ by Susie Q for More Information
You can learn more about Financial IQ by Susie Q at https://financialiqbysusieq.com/
and follow them on Twitter at @IQbySusieQ
Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, Financial IQ by Susie Q, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!