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  • Maggie McFarren

Work x Traverse

No matter what your goal, here’s the first step you may be overlooking.

A long time reader of ASVH, I’m inspired by all the drive and passion that is evident in each woman’s story. I love seeing how each person is striving to be their best selves and to create their dreams.

When talking with friends how to pursue their passion, there is one consistent obstacle: money. There’s the saying “money can’t buy you happiness” which is true - but it can bring some security. Taking a look at your finances and setting up a healthy relationship with money can only benefit you no matter your goal. It allows for you to have less stress and more room in your life to focus on what is driving your passion. Money should be a tool that helps your realize your potential, not an anchor holding you back. Even if it may not directly relate, good money habits are essential to working towards your goals in life.

Step one is building an emergency fund. The emergency fund is your foundation. An emergency fund is typically 3-6 months of your expenses: rent, bills, food, spending. This is the budgeting equal to jail in Monopoly – until you have your fund set up do not stop, do not pass go. Building this should be top priority before saving for anything else. If you don’t have this set up yet, you’re not alone: only 39% of Americans say they could handle a $1,000 surprise expense. Emergency funds are for things like if you get sick, your car breaks down, or you lose your job. It is not for a last-minute trip, new clothing you HAD to have, or something that you can’t afford but get anyways. Those are what you should save for once your fund is already set. I know how this can all sound tedious but once that emergency fund is set it can provide a lot of freedom. For me that freedom is in traveling. I love to go new places, meet new people, but mostly eat amazing food. By building good everyday habits it’s easier to be able to enjoy myself when I spend my money on what I love doing.

"How I usually end up spending my money."

If you read this and feel overwhelmed, that’s okay. A big mistake people make is ignoring or being unaware of their financial habits. If that sounds like you, take a breath, make yourself a cup of tea (or cocktail) and face your bank account. Once you know where you are starting from, you can build good habits. Start small and build over time.

Whatever your goal. it’s easier to make a leap when you know you have some security. Wanting to change careers? Easier if you can save up for classes without depleting your bank account. Expanding your hobby? You can buy some new gear that you can actually afford. The best way to accomplish your goals is to set yourself up for success. Building an emergency fund provides the first level of foundation to whatever you wish to achieve.


Maggie currently lives in Los Angeles but is native to the San Francisco Bay Area. When she’s not watching bad reality tv, petting dogs, or working on a film project, she’s usually planning out her next travel plans. Her passion for travel started by exploring her beautiful home state of California and continues to grow with each new destination. She shares her trips and tips on her blog.

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