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Stop feeling broke: Sign up for Totally Worth It and take control of your money

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You are totally worth it.
(Jim Cooke / Los Angeles Times)
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Hello!

My name is Jessica Roy. I work for the Los Angeles Times. And on Jan. 1, I’m launching a new newsletter course about your personal finances. Welcome to Totally Worth It.

I’m my friends’ go-to person for personal finance advice. Five years ago, that was not the case. I woke up on New Year’s Day 2017 with a big resolution in mind: This was going to be the year I took control of my money. I was going to make a budget and stick to it. I was going to stop wasting money on stupid stuff and pay off my debts and then start seriously saving for a house.

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I was 30 years old, and my husband and I both had good full-time jobs with decent — not great but enough — salaries. We had made many sensible financial choices, I thought. We drove used cars and lived in a rent-controlled apartment. We were hardly living large. So why did we feel broke all the time?

I had made vague promises to myself in the past about tackling my credit card balance. But this time, I buckled down. I knew I wanted a house and kids in this decade of my life, and I knew I didn’t want to spend another year tossing and turning in the middle of the night worrying about how exactly we’d ever get out of the quicksand of debt.

Only 8% of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution actually follow through with it. In 2017, I was one of them. I Googled “budgeting software” and picked one. I decided that the mental image of myself never stressing about money ever again was going to be worth the learning curve. I kept at it, even though I’m terrible at math and screwed up a million times. If I figured it out, trust me, so can you.

We stuck it out and paid off all our debt. Then we took on some exciting new debt: We bought our first condo. In 2022, we’re going to have a baby.

Money is one of the leading causes of divorce. It’s a fraught subject for a lot of people. But in my household, budget conversations are cheerful check-ins about our spending and priorities.

With Totally Worth It, I’m going to help you do what I did. Imagine your best friend is coming over with a bottle of wine and her laptop to sit down with you and really, truly get you to tackle your money stuff. That’s me! Now imagine yourself in total control of your money, unstressed, thriving, deciding how you’ll spend your credit card cash-back rewards. Soon, that could be you.

If you’re looking for someone who will explain how to optimally proportion contributions to your 401(k) and IRA for tax season or what blend of short- and long-term investments makes the most sense for your portfolio goals, this is not the right newsletter for you. If your eyes lightly glazed over while reading that sentence, this is probably more your speed. Do you want to be in control of your money instead of the other way around? Do you feel like you make too much money to feel so broke all the time? Do you want to get serious about your debt and save up for bigger expenses? Do you want to stop worrying that a trip to Starbucks will make your rent check bounce? You’re in the right place.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Doesn’t this sound fun? OK. Maybe not fun. But doesn’t it sound like you’d feel so much more relaxed and secure about your money? And wouldn’t that be a little fun, to feel that good?

Personal finance can’t do everything. My generation is broadly burdened with education costs and housing costs and healthcare costs, and also we’ve lived through two “once-in-a-lifetime” economic downturns even though most of us aren’t old enough to be president yet. I can’t magically make things cost less or make your paycheck bigger. But I can help you do the most with what you have.

Sign up now, and I’ll see you soon.

— Jessica

VIDEO | 04:49
LA Times Today: How to manage your money in 2022

Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.


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