This post is about conquering your financial FOSO, or Fear of Starting Out. Many of us struggle to start out or make progress on our financial goals because we feel like we’re already behind, or do not trust that we will be able to make the progress we need to accomplish our goals. Here, I discuss ideas for setting a realistic financial goal. Then I offer six ideas for freeing up the money you need to succeed. Stop letting fear drive your financial behavior and let’s get started!

If you’re like most Americans, you know you should have more money in savings to cover emergencies. You should also increase the amount of money you’re putting away for retirement. And you will. Next month. Probably. Or next year. But yeah, you totally will. Either after you get that raise or when your partner starts their new job. Sometime anyway, you’ll definitely get to it.

Does this sound like you? I promise, I’m not judging. Saving is hard! I’ve been there. In some ways I’m still there. But I’m working on it and I’m starting to see results from my efforts. And you can too. Let’s start by admitting though that even starting to work on your finances is actually really hard for many of us. Building smart habits around saving and investing is not easy. If it were, most of us would already be doing it.

One of the issues is that a lot of us experience what I call Financial FOSO, or Fear of Starting Out. When you read online about people with a whole year of expenses saved up, it’s hard to feel good about the itty bitty amount you have in your own emergency fund. Additionally, when you hear a co-worker (who might be even younger than you) talk about how they have a million dollars in their retirement account and will soon be able to retire early, it’s natural to react by feeling bad about what’s in your own 401(k) or IRA. When other people are just so far ahead, it’s easy to conclude, what’s the point? It’s impossible for me to get to where that person is anyway. So why even try?

Here’s why.

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This post is an impatient person’s guide to setting and achieving big financial goals without losing heart. Settle in, friends. We’re in this for the long haul.

We’ve all heard it—patience is a virtue. And if it were your only measure of virtue, you might conclude that I’m not a very virtuous person. When I was little, my nickname was “Demanda”. While I think I can safely say that I’m not nearly as much of a brat as my little kid self was, it’s also a fair assessment to say I am not the world’s most patient person.

When I set goals, I want to go for them. Like now. Why not now?! I like now.

This is not to say I’m rash. I’m actually a pretty adept planner. I always weigh my options carefully. But once I’ve decided on a course of action, I usually choose to act deliberately. There’s no reason to wait. Let’s get things going!

Despite my eager attitude, here’s a truth about money—money is slow. Financial goals—especially big financial goals—don’t happen overnight.

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If you’ve been reading along with the Break Up With Your Bank series, you’ve learned Why You Need To Break Up With Your Bank, and know about better options for checking and savings accounts. In this post I’ll walk you through the actual steps of breaking up with your bank and getting set up with one that treats you better.

Chances are, you’ll approach a breakup in your financial life a little differently than you do for your love life. The order of the steps for breaking up with a bank aren’t quite the same as they are for a human partner. In this case, it’s okay to start seeing a new institution before you let your old one know you’re through. In fact, that’s the best way to do it.

You’re ready. But how the heck do you go about closing your old accounts? I know it’s scary, but here, I’ll walk you through the steps for opening new bank accounts and closing your old ones. So let’s do this…

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In the last post in the Break Up With Your Bank series, I discussed the benefits of opening a no fees, no frills checking account with an online bank or credit union. In this post, we’ll cover why you should open a high interest savings account too.

Are you still using the savings account you opened with you were a teenager, or during your first year in college? Many young people open accounts at popular banks like Wells Fargo or Bank of America, often because there’s a branch close to home or because it’s the bank their parents use. As a teen, I opened a US Bank account where my parents do their banking and then changed over to Wells Fargo when I moved to San Francisco after college. The savings accounts I had in those years had a few things in common: 1) Too little savings, and 2) A near zero interest rate.

Interest rates are pretty low across the board right now, ranging from 0.01% on the low end and reaching upwards of 1% if you’re able to get a great deal on a new account with an online bank or credit union*. The difference between 0.01% and 1.00% might seem pretty insignificant–especially if you’re a student or are working an entry-level position and don’t have much—or anything—in savings.

It might not seem worth the hassle it will take to close your existing account and do the research on opening a new account for a few dollars in interest this year. I get it. You’re busy and it feels like almost everything else is more important than opening a savings account when you aren’t really able to save right now anyway. I know you don’t want to take the time to do it. Do it anyway. I did, and here’s why it was a good decision…

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This post explains how your big bank may be taking advantage of you through abysmal interest rates and exploitative fees and why you need to consider a breakup.

You guys, it’s time to have one of those oft dreaded breakup talks. No, not with your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or spouse. Well, maybe, but I can’t help you there. This break up talk is about you and your bank. If you’re banking with one of the biggest, most popular banks in America, you might be in an exploitative, almost abusive, relationship without even realizing it. This post will will talk you through some of the pitfalls of banking with large banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and will help you identify whether you should explore alternative options.

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