What I do with Backer: Dustin’s story
We meet Dustin and his family’s approach to saving with Backer
This week, we speak to Dustin Golding, a junior product manager from Tacoma, Washington about saving for the college education of their two children: Gwendolyn (4) and Theodore (2), and how his approach to saving changed during the 2010 recession, and making mistakes in his 20s. Read his story.
Tell us about your family set up, the kids you love you are saving for and why you started?
I live with my spouse, Latasha, and our two children, 4-year-old Gwendolyn and 2-year-old Theodore. My parents, in-laws, and brother live in Washington while my extended family are out of state. Other than Latasha and our kids, the people who fill the biggest role in my life are my closest friends. I've heard it is unusual for people my age, but I have about a half dozen close friends who I have been in touch with for at least 20 years.
Our parents didn't have the financial means to support us if we wanted to go to college, so college funds were something we wanted to do for our children. I transferred some money that was originally in CD accounts as early as 2017, and started with Backer in May of 2020. My mom, my friends, and I have all contributed to the funds.
Our goals were initially lower, but we want to ensure both children have $25k for education expenses when they turn 18. I can reasonably see us doubling those goals. We have $1,841 set aside for Gwendolyn and $1,682 set aside for Theodore.
What was your saving approach from childhood, and how has your approach to money and saving changed?
My childhood didn't involve much of a financial education and, as an adult, I made a lot of financial mistakes in my 20s. I entered the workforce at 16, spent everything I earned, and often went into debt to “afford” the things I wanted well into my 20s.
I lost the job I had near the tail end of the recession in 2010 and, after spending 9 months looking for work, the way I felt about money changed. I knew Latasha at the time but we didn't tie the knot until years later. She is studying to be a nurse, and took on a little bit of student debt for her career goals.
Now, we carefully manage our money, keep multiple investment accounts for different savings goals, save a slice of each payday for the unexpected, and try to avoid unnecessary debt.
What does saving money with Backer mean to you?
Due to what I've been through, saving money now means a lot to me. Primarily, it provides a sense of security, and flexibility. I've become less impulsive with my money and when I do spend my money on things I want it feels more rewarding.
What’s something you’d pass on to the next generation of kids when it comes to saving for their futures?
When I was much younger, an employer provided a short training about retirement options and how to save for your future. I ignored most of their advice because I always thought I could save money later. I wish I hadn't.
Now is always the best time to start saving, even just a little bit at a time, and commit to saving. Don't wait, and don't treat your savings like extra money you simply haven't spent yet. Live within your means but don't feel ashamed that you are. You are rewarding yourself by saving. You just don't know it yet.