I’ve always been someone who was concerned with Personal Finance. By Nature, I crave security. I fear the idea that one event, a job loss, sickness, pregnancy, could destroy my financial world. I read books written by Personal Finance Experts. I kept an eye on websites dedicated to money. I learned tips and tricks here and there. But honestly, it was uninspiring. Most of the time the experts were people who did things right from the start, or who made way more money then I could ever imagine. I couldn’t relate.
And then I discovered the world of Personal Finance blogs. Suddenly I was learning from real people who were finding amazing success while living a life I could actually relate to! The more blogs I read, the more inspired I become to make changes in my own life. The more I succeed, the more passionate I become about moving forward financially. The more passionate I become, the more I want to talk to others. And the more I talk to those around me… The more crazy looks I get!
Let’s face it, Personal Finance isn’t sexy, or glamorous. The average middle class American is stuck in the status-quo mindset: You work, day in, day out, for 40+ years with the hope that someday, if “luck” shines on you, you’ll be able to retire. When a 34 year old girl says she’s working towards Financial Independence, people think she’s lost her mind. Financial Independence is for rich people! You can’t get there on your income! And don’t even think about mentioning early retirement! Retirement is what people do while they’re waiting to die. You’re too young to be thinking about retirement!
I started this blog as a way to connect with people who see Personal Finance differently. Not everyone is going to agree with the choices I make, or how I prioritize things. But I like the idea that when someone disagrees with me, it’s not coming from a “you’ll never get ahead, so why bother” mindset, but rather from a view of “this is what worked for me.” I’m in a place right now of learning and growing. I want to interact with people who push me to think outside the box, who can encourage me and understand where I’m coming from, and where I’m headed.
Which brings up the point: Where am I headed, and how do I intend to get there?
Right now my Big Picture Goal is Financial Independence. To me, that means reaching the point where I have enough money that I’m free to do whatever I want. What do I want to do? Well, honestly, it’s a bit vague right now. I don’t know how much I need to get there, or how long it will take, or what I’ll do once I’m there. And for now, that’s okay. I figure the details will fall into place as I go. For now I have enough small goals to meet that I don’t feel the need to over-think the big goal.
I celebrated a small success this past week when the Student Loan I co-signed for my sister was paid off. Money wise, it wasn’t my success. But Freedom Wise, it unties me from my family financially, which is a huge piece of mind win.
The next step for me is selling my car. I owe just over $7,000 on my 2011 Nissan Versa. My goal in the next few weeks is to sell the Versa, and use the profits to purchase a 2000 Honda Accord. Everything is already in place, I just need to finalize the arrangements. And then, bye-bye car payments, hello smaller insurance premium!
I’ve been trimming my monthly expenses, and cutting back on my wants purchases. It’s surprising how quickly cash can accrue when you change your priorities! On the down-side, the money I’m saving is currently ear-marked for a variety of upcoming expenses. Within the next month I’ll be attaching to the new sewer system in my area. After that, I’ll need to replace the roof over my porch, which is currently missing after a fallout with a contractor over storm damage. I’m sure I’ll write about that in the future. The sub-floor in my bathroom is starting to deteriorate, which is pushing a bathroom remodel up higher on my to-do list. Each of these things will cost several thousand dollars. No small matter, but I’ll have the cash for each of these projects, greatly alleviating the stress of having to do them.
My career is also somewhere I’m currently focusing. I’m currently working as a Payroll Accountant, and am going to school for my Masters in Accounting. My undergraduate is in Graphic Design, but I really enjoy working in Accounting, and wanted to further my career. I’m not always a big fan of Masters Programs, but going back for a second Bachelors would have been comparable in cost and time, so it made sense to go for a Masters Degree. Plus the program I’m in is based on an MBA program, giving it a little more flexibility. I’m mulling over a variety of ideas on furthering my career as I further my education. There are a lot of options for me to consider. I’ll be sharing some of those options once the details become a little more concrete.
So, I have long term goals, and short term goals. I don’t have all the steps mapped out, but I know what I need to do next to keep me headed in the right direction. For me, concentrating on the next steps works better than overwhelming myself with all of the steps at once. I can celebrate small victories, and see how far I’ve come, instead of focusing on how far I have left to go.
– Ms. W
What do you think of my plan? Any changes you would make? What are your plans for the future?