I Might Be Crazy, But I Have A Plan!

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?

 

Comments

  1. This is the first post of your blog I’ve read (followed over from MMM); I will definitely mark yours as a blog to follow. Reading more posts will answer some questions for me, I’m sure, but I’m interested in following professional women my own age who are striving for fin independence. Your comment on MMM and the post above leads me to think you too have an interesting family dynamic tied into this goal. I’m 28, divorced, debt-laden, and working to get out of the mess. I think your plan looks good! I know the frustration of earmarking money when you want it to build up a savings/investment jar instead of household repairs. But just think of the people who’ll put their home repairs on a credit card at 24% interest. Shudder. 🙂 Keep writing, I’ll go back and read your other posts!

    1. Thanks Lexi! Family definitely has played a big role in my finances, even though I am single. I’ve been working on untangling some of the mess, and learning from my past mistakes.
      The home repairs sometimes feel like a never-ending battle! I keep reminding myself that they are a sort of savings in themselves. Taking care of problems now while they are small will keep them from turning into large expenses in the future. It’s also a reminder that I need to work hard at increasing my income, so I’ll be better able to both keep up on my expenses and put some away.
      It’s always great when women can support each other in their goals. Years ago MP Dunleavey had an online column on MSN Finance called “Women in Red”. She took a group of women, in all different situations and from all different backgrounds, and she would follow their financial progress. I always found it so inspiring to read about other women succeeding! I wish there was more of that online!

  2. Any chance your employer will pay for part of your MBA?

    1. It’s something that is currently being discussed by the company that owns the company I work for. However, I’m being told that an employment contract saying I had to work at the company for X amount of years after graduation would most likely be required. I’ll need to get more details from them, but potentially capping my income at my current rate, when I could be making much more upong graduation, doesn’t seem like the best idea.

  3. Another visitor from MMM… I can totally relate to the looking crazy part. I feel I’m in between two worlds: I have high income professional friends who don’t relate to my wanting to be frugal, and then I have my hippie friends who can’t connect to my professional/money savvy side.

    My own financial situation is okay, I have no unsecured debt and no family pressures at the moment. My quest for financial independence is driven more by wanting to feel safe (having a financial cushion), and living a more balanced life. I worked hard at my career for the last few years and am now a bit burned out, to be honest.

    1. Getting burned out is definitely something I can relate to! I think it’s bound to happen when you throw yourself too much into your work.

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