If you do what you've been doing, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?
Independence. That was the first financial goal I ever set. I don’t remember when or how it even came about, if it’s something my parents instilled in me or if I came to a decision on my own, but I never wanted to be the person who depended on someone else to give me the life I wanted. I wanted to be the one who decided if I would sink or swim in this world, and because the former didn’t seem that attractive, I chose to funnel my energy into achieving the latter. And so far, I think I’m doing pretty well. I was valedictorian of my high school class, graduated summa cum laude from college with a degree in accounting and finance (a 5-year degree that I completed in 4 years), and have been working in the accounting and finance world ever since. I have always paid my bills on time, never had to ask my parents for financial help, and have been able to fund a life that I love while still saving for my future. All by myself. I promise you, I’m not trying to toot my own horn (or maybe you think I am. I guess it just depends on how much of an ego you think I have lol) – I just cannot tell you how great it feels to be able to be able to say that I’m capable of taking on the world myself. And not only capable, but actually doing it. Suck on that, world.
I know you all probably have goals swimming around in your head, ones that have been up there taking up way too much space for way too long. Well, it’s time to clean out the attic and write them down. So many people think this is an unnecessary step because it seems so, well, hokey. Honestly, though, if you don’t have the constant reminder of those larger goals you’re seeking, the short-term gratification of a new pair of boots is going to get in the way of the delayed satisfaction of not having a car payment (and trust me, that’s awesome).
I don’t care how or where you write them down—on your bathroom mirror, pinned to your bulletin board, blasted all over your blog (hello!)—as long as it’s somewhere that you will notice them from time to time. For me, I have a tab on my budgeting spreadsheet where I track my progress on my financial goals on a month-to-month basis (see below). I look at it at least twice a month, if not more, so it’s always acting as a constant reminder to me. You can see that I listed my top 3 goals, how much I’ve estimated I will need, and how much I have saved for each. Looking at these regularly keeps me on the right path – these are things I really want to do/accomplish and, to me, are worth giving up that extra drink with dinner or a monthly pedicure.
As mentioned in my previous post, prioritizing these is important as well – the World Cup will be here way sooner than my wedding will (seriously, I’m not even engaged yet – I may achieve goals #4, 5, and 6 before that happens!) so that one definitely takes precedence. And remember, nothing is ever set in stone with your goals, your budgets, etc. They are guidelines, not rules – you have to decide what is important to you and go after those. But don’t abandon a goal just because it gets to be too hard - being able to scratch one off after you accomplish it is a feeling like nothing else. That house I mentioned in my prior post that I was saving for? Well, I bought it this past summer, with a 20% down payment. Oh, the satisfaction! And now I can walk around and say, “Yes, I own 20% of that door knob and 20% of that staircase.” Doesn’t get better than that!
Moral of the story: get to writing – and feel free to share. I would love to know what you all are saving for!