The Next Five Years

In terms of solidifying our path to independence, the next five years will be crucial. I realize this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There are times when I wish the needle would just move faster. This type of mentality just means I’m wishing my life away. I’m trying my best to encourage us to focus on the present while keeping the future in mind. This is hard for me to do.

Why is it hard for me to stop focusing on the future?

I am very goal oriented person. It has served me well in life. This is how I graduated number #1 in my high school class, finished my bachelor’s and master’s in 4 years, and carved my career path. I’m, also, very stubborn. My husband calls me a bull. I can be so hyper focused to finish, I can quickly forget about people around me, and my present life in general. There are definitely more upsides, but the downside is that I don’t stop to smell the roses. I used to make it a goal to stop and smell the roses, but that just meant I was forcing myself to enjoy the moment. Instead, I focus on goals and making them automatic. I’m becoming more relaxed. Only time will tell if this will be good.

Why is starting on the journey so hard?

We spent the first five years (2012-2017) establishing our financial base. Honestly, when we first started, freedom seemed so far away because we were at point 0. It’s really hard to visualize the finish line when you are at the starting line. But if you split up long term goals into smaller increments, it’s easier to visualize progress. One of the reasons I love to-do lists.  Now, we’re almost 25% of the way. We have knocked down 5 of the 20 years. Why 20 years? Being free by 42 seems like a pretty cool idea. When I first started reading personal finance blogs, I was an early reader of Retire by 40.

Why are the next five years crucial?

We are, both, respectively, 27 and 28 years old. In five years, we will be 32 years old. I feel like 5 years is a good tollgate to check the status of our long term plan. In 5 years, we should be 50% of the way through the journey. We will spend the next five years making sound financial decisions. I believe in 5 years, we will have enough for it to really start to snowball.

 Are we there yet?

My husband asks me on a pretty regular basis if he can quit his job yet. I have to remind him we are not quite there. He got super excited/depressed when I told him we could be finished by 42.

 Other factors to consider?

 First, kids. Some people may have noticed I don’t really bridge the subject of kids. I think we’re getting to an age where people ask us if we want kids. This is an extremely personal topic. The truth is I feel like we are still so young. So no plans. If we had kids, I would want us to be in a position to be comfortable and not stressed out. So there is the answer. I probably won’t bridge this subject very often.

Second, my parents. I’ve, also, mentioned I feel extremely responsible and will end up helping my parents in their old age. My dad is turning 59 this week. He is healthy and still works, but in my mind, I have a 10 year timeframe. My dad is the main earner in the family. My mom is 47, does not work, and sometimes she gets a little bit of money from cleaning houses. She only has one client due to her back issues. Honestly, I’m not really worried about my dad. He’s a busy body and active due to his electrical trade. But my mom is overweight and I’m always trying to influence her to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight. This is an uphill battle.  I’m, also, doing my best to influence, encourage, and help my brother start his journey. He’s 20 years old and currently, in college. He’s really good but struggles with school due to his dyslexia. The goal is for us to split the support of my parents 50/50. I have written before how this has created anxiety and kept me up. In order to get rid of the anxiety, I’ve just started to come to terms with the fact.

The next five years will be a testament to staying focused. We, both, need to do well in our respective careers, and really rock it, so our income remains the same or increases.

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  • While I’m a huge fan of goals, long term goals tend to mutate quite a bit because life happens. Try to be more flexible with your timeline. When it comes to retiring early, you better have a huge emergency fund and/or passive revenue generators because of the long term retirement. I would be more focused on finding a job/career that would be more palatable for the long term instead of financial freedom at 42. I wouldn’t mind doing something I enjoy for a modest income for the rest of my life. But it does require zero debt and low cost of living.
    I think the biggest challenge to early retirement is healthcare. What is your solution?

    • I totally agree in terms of having a huge emergency fund or passive revenue generators, in order, to retire early. I don’t know if I will be ready to retire by the time 42 comes around. But I want to have financial freedom. Financial freedom to me means a lot of things. Perhaps, it won’t be enough yet for both of us to retire. But perhaps, it will be enough for my husband to stay at home with the kids if we have them, or for me to help my parents when they get older. I want choices. Yes, sometimes my goals seem very fixed, but I’m always a person that can go with the punches. If I set aggressive goals, it’s because it’s my personality. I like to challenge myself. As far as changing careers, I don’t hate my career. And honestly, don’t know what else I would do at the moment. Right now my focus is to make money and my career allows me to do that. The dream job would be where I wouldn’t have to kiss up to any boss and still make tons of money. As far as healthcare, I don’t have a solution. I’m not worried about at the moment. Like I said we’re still 15 years out, and I may still work. Times change. The best thing to do is to stay healthy so you don’t have to go to the doctor.

  • Hey SVL, you are and I have very similar personalities, which is one of the reasons I married my wife because she is grounded primarily in the present. I am like the autistic accountant from the movie The Accountant where he has to finish things. If I don’t I feel guilty, even if I don’t have too.

    Good luck on your goals. I sometimes I wish I could be 27/28 and know what I know now, but c’est la vie. And good luck with the kid thing. For us, it is something we want, but we are much later in life (44 and 41). I sometimes think I will never get to FI because of it or I will just have to keep working forever. I joke with my wife that we should just adopt a foster kid who is a teenager and get them out of the house in a few years. That way we get the joys of being parents, but get them out sooner so we can be FI sooner.

    Good luck. I think the next decade is going to be great for investment returns, but then we hit a rough patch again. It is going to be really interesting when the proverbial SHTF.
    Jason recently posted…Guest Post: Why Should You Discuss Retirement Planning with Your Children?My Profile

    • My husband is primarily grounded in the present. He doesn’t worry about the future. Says things will work out. It helps ground me because I get very anxious about the future.
      Although I got in the personal finance space, I feel like I could have done better the first two years out of college. Hindsight! Every day I hope we’re making the right decision for our future.
      Thanks. Like I said, kids are definitely more in the long term, if we have them. I can see us not having kids either.

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