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.