Tomorrow begins July and the later half of the year. I started this blog in search of finding balance in my life. I think I am actually getting there! Sure, I have a long way to go. But I am content with the choices I am making and the direction I am going in. In fact, I am happier than I have been in quite some time. As my days of full-time employment wind down, my head seems less clogged. It has been a wonderful change not to be multitasking at every waking moment of the day. (this might just be due to the kids being with my in-laws though)
So what are my hopes and plans for the coming year:
- Be present with my children more! Now that I have more time to spend with them, I don’t want to be distracted all the time.
- Focus on minimalism and enjoying the things in life that are free.
- Having a savings plan for retirement and in-case-of-job-loss, but not become overwhelmingly focused on money and material things.
- Practice yoga every day.
- Find simple ways of celebrating my husband and our 10 years of marriage.
- Develop a social support system for myself and my family through meaningful friendships.
I am really looking forward to having greater balance in my life! I hope you continue on this journey with me.
(It appears that the last few blog entries were hanging out in my draft folder! I’m not sure why that happened, but I’m going to blame the iPhone Word Press app! In any rate, check out my last three posts that were just published this morning: April 30th, May 1st and May 2nd! So bizarre!)
Lately I have been thinking a lot about what my “ideal” life would be. I have been having a constant battle of wanting my life to be different in so many ways.
- Buy a new, slightly larger house. I can’t seem to shake this material desire no matter how hard I try! I grew up always sharing a room with my sisters and would love for my kids to have rooms that they can make their own.
- Travel more (particularly this year to celebrate our 10 year anniversary). On the list of places I want to go are Trinidad and Cuba.
- Work part-time so that I can continue to keep my resume current, but also able to spend more time with the kids.
- Speaking of kids, I would love for them to be able to pursue every passion they want. I keep thinking I should get them involved in martial arts and piano, but there is no time or money to add anything else in our schedule.
- Pay off all debt including mortgages and live debt free!
- Have all the savings financial experts claim we should have including emergency fund, 6 months “just in case” fund, college funds and retirement accounts.
Is that asking for too much? (laughing) I think in isolation, each one of these goals is within my reach. However, as a conglomerate, there is no way possible I can achieve these unless I win the lottery. The problem is that I value each of the six goals independently and I want pursue them all. When I make a determination to focus on one, I get restless and uneasy as I am denying a part of myself. I am still working to find balance in my dreaming and find a compromise that allows me to stay true to all my hopes and desires.
Any brilliant advise for me?
I’ve been talking finances all week! So much for finding this topic hard to write about! This week, I took the time to read a lot about good financial habits and systems. From Dave Ramsey to Suze Orman, there is a plethora of advice out there on how to be successful with your money. I’ve gone back and forth convincing myself on different times which path I should take. I finally realized that I could adapt any plan to my life and unique circumstances.
The first step for me was taking a good look at everything. Here are the general facts my life. I am 36 woman (is it sad that I had to ask my husband how old we are? I always think I am a year old than I am!) who is married with two kids. According to Uncle Sam, I have 31 years until full retirement. Below are the general topics that seem to makeup finance health and our current situation:
- Small Emergency Fund – In progress currently. My goal is $2.5K.
- Living Debt and/or Interest Free and within your means – I am still paying interest on the mortgage. I owe about ~$3,700 on an interest-free car loan which I will pay off in October. You all already know about the credit card struggles.
- “If you lose your job” Fund – $0
- Retirement – I have a 401K which I am vested in. I contribute 7% and my employer matches it. I have a 2 (state pension and Roth IRA) other accounts that are stagnant. My husband has a few accounts, but I am not sure of what they are or their value.
- College Funds – I have one for my daughter that I add $100 to every month. I just opened one for my son day that will start next month.
- Mortgage – ~$200k on an adjustable rate on a 22 year loan with ~$29K in equity (supposedly). I seriously want a new house (more on this in later posts), but would only do so if I can put 20% down.
- Life Insurance – my husband and I have 30 year term-life insurance.
- Stocks and Investments – $0 I think! Randomly, my husband’s job will give him stocks instead of bonuses. I don’t know the status of these.
- Donation and Charity – We give on an annual basis, but I’d really like to do it more.
- Passive income – $0 – In an ideal world, we would keep our current home and rent it out for extra income.
The glaring hole to me is savings. So here’s what I have come up with for my SMART saving goals:
- $2.5K emergency fund by April 2014
- In case of job loss 6 month fund by April 2015
- 20% deposit on new house by April 2017
Looks like April is the magical month for me. Now that I have these, doing the right thing by our money should get much easier!