About once a month, I have to remind myself that I can't do it all. There are all kinds of things that I just can't do right now...and I also have to remember that financial security is a process. Sometimes I wonder if I am trying to keep up with the other Fools (I guess it's better than keeping up with the Joneses).I am 25 years old. My DH and I have been out of college almost exactly one year. I know that we are just starting out in life, but I want to do it all right now. I want to already be there. I want our mortgage to be gone (it still has 29 years left on it). I want our 6 month emergency fund to be completely funded. I want our 401k to be maxed out and our Roth IRAs to be completely funded. I want our son's college education to be taken care of. I want to do it all right, but I am finding out that it takes time. We are doing it, but slowly. So, for those of you that are already there, please share the process that you went through to be where you are. Help me to understand how financial security is not just a mind frame of self control, but a process as well - one that takes time.
Remember that it took you at least four years of hard work to get through college and that doesn't take into account the 13 years of schooling that it took you to get ready to go to college. Financial security is similar. Consider yourselves in the elementary school stage of the process. My spouse and I were in a similar situation just over 20 years ago -- recently completed college, student loans, renting, some but not much in savings. Fastforward 21 years and now you there are five of us (we added three kids to the mix), student loan is paid off, mortgage of our nice but nothing fancy home will be retired this fall (consider making extra principal payments each month to reduce the 30 year mortgage to 15 years), college funding fully setup, 403bs maxed out, fat emergency fund, etc. Financial security can take 20 years and for at least the first 10 of those, you really feel like it's taking way too long. Only within the last five years or so, do I really feel like we are getting to where I wanted to be. And once the $$$ start to accumulate in those accounts, the process will go more quickly due to the power of compounded interest.
So, for those of you that are already there, please share the process that you went through to be where you are. Help me to understand how financial security is not just a mind frame of self control, but a process as well - one that takes time. One thing I have learned, growing up in a kooky family, is that you have to know what situations you can control and what ones you can't. You can't make time pass faster. So why fret about it?I understand and appreciate that you want your mortgage debt, son's education, etc... paid for and taken care of right now but you can't. So why don't you channel your energies into good times with your husband and son? When the time has passed and your son is older, you'll wish you were 24 again. Kathleen
I'm right there with you - I'm 27 (for some reason I keep thinking I'm 29 lately) and I want it all too. I want my student loans gone, a house with a mortgage close to being paid off, lots of money for retirement - ARGH!AND the frustration of knowing that as my means have increased, so has my standard of living (although still within my means) and it's harder by the day to even consider going back to where I was a year ago living in a studio and driving an 11 yo car!And for me, I have to balance those wants with another want to save enough money to start my own business. And I feel that I can't do both at the same time. And I don't have the patience to tell myself I'll start saving for my business AFTER I pay off my car and student loans. So I'm trying to accept them as a fact of my life right now and I have to remind myself how much farther ahead I am than most of the world just for having financial goals and doing something to reach them.I worry that I should be doing x instead of y or y instead of x. But heck - that's a lot better than worrying if I'm going to be able to pay my bills on time or if collectors are going to be calling me.
About once a month, I have to remind myself that I can't do it all. There are all kinds of things that I just can't do right now...and I also have to remember that financial security is a process. Sometimes I wonder if I am trying to keep up with the other Fools (I guess it's better than keeping up with the Joneses).I am 25 years old. My DH and I have been out of college almost exactly one year. I know that we are just starting out in life, but I want to do it all right now. I want to already be there. I want our mortgage to be gone (it still has 29 years left on it). I want our 6 month emergency fund to be completely funded. I want our 401k to be maxed out and our Roth IRAs to be completely funded. I want our son's college education to be taken care of. I want to do it all right, but I am finding out that it takes time. We are doing it, but slowly. So, for those of you that are already there, please share the process that you went through to be where you are. Help me to understand how financial security is not just a mind frame of self control, but a process as well - one that takes time. I'm not there yet, but I'll chime in anyway.I'm like you - I want my mortgage paid off, scads of cash in the bank, investments that could support me the rest of my life, money set aside to fund the kids' college. I'm by nature very impatient. In much of what I do, the "right way" to do something produces results very quickly, and you can see the end product right before your eyes.My goal is financial independence, and unfortunately, short of inheriting a lot of money or winning the lottery, it doesn't happen quickly. (Plus, in my stubborn way, I don't want to reach by either of this methods because I haven't earned any of it). It's a slow, plodding, boring process. It's repetitive. Read the posts on this board - most people describe how many years it took them to pay everything off, to plug the money into the investments, and years later they reach the promised land.As you can see, I understand your perspective. ;-)I stay sane and on track in several ways. First, I'm quite fortunate that my spouse is very patient. She has no problem making the small additional payments, saving a few dollars here or there, because she knows eventually over time she'll get where she wants. That helps a lot. Second, I "amuse" myself by building spreadsheets. These spreadsheets show me that even though it doesn't look like I'm making progress, it's setting a strong foundation for the future. My recent numbers show that if we continue to stay on track, we're free of the mortgage in about 10 years, and have enough to retire on and pay for the kids' college, in 14, when we reach our early 40s. That's pretty darn good. (Being the impatient one, I'm trying to figure out how to speed that up... maybe the company IPO will buck recent trends and shower me with wealth?).Finally, I read. . .a LOT, both on the Fool, any other web sites I can find, books (library copies, of course!). I look for examples of those who've done it before, who started later than I did and still made it to the end, and look for the secrets to their success. It's no secret. Time+low debt+maximum investing=financial independence. So keep plugging away, track your progress, think about how each financial decision you make will impact your ultimate goals, and enjoy the ride!
I am getting there. In July all CC's will be paid and all I have left will be mortgage. Getting out of college, I had one student loan of $5000 to pay back. Not too shabby.Just remember it is a process. Nothing worth doing happens in an instant. Just live day to day with a tangible, reachable goal spelled out on paper and posted wherever you need to see it in order to stay motivated.Enjoy your family, do your part to reach your financial goals, and it will happen for you.Louise
I find it helpful to look at my progress. I use Quicken and that draws nice graphs showing my debt going down and my savings going up. As long as I can see a trend, I'm happy.
"So, for those of you that are already there, please share the process that you went through to be where you are."Patience, patience, patience! For us, there was no magic formula except for patience. The fact that you have begun the process at the tender age of 25 is remarkable, and you and your DH should be very proud of yourselves! (Many people are in their 40's or 50's before they decided to get on the ball.)I tend to tackle big challenges like big math problems: I just break them down into smaller, more manageable components & deal with those first. I view financial security the same way: there's an order of operations, and if you take them one step at a time you'll find that the hugeness of it doesn't seem so overwhelming anymore. Our order of operations wouldn't be the same as yours, but basically what I'm saying is that you have to take it one step at a time. Does that make any sense? Vikki
<<So, for those of you that are already there, please share the process that you went through to be where you are. Help me to understand how financial security is not just a mind frame of self control, but a process as well - one that takes time. >>It is very much a process and does take time, but if you set goals and review them often, keep them in writing, you can do it. It's always a work in progress, from what I can tell, and we are on about year 7 of LBOM, but having that frame of mind shapes other areas in your life as well. One book that I especially liked was by Dave Ramsey called "Financial Peace." He was a guy who got in financially over his head as a young, cocky real estate broker. He lost it all and then came back to build it back up. He now counsels people in similar situations. One of the last chapters of his books is about "baby steps." And it tells you the order of implementation for attaining financial peace. They are:Baby Step 1: Pay the minimum on everything until you get $1000 in the bank. This is the first level emergency fundBaby Step 2: Implement the debt snowball. Pay off all consumer debt, car payments, etc. Baby Step 3: At this point you should have only a home mortgage as debt. Now save for your regular emergency fund -- three to six months of expenses.Baby Step 4: Fully fund all pretax retirement savings, 401-Ks, IRAs, etc., using stock mutual funds. Max them out if possible. Also at this point, review your insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage, upping your deductibles to $500 or $100 since you have emergency funds in place.Baby Step 5: Now start your college funds for your kids.Baby Step 6: After all the above is in place, start prepaying your mortgage. He says "it may take two, even four years to get to this step, but when you you, you will be able to knock that house debt off very quicky."Baby Step 7: Get rich! Build wealth.So it all takes time and a lot of effort, but with attaining each goal, it keeps you interested in working on the next one. And you are young, well educated and heading in the right direction. Best of luck to you -- it sounds like you'll do just fine. And working as a team with your spouse also really, really helps. Mary
Love to help ya, but I'm missing the "patience" chromosome myself. But you bring up an excellent point: the process does take time. But I dare say, at age 25 you are eons ahead of most of us older (> 40) folks here on the board. At 25, I thought a 401K was some sort of military aircraft. Maybe tracking your investments on a software program like Quicken will help you map your progress and keep you motivated? Or would that just make you more impatient? Can't wait to see some good responses to your question. Good luck!
I can definitely understand where you are coming from. Once I got organized and started thinking Foolishly I found it hard not to want the debt paid off, the e-fund fully funded, etc. I think the transformation of my thinking was motivational at first, but every so often it was frustrating.Looking ahead has really helped in keeping me on track. However, I find taking time to look back at where I came from can be just as soothing. I may still have cc debt to pay, but it's much less now than a year ago. My e-fund is no where near what it should be, but as least I have one now. The real satisfaction for me is the change in the way I think about money. Before I wanted to be debt free, to have extra money in the bank, but I didn't have a solid plan to accomplish it. Yes, I have a long way to go to reach my goals but I've come a long way from where I started.On the long road to financial security....Jo
Digrat,I'm in your same boat (maybe we're all going so slow 'cause the boat's so full of folks... somebody jump out, now!)Anyway, a friend of mine who recently passed away very unexpectedly convinced me to join him in participating in 5k running events.I hated it... it seemed impossible to do, 5 Kilometers, on foot... at a brisk pace? No way!Well... after letting me go through this for about a week, one afternoon he said:"Stop running a 5K, you're not running a 5K"I was somewhat confused.My articulate reply was something like "Hu?"He explained:"We both know you ultimatelly want to run 5K, but let's not think about that... let's think about how we're going to get there."He said "Stop looking all the way down at the corner 5 blocks away, just look 15 feet in front of you. That is your goal. You want to get there, 15 feet away."It worked for the 5K races. It sounds silly but that same day I managed to double the distance I ran without wanting to stop.I found that it works in all sorts of other areas of life too. Financial planning is definitelly one of them. I know Where I'm headed, but I just make sure I get to where I want to be in 3 months.It really works.AlessandroP.S. My favorite "Financial planning activity" is running MsMoney and looking at my "Net Worth over time" chart. I remember the fantastic feeling when it first went over the ZERO mark. And the equally nice feeling of seeing it go up, and up, and up, and up. Who cares if right now it's less than 1/5th of what it needs to be for me to retire... it's going in the right direction, and that's all that matters.P.P.S. Have a fantastic weekend! The GF and I are heading over to some friends' house for dinner and a Movie. We're somewhat worried that this may turn into a mini Mary Kay night (my buddie's wife does the M.K. stuff) ... I'm killing Jenna with my comments "oh, if it is then this evening I'll be fully mosturized and exfoliated" ... I think girls don't realize how silly those words sound until they hear a guy say them. Somebody pass me my ph balanced lotion...
I have posted before that I was in debt (cc and student loans), no job, no car (bought one on time finally), no money, but left my ex when my daughter was 3 weeks old. I was able to be out of debt and buy a home in 4 years. I got "there" by evaluating the small stuff. I didn't have huge returns in the stock market, made < $30K a year, I didn't have a windfall...I lived simply. No eating out (except twice a month as a treat on payday unless $ was really short then we would go for icecream that night). I would take the water that I used to do the floors (added some vinegar) and dump it in the toilet to flush it or put it in the washer to wash. I didn't have a computer, cell phone, cable, long distance. We ate simply. It was a huge treat to have red meat (the other carnivors out there will understand). I didn't buy clothes and we received a winter coat annually from my Mom for my daughter. I repaired things. Never paid fees. I increased the deductibles, drove a used car, didn't include the cost of the land when I insured my house. I did without and paid off debt. Then I did without and saved. Just as it took me time to make a mess, it took some to clean it up.L
dig:I'm 43 years old and father of 4, but I'm going to use this word anyway:You need to "chill".You are at least 20 years away from needing to have anxiety about your 401k or "net worth". You are already way ahead of 90% of your age group. Just keep doing the right things and start smelling the flowers:The reason you want the financial security is so you will be free to enjoy life? Do it now. Not the "stuff". The good stuff.Smell your baby's hair, and skin. Listen to him laugh. Teach him to catch a ball, or ice skate.Thats the good stuff.Steve
. I want our mortgage to be gone (it still has 29 years left on it). I want our 6 month emergency fund to be completely funded. I want our 401k to be maxed out and our Roth IRAs to be completely funded. I want our son's college education to be taken care of. I want to do it all right, but I am finding out that it takes time. We are doing it, but slowly. Instead of looking at these things like an albatross around your neck, think of them as assets--things that need to be fed and nurtured like rare roses or a batch of fine wine. Rome wasn't built in a day, and even God took a day off...give yourself one too.Asset accumulation takes time, and this is what you're doing. Look at your home and retirement vehicles as part of your overall portfolio, and not debt. Debt is the cost incurred for something that DOESN'T appreciate. You are spending and allocating smartly--now just stick with it!
digrat --Though I'm on the other end of that bracketing of life which we all call AGE, can't really add much to the advice of our fellow LBYMr's posted writings above. Collectively, their advice seems to do a pretty good job of answering your financial security concern. As you said, it takes time - and thankfully that's an asset which you have! BE PATIENT - remember the oft quoted advice about Rome's development; and, despite disconcerting detours, never lose track of where you want to go!! A cursory look at your direction tells me that you and DH are on the right track. Keep it up.....enjoy.....enjoy.....IT DOES WORK!Regards.walbet
here's a quote from the master himself..."No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: you can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant." - Warren Buffet
Hey Alessandro,I like my moisturizer!!!!!! How do you think our skin gets so soft and soothing for you boys?
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