Here it is in a nutshell: I want to be safe and secure financially. It would also be great to have some luxuries in life. And it would be great to feel financially comfortable to the point of being able to contribute to people and causes that are dear to me. All of this sounds great.
Is it even possible to do? I suppose it depends on where you are in life, in terms of age, current financial situation, education, career, health, etc. Some of us end up pretty well with this equation, others not as much.
Where am I? Well, I’m 39 with 2 kids – both young. And I have some accumulated savings, but not nearly enough to feel anywhere near secure, let alone live in luxury or be as giving as I would like to be. I have had a career with a Fortune 500 company, and have earned an MBA from a top business school. Then, in 2009, my position was eliminated.
This has given me some perspective on things. I used the situation as an opportunity to to reevaluate my goals and my approach to personal finance and its role in my life. I am energized and excited about it!
I have, for much of my adult life, been focused on being conservative with spending and savings but not as focused as I could have been. Don’t get me wrong, I have always cared about personal finance. But I always assumed that job promotions would occur periodically (thus meaning jobs kept), cash flow would always be coming in, and my savings would be accumulating and growing in value. And I didn’t assume any financial calamities.
As one gets older, you realize a couple of things:
1) You have to expect the unexpected. It will happen, but you might not know what form it will take. It could be good, but many of these unexpected events are challenges that cause us to alter or reconsider our plans, as they make things more difficult than they would be in their absence. Job Loss, Divorce, Medical Conditions…these are the types of things that I’m talking about. Most of us will have something in this category happen in our lives, and it will be a challenge…..and will be something that will be unnerving because it didn’t fit into our vision of things.
2) If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. YOU have to MAKE IT HAPPEN. I repeated that because its a key insight. If I want something, I need to make it happen…it won’t happen out of the blue for me. You just can’t rely on surprise good luck, and you can’t just say, “someday I will do X, and someday I will get around to doing Y, etc.” You have to make it happen without procrastination. If you know what you want, there is no better time to get working on it than now, because life moves fast!
Anyway, these are my key insights that have come to me as I am taking stock of where I am financially and how that fits into what I want out of the rest of my life.
I know what I want – I talked about it above – but have not been focused up to this point. I now realize that unexpected things happen – they should be expected, in a way. And, I realize that I need to take stock of what I want, and go after it.
OK – I’m talking a lot about what I want. ME. Fair enough…what about YOU. Well, what is it that YOU want? If you are interested in just some or even all what has been described here: security, aspiration, and benevolence with your finances – then I welcome you to join me in the quest to meeting our goals.
How can we get there? We can share information, motivate each other, and work together. Much of this can be through our own personal experience, reading, blogs, financial websites, advisors, etc. On this site, I plan to facilitate discussion of topics such as:
– Financial philosphy
– Savings strategies
Basically, the idea is to get us to be knowlegable – both intellectually and in a street smart way – to the point of being able to confidently go after our financial and bigger life goals.