Like many things, our financial focus will change throughout our lives. Even if we are not completely aware of it, we all go through similar steps in the hopes of creating a life we love.
First comes the easy part (as the adults will say) of school. Then post-secondary school and the dream job. Once we are in the work force, we want the pleasures of being a self-supporting adult - do and buy what we want, when we want. Unless we have been given some sound financial advice, this is where there is an opportunity to go crazy with our money.
Yes, I believe it is important to live our lives and have fun AND still be responsible and plan for the next step. Learning to have a plan that can be adjusted with steps to achieve our goals is paramount.
Buying a home, having a family, planning vacations and kids’ education are all possibilities. Then there is retirement and the bucket list we all create, even if only mentally, of the many things we want to do or the places we want to go when we have the time and money freedom.
I am in an interesting stage right now. One daughter is finished college and back living at home while she works and makes her next plan. My other daughter has 2 more years of high school and then she will be off to post-secondary education. This changes a lot for me personally.
I can move! Being close to kids’ schools and jobs will no longer be as important. I want to build a home, so I have met with my fabulous financial planner and I am saving every month to make that dream a reality!
I have some bad debt from a divorce that I want to eliminate before then, so I need to come up with a plan. I already live on a budget but I haven’t really looked at it in a year or so. I’m one of those people who tracks all my spending (necessities and other) so it will be easy to see where my money goes. I will need to sit down with my financial planner and see where I can make changes and have extra funds to put toward this debt. Another strategy is to increase my income or have another income stream that goes directly to this goal. This will help speed up the elimination process. This debt not only ties up money but emotions as well. Every time I think about it, the stress of that time is brought back up. I want it gone so my focus is very clear.
Short-term pain for long-term gain is the motto we all hear, and in this case, my commitment matches my focus.
By Pamela Carkner & Trevor Strong