So I’m faced with a bit of a convenient conundrum as this particular summer continues on. Within the next month and a half our household will have our travel account fully funded for the remainder of 2013. Which brings the question what’s next? The obvious answer is to re-establish saving to pay cash for our first home as the top dog of priorities when it comes to our disposable income and steadily invest for retirement, but beyond that we’ve really had to ask ourselves that elusive question of “What’s next?”
Our 2013 travels will have taken us to Hawaii, Charleston – South Carolina, Fayetteville - Arkansas, Shelbyville - Illinois, Nashville, Detroit, France, Germany, Spain and Los Angeles. And looking beyond travel has really caused me to look introspectively at what I want out of the next phase in life. Defining this was a lot easier in my debt busting days. It was crystal clear and concise to build an emergency fund and run like hell to get out of debt.
But on this side, the side of debt freedom, I’m finding that my picture of freedom is a lot more abstract and can be whatever I want it to be. But I fear that left to my own devices that I have been dragging my feet on the next goals that I want to achieve. While the monumental marathon goal of paying cash for a home is on the horizon, I have really been racking my brain for what it is that I want to achieve/do/get in the interim. Here are a few items I came up with.
Anyone who knows me will be all too familiar to know of my impeccable inability to be in rhythm. I’ve had two left feet for all of my life and it’s about time I did something about it. So with the help and encouragement of my wife (whom is NOT rhythmically challenged and to whom I publicly want to apologize to on this post for taking the art that is dance out of your life) I plan to enroll and attend group dance classes. Apart from being able to move in rhythm without tripping over myself or my partner, a loftier goal is to be able to competently dance samba and merengue.
It’s getting close to that time for my 10 year carless reign to come to an end. Maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but when my wife and I decide that it is finally time to buy a car we plan to spend no more than $5,000 on a used car and have the cash readily available in a simple savings account. Weekend road trips and large grocery trips in which we are not constrained by the size of our rollie-cart are luxuries more than anything as they also bring along the added costs of monthly parking, gas, insurance and maintenance. But when all is said and done the overall luxury of having a car in Chicago should have an absorbable impact on our disposable income by several hundred dollars.
I’ve hinted in previous posts that I have been looking to redirect my career path. Truth be told when I got out of college I kind of just “went with it” without aiming. So in the midst of internal assessment about where I want to be in life I have been giving a ton of thought and consideration to how I want to move in my career. I have had a few interviews with a few investment firms doing the same kind of work I do now but when I honestly assess the situation, a move into doing something similar just doesn’t light a fire under me. Our household is in a position where one income provider can take a pay cut or even fall off the income generating map and our house can still operate under the same cost of living that we have now. So with that information as a backdrop I have been considering a few career paths without annual pay and title being a driving factor. While I don’t want to jinx any plans in the pipeline, there are a few firms that are recruiting for their investment advisor training programs, and fingers crossed maybe it might lead to something.
When my journey out of debt started my main focus was money. I was paying attention to every dollar that I came into for debt payoff. Once my debts were done we moved onto my wife’s. Now that hers have been done for a year and we dusted off our suitcases the focus has shifted into personal growth and development and a small luxury. I did not envision that when money was no longer a factor that I would be assessing my vocation and self-improvement this much. Those are just a few of what have been a revamp of goals that I am setting for myself over the next few years. So ultimately one could argue that my picture of freedom from debt looks more fluid on the dance floor, rolling in a “new” gently used car, and a career path that resonates with who I am.