The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.
I either heard that on the radio or read it on twitter earlier this week (via Dave Ramsey, duh)... love it! And it's so true. You can't get to your destination without a map. Stuck-in-the-mud right now or not, what keeps us going and plugging away each day is focusing on where the hub and I want to be 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and 30 years from now. It's incredible to think about! Creating financial goals together is so important (and fun!). It's about asking, "Where do we want to go, what do we want to do?" and then putting together a plan to get there.
For us, the quick and dirty version is to rid ourselves of all debt, stay out of debt, build wealth and give. Obviously our strides are short right now as we're still in *income crisis* mode while the hub is searching for full-time work. But even with our tiggity-tight budget, every decision is made with these goals in mind. And of course we have other "fun" goals mixed in... things we want to do with the house, traveling, newer cars, a boat.... I could go on! Every goal of ours, big or small, has a strategic plan. And just to share with you all, here are some of our biggest and uber exciting goals for the not-too-distant-future...
1. Become debt-free (but the house) by the end of 2011. The absolute dates here are fuzzy right now since our income is up in the air. Once the hub lands a new job, we'll be able to knock the shit out of this one. Progress right now is very slow - but there is still progress every month. And we're throwing one heck of a party when we finally get there!
2. Get college and wedding accounts rolling for the (future) kids. Wedding? Oh hell yeah. I told the hub the other day, "OK, if we have a daughter and put $100 away each month, with 10% growth we'll have $100,000 for a wedding by the time she graduates college!" Of course by then, $100k will only be worth about $50,000 or so in today's dollars. But we can easily do fabulous on $50,000! I love weddings, you know. These are the crazy dreams I come up with! Also, we plan to get college funds rolling as soon as possible too. Pigs will fly over a frozen hell before we let our kids get a school loan. And I would love, love, love for our kids to go to my old junior high and high school, which is private... so that of course would be figured in there too. But none of this can happen before #1 (getting debt-free) is done. And there's some other stuff that's gotta happen first too (emergency fund, etc.), but this is a fun one to think about!
3. Pay off the house. I get a head-to-toe rush through my body thinking about this one. Maybe it's the Holy Spirit saying, "Git 'r done!" Who knows... but wow, can't wait to get there! Again, it's a little hard to speculate in our current income situation, but we expect to be able to accomplish this by my 40th birthday. I'm about to turn 33. But I look 19! (So I was recently told. Thanks, checkout guy at Costco!) All these goals - this one especially - have refueled my drive and energies at work. Well, and my job being the only full-time one between us right now kinda forces us both to appreciate it more! But having this goal in the back of my head, everyday, helps me plug away. And we've also discussed that when the house is gone, I'll have the freedom to be a SAHM or do whatever I want. So that's incredible to think about too!
4. Become millionaires within 10 years. This one is just fun, right? And really, all these steps we are making will easily lead us here, so it is really just icing on the cake. This should happen very quickly after #3 is done. I'm a nerd, so you know I've run the numbers! Millionaires with no debt. No payments to anyone. Can you imagine the amazing things we will be able to do? The giving we can do? The fun we can have? The wealth we can build? I saw a segment on the local news this week where a nearby Boys & Girls Club location was vandalized and all of their A/C units were stolen. In this incredible heat! That made my blood boil. I want to be in a position where we can cut them a check and make them whole again. That's the kind of stuff I get PUMPED about! That is true life, right there. And we cannot wait! As much as the hub and I love *stuff* and love to do fun things and travel and whatnot, we really have a heart for giving. I so cannot wait!
You guys always hear me talking about the budget, cutting corners, NOT shopping, paying off debt... well, this is WHY we do it. Because we've got somewhere to be and we want to get there as quickly as possible. It involves a lot of sacrifice today. Saying "no" a lot of times to friends who want to go out, taking "staycations" instead of the real thing, driving a 12 year old car that locks up every time you try to put it in gear... but we're content. We're content because we know where we're going. We have to say "no" a lot right now so that one day we can say "YES!" And my sweet 98 Accord will get us there just fine, won't ya, girl?!