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Goals Review – October

November 9th, 2009 at 02:56 pm

I was thinking about an incidence that occurred a few years back. I was at a kind of holiday type party at one of my wife's friend's house. We are both about the same age and same stage in life. At the time, our finances were interchangeable. Be both had credit card debt, mortgage, car payments, school payments, etc.

We were both probably had the same stresses. The balance between work, friends, and family. Never enough money to pay for everything. Always wondering how the neighbors paid for that.

Up until this point, I was always able to out earn my bills but that was coming to an end fast and I didn't even know it as circumstances outside my control would force my hand.

In any case, at that party, we were talking and he said to me "Welcome to the crunch years." What he meant by this was for the next 15-20 years, the job was to survive. There was no way to get ahead. Just survive and then after college expenses, we could prosper. Then, there wouldn't be mortgage and school expenses, just the car loan.

And at the time, I agreed completely. It summed up how I felt to a T – just survive.

Fast forward today. At one point in my life, I thought him and I would be good friends with our families hanging out together on the weekends. In the few years, he has continued down the path that he was on. Mine has taken a different turn.

I may have been forced to alter my path, and in hindsight, I do find it to be a blessing.

In December, it will be a year since I paid off my last consumer debt. Looking back, I am in a place were I see a bright future as oppose to "just surviving". I am no longer waiting for that next promotion or raise.

It’s an interesting place to be.

By the by, don't forget to get your holiday budgets together. Christmas is less then 2 months away.

7 Responses to “Goals Review – October”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Isn't it amazing how different we are from a couple years ago? I believe that I was one of the worst of my friends, though many of us were in similar straits. I was probably one of the people that secretly made them think, "Well, at least I'm not as bad off as her--I must be doing something right." Now I'm in a middle phase where I'm very open about considering every purchase and knowing where every penny goes. (This is looking less out-of-place, however, as more and more friends get laid off or otherwise feel the need to get their spending under control.) Soon, in a couple more years, I hope to be one of the people that friends look to for inspiration: in control, living well but sensibly, optimistic about my financial future. Like you, Merch. Smile

  2. monkeymama Says:

    What an awesome story!

  3. Analise Says:

    I think you have a wonderful attitude and your success is an inspiration to others. Life should not be about "surviving" but about living well because of making good choices and understanding priorities.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    So, to be clear, what happened before was that you relied on earnings to out-pace the expenses, but now you've also taken down a path that involves debt reduction?

    I'm sorry, I'm just a little confused. Big Grin

    As for the holiday budget, I have one that rolls continuously throughout the year. So, the impact to my budget is minimal, and when the time comes to buy something for Christmas or birthdays, there's usually more than enough there.

    The only thing that I'm running behind right now is Christmas shopping, but my son can't figure out what he wants, so that's what I'm stuck on.

  5. baselle Says:

    That's one of the big secrets of saving - if the rat race is a gym treadmill, saving means that YOU can set the incline and speed. If you don't save, any little (or big) stress means both incline and pace go up and you are running at their mercy to keep in the same spot on the belt.

  6. merch Says:

    BA - Yep, sometimes you can out earn expenses but it's only a temporary state.

    Ceejay - So true. And thanks.

    MM and Analise - Thansk.

    Baselle - You hit the nail on the head.

  7. Jerry Says:

    It's interesting to see how the financial choices that people make definitely lead to specific effects in social interactions. People tend to stick with people within the same general income level (or perceived income level). Rarely do you find a blue collar worker hanging out with a high-dollar insurance executive, for example... even people who are in similar straits may find themselves with less in common when one makes different choices.
    Jerry

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