I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our personal finances. We’ve been off the beaten path when it comes to those for a long time now. I guess that first happened when Tommy decided to be a teacher…and when I decided to marry one. I’d love to do a whole post or series of posts talking about how we have gotten where we are financially…but that isn’t what this is about. Not because I think we’re doing so great. But just because personal finance interests me so much.
So, we are debt free except for our mortgage. We paid off every bit of our consumer debt, car payment, etc. about two years ago. It was a long hard road, and it took lots of scrimping, saving, and denying ourselves. We paid off 48,000 and change in 5 years.
That is where we sit. We have two paid for used cars, and a mortgage, a small savings, one income, and four children. We have everything we need and a few luxuries. I’m grateful for what we have and for our dedication to live the lifestyle that we do. I don’t know where we would be if we had had a surprise twin and we were still in debt up to our eyeballs.
I do however remember being in the shower one day while I was still pregnant with the boys. I was thinking about saving for college for the kids and I did a little mental math. It seemed that at our current savings rate, we would be able to save for retirement (a modest retirement) and put three kids through college…as long as the kids earned some scholarships and had a part time job. I had been hoping for twins, and that clenched it. We couldn’t afford to have a fourth child….so I needed to put that hope right out of my mind.
Anyway, now that that’s water under the bridge, I do sometimes fantasize about different ways that we could get side incomes going. I’m committed to being at home with the boys full time for another while (that’s a special term for I don’t know how much longer).
When we first started our getting out of debt journey, I read this sweet book written by a couple it was called The Average Family’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Bill and Mary Toohey. They defined financial freedom as working part time with a flexible schedule and still growing wealth so that they would be able to retire and also leave some money for their children. Especially their son who had special needs and would likely outlive them.
I think about this definition a lot. For me it’s important to feel like I have a balance between hopes and dreams, and cold hard reality.
Anyway, here are my financial dreams:
Multiple streams of income that would allow Tommy and I to have flexible schedules with lots of family time….and getting to eat out once a week…I like to eat out (or take out). Not sure exactly how to do this, but I will let you know if any of my ideas come to fruition….this is the big dreamer part of my dreams.
Being able to help our children substantially with paying for their college educations (at least 50%). Tommy and I don’t want to actually fully fund college. I think kids that have to pay for part of their education take it more seriously.
A nice house. I love the house that we live in, despite it’s issues, and I could see us staying here for the long haul or moving on. Things I love about this house: small payment, medium sized, small kitchen, fun for hide and seek, character, good sized yard, 3 of our children were born here, this is the only house any of our children remember living in, the door that I painted yellow. Things I hate about this house: No sidewalks in the neighborhood, small kitchen. (notice the love hate relationship with the kitchen…if we stay here forever, there will be a major renovation to the kitchen….preserving the functionality that small brings…and…fixing it…somehow).
Living comfortably in retirement.
Getting to travel now and then.
Oh yeah, and a housekeeper….definitely a housekeeper.
So…where are you in this whole financial journey and what are your dreams about it?