This year I turned 40 years old! Yep…I'm an old man. :) Ha Ya right! Age is just a number. As my wife will attest too, sometimes I completely don't act my age. Which is alright sometimes, but again who says you need to act like a certain age?
When I was 22 years old I laid out all my life goals from age 22 to 85 years old. It was my attempt to quantify what my goals would be every five years. Since 1999, I've continued to work on my five year goals, and update them yearly as my priorities have changed and I went from being a single guy to married with three kids. Over the last 18 years I've made a lot of my goals, but some of them have fallen short.
As I approach the mid point in my life (assuming I live to about 80 years old) I've had a lot of time to reflect. Reflect on the things that are important as to what I what to be true of me as I go down the “back nine” course of life. Here are some of the things I plan to stay focused over the next five years (taking it one step at a time) to get towards early retirement and debt freedom.
- Continue to set yearly goals – as you've seen me post monthly updates of my passive income streams, this is all driven towards accomplishing my yearly goals. These yearly goals then feed my five year goals. Each smaller goal fulfills a larger goal. It's all about setting small measurable goals that are realistic. In addition, it doesn't start with a magical date of January 1st, but can start at any point.
- Detest debt – much like Mr. Smith in the Matrix detested the human race, you need to have the same philosophy to detest debt. Debt can easily sneak into your life if you let it. Don't fall into the trap and really think out debt purchases beforehand.
- Save money on the small thing – all the small things add up over time. That is why it is pays to make a big effort to save on all your small purchases. Whether it be lattes from Starbucks or saving a few extra dollars on your dry cleaning bill. All these dimes and nickels add up over a lifetime.
- Give back – are you giving back to your local church or community both financially and with public service. As the Lord has blessed my family over the years I have seen His provision with the more and more he has put me in responsibility of. I haven't taken my gold and just hid it in the field (so to speak), but I haven't return it ten fold. It so helpful to remind yourself of where your money comes from and continually give back.
- Be creative in your ideas to save money – whether it be calling DirecTV to “threaten to cancel my service” or clip coupons, the philosophy is the same. I switch over from Century Link to Ooma in 2012, and have saved over $1400 in the last four years.
Growing old is true for everyone, but deciding to be good financial stewards takes a lot of intentionality. As I've lived over the last 40 years I've realized how important it is to be intentional with your money and know where each cent goes.
With that said, how intentional have you been in comparison to your age? Are you on plan A, B, etc? Where are you at? Leave a comment below.