Wednesday, September 28
When I was in college I had a friend that graduated two years before me. He got a job with a financial advising company and asked me to sit down with him to talk retirement. During that time, he had me fill out a survey (if you've ever been to a financial planner, you know what I'm talking about) basically outlining my current liabilities and most importantly my financial goals for the future. At that time, our little sit down meeting was a joke. I was a server working part-time in a bar, with lots of debt, and no idea of what I wanted in the future (this was prior to meeting SSF). In my mind, I was just helping out a friend.
That was then.
Earlier this year SSF and I started to paint our own retirement picture. It involved waking up every morning to the sounds of the ocean, preferably in the Outer Banks. We patted ourselves on the back and called it a goal. We set a goal for retirement.
This past Saturday we were up in Philly helping my parents get their house ready for the market (ripping up carpets, very glamorous). My Dad will be retiring in few short months and they are planning on selling their home in the city and buying a new one elsewhere. While my parents don't really have any other choice since they want to leave the city, I realized there is no way I would want to start paying a new mortgage on the cusp of my retirement. I want our retirement to be free of any avoidable liabilities. Sounds like another goal to me.
On the car ride home I started thinking about both of those goals, the beach house on one hand and no debt on the other. Those two goals were in conflict if we planned on buying our home post-retirement. That's when, for the first time, I actually made a strategy instead of just a goal. New Strategy (to achieve retirement goal): In our mid to late 40's we will buy our beach home, maintain it as a rental to help with the mortgage and insurance, and then make it our own when we retire. Then out of that one strategy came another: New Strategy: pay off my student loan debt by 40 so we can save for the down payment on a house. (That sounds like such a long way off, but realistically it's only 13 years away, eek!)
I realize this probably sounds like nothing new, but for me it's a different way of thinking. I've always just assumed that everything would work itself out and that everything happened for a reason. But it doesn't and it won't. Having a goal and a plan to achieve it are two different things. You can't have one without the other. My work is far from over, I still have to layout my plan for paying off my student loans, but thinking about my retirement this way is kind of liberating.
What are your goals for retirement and more importantly how do you plan to achieve them?