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Blogaversary Post

September 17th, 2016 at 05:48 pm

I can't believe I have been on SA for 10 years!

I am so grateful for such a supportive community. Glad to still be here 10 years later.

When I started this blog my spouse was unable to find *any* work and we were kind of having an "oh crap" moment. Is just nothing we ever expected or planned for. (That he couldn't even find a job flipping burgers... What the heck!?) We've always been very frugal and big savers, but that just forced us to try harder. It's some irony that I think it put us on a better financial path than we ever would have been otherwise.

When we both worked full-time, before kids, we had a huge savings rate. I think early on my blog was just mourning the loss of that. In the end, we are now getting back to where we were financially before kids. Income and saving rate is about the same.

Oh, and re-reading earlier entries, I was really focused on how little we were adding to our savings. I can see there was confusion in what I was putting out there. We never stopped saving for retirement or anything like that. In fact, our net worth was quite large. I was just really focused on our SAVINGS. Like our rainy day savings and liquidity. Because that is all we were really struggling with, with the loss of income. I think it came across that I thought that was the most important. It was really the least important, which is why it was what we struggled with. Everything important was given much higher priority, like funding retirement or staying out of debt.

I do think one thing I've become better at is looking at the bigger picture more than the smaller picture. I think I had a small picture focus of one area I was concerned with, when I started this blog. But over time I have stepped back and have managed the bigger picture more. I don't know when I would have made that shift otherwise, so I am grateful for the opportunity to have done that while still so young.

In 2006, our two BIG financial goals (already accomplished) had been to get into a house and to be able to stay home with our kids. We just didn't have much on our horizon after that. We had knocked a lot of big financial goals out while still very young, and didn't really have any other goals. Since joining SA we've since switched focus to retirement. If there's nothing else we are saving for, then I guess that is the next step! Our retirement plans have also been heavily influenced by watching our parents retire (during the past few years). In both cases, they worked far longer and saved far more than they needed to. Though they all retired young. & so we are taking that into consideration when formulating our own retirement plans. (& it's not *just* that. My family tends to be extreme on the savings side. As are many of my clients. I probably see a little too much of people WAY over-preparing and not taking care of their own health and not enjoying life as much as they should).

I suppose that will be our focus for the next decade. Since I do enjoy my work, it's not a retirement goal so much as a "financial independence" goal. We just want to have the financial freedom to choose if we want to work or not. & I suppose that goal is also influenced by our parents struggling so much to find work in their 50s.

We just happen to be on track to hit $1 Mil when our kids should be finishing up college. I am not comfortable dropping down from full-time work until I have a really clear picture of college plans. So I think it works out that those two goals will be hit around the same time. ($1 Mil should be plenty for us to retire on).

I've not factored cash gifts (from parents) or dh working in any of that. So... It is possible I would be willing to drop down to part-time sooner. But things never seem to go as planned and the "prepare for the worst" part of me just thinks it's good to have the mindset that I will be working full-time for another decade.

I expect that by 50 we will be financially independent. At that point we will just have to regroup. I am not planning to shift to part-time work the day I turn 50 or on the day my kid graduates college. But I think that is just the point in time where we will be running the retirement numbers and fine tuning the final plan. Retirement has been our only substantial financial goal since our kids were born, but in our 20s it was just so far away and nebulous. I think we are allowing that at age 50 it should be a lot more clear and turning into a much shorter term goal.

We also have to decide where on earth we want to live. We know we want to downsize and move. That's all we know. I suppose it depends where our kids and parents are at that time. It's important for us to be near family. I expect the "where" to impact our working/retirement plans in our 50s. We are very open to moving back towards the Bay Area. When our kids are grown, would just be a completely different animal than trying to live there when just starting out. Plus, we are considering some middle ground like moving only half way back. If we downsized into a small condo, which is our preference anyway, it shouldn't be any more expensive. Who knows in another decade, but just thinking along those lines.

As an aside, I know it's not popular to retire in an expensive region. Especially a more expensive region. Or *the* most expensive region. But our parents have retired very well with very little in expenses, and I know we can do very well. It's the last place I would ever rent or hire out care (like daycare or nursing home care $$$$$). But for our needs and spending, I am not phased. We will have to adjust our housing expectations, but we've already done that. (We didn't grow up with any housing expectations, so it's not a big mind shift for us).

When I turn 40 the end of this year, that may be a shift I do with this blog: The 10 year count down to financial independence...

Other than trying to save up as much as possible, the next 10 years seem pretty nebulous. I don't know that I know much of anything. I expect a lot of change. We've been really boring and stable since having kids, but when I look beyond their high school years we are pretty much open to anything. We don't know where we are going to live. Our kids aren't on any set college path yet. My job is very finite. MH still has no idea what he wants to do when he grows up. I have *no idea* where we will be in 10 years. I'd just like to be on very solid financial ground, and if we achieve that then the rest doesn't matter. The rest is whatever we want it to be.

Here is to the next 10 years!

11 Responses to “Blogaversary Post”

  1. scottish girl Says:

    Happy blogaversary! You started the same year as me! I actually just read your bio the other day.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    2006 was a big year for some long-timers!

  3. scottish girl Says:

    Yep!

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I started in 2006, too, a few months before you. One of the best things I ever did!

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    Happy blogoversary! My 10-year is this coming June, and since I almost always miss mine, I actually put it on the calendar for 2017! Big Grin Yes, I'm that much of an SA geek.

    I know what you mean about having no idea what the next 10 years will look like. I don't either. I mean, I feel comfortable that we're moving in a good direction overall, and things feel really stable and routine for the most part (other than having some pretty ambitious home-renovation plans), but jobwise I could see any of us moving to something else (or just as easily, all of us staying where we are jobwise for the next decade, since we're overall pretty happy with where we work). I could see us doing a lot better on retirement and other saving or staying about where we are now. I do know there's no way we'll be eyeing part-time by age 50, but that's about the only certainty! Wink That just comes from having squandered the first 10-15 years of potential saving due to stupidity and spending, and not being willing to go to Mustachian levels to make up those years.

  6. Tabs Says:

    Happy blogoversary! Wow 10 years huh? Hard to believe it's been that long now....

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Happy blogaversary!

    I have no idea what the next ten years will bring us. A lot depends on DHs health - will he be able to work another 10 years? If not, will he be able to put together another source of income until he can take SS? The answers to those two questions are really the linchpins as to whether we'll get the house paid off in 20 years, and I'll be able to retire at 62 (or possibly earlier, depending on healthcare situation.)

  8. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Happy blogaversary and congratulations on making a great comeback from when you first joined!

  9. Dido Says:

    Happy blogaversary to another 10 year person! And congrats on all the goal progress and the shift in perspective!

  10. MonkeyMama Says:

    Thanks for all of the comments.

    P.S. Our net worth went up a whole $16,000 in the past decade. Rolleyes Really, we are mostly where we left off maybe 11 years ago.

  11. terri77 Says:

    Financial independence is a big priority for me as well. People always tell me that I'll be able to retire early. I don't necessarily want to retire early, but just knowing that I have the option to walk out if I wanted to, changes perspective on things. To be at work because you want to be & not because you have to be, is huge.

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