Anyone who knows anything about my husband knows that he is a goal setter. I'm not sure how old he was when he set his first goal, but by the time I met him when he was 23, it was deeply entrenched in his soul. In fact, when we were on our honeymoon back in the summer of 1983, he insisted that we take the time to write down our life goals. These goals dealt with education, career, lifestyle, finances, travel, life experiences and habits to name a few. We still have the original papers we wrote these down on in our Goals Binder that is kept at his desk at home. We bring these sheets back out at least once a year and review how we're doing. I'm frankly flabbergasted at how many of these goals we have achieved over the past 27 years! We continue to set goals every year (both as a couple and individually), but we especially enjoy looking back at those original goals. A few of them didn't turn out to be realistic or even relevant, but many of them were right on track.
You'll not be surprised that paying off our student loans in five years, paying off our house early and a set $ amount saved for our retirement years were a major portion of what we talked about that day. In 1983, David was just about to begin his 2nd year of dental school and we were right in the middle of the whole student loan thing. The idea of even buying a house was still years in the future and retirement seemed light years away. But even so, we tried to make our best guess for
1. How many years until we would be able to buy a house?
2. What would a dental practice cost?
3. How many years would it take to pay off our student loans?
4. How much money will we need to retire in 2030?
This was an exciting discussion! Our entire lives were ahead of us.
Now 27 years later (our anniversary is 2 weeks away) we've accomplished MANY of these goals -- and amazingly close to the dates we chose way back then.
I would highly recommend that you take time to think your life-time finances through, map out a plan and write it down. I would encourage you mix in a hefty dose of Blue Sky with your Reality. You really need both. I think goals should move you forward at a speed (and maybe in a direction) that normal life would not. If this were not true, why bother? It's nice to be able to look back every year at a written goal sheet and be reminded of what you had hoped for when you were young and idealistic. Maybe you'll discover you're ahead of the game in a few areas and possibly you'll be grateful for a nudge to get moving forward again.