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Lordy lordy look who’s 40 – Birthday Resolutions

I turned 40 yesterday. That’s a big thing, right? I mean I guess so, but I feel exactly like I did when I was 39 and 29 but not 19 because 19-year-olds are foolish and I feel wise.

Anyway, a long time ago I read something that said you should have “1 times your annual salary in retirement by the time you are 30, twice that salary by the time you are 40.” I don’t think that’s how FI people think of it, but it’s one of those things that stuck in my craw.

As of this morning, I have about $76,000 in investments, including the kids’ 529s. My husband has about $30K. Here’s the thing. When I was 30, our combined salary was about $30K. So we are on track! Except our combined salary now is closer to $150K, so we are so fucking far behind.

I feel okay about where we are. A lot more okay than 5 years ago. We’re on our way out of debt and our contributions have increased, probably by tenfold, since then. With that said, we have some catching up to do, and since birthdays are memorable and I feel like I should Do Something (beyond saying “hey for my birthday, can we all go to bed on time without complaining?”), here are my Birthday Resolutions:

Within 1 year: pay down all debts except brain surgery, car, student loans, solar panels, basement waterproofing, and mortgage. Increase pre-tax contributions by $500 a month.

Within 5 years: pay down all debts except solar panels and mortgage. Realistically, by then we are going to have another car loan. I know, I know, we should save up for it and blah blah blah but we aren’t. My credit score is great, so we will get a good rate. Increase my pre-tax contributions to the maximum levels possible? That seems absurd. Whatever, I can make goals.

Within 10 years: pay down all debts, including mortgage and car loans. Be debt free. That is seriously doable.

Within 15 years: I don’t actually intend to retire early, but I’d like to be at a place when I’m 55 where I could.

In the meantime: travel, once every two years on average, internationally, with the whole family. For free, if possible. Probably that will be to Ukraine at least for the near future, but in the farther future, I want to travel hack to Australia/New Zealand. I also want to go to Hawaii. Go to Disney World for freeish in January, do it again when Amelia is 6 (so another three years beyond that). Maybe once every 3-4 years until the kids are grown, so another 3-4 times. Fix our bathroom, which requires ripping it out, without taking out a loan for it. Get a new bathroom upstairs at the same time. Winterize our sunroom. That might mean taking out a home equity line of credit.

I’ve always sort of seen myself as working until I die, which is frankly okay with me, but also being insecure about our finances until then, too. I can see this path now where that’s not true – where I can work until I decide it’s time to stop, and spend my time gardening and playing with grandkids and traveling. I could probably start playing with grandkids relatively soon if I insist on abstinence only education and stop supervising Sonya. YIKES HER BODY WILL BE PHYSICALLY READY TO HAVE A BABY IN LIKE THREE YEARS.

At some point, it seems en vogue to say “I want $1.2 million dollars by the time I’m 44” or whatever, but I’m not ready for that. I want to keep moving in the right direction and paying off debt and investing more. I guess that’s my real goal here: keep on keeping on, keep on making progress.

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