It’s been just over five years. I suppose it was bound to happen. I just wasn’t expecting either the conversation or the intent along with it. But we made it a healthy talk. We both understood the significance and respected each other in that conversation. It was good and I am excited for the future.
Don’t worry – no throwback to last week’s blog post. My wife and I have been in our current home for just over 5 years now and just this weekend had our first relatively serious conversation about our next house and making the move. For those of you with our home address, you won’t need to update your address book anytime soon. But we did get serious about laying out the steps between now and our next home.
I think most exciting to both of us is that we came up with a plan. We have a series of smaller goals we need to accomplish prior to achieving the big goal of a different home. But we also have the end in sight.
What do you have for a long-term goal? Are you overwhelmed with the immensity of reaching that goal? That’s ok if you are. Many people get overwhelmed with the big picture. I’ll put up our example not as an image of perfection (my wife will certainly laugh at that), but rather as an encouragement that it really is possible. This is where we are at, and it was all accomplished while working on laundry.
Our conversation started, as many do, with a list of what else we would like in our next home. A better yard, another bathroom, another garage stall, a dining room rather than an eat-in kitchen, which school districts we want to be in, maybe a walk-out basement. That list was the easy part.
More difficult was the next part of the conversation. We started covering all of the tasks to accomplish prior to being in the right position to buy our next home. There were the items to fix on our current home – new shingles, paint, carpet, a new driveway. These items would help the home sell better and for more money. And then there were the harder items like getting rid of our credit card debt and maybe even finding ways to increase our income. These items would help us be more financially fit when it came to the next purchase.
As you can see, we have a ways to go. We are most likely years rather than months from our next home. But we took a big step this weekend acknowledging what needs to be addressed and identifying the steps we need to take. Some of them are bigger, some are pretty easy.
Paint is really quite cheap and can be a quick weekend project depending on how much you decide to paint. On the other end of the spectrum can be the credit card debt. Depending on how much debt you have and how much extra income you can apply to a payment, this can take a long time to pay off. Making the minimum payments on a credit card debt of $2,000 with average interest (for credit cards) will take you around 30 years to pay off. How long-term of a goal do you want to make this?
Here’s a to-do list to help you achieve your dreams:
- First, identify your long-term goal. What do you really want out of life? A new home? A dream vehicle? Perhaps a trip somewhere exotic? Set your sights, but make sure you have clearly identified where you want to end up.
- Second, identify the other pieces of the puzzle. What lies between you and that long term goal? Remember, these are not roadblocks, but rather opportunities. Each of them contributes to the achievement of your bigger goal.
- Next, grab your fork. I’m sure you have heard the question – “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” Same idea with your goals. Take the different pieces of the puzzle and relish the accomplishment of each one regardless of how big or small of a goal it may be. Then use that momentum to tackle the next item on your list.
- Finally, stay in the game. Even if it means posting reminders or advertisements around your home, keep your eye on the prize of that long-term goal. In the mean time, life happens. We all know that. Your game plan may change between now and then, but nothing will actually take you out of the game faster than your own attitude.
We all have dreams and goals. The research that exists identifies intention as one of the greatest indicators of reaching those goals. Be intentional about where you want to go. Draw yourself a map. Have a plan. Like the captain of a ship, put your destiny in your hands and run with it. Just make sure you know where you are headed so that you don’t end up stuck on a rock.
Breaking your goals down into steps will help. If you want more help, we can do that. You can contact us to schedule a first appointment in which we help you talk through your goals in relation to your current situation. You can also use ‘My Money Check Up’, a free, secure online tool to help you evaluate your strengths and some goals you may need to set for financial wellbeing.
Where do you want to go? You do not have to make that journey alone. The Center for Financial Resources is here to help.
written by Breck Miller
photos courtesy freedigitalphotos.net