Years ago I was in my twenties, oh the memories. Reading this post reminded me of the stupid mistakes I made then, but also the progress we’ve made to get us to the “third stage”. I thought it might be fun to go through each item and discuss my experience. Here goes…
- I was technically 30 when my wife and I took our honeymoon, so I can’t qualify here. The only other dream vacations I’ve had prior to that were to London and Keystone, CO….the former of which was paid mostly by my parents and the latter was put on credit cards.
- I had no student loans when I graduated college due to a combination of scholarships and my parents foresight. I realize now (when friends are still paying loans 10+ years later) how lucky I am, so thanks Mom & Dad.
- Check – probably around age 28.
- Check – paid off my credit cards and car loan at age 28.
- Maybe – can’t remember exactly what my emergency fund was when I turned 30, but I did have something saved.
- I made a few investing mistakes – tech bubble anyone? – but I’m not sure I’ve made my last.
- Check – I’m a dorky accountant, so calculating my net worth and cash flow is right up my alley.
- I’ve never maxed out a Roth, but…
- I’ve contributed enough to a 401(k) to get the maximum employer match since I was 23.
- I earned my CPA license at age 29. I’ve tripled my starting salary out of college since then.
- I definitely negotiated when I was in my 20s – from my car to my first house, I learned everything is negotiable and the value of being ready to walk away.
- Still working on earning my first grand on the side. I think 2011 will be the year.
- I never really liked the sub-account idea, preferring to keep all my cash in one account for simplicity and mentally keeping track of the funds. So call this one a “maybe.”
- I really didn’t think about retirement much in my twenties, and I regret that a little. I went with the default “plan” most Americans seem to follow of working until I was up for Social Security, with my 401(k) as a supplement. Only lately have I realized you don’t need millions of dollars to retire and that the idea of retirement in general is not well defined. I prefer to think in terms of financial independence – working if I want to, not because I have to. With this in mind, we’ve actually set goals to get us there. I only wish we had done it sooner!
- Check – no matter how sad it was back then.
- Probably, but don’t remember.
- I haven’t given large amounts because I’ve never really had a charity I’ve been that passionate about.
- I wish.
- I don’t even think these were around 5 years ago, so another No.
Some milestones I’d like to reach in my forties (35 now):
- Pay off our mortgage
- Cover 50% of our living expenses with investment or other “passive” income
- Start or buy a business (diversify our income)
- Pay cash for a car
Specifically #1 and 2 would be so liberating, we could almost do anything we want for work and cover our living expenses. That amount of freedom makes my spine tingle!