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I’ll be 27 this summer and am thankful that God has given my husband and I great mentors to help us start out our marriage with financial wisdom. In just 5 years of marriage we’ve been able to pay off $30,000 of student loans, save a 6-month emergency fund, boost both tithe and savings to 15% each, save up $4,500 for a new (to us) car replacement, and pay off 60% of our mortgage in 2 years. I’ll add that we definitely make less than $100k and I am a stay-at-home mom with occasional side gigs as a dietitian, so it’s not like we are just oozing extra money and easily accomplished these goals.
While I’d say we are on par for what Dave Ramsey calls financial freedom, I was caught off guard when I read an article about mistakes people make in their 30’s. A few of the mistakes noted were:
They abandon their loftier aspirations
They put their career ahead of family and friends
They stop developing themselves
They neglect their health
They miss the chance to have kids
They don’t set up a financial foundation for the future
There is comfort found in guaranteed paychecks which leads people to stay at their current job instead of pursuing something that would make them happier. In other words, we become “addicted to a monthly salary” as one responder in the article shared. There will always be a reason to stick it out “a little while longer.” Derek recently mentioned doing what you love and it seems like this never happens for many people because we start off saying “I’ll just work here 5 more years” and that turns into 30 years at a job you never really enjoyed. Ignoring your passions is definitely a mistake to avoid before 30.
Here’s a prime example of “just a little longer” from my own life. Dave and I have discussed that it would be silly to leave his job before he’s been there 5 years and is fully vested (we’re at 4 years now). I find comfort that Dave’s current job allows him to have every other Friday off, he rarely works over 45 hours per week and is encouraged not to go over, and the guys over him are family men who sent us home to Michigan early from a work stint in Calgary so that we could prepare for Nora’s arrival and be near family.
Those are great perks of a job in my opinion and perks I’m sure people desire when supporting a family. However, I know there’s a job out there that Dave would be more passionate about pursuing. I’m sure we’ll always be able to think of some reason as to why he should just keep working at his current job but I know it could rob him of happiness in the long run if he misses out on pursing something he’s more passionate about. Is this a mistake to avoid before 30? Probably, but it sure is a tough one to discard.
It seems cheesy to create something like a 5-year and 10-year plan but after 5 years of marriage it’s interesting to look back at what Dave and I wrote down for what we’d like to have be true of our lives in 5 years. I’m a big advocate of goal setting if you couldn’t already tell. Part of setting goals helps you think about what your next steps should be and gives you deadlines so you don’t drag your feet. Instead of “it would be nice to not have student loans anymore” you could sit down with your budget (if you don’t already have a budget, that would be a wise first step!) and figure out how to reach your first goal. Now your wishful thinking has become reality. How’s that feel?
What mistake to avoid before 30 struck you the most?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.
My name is Derek and I am a no-debt kind of guy! Stick around and you’ll learn how to pay off your debt, buy houses for cash, and load up your retirement!