As we’re nearing the end of the year, I’m spending a lot of time evaluating my life and where I want to be — which, of course, involves some hardcore going-over-the-budget. I’m proud that I feel more in control of my finances than I ever have before; I’ve been setting aside a little more every month, am on schedule for paying off small amounts of debt over the next year or so, and have been contributing to my retirement account. I also have a few big things coming in 2017 that I’ve begun saving more for.
Which has me thinking: saving for the sake of saving doesn’t really work (something also discussed in Jane’s awesome post this week), at least not for many people. I’m the most successful at saving money when I have a specific purpose in mind, like going on a big trip, or making a big move. But what I am still figuring out is how I’m going to get to a place of comfort in the long term. It’s so hard to see the big picture when the future feels like an abstraction, and you’re not really sure what you want out of it. So I loved this question posed by the second of J. Money‘s picks this week: What is your “why”? Why are you trying to better your financial future? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past year or so.
I’m still figuring out my “why.” Derek Olsen, the writer of the piece, writes that his is to “provide a strong foundation for my family.” That’s a great reason for building up wealth, and one thing I want one day, too. But having a family feels so far off to me, and I don’t know how to start thinking in terms of providing for a child that doesn’t exist yet. So my why, right now, is more related to my life as it already is. Full disclosure: a lot of my why has to do with the fact that my boyfriend earns a lot more than me. I’m more uncomfortable with our income discrepancy than I would care to admit. I want to earn more and build up more savings not just for myself (though, of course, that’s super important), but because I want to feel like I’m a more equal contributor to our relationship. I do have to remind myself that we’ll likely never be on equal playing fields, though, and that that’s okay — we’re two years apart, and we picked very different career paths.
If you have a “why,” I’d love to hear it. Be sure to check out the rest of this week’s picks, too!
1. 7 Steps to Making Your Money Matter – Be Awesome Not Broke
“Who cares if you used to spend $500/month at bars? You can make a new executive decision right now as to where your money will go.”
2. Rockstar Money Challenge: What’s Your “Why”? – Rockstar Finance
“Every Monday we’re issuing a new and simple challenge to help you reach financial freedom faster. Your first mission? Figuring out your ‘Why!'”
3. How I Crushed My Student Debt on a $25k Salary – The Resume Gap
“For many people, that combination of low salary and high student debt would have been a sentence to decades of financial challenges. But with the right habits, I enjoyed some of the best years of my life, saved a bunch of money, and paid off the entirety of my student loan debt. Here’s how I did it.”
4. The What-The-Hell Effect – ChooseBetterLife
“The what-the-hell effect is the feeling you get when you’ve already exceeded your preset limit and feel that since you’ve already failed, you might as well fail spectacularly.”
5. Renting vs. Buying: It’s Not About The Money – Mr. Free At 33
“I rented when I was broke. I’m still renting now that I’m fairly wealthy. And I’ll continue to rent long after I could buy an army of homes in cash.”
6. The Power of 10x Thinking – Afford Anything
“Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Forget about chasing ‘any benefit.’ Focus on the few actions that’ll fast-track your results.”
7. I Don’t Buy Christmas Gifts and I’m Not Sorry – Yes I Am Cheap
“All of the years that I spent buying Christmas gifts were not lost, it just took me time to evolve into appreciating time with my family as the most important gift that I could possibly give them.”
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