The series of the following posts was inspired by one of my good friends and a great blogger Joe, the creator of Retireby40 , where he is chronicling his journey to retirement. Joe wrote a post How To Retire By 40 where he outlined and mapped his journey to an early retirement.
It is a very stimulating post and an exciting journey for those who stayed on track, who have mapped, saved, invested, planned from the early age. Those people already can visualize a nice bungalow somewhere warm and exotic. They close their eyes and see themselves raising their grandchildren. They stock up on travel books because they know they will travel the world. In other words, those people see the light at the end of the tunnel by age 35 or 40.
But then there are those, who are not staying on their retirement track for a variety of reasons. They close their eyes and see bills. They stock up on travel books because that’s the only way they can travel the world. They don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, they are not even sure where this tunnel can be found. I am one of those people.
Pick The Right Partner
The right partner means common goals and mutual understanding. It means partnership. It means working together towards common future. Beaker and I are definitely right for each other in spite of the fact that I am a spender and he is a saver. In spite of the fact that I look at money as something to be spend on travel, books, furniture, and clothes, and Beaker looks at money as a means to an end that provide security and stability.
What can I say? We complete each other.
Get Rid Of Consumer Debt
I came to the U.S. with no debt. Then over a few years living in a consumerist paradise I accumulated quite a bit of it. I told my story about that time in my life here. I took out some student loans to get myself through the school. The result of my few years in the US: piles of credit card debt, student loans and a car loan.
Beaker had one student loan when he met me. A few years and one European honeymoon later, we increased our debt by a few thousands and enthusiastically added a mortgage on a top of it.
Looking back I am not sure what triggered the bitter awakening, but something definitely did. Maybe it was the realization that debt sets us back in our life achievements. We finally saw that in order for us to do what we want to do, to live the life we want to live, we need to get rid of our debt. As fast as we can.
Last year we were able to pay off $13,000 on our debt. It feels great. But we still have a long way to go. But at least by now, we know where that mysterious tunnel, we were searching for sometime now, is located.
Spend Less Than You Make
This is a very simple truth, isn’t it? Wrong! It surely sounds simple. But try living according to it and you will see that there is nothing simple about it.
Some of us don’t follow the notion of spending less than we make not because it is difficult to do, but because so many of us are oriented towards immediate results and instant gratification.
The devil of consumerism appears at your elbow full of sympathy, suggestions and possibilities. Humans are weak (at least those if us who came from the former Soviet Union) and we give in to the devil’s temptation. Yes, I served the devil of consumerism for years. Budgets and savings love us in the long run. But it requires time, effort and discipline. The devil of spending (or consumerism) takes an interest in us and provides an immediate gratification we humans crave. By the time you realize it, it’s too late and the damage is done.
There is only one financial thing I fear now – debt. For I have seen it, felt it and lived it. In fact, I am still living it.
I know now that it is debt and reckless spending that undo us.
To be continued.
P.S. By the way, Joe just had a baby, and if you didn’t say “Congratulations” yet, head over to his site immediately and do so!