I saw Thousandaire’s 20 Financial Milestones for your 20s that all started at Gen Y Wealth and couldn’t resist.
Here’s how I stack up at age 28:
#1 – Finance a dream vacation…in cash Mr. BFS and I take at least one big trip every year and always pay for it in cash. Last summer we took our second cruise (we went snorkeling in Jamaica and Grand Cayman and loved the lazy rivers in Mexico). This coming summer we’re heading back to Las Vegas for a week. These may not sound like “dream vacations” to everyone, but I’ve already lived in other countries and Mr. BFS is a homebody, so these are our dreams, lol.
#2 – Pay off your student loans We didn’t have any college loans. My husband’s parents covered his education and my parents covered whatever my scholarships and 3 part-time jobs didn’t. I also lived cheaply in college overall. We were/are blessed. We know. 🙂
#3 – Automate paying your credit card bill in full We automate as much as possible in every aspect of our financial lives, lol. We got this covered.
#4 – Get Rid of Bad Debt The only debt we have left is our mortgage since I love paying off debt. I nearly went nuts when we paid off our last car. I think all debt is cruddy, but I doubt home debt is considered “bad debt” in this respect. It’ll be paid off no later than my 33rd birthday though.
#5 – Build an adequate emergency fund We have 6 months of our expenses in cash in our ING emergency fund. Our 401(k), Roth IRA, and Scottrade stock investments would cover us for an additional 2 years at least.
#6 – Make your first, and last, investment mistake We invested $15,000 in a “friend’s” business and ended up losing almost everything. I’m sure we will buy a bad stock once in a while in the rest of our history in the market, but I doubt we’ll ever make the same huge mistakes again. I just don’t think it is a good idea to think you will never fail again.
#7 – Develop a statement of cash flows We operate on a zero-based budget, so we know where all of our money goes.
#8 & 9 Max out a Roth & Contribute to your 401(k) We have fully funded a Roth IRA for 3 years now and have always contributed at least the minimum to get the maximum company match to my 401(k). We are currently trying to fully fund a second Roth IRA for 2010 – we have until April to come up with another $3500, so I think we’ll make it.
#10 – Get a degree or certification that increases your earning power I graduated Cum Laude with my bachelor’s degree and my husband not only received his bachelor’s but completed his graduate degree last year in order to become a school librarian.
#11 – Take a career risk We invested the $15,000 into a failing business so we could turn a game store into our main job. That obviously didn’t work out, lol. I’m now attempting to turn blogging into my full time job by the time I’m 29-30.
#12 – Negotiate something We bought our home as a foreclosure and talked their already low price of $119,500 to $114,000 in 2007 before the crash. You can also check out how I got hubby’s Prius. Finally, I also regularly negotiate down the price of all our souvenirs, art, and any furniture we buy and have to negotiate with advertisers for space here on BFS. I LOVE NEGOTIATING.
#13 – Earn your first side grand I earned about $5000 in 2010 from blogging and another $1000 with side jobs and freelance writing. My husband earns $3000-$5000 a year reffing high school and middle school football and basketball as well.
#14 – Start a sub-savings account for an upcoming financial goal We have multiple accounts for everything, lol. Our most loved one is probably our vacation account. 🙂
#15 – Set a target retirement date 52. That is when my husband is eligible for his full pension and we are saving like crazy to make it happen.
#16 – Monitor your credit I monitor all bills and expenses and check each of our credit reports every 4-6 months.
#17 – Say no to a financial salesman We say no to a ton of stuff. That is how we are hoping to afford early retirement. 🙂
#18 – Give just enough to make it hurt We only give a little money every year, but I donate a ton of time. When we lived close to the Houston SPCA, I volunteered there 3 evenings a week for 4 hours after work and half of every Saturday. When we moved, we fostered Pugs for Pughearts: Houston Pug Rescue until we adopted one and ended up spending $2500 to get Mr. Pug healthy again. This year I’m getting involved with Meals on Wheels.
Two Milestones for the Over Achiever
#19 – Invest $1 for every $1 you spend Not quite there yet. We live and play on my husband’s salary and invest mine, but that’s like investing 40% instead of 50%.
#20 – Start a 529 College Savings Plan Ummm…no. My younger sister (20) earns scholarships and works summer jobs to pay her way through college for her engineering degree and my youngest sister (15) is well on the way to doing the same for whatever degree she chooses. I have no idea if either one of them ever wants to have kids. Plus, my parents are more than willing to help cover any extra now and probably would spoil a grandkid rotten, lol. My husband is an only child and doesn’t even have any first cousins. We have no plans to have children thus far. So this would be a big, fat no.
Of the 20 Goals, here is where I stand: 16 – Completed 3 – We will voluntarily not try to reach these goals (#6, #18, and #20) 1 – Working on it (#19)
How does it/did it look on your end?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!