Sunday, October 19, 2014

For a Simpler Life

I have mentioned here before my 5 year plan to quit the rat race. Honestly, the end of the 5 year plan can't get here soon enough. This morning, I was at my wit's end and my feelings of anxiety soared like an exploding volcano. 

I have come to accept that my anxiety is not necessarily a mental illness, but the bi-product of 3 things: my introversion and need for down time to think and recollect; my being highly sensitive and more susceptible to life's stressors; and my need for nature/spiritual balance.

I will talk more about on how I plan to achieve this milestone in my life. At the end of that 5 year goal, I plan on taking a year off work. I want to always work, but I want to work on something that better matches my personality and I have settled on independent contractor for the field where I already have experience on.

My first step towards that goal was to get rid of any debt such as credit cards, student loans, etc. I never really had that much debt to start with and I paid for most of my education. But last year, I was able to pay-off the last of my student loans. 

I also never had much in form of credit card debt and only had one credit card for many years with a low credit line which I paid off every month. I still pay off my credit card in full and never buy anything I cannot pay off.

I own my car outright, so I do not have a car payment. It is a small car, simple car and I get an average of 34 miles per gallon. I drove my prior car for 10 years and had over 140,000 miles on it. It ran great. A friend now has it.

Our biggest goal now, my husband's and mine, is to pay off our mortgage. Now, I know not all people can do this. My hubby and I are DINKS (dual income, no kids), so that makes things just a bit easier for us. Being childless was a choice we both made a long time ago. Therefore, I would not be able to plan if we did have a kid. They just sound expensive. 

Once these main goals were more or less defined, I needed to write down what was really important to me and how much it would cost. Therefore, I was able to determine what kind of career I could have that would provide what I wanted that money buys and would give me in terms of time that I need.

This is the list I came up with:

  1. My 401(k): to be able to contribute to a 401(k) account is an absolute must for me. I want to enjoy life now, but I am also cognizant that I will need money when I am old.
  2. Health insurance: although most of my medically related expenses are a direct result of the life I now live, I still know how much a hospital bill can cost. I am lucky that this is the industry I specialize in so it is not overwhelming to navigate through plans and know exactly what kind of financial exposure I would get with each plan.
  3. Savings account: a healthy savings account for an emergency
  4. My mom: my mom never worked outside the home and I help her financially. To be able to continue to do that is something I consider very important.
  5. Any other expenses: car insurance; phone (which I would probably switch to a pay buy minute plan instead of the expensive unlimited plan I now carry)
  6. pursuit of happiness: this is anything I happen to take on it terms of activities that make me happy: watercolors, dance.
As I look at life, at how fragile and ephemeral it is, I realize my soul cannot eat money.


Kathryn Zbrzezny said...

It's good to have plans. I am thinking and making some of my when I can retire... I am also introverted and probably over sensitive...okay I AM overly sensitive, so I find peace and spiritual healing in meditation, quiet time, prayer, learning...I am happy for my connection to the universe and to you, Ana! Thinking of you, k

Debra She Who Seeks said...

It sounds like you and your husband have very responsible money management practices. That is such an increasingly rare characteristic in our credit-based consumer society. Good for you!

Ileana said...

Beautiful and I hope all your plans and goals materialize sooner than later. I really love your last sentence. I'm quoting you. :)

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

You are so organized! And that is fantastic. In a world where instant credit is everywhere, it's so refreshing to see people being this responsible. You sleep better at night when you're not in debt up to your ears.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow these are very smart plans indeed!! I am not a man of means but I try to save as much as I can, even if it's $10 per paycheck.

Sherri B. said...

"I have come to accept that my anxiety is not necessarily a mental illness, but the bi-product of 3 things: my introversion and need for down time to think and recollect; my being highly sensitive and more susceptible to life's stressors; and my need for nature/spiritual balance."

What you expressed there ^^^ describes me 100%. Ana, I truly believe we are soul sisters. I have no doubt that you'll achieve your goal - you are being very smart and organized about it. Sending you good thoughts! xo

Caffeine Girl said...

I love your plan. My husband and I are trying to retire on the early side for the same reasons. I do have kids, and even though they are in their 20s now, they still need support (both are in grad school). We are working on moving to a small house, saving as much as we can while we're working, and figuring out the health insurance issues. Like you, I suffer from anxiety -- and that burden would be lightened by retirement!

Jeanie said...

You're right -- your soul cannot eat money. I have to say that you have nailed all the most important things. These are things I had to consider before I retired. Knowing you are set with many of the main things means you can alleviate the anxiety on that part and that is absolutely huge. Good for you.

Almost Precious said...

Ana, I wish you success in reaching your 5 year goal and hope that , should there be any small setbacks that come your way, you will not be discouraged but instead will find the strength to persevere . May your plan bear fruits of happiness and serenity. :)

Unknown said...

Never forget that your greatest asset is your creativity.

Palomasea said...

Hello dear Ana...
So good to be back here.. :)
I am so impressed with your ability to define your goals and set a concrete plan. It sounds like you are on your way to the dream, that is wonderful.
I, too, cannot see myself in the rat race, and have discovered a lovely book.."The Renaissance Soul". A practical guide for those of us who are creative/sensitive, with a deep need to recharge on a regular basis..
and cannot live by the strict rules of "society".
Sending you blessings,
- Irina

Terra said...

You have a good plan and I wish you great success in achieving your goals. The 401k will be very useful in future, just put the money in and don't borrow it from yourself, which many people do.

The Episcopagan said...

So glad your mom is still with you and you are able to help her out. That is the real soul work of our lives! Your plan sounds solid to me!!

Monika said...

Do you know this book? Elaine N. Aron: I'm super sensitive? help me in this book.