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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Savings account: a healthy savings account for an emergency
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.