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“There’s more to life than just________”
…Working long hours, obsessing over things, staying in a job you hate because of the health insurance. Can you fill in the blank?
Finding balance in financial goals. It’s tricky. Present day commands a lot of our attention. In work, there are always emails to tend to, deadlines to hit, and making sure that certain someone doesn’t steal your lunch from the office frig…again (I’m looking at you Bob from HR). In our personal lives, the present day pulls us in with household up keep; TV shows that need viewing (what happened on Stranger Things?) and the “hate to admit it but so addictive” social media.
It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day. Laying model to the elusive “I’m so busy” saying. We crave the outcome but don’t talk about the process. Think about it in terms of cooking, most people dread the “making” part but love the “eating” part.
Delayed gratification. When is it okay and when should you just go ahead and enjoy the right now?
Take student loans for example. They suck. This is a universally accepted truth (sort of). You want to live your life and roll around with the extra money you would have if you didn’t have the debt (what I imagine people without student loans do…).
They still need to be paid back. Unfortunately.
So you make a plan to pay them off within a certain amount of time. You’re amped up, paying more than the minimum, and determined to banish them from your existence.
But then daily life gets in the way. There’s a weekend getaway you want to go on, stuff you want to buy, and a fun night out that you want to do even though it’s not in your budget.
My brother, while in the midst of student loan repayment, went on three vacations last year because he wanted to get out and see more. While the vacations were far from lavish (two budget cruises and a 4-day trip in LA & SF) and his student loan debt was small, it still creates a question. How much do you want to live in the now vs. keeping in mind your future self?
The job I’m in right now, I don’t make a lot of money. But even with a low salary, I still make it a priority to put extra towards my student loans and into my retirement account. I want my future self to be taken care of and well adjusted. My present day self shouldn’t be selfish and hog everything.
Many of my co-workers, most in their early to late twenties, don’t really share this view. For them, they prefer to travel and see as much as they can. Retirement planning is a non-priority afterthought.
Being in Thailand, all of us have a desire to explore. We go out on weekend trips and holiday’s together, events in Bangkok, and fly to other nearby countries. The wanderlust “eat, pray, love” kind of thing. Living it up.
Trying to strike a balance between being adventurous and staying committed to my financial goals, I make a point to lessen the number of times I go out. I work a second job on the weekends to make extra money.
Some of my co-workers tell me I need to relax more and “live in the moment” but I feel fine. Working the two jobs and sacrificing the occasional weekend trip don’t faze me because I know what my goals are and when I want to reach them. I’m staying committed, even if it is hard every now and then.
Because it’s important to me. It important that I pay off my student loans in a timely fashion, saving for the future, and build up things (like this website!) that I’m proud of. I’m not letting go of my wanderlust, just keeping it balanced.
Often times we focus on what we want now over what we want most.
We want to be debt-free but we also really want to take that dream vacation. We want to earn more money but don’t like giving up our free time. It’s a push and pull and I’m working on finding a balance.
How do you find balance in your financial goals?