This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I have never had a super-flashy personal finance plan. I have never been in a significant amount of debt,. Yet even when I met my future wife and she did have some debt, we worked out a plan and got her out of debt as quickly as possible. In a word, my personal finance story is pretty bland. Now, and for the next four or five years, my goal is to get rid of the only debt I am carrying at the moment, which is the mortgage on the house that I purchased in the summer of 2009.
Paying off a significant debt has got to be the least exciting thing to do with money. It would be considerably more exciting saving up for something fun to buy (like a car or a big screen television) or investing in the stock market (which is essentially gambling in a widely accepted venue). My wife and I get excited over every $10,000 we pay off, but there are so many of those crossroads ahead (we just crossed the $130,000 threshold) that right now it’s hard to see the end.
Having a boring personal finance plan is better than the alternative – I’m glad that at some point in my life I haven’t ended up in a $50,000 debt-hole that I had to dig out of. I enjoy reading stories about this topic, I find them both very interesting and educational but I don’t think that the stress involved with those types of situations would be very beneficial.
It was mostly through luck that I didn’t end up in a bad money situation – I wasn’t taught personal finance at any point growing up. The only reason I didn’t end up in significant debt was that I didn’t really want anything extravagant – I bought a cheap(ish) car, didn’t rack up credit card debt and made sure that I paid off my student loans as soon as I got out of school. At the time, what I was doing just really made sense, it wasn’t until I got really interested in personal finance that I realized how lucky I was.
So, I continue on with my boring financial plan. It’s not that I live a boring life, it’s more that I spend my money in a boring way. I don’t really have any plans of changing my plans in the short or long-term because what I’m doing allows me to have fun doing the things I like to do (such as the all-inclusive vacation I went on in December) it just seems very “un-exciting” being in the middle of a long-term goal.
Is your financial plan exciting? If it’s as boring as mine is right now, with a single (although large) long-term goal in mind how do you maintain your financial discipline?