It feels like it’s been forever, but we are finally debt free! We have paid off our student loans, credit cards, and even a car loan we had to take out. It feels fantastic to just have our mortgage as our only debt. With this freedom comes a new responsibility: handling our money carefully and figuring out what financial goals we want to accomplish next. Truth be told, this next era scares me more than the debt repayment period.
When we were in debt, we had concrete numbers that we knew we had to work towards. It was easy to look up balances at any time and see how much we owed. Those goals were tangible, and easier for me to work towards than an unknown goal. I think now we need to create new goals that have numbers attached to them so that we’ve got that same financial focus.
I feel overwhelmed in the fact that I’ve got so many things that we could be saving for: retirement, replacement cars, emergency fund, future kids, paying on the mortgage, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that we have been able to work so hard to become debt free and I want to stay that way forever.
I’m thinking that we can come up with a strategy to save and maybe even pay extra on our mortgage that will make us happy. We’re also going to have to keep our future career aspirations in mind: I would like to work part time eventually, and when we have kids I would like to be a stay at home mom. My husband will continue to be a chef and try to advance his career when possible. I’d like to have a substantial savings account built up for when that happens for any unforeseeable expenses.
The thing is: I don’t know how much I should save towards each category. And I’m still lenient about paying extra on our mortgage. What if we decide to move? I’m almost tempted to just put all of the money into one account and just not worry about it. I’m thinking that a good plan of attack would be to prioritize our goals, decide a time line on when we want to accomplish them, and then start saving accordingly. It will be a bit easier to digest when we break it down into smaller goals.
The next step of personal finance is one that I’ve waited a long time for. It will be a new chapter of our lives. To be honest, it does not feel quite as exhilarating as I thought it would! That’s ok- the point is we’ve done it! YAYYYYY!
We’re debt free!! What do you think we should focus on next?