How my five-year plan made me financially independent at age 36.

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How my five-year plan made me financially independent at age 36.

Yes. Financially independent. That means if I wanted to stop working tomorrow, I could live the rest of my life without worrying about how to pay my monthly expenses.

I dont want to stop working (I love my job!)… but I could. By making a plan that guided my choices and decisions in life, I am now in a position where I can breathe easy when it comes to money.

It wasn’t always that way though, friends. For quite a while, there was not enough money to go around. In fact, when I was young I lived below the poverty level.

Yep. To say that money was scarce is an understatement. Everything in my life was chaotic. I was a bit of a wild child too. I made poor choices. I had no plan.

I wont go into all the details now… you can read more about my story here. But the point is that in the middle of all of that chaos,  I reached a turning point. I got sick and tired of living the way I was living and made a DECISION. I decided that my future was in MY hands, and it was all about my CHOICES.

I decided to Rise Above all the chaos and make a PLAN for my life. It was up to me. It was the only way I was ever going to take control of things again.

Making that plan changed EVERYTHING.

My husband and I met each other when we were 15 years old, can you believe that? So we went through this process together. Before we were married, we sat our young butts down and dreamed about a future that was strong and bright.

First, we got really clear about what we really wanted out of life. Without that step, our dreams would have always stayed just that… dreams. You have to know where you’re going before you can create a path to get there, right?

Then we got clear about what we wanted to achieve as young adults and set goals for our life together. We didn’t make a plan for our entire life… There are just too many things that can happen in a lifetime. I mean.. Shit happens right? Life is crazy and unpredictable.

So we made a plan for the next five years.

We wanted clear steps for how to prepare us in the best way possible for each phase of our lives. What did we know as young people? We knew that we didn’t want to live a life of struggle like I had when I was young, of course. We knew that we wanted to own our own home. Homes are financial assets after all. We knew that we wanted to save money for the future. And we knew that we wanted to eventually retire young! Isn’t’ that every young person’s dream? To be able to play all day? I think it’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it? 😉

By sitting down and getting clear, we had a good idea about where eventually wanted to be and what we wanted to achieve. The next questions were:

“What do we need to do NOW to make sure we actually get there? What choices do we need to make and what logical, reasonable steps do we need to take… and in what order should they happen?”

Making a plan was only a part of the process though. In order to get there, we knew we’d have to sacrifice in some places along the way. So we asked ourselves:

What were we willing to give up in order to eventually gain big?

Here’s an example: We PLANNED to save a certain amount of money every month for everything we wanted to achieve in life. One of the ways we made that happen was making the choice to live with our families after high school rather than renting an apartment so we could save for a house. Was that a sacrifice for a young couple? Of course it was! But it was worth it. When we got married, we had saved enough money to buy a house.

Here’s another example: We PLANNED the order for each life milestone so that one choice supported the next. To make sure we didn’t fall into the pattern of struggle I had when I was young, we knew that we had to increase our power to earn money. That meant that we had to make sure that we had the knowledge and skills that would allow us to earn a decent living. We knew that in this world, earning means learning, so we made our education a priority. I CHOSE to learn, and I chose to work my way through college rather than taking on student loans. That’s right… I went through college with NO student loans. Sometimes I was doing my homework at midnight but in the end, I graduated without debt hanging over my head.

We PLANNED all of our actions to support our savings and our life goals. We sacrificed where we needed to in order to transition our lives to the next phase with power and strength.

After we reached our “young couple goals,” we made another 5-year plan.

This time, with a vision for how planning worked and a desire to build our financial futures, we got clear about what we wanted to achieve as adults. We asked the same questions:

“What do we need to do NOW to make sure we actually get there? What choices do we need to make and what logical, reasonable steps do we need to take… and in what order should they happen?”

The order of our choices is sometimes just as important as the choices themselves. For example: We made a plan to not have children right away. Having kids young, while our salaries were still gaining strength, didn’t make financial sense in our life plan. Children, as much as we love them, do affect the pocketbook. This might not be a plan that works for all, bt it worked for us.

I made a plan to increase my earning power as much as possible. Rather than going to work for someone else, chose to learn as much as I possibly could and become a business owner while still in my twenties. That choice gave me the opportunity to put my planning powers to work within my career so I could control my potential to earn. While working all day and growing this business, I  decided I needed to learn more to earn more. I was still young and not making very much money yet in my business, but I went back to school and earned my Master’s Degree. Without student loans.

We lived by a strict budget. Each month, we set aside the money we were planning to spend on groceries, bills, fun and savings, and I put the money in envelopes instead of the bank. When the cash was gone for that part of the budget, it was gone! We didn’t deviate. You can learn more about my “Envelope Accounability System” here.

Even when we started earning plenty of money, we remained frugal. When we needed to buy a car, we bought it used. When we shopped for groceries, we planned our menus and didn’t buy extras. When we wanted to take a weekend away, we saved for it instead of charging it.

We stuck to our plan. And it worked. We were able to stay away from debt and save plenty of money.

We were able to invest well, in the market and in additional real estate. We were able to pay off our car loans.

By making a plan and sticking to it, we were able to recently pay off a home in Florida, then resell it for a profit when the value increased. Last year, we paid off our primary mortgage.

Today, we are DEBT FREE.

Today, my husband and I are in a completely different situation than we were in years ago, and it’s ALL because of our 5-year plan. I can afford to breathe easy, but even now I still live by a plan and watch my spending carefully.

Our monthly bills are minimal now because we don’t have a house payment, a car payment or outstanding loans, but every dollar I earn today is still budgeted. I still set aside a certain amount of money every month for eating out and for fun. We have a certain amount budgeted for vacations and birthday gifts.

I truly believe that as women especially, our budget is our superpower and our power is in our plan. That’s why I want ot help other women learn how to plan too.

Today, I am financially independent.

Tomorrow, with the right plan, the right choices and enough determination to see it through, you can be too.

If you’re ready to begin your 5-year plan, I can show you how. Click the pic below and let’s get started.

By | 2019-05-29T15:54:37-05:00 March 15th, 2019|Budget, Choice, motivation, Planning, Rising|0 Comments

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