Thursday, July 08, 2010

Finally, a Sense of Purpose

It’s the start of July and the year is halfway over. Since I tend to do things backward, I’ve posted a lot about couponing and saving money without explaining the sudden shift. I also updated my profile from the “perpetual state of confusion” to “renewed purpose. Let me explain the metamorphosis. I listen to Dave Ramsey quite a bit. Like most talk show hosts, there are some things about him and/or his show that I don’t like but I think for the most part, he gives good common sense advice. Late last year, a lady called in for advice. She was 50 years old and a millionaire. Her dilemma? Should she pay for a car outright or finance it. At that moment, it hit me. It’s liberating to have options like that. What would I be saying at 50? Will I still be running on this never-ending earn and spend treadmill at 50? Will financing still be my only viable option if I wanted to purchase a car? My financial situation has not changed much in the 17 years that I’ve been supporting myself. Sure, I make more money but I’ve also got a lot more stuff to keep up with so it feels like I’m making very little.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I want my efforts to have a worthwhile result. I don’t want to work just so I can pay bills and buy more stuff. I want to be able to retire comfortably. I want to be able to send my son to college without him becoming bogged down with student loan debt like his father and I. I want a career that doesn’t feel like it’s sucking the soul out of me. Throughout all this soul searching, I also realized what I want to be when I grow up. This is something I’ve struggled with since I was little. As a child, there was not just one thing I wanted to be when I grow up, I had a list; Dermatologist, DJ, Chef, Fashion Designer. All of these are worthy professions and things, with the exception of chef, that I would still dabble in if the opportunity presented itself. But, I now understamd that the whole "you can be what you want to be" is a bunch of crock.  Sure, you can be what you want to be but is it who you are? So, I’ve decided to go back to school in a few years to become a criminologist. I plan to do some research about the profession and map out a career path beforehand so that I don’t end up wandering aimlessly from job to job like I have with my business degree.

So, with this renewed purpose, where do I begin? I’ve read many financial books over the years and honestly most of them have been long on theory and motivational pep talks but short on actual practical steps that a person can take to become financially stable. So, with a clear idea of what I want in mind, I did an exhaustive search and chose two books to guide me through this process of becoming financially independent; The Millionaire Manual and The Automatic Millionaire. The Millionaire Manual is much smaller and simpler to work through so I will start with that one first. My to-do list includes a task to start working through the book so I will post the first step and how I plan to accomplish it in the next few days.