The “What Now?” Of Financial Goals

FFCF and I (with kittens) back in the day.

DD2 = Dear Second Daughter

FFCF = Financially Free Childhood Friend

DD3 = Dear Third Daughter

DH = Dear Husband

Arranging a “thank you” dinner

“When you are next in [the city] let us know. We’d like to host you for a ‘Thank you’ dinner for your support of [DD2]. Maybe you and your mom could come over? And my mom too?” I sent the e-mail message to a childhood friend of mine – financially independent for over 10 years now (I’ll call her FFCF for Financially Free Childhood Friend). She had given generous financial support to DD2, who is training for her sport at an intensive level, and I wanted to show our appreciation.

“I would love to come for dinner,” she responded. “And I will ask my Mom to join.  I will be in [the city] probably the third week of April and I will touch base with you then.” The third week of April came and went with no visit. FFCF had sprained her knee (on a boat in Florida as it turns out – hazards of financial freedom), and we’d have to have our dinner at a later date.

“Hey [Prudence], I’m in [the city] now.  Any chance you’re free tomorrow evening?” The message showed up Friday. “Mom and I would like to pop over with some Indian food dishes.  Shall we pick up your Mom and bring her with us?  Let me know if you’re free my dear.” What happened to the idea of my preparing a supper to thank her? Hmmm . . . Could I really let her do this?

Ripple effect of hosting without cooking

I could imagine her thought process. She was giving me late notice, and as she told me later, “I didn’t want you to have the stress of cooking a meal for us after your week at work.” Relative to me, she lives a life of more leisure, and she would feel a lack of balance in my scrambling to get things ready. A generous person who is happy to give, she knew her support for DD2 had been appreciated, and the point now was to make the visit happen when it was possible.

I accepted FFCF’s offer – which had the ripple effect of allowing Saturday to be quite lovely. It wasn’t a lazy day; it just didn’t involve any rush. My day included gardening, a heart-to-heart chat with DD3, a great work-out at the gym with DH, some housework, some grocery shopping, and some blogging. It was a productive day, but not a stressed one. I didn’t feel, as is too often the case, that I had more items on my to-do list than time to do them. Supper itself was delicious, and cleaning up afterwards was nothing. It was great to do some catching up, to reminisce, and to see our moms looking so happy to be there with us and each other.

The “What now?” of financial goals

“What do you think you’ll do when you retire?” FFCF asked at one point. It’s a question I’ve been giving some thought to these past couple of days. Mrs. Frugalwoods wrote a post entitled “Is Frugality Sustainable Without A Goal?” last week, and it made me think it was time for me to clarify my vision of debt freedom and financial freedom. So far, my goal has been a negative: not to have debt. But what is it that I DO want to have? Not so clear.

When FFCF asked her question, I just said what came to mind. “I’ll sleep in,” I started, “and I won’t rush . . . I’ll take the dog for walks, go for work-outs, socialize more, do some traveling . . .” Then I looked at her. “I’ll pretty well do what you’re doing now.” There’s not a real WOW! factor to my vision of financial freedom, but I think it’s just lovely. I’ll play the piano again. I’ll read more. I’ll get into different kinds of cooking. I’ll write and teach in some capacity. I’ll support good causes and  young athletes. And when I drop in on friends or family, I’ll bring Indian food.


 Does your vision of financial freedom involve a WOW! factor? Do you find that frugality is tough to sustain? Your comment are welcome : )

 

 

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  • I’m not even sure it’s the wow factor…it’s the taking my day as it comes, not need to HAVE to take projects and side hustles and have obligation after obligation. I don’t need my mind blown, I just want more, “ahhhhhhhhhhh” in my life. To stop and smell the roses whenever and wherever I feel like it. 🙂 And never have to work with this producer I work with EVER again. Sorry, just go off the phone with him and want to punch him in the face sometimes. 🙂

    • I recommend kickboxing. You can pretend that bag is whatever – or whoever – you like : )
      I’m with you in wanting more “ahhhhhhh” in my life. Here’s to smelling the roses!

  • Being out of work for the last 2 weeks has given me a glimpse into what it may be like and it’s amazing. There is no Sunday night stress, so much time to spend with family, and time to help others. It will be short lived for now, but will help motivate me on reaching it again.

  • For me, financial freedom doesn’t really include a WOW factor. I’d love to travel more, but mostly it is just the idea that I am not tied down to anything. It is a peace of knowing that whatever happens financially, I’m going to be OK.

    • “I am not tied down to anything.” I think that sums it up for me too. Ultimately, it’s about freedom from financial bondage. I’m glad you have that peace now, WG : )

  • My favorite days are the ones where we aren’t rushed anywhere. I love waking up naturally, mowing the grass or working in the yard for a few hours, then spending time with my family!

    • My impression is that when I no longer HAVE to work, I’ll still choose to work. There is definitely an honest satisfaction in physical labour outside. Thanks for you comment : )

  • Financial freedom for us will definitely include full time RVing, although we may need 2 RVs, since I’d never get any sleep with Jay’s snoring! 😛 Love your ideas. Simple. Relaxing. No fuss, no muss. Now that’s what I’m talking about. 🙂

    • So good to see you back, Kay! In our case, I’m not sure who snores the loudest. DH is captivated by the whole RV dream – part-time in his case. I’ll have to mention to him this snoring hazard you’ve brought to light : )

  • I think that’s a beautiful vision of financial freedom. I don’t really have visions of buying my own island; I just want slow peaceful days that include walking the dog, chatting a bit with friends/neighbors, cooking, gardening, reading, volunteering, trying to better my community a bit.

    • DH actually said to FFCF when she was here that he often finds himself looking away when he’s about to get in the car and he sees a neighbour. If you’re always rushing and living a jam-packed schedule, friendliness goes out the door. It’s a sad reality. I like the fact you included “chatting a bit with friends/neighbors.” So simple, but so often sacrificed for the sake of tight schedules.

  • Your friend sounds super nice and considerate for wanting to bring food to your house instead of having you cook. That’s one I’ve never heard of before 🙂 I have the same issue where I keep envisioning financial freedom for myself as what I won’t have to deal with (ie. debt) I have to admit, I don’t have the clearest picture of what financial freedom will look like in my life either and that’s something I need to work on.

    • Start dreaming, Choncé. At the rate you’re going, you might have to have this all figured out sooner than you think : )

  • My choice for financial freedom definitely has a wow factor when I have a stressful day at work and I would love to take a break. Once I hit financial freedom, I will also have the freedom and comfort of taking a down day whenever I want to. I may not want it, but I love the idea of taking it if I need it.

    • The freedom of choice to work or to kick back is VERY appealing. With your exciting career plans, I suspect that once you hit a state of financial freedom, you’ll just modify your work – not leave it. That’s where I’m placing my bets : )

  • Your ideas for financial freedom sound pretty good to me! The ability to not rush and to enjoy each moment would be ideal. I love the idea of working towards something that’s fulfilling and enjoyable. I think it’s wonderful that you’re planning beyond debt repayment–that seems like a great way to stay motivated and focused.

    Plus, for me anyway, having that plan of what I want in mind really helps me stay on track and enjoy my frugality. I see being frugal as a gift I’m giving myself in the form of the future I want to live. Thanks so much for mentioning my post :).

    • You and your husband have such a clear goal for a homesteading future. Not everyone has that clarity. I’m glad you think that my more general goals for financial freedom “sound pretty good” : ) I like your image of frugality being a gift to your future self!

  • This is a super interesting topic! I never really thought about it before, but I guess my definition of financial freedom does have a bit of a “wow” factor. I would love to be able to do a ton of traveling with my hubby once we are empty nesters (and plenty of trips with our kids before then too), but maybe even buy an RV or something and tour around the country. I know that we will need a significant amount saved up in retirement to be able to make that happen, so sometimes daydreaming about it does motivate me in remaining to be frugal.

    • My early image of financial freedom was one of travel and fine dining. It’s mellowed quite a bit since then : ) The simpler and less expensive our financially free lifestyle, the earlier we’ll get to live it. I hope that your daydreams continue to keep you motivated, Christina!

  • I’m not dreaming of IF or retirement at the moment. Instead, I’m dreaming of self-employment. But even still, my vision has no “wow” factor either. I just want to be able to work the hours I’m at my best instead of when my employer requires. I want to work on things I care about instead of assigned tasks. Things like that. 🙂

    • I think that goal sounds attainable. I would bet that the stronger your financial position going into self-employment, the more picky you can be in terms of choosing your employers and your assignments. That’s the frustrating part though. Sometimes, to get to where we want to be so that we can do the things we want to do, we have to do things we don’t want to do. In cases like that, save hand over fist and keep your eyes on the prize. All the best!

    • It’s true that there can be a bit of a panic in the thought, “The future is now!” But I’m finding that I’m undergoing a bit of a paradigm shift in terms of what it means to “live our best lives.” It has a lot less to do with spending money than it used to. I think that we can live our best lives in frugal simplicity. All the same, I hope that you get the travel you would like to have : )

  • I don’t think there would be a WOW factor. I’m not really a WOW kinda girl. I’d like to live near the ocean again and have time to do the things I enjoy instead of rushing around.

    • I’ve heard that once you live by the ocean, it’s hard to be away from it. I’m with you on the no-rushing part!

  • No real wow factor over here. Frankly, I may never retire. Having been on disability, I’m wary of being dependent on a government check. Plus we got a very late start on funding retirement.

    But I want to get to a place where I can work part time and travel more. Or just relax at home. Once we get our house paid off and our retirement accounts up above $200,000 (currently at about 1/10 of that), I’ll focus on more specific goals.

    • It sounds as if your goals are pretty specific: mortgage-free and $200,000 in retirement savings. I think that once I’m financially free, I’ll also work part-time – not because I’ll have to, but because I’ll want to. The fact that you have specific numbers you’re working towards is proactive in itself. All the best on the road to reaching them!

  • According to me financial freedom will be that day when I don’t have to wait for my salary to credit in my account.
    When I can spend my entire time with my family, of course not by travelling but doing everything in daily life.
    When I will be able to stay with my parents each moment they live on this earth.

    • Thank you for your comment, Santanu. You have a wonderful vision for financial freedom. Definitely worth the discipline it will take to get there. All the best on your journey : )

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