I have seen several financial bloggers cover financial milestones one needs to hit by age thirty. Liquid from Freedom 35 blog not long ago posted his progress, along with Bridget from Money After Graduation.
Even though I’ve been enjoying 30’s for a couple of years by now, I thought I’ll follow their example and
jump off the roof see if I hit any of financial milestones along the way.
Please keep in mind I’m a financial underdog because I’ve came to this country in my 20’s, spent a number of years working minimum wage jobs, and had to learn personal finance on the go. My wife is an immigrant too and came to Canada in 2006. Because of this we might be behind on things.
What about you? Have you hit these milestones yourself?
1. Financially independent from your parents ?
Been so for a very long time. Sometimes I miss living with my parents. Adult life has too many responsibilities. You have to go to work, pay bills, act all mature…What a drag!
2. Debt free ?
We have no debt outside of our mortgage. Currently working on accelerating our mortgage repayment but it’s still a very long way to go. Unless I bump into Morgan Freeman tomorrow who wants to give me large sum of money for my opinion of his work (mostly positive), we probably have another 10 years before it’s fully repaid. This makes me a sad panda.
Don’t borrow money, people! Debt means less money in your pocket. Don’t you want to have more money?
3. Out of overdraft ?
It’s been a while since I had to pay overdraft fees due to shortage of money although recently I was hit with NSF charges due to my own stubbornness.
Now more than ever I’ll be watching our bank accounts to make sure we never even come close to dipping below the line.
4. Established good credit history ?
Because we’re not planning on ever borrowing money again, credit history is kinda useless to us. Although out of curiosity I checked our credit score for the very first time in my life recently, and somehow it’s sitting at “GOOD”.
5. Have $25,000+ saved for retirement ?
Currently we’ve saved $190,000 in our registered and non-registered investment accounts. Unfortunately, it’s not even close to where we’d like to be. But hey, we still have time!
6. Started an investment portfolio ?
7. Established an emergency fund ?
Have one. Tempted to use it for other means like investing, but my wife keeps telling me to leave it alone!
8. Properly insured ?
Life insurance and critical illness insurance for both of us - check
Content insurance for our home - check
Car insurance - check
9. Maximizing employer benefits ?
Don’t have any at my place of work. My wife’s employer provides a great package on the other hand.
10. In the habit of tracking your spending ?
We track our spending using Mint.com. It gives us a snapshot of everything that is happening in our bank accounts within seconds. Usually, I check them every day just to stay on top of things. My wife keeps telling me I check it way too often.
If you’re looking for ways to monitor your finances, it’s a great web service. It’s absolutely free, automatic, and very easy to use. Once you’ve set up all accounts, it automatically downloads all transactions and you just have to sort them once in a while.
11. Done with impulse purchases ?
In general - yes. But it’s hard to refuse buying something yummy when you’re hungry or sit down for sushi after work instead of cooking something from scratch while listening to your stomach growl. I figure if we budget for impulse buys ahead of time, it’s perfectly fine!
12. Willing to spend where it counts ?
I am very willing to spend on anything that will improve our financial situation. I’m very unwilling to spend on clothes and household items no matter how much it counts. Good thing my wife can balance my tightwad habits with some old fashioned common sense.
13. In the habit of regularly checking your credit report ?
Have no need for credit reports as we never borrow money. In fact, we might want to freeze it completely.
14. On top or ahead of all your monthly bills ?
All our bills are paid automatically so we don’t even have to think about them; we only need to make sure there’s enough money in our bank account. I’m a big fan of automating finances so I don’t have to remember due dates and amounts - all bills get paid automatically. No need to stay on top of them!
15. At least one big splurge you saved up for and paid in full with cash ?
All our splurges are paid in full with cash. Take that, credit cards!
16. An understanding of personal income taxes and how to minimize what you pay ?
My wife is currently going to school to become a certified accountant (CPA/CGA). Once she has completed her school, she will be the personal income tax genie of our household. Personally, I have very vague understanding of personal income tax. All I know is that we pay too much in taxes!
17. Diligently saving for a big purchase ?
For all big purchases we use separate savings accounts. For some of the frivolous purchases I’ve started a separate DREAM Savings Account just so I can save guilt-free money for some of our silly dreams.
18. A clear direction of your career ?
Still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. Seriously, no idea! I hope it will come to me one day.
19. A profitable side income ?
Not at the moment, but I’m always looking around for opportunities. Anyone needs a personal TV shows transcriber? For a small fee, I’ll tell you what happened in Walking Dead recently!
20. A positive, growing net worth ?
Currently our net worth is sitting at $258,681.82. Positive? Yes. Growing? Not fast enough!
21. A BHAG for your finances. BHAG stands for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” ?
Being able to live off the cashflow produced by our investments and be absolutely debt free (including mortgage!) by the age of 42.
22. An understanding and a plan of how your money will deliver the lifestyle you want ?
Make money, spend wisely, invest as much as possible, and keep our fingers crossed that our investments grow. Good plan?
23. So over measuring your finances against that of your friends ?
Is that even possible? We never ask our friends to see their finances when we visit them! Sure, some of them live in very nice houses and drive luxury cars, but it never really impressed me.
24. Less consumption-oriented ?
Ideally, we want to see more money going towards investing than towards consuming. Unfortunately, not possible at the moment with our mortgage payments.
25. A healthy relationship with credit cards ?
We only have one credit card and it gets paid off automatically every month. I’d call this healthy!
26. A regular contribution to charity ?
27. If you’re part of a couple, a healthy way of sharing money with your partner ?
What’s mine is hers, and what’s hers is mine.
28. A commitment to putting free or cheap before convenient ?
Some things are free and cheap for a reason. And some convenience is well worth the money.
29. Done paying unnecessary fees ?
We haven’t paid bank fees in years because we only use banks with no fees. Personally, I don’t know why would anybody ever pay bank fees these days.
30. An understanding and appreciation for the reality that money is only a tool of exchange, and not worth obsessing over ?
Money to me is just a tool to reach our goals. If one day we want to be completely financially independent or be able to help our aging parents in retirement, we have to grow our account balances. Being proactive in personal finance is not an obsession over money, but working actively on attaining the goals you have in mind.
I always giggle when people ask me “- So, you want to be one of those rich guys that only thinks about money?”.
Far from it. I want to be able to only work when I want to, not when I need to. I’d like to pay for our future kids education so they can finish school (something I haven’t had the luxury), and be successful in life. I want to be able to help those that are close to me if they ever run into financial problems. I’d like to travel the world without worrying about being able to pay the bills. None of those things are about money, but money will make them possible.