Personal finance, well really life in general, is often about the next move. You go from elementary, to middle, to high school, and then to college. You finish college and get a job, only to find yourself looking for a new job after a couple of years.
My entire personal finance journey has always been about the next move.
First it was getting a job so I could earn money.
Then I used my new income to start paying down $28,000 in student loan debt.
Once my debt was paid off, I focused on saving for a down payment so we could buy a house. When we reached $100,000 in our savings account, we bought a house.
This year, Girl Ninja and I have turned our focus to contributing more significantly to our taxable investment account, in addition to maxing out my 401k ($18,000) and Roth IRA ($5,500).
Even though we are in the wealth building phase (heavily investing as opposed to paying down debt or saving for a house) of our personal finance journey, I still don’t really feel like I know what our next move is.
Am I investing simply for the sake of investing?
Shouldn’t I have a plan, stated goal, or purpose for this wealth I’m trying to create? I need a next move if I want to stay focused.
I need something to look forward to.
But what? Here are a few of the things that sound appealing, but I’m not quite sure are for me…
We could build up our retirement and taxable accounts to such a great number (probably around $1.5 million) so I can retire a decade before I’m supposed to. That’s cool and all. But I honestly don’t think I would quit my job even if I was financially able to. The pay is too good. The work life balance is second to none. And I legitimately enjoy my job. It’s weird, I know.
Buy an investment property
I quite enjoy the the idea of putting down $70,000 or so down on a $350,000 house, renting it out for $2,000/month, and letting someone else pay off my mortgage for me, not to mention watch my asset appreciate over the years.
That said, I also quite enjoy not having to be a landlord, property manager, or maintenance man. Nor do I necessarily want to tie up even more money in another illiquid asset.
Save for our next home
Girl Ninja and I bought a cute/modest 1930’s craftsman in the greater Seattle area. We spent $350,000 for our house, even though we were approved to spend nearly $600,000 by our lender. We’ve been in our house for just shy of two years and we love our community more and more every day. That said, we also realize that 10 years from now, when multiple children are in the picture, we might want a house that meets different needs.
If we are going to upgrade in house five or ten years from now, we could start saving today to make the more expensive house less of a financial burden.
No. Seriously. What else could be my next move? I honestly can’t think of another “next move”.
This is where you might be able to help me by sharing what YOUR NEXT MOVE is.
– Are you working towards paying down debt?
– Or are you saving to start your own business?
– Have you drank the early retirement kool-aid and you’re saving 50%+ or your pay?
Maybe one of your “next moves” will inspire me and become my next move!