Identify Your Obstacles
This post is meant to immediately follow last week’s piece about your idea of what being rich means. If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s post, I highly suggest you do before reading this post. I strongly believe that you can’t get started on identifying your obstacles unless you’ve defined your destination.
Now that you’ve determined what being rich means for you , you must now identify your obstacles.
In our case, The Husband and I looked at our definitions of being rich and went from there. As a refresher, here is what being rich means to us –
Being rich means being debt-free Being rich means not worrying about money Being rich means being incredibly generous
If you’re a visual person, like I am, imagine your ideas of being rich at the top of a mountain. On the way up this mountain, there are obstacles and set backs on the way, such as a steep cliff, or a tall boulder in the way.
Right now, you are simply looking toward your destination – in this case, your ideas of being rich – and want to identify your obstacles that you can see right ahead of you on the way toward the top of the mountain of financial freedom.
For example, The Husband and I literally looked at our ideas of being rich one by one and identified our obstacles for each. Here is what we came up with.
Being rich means being debt-free
Obstacle #1: Credit card debt
If you’re new to the blog, you must get familiar with my complicated relationship with credit. If you’ve been a reader for some time, you’re probably sick of me talking about it. Well – so am I! This is the first obstacle The Husband and I face when we look to being debt-free.
Obstacle #2: Student loan debt
The Husband and I both went to pretty expensive private colleges. The only difference is that I came out of it with a ton of loans and he didn’t. Hey, what’s mine is yours now, right? 😉 This is clearly #2 on the debt list.
Obstacle #3: Car loan debt
This debt is only slightly less annoying than my student loan debt, but it definitely makes a dent in our monthly expenses. Plus, now that we’re married, we have two car loans to worry about.
Obstacle #4: Mortgage debt
The biggest debt on the balance sheet, but the last in priority for us. I locked in a pretty great interest rate on this loan and we’ve got other debt to focus on in the meantime. Until then, this debt will remain last on the list.
Being rich means not worrying about money
Obstacle #1: Emergency fund
Currently, we have $1k set aside for emergencies. Ideally, we’d like to have much more, preferably 3-6 months worth of expenses.
Obstacle #2: Retirement funds
I’m a huge advocate for taking care of Future You. I don’t want retirement to be a source of stress for us when we’re older. Specifically, this goal means having fully funded Roth IRAs AND 401 k (or 403 b in The Husband’s case).
Obstacle #3: Saving for fun goals/expenses
The Husband and I want to do some major traveling before we start, you know, multiplying. Saving for this is incredibly important – we don’ like traveling broke!
Speaking of multiplying, we’re also thinking of starting a college fund for our future kid(s) (God willing).
There are other expenses we might want in the future, like a new car (when the time comes), moving out (hopefully), etc. We want to be ready for all of these expenses.
Obstacle #4: Diversifying income
To diversify your income means to have different kinds of income streams flowing in as opposed to just having one main job each. We want to do this because it spreads out the risk of unemployment. When you have multiple streams of income, it’s not a huge deal if one of them doesn’t work out – you’ve got all the other “jobs” you can depend on! The more risk we can lower, the better!
Being rich means being incredibly generous
Obstacle #1: Weekly giving
As a Catholic, I firmly believe in tithing when able. What you lack in money, you can give in time. For The Husband and I, I think we are able to give both right now. I want us to start giving weekly to our church so we can start building the habit of generosity.
Obstacle #2: Monthly service
Even though it’s important to give money or even material possessions, I think that giving of one’s time is very valuable, as well. Right now, The Husband and I serve at mass once in a while at our home parish. I also serve in a choir that sings every week at different parishes.
Eventually, though, I’d love to give my time in other ways, like participating in Habitat for Humanity, or volunteering at a local shelter or food drive. I know that a lot of places depend on the time donated by many volunteers and I’d love to regularly be a part of that.
Obstacle #3: Outrageous generosity
Dave Ramsey likes to encourage outrageous generosity and I totally buy it! When we have more than enough, it’s a witness to Christ when we choose to use our riches for others and not only ourselves.
There are so many ideas that I have for this. From sponsoring a family during the holidays, to setting up a socially-aware business, and even paying for all of our family/friends to spend some time together – outrageous giving is something I want to have as a part of our every day lives.
Looking at our obstacles can get overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that we aren’t tackling each obstacle all at once. We will take these obstacles and build out a more detailed battle plan in my next post.
But for now – what are your obstacles on your way to being rich?