Step by step, we’re getting closer to realizing our dream. We just made our last mortgage payment of 2016. Since refinancing late this spring, we’ve made enough progress to be at the three year mark of our amortization schedule. So that’s 3 years of a 15 year mortgage paid in 6 months. In respect to our 5 year plan to get it paid off, we’re already 6 months ahead of schedule. If we maintain this pace, the house is paid off in December 2018 – two years from today!
And as if that’s not motivation enough, I stumbled across a Craigslist posting for a CAL35 sailboat.
The CAL35 was on the shortlist of potential affordable sailboats for us to live on as part of the dream when it was first defined. We’re in good enough financial shape that we could buy this one right now if we wanted. I mentioned I saw it to Mrs. Outspoken, and she seemed a little excited too, then responded that she’d rather get the house paid off first. I agree. Plus, we can’t use a boat this size around Pittsburgh due to the mast height not clearing many of the bridges in the city. It’s more of a coastal/Great Lakes/Carribbean cruiser.
We have decided to take the vinyl/book selling and try to ramp it up next year, focusing more on the vinyl. I’m making about 3x the profit on records, although it requires a little more work to clean and grade them. As long as it stays relatively fun, the work won’t be so bad. Hopefully we can make a little extra as insurance to getting the house paid off by the end of 2018.
Then what? We’ll we’ve started down a path of gradually transforming our lifestyle. We decided that buying a canoe is a good first step to start creating more of a focus on spending time on or around water when we can in 2017. We’ve saved up some money from our Christmas budget and gifts to fund the purchase.
The next step would probably be those sailing lessons in 2018. After the house is paid off, we probably would need to take some extended charters in a couple locations we’re dreaming of visiting via sailboat.
We’re not entirely ready from a financial perspective to retire. Getting the house paid off would relieve much (almost all?) of our financial pressure, and then we’d have to decide where to invest over the coming years to reach financial independence to support a potential sailing lifestyle. My retirement calculator at work says I’m good to go at age 50, but it will come down to what else is happening in our lives at that time.
I’m also going to really take a look at my spending on alcohol. I enjoy decent wine and whisky, as well as craft beer, but some months I spend way too much. Also, the only two times I’ve been sick in the last year (both this month) were after a night of drinking a bit too much. So for my personal health as well as our financial health, I need to cut back, and cutting the spending by 50-75% should make that happen.
As i discussed in an earlier post, we could cut back a little more. But I think we’ve done a pretty good job of changing our future outlook. Sure we could get there (wherever there is) a little faster by doing some extreme things, but I can’t say it would be worth it. But I do wish I’d started this sooner, which is why I gave a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover to my niece last year at Christmas, and to her brother this year. I’m also probably going to send them a few tweets in the coming weeks about Mr. Money Mustache. If I can get one or both of them to see a different possibility for their future, that would be more satisfying than me getting to my destination of Financial Independence a few months earlier.
Whatever it is you want to do, it’s very likely you can do it if you put a clear plan in place. Start with the “Why”, as in “why do we want to do this, to make these sacrifices or changes?” Then create a vivid visualization of what it would look and feel like to achieve that “Why”. Next identify what needs to happen to get there, then lay out the simple, often very small steps to make it happen. For example, why would we buy a canoe if our dream is to sail the Caribbean, Great Lakes, and maybe even the European coastlines? Because it’s the next small step.
As 2016 comes to a close, take the next step. Whatever it is, just commit to the next step on your path to achieving your dream. Every great journey starts with taking the first step. Where will that first step take you?