Personal Finance

Refocusing Goals

Last weekend, my husband and I flew to Texas for a family reunion. While on the flight, I finished reading Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s book “Debt-Free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and Your Life” and completed some more of her exercises. In chapter 3, she has her readers make a master list of goals. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Travel with my husband to the places my parents and grandparents were born.
  2. Travel internationally with my children
  3. Pay off the mortgage
  4. Live debt free
  5. Retire early
  6. Pay for both children’s undergraduate education
  7. Expose our children as much as we can and raise balanced, well-rounded children.
  8. Teach the kids a second language
  9. Visit my family and husband’s family every year
  10. Have my kids be connected with their extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles)
  11. Support family members as needed
  12. Give generously to charities I believe in

After creating this list of goals (or dreams depending how you look at it), she then tasks us to prioritize the list ideally with your spouse. Fortunately we were on an airplane, so my husband couldn’t ignore me by turning on the TV or run off to the gym as he has done in the past. Our discussion was very productive and I was surprised to realize that some of my goals were not his goals. While he felt I covered all goals he would have for the family, he disagreed with me on several points.

  1. He doesn’t want to make retiring early a goal. While he might want to switch careers, he sees himself working least until our son graduates college in 16 years.
  2. He doesn’t feel like we should pay for our children’s education. He believes that if we put enough effort into their current education and activities, they should be able to earn scholarships. If not, there’s always community college or the university I work for where I could get a 75% tuition discount if I continued working there.
  3. He believes we should focus on domestic trips for the kids until they get older and can appreciate the adventure. He also feels like learning a second language is nice goal, but not something we should put money into.

From our discussion, we both agreed that family, travel and being debt-free are our top priorities (in that order). We then came up the following short term and long term goals for the family:

  1. Summer 2017 – Take one family vacation next summer to California, visit my family on the east coast and take one international trip just me and him.
  2. Family visits – Alternate visiting my family and his family each year. Family will be the top priority in our family. His family would be Summer 2018.
  3. Payoff mortgage – The stretch goal is November 2021.
  4. International travel – Without a mortgage payment, plan on taking an international trip with the family until my son goes off to college (2022- 2026)

It feels good to be on the same page financially for a change! I’ve noticed in the week following this discussion, he has been more conscientious about spending money. He actually packed his lunch 3x this week!! Usually he has no idea when he’ll receive a bonus or how much it will be for. Tuesday he was able to tell me exactly when his next bonus was coming and exactly how much it was for! I am hopeful that our goal setting will usher in a better financial outlook for our family.


14 thoughts on “Refocusing Goals

  1. That’s fantastic! I’m so glad you got the sit down time. I feel like we’re in the same marriage sans kids reading this :).
    It’s so exciting that you now have the same goals and he’s packing lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is great news. It’s wonderful that you two are on the same page. It seems that you two came to a compromise as you will have some of your goals realized as well. That is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you are feeling good about the decisions you’ve made together. You don’t necessarily have to give up on the other goals though. Think about if there are alternate ways to accomplish those goals without having to spend money. For instance, use your library. Our library provides an online service called Mango Languages in which you can teach yourself a new language–for FREE!

    My husband was in school for the last four years and we found out that there are all sorts of things you can figure out how to do even without money. Sometimes you can trade skills (ex: you paint and maybe someone who needs something painted knows how to speak a foreign language). Bartering is a valuable skill! I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Be creative! You can do this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband and I have had the best life-goals conversations on long car trips! How great that you were able to do that while you were on the airplane. Sounds like you guys are getting things ironed out – a great feeling, I’m sure! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No escaping on long car rides either. 🙂 yes, it was really good to hear his thoughts. We generally want the same things but finding common ground to focus on was great.


  5. These are great goals. I agree with feistyfroggy, the library is a great place to learn a 2nd language for free. My friend and I started learning Spanish in a free class at the library when I lived in Colorado and I continued with it through Mango when we moved. We’ve been to Central America and Mexico 4 times in the past few years and the language skills have come in really handy.

    Liked by 1 person

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