First off, I want to apologize for not having written in a few days. It turns out getting married is both awesome and exhausting. We needed some quality R&R time, and now unfortunately we’re in the “post-wedding blues” phase of life.
Altogether, we had been planning our wedding for over a year. We hired a company (and saved a $h!t ton in the process, despite still being expensive) to help manage the whole day for us and plan everything with us. Fourteen months of back and forth phone calls, text messages, and emails. Countless pictures sent, and several trips out to California. We managed to pay for it all ourselves without going into debt. Going into a marriage 100% debt-free is an amazing feeling.
And the wedding day itself was awesome. Literally every person who we talked to had a fantastic time and could not say enough good things about how perfect everything was.
Yet for all of the hype, the perfect execution, and having such an amazing two weeks away, I can’t help but think about post-wedding blues and what happens from here in our journey. Don’t get me wrong – I am immensely happy, and so is Kristin. Everything about our day went perfectly. When you spend over a year planning for something, however, it’s a bit of a shock to suddenly not have to plan for that thing.
Wedding planning was never a stressful process for us. We never had any melt-downs or last-minute problems to solve. But it kept us consistently motivated and driving toward a common goal. Now that the wedding is over, we don’t have those short-term goals as top-of-mind anymore. Of course that doesn’t mean that we have no goals….just that the nature of our goals is shifting. We had a short sprint to save money for our wedding. We have another short sprint to save money for the house. The house down payment is set to go, thanks in large part to our reduced rent this summer. So, what’s next?
The Long Journey Ahead
Our goals being met means that we shift our focus from day-to-day things to the long, slow journey ahead. Building wealth so one can retire isn’t (normally) a quick process. It’s arduous and tedious. Most folks don’t retire until well into their 60’s – an entire lifetime away for us. Unless we come into a ridiculous amount of money, we’ll still need to work for a while longer.
Now that the wedding is over, it’s a perfect time to regroup and talk about our goals in life. We’ve already had “the talk“, but just like your monthly budget, it’s a good thing to talk about some of these topics on a regular basis. The mid- to long-term goals seem far off, so we’ll make short-term goals to hit along the way. Not all of them will be strictly financial. Some will be ‘administrative’ and others will be lifestyle changes. Each of the goals will put us another step closer to the long-term goal of total financial independence and early retirement.
My short-term ToDo list is pretty simple:
- I’m eligible for a 401(k) again at my new job starting today. Time to ramp up my contributions.
- We both need to update beneficiaries on all of our accounts that haven’t been updated yet.
- After we close on the house, we have a plethora of paperwork to take care of and accounts to deal with.
- Find ways to minimize expenses (cutting cable TV and changing cell phone plans is on our list) as much as possible. There are so many things we’ve been conditioned to want, or “need”.
- Focus on growing my income.
- Max out my IRA. We have until April to do this.
- Save up for a honeymoon, and apparently a 30-person family vacation.
I don’t think everything will be smooth sailing. The list above isn’t exactly difficult, but unexpected things do come up. It’s likely that in the next year or two I’ll change jobs. We will adopt a dog. Or two (at LEAST, says Kristin). We’ll be in a bind with our car situation and have to buy a used car. We’re moving, and furniture is expensive. It will take a lot of money to furnish our house, and if we’re not careful it could set us back.
No, it definitely isn’t going to be boring, and setting some short-term goals will help us mentally “cope” with not having a wedding to plan for anymore. We also track our net worth – if you don’t, then you should start now. Having a constant view of our progress is a good reminder to stay the course and that the temporary pain points of cutting expenses are worth it. Kristin and I joked that we want to get married again – just to have the awesome party. Until then (which is never), we’ll find other things to spend our time and effort on, all for the sake of leading a financially healthy, fulfilling life.
How do you deal with lining up your short-term goals with your long-term goals? Do you have any mental tricks to make sure you don’t lose sight of what you’re working toward?