As someone who never gets to celebrate holidays, on the day they are set, I actually get to relax for New Years. I usually work on the 4th of July, Memorial day, Labor day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve. It usually takes me a month to get to me celebrate my birthday.
Looking on social media, I see everyone posting resolutions and recapping their year. I don’t think it is necessary to let the world know of everything that has happened in my life. I do however want to brag about a few things and confess a few things.
On the positive side this year I have:
– Gotten Married
– Ran a weekend long show as an emergency Lighting Designer, when my designer’s wife had some medical issues.
– Started my journey to financial freedom
– increased the amount of show days by 11%, and lights repaired by 62%
On the negative side this year I have:
– Gained about 25 lbs
– Racked up $7,500 in debt from the beginning of the year
– Developed seasonal allergies
– Purchased a robotic vacuum & mop (making me lazy but also have more free time. so kind of a good thing)
I have many goals, but none of them are a resolution per say. I’ve got the typical long term goals, be healthier, get out of debt, positive net worth, save up for a house. Basically the american dreams minus the cheeseburgers. Granted all of the financial goals are the same, but I’ve broken them down to have smaller victories to help motivate me. I should have a positive net worth before I’m fully out of debt, and once I’m out of debt, I’ll be able to save for the house. By breaking my larger goal down to smaller goals, it should be easier to stay on track. I have the habit of completing a goal like “organize my desk” and that works for maybe an hour and then organization goes out the door because I have reached the goal of organization and I fall back into the old habits. And “keeping organized” especially when I get swamped with drafting and preparing a show where I’ll have between 5 and 15 pages of drawings and napkin drawings that I need to bounce between constantly. Having the next step in line should help me stay on track.
As most people look forward to the next year as being a fresh start, I am looking at it as a stepping stone. My “resolution” from last year was set as I was driving a Semi from Northeastern Wisconsin, to Northeastern Ohio. I got sick of listening to the same music I always listen to on long drives. As I started the trip, I went through things I wanted to learn and improve on. My finances had always been a struggle because my high school personal finance class was only a semester long and taught me how to apply for a loan, write a check (which I occasionally do), balance my checkbook (I have apps for my credit union and mint to track my balances), and do my taxes on the short form (I do some freelancing, which causes me to not be able to use the short form). I was financially illiterate. So I stopped just east of Gary, IN for lunch and downloaded Google Podcasts and started my search. I stumbled on the Mad Fientist’s Podcast. I had no idea what Financial Independence (or FI) was. Needless to say, I learned a lot. I blew through all of his episodes within a couple months. I was on the FI train. I love what I do for a living, but being FI would give me more freedom to do what I want, and work on my own terms. After I finished listening to the Mad Fientist, I started listening to Listen Money Matters. If you listen from episode 1, you will get brought through the basics of personal finance and not just “You should save money”. They discuss everything from debt reduction, to investing, to real estate, to different methods of handling your money. By about June, I started to turn my finances around, minus paying for the wedding.
From the lessons I have learned from those two podcasts, I’m starting to feel confident in how I am spending my money, and I even feel comfortable talking money with friends and family. It was difficult at first to admit that I was in so much credit card debt. But just like any addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step. Creating this blog is a very delayed second step. I needed accountability. With how sporadic my schedule is, I didn’t want to rely on a person to keep tabs on me. Most people would say that I should use my wife as my accountability buddy, but we both are incredibly busy. We both can get so busy that besides the normal texting we do during the day, the only time we see each other is when we say good morning and goodnight. An anonymous audience and the fact that I can have a public record of my progress, is motivation enough for me to stay on course.
If it is near the new year, I wish anyone a happy new year and hope you can reach all of your goals, resolutions, and/or hopes & dreams. Happy 2020!