“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“ so long as I get somewhere,” added Alice as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat “if only you walk long enough.”
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
This Alice in Wonderland quote has it right. If you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what way you take.
I know when you PCS for the first time and it’s from Florida to the other side of the continent, you have a destination, like say Alaska. So you pull out a map (and jump on some FB groups) to plan all you can. (Side note: yes my first ever PCS was from FL to AK)
Your money goals are no different. You need a plan. Of course, there are many things you want to do or achieve. Pay off debt, buy a house, save for Retirement, and plan what will happen after military retirement, the list can and will go on and on. You just need a destination, a target, an overall goal that you are aiming for.
My Overall Money Goal:
This whole blog is dedicated to my overall money goal of building my net worth to $1,000,000. I’m doing this by paying off my debt (this just takes away from my new worth), I’m also building up my retirement (that too counts towards my net worth) but the overall goal is this net worth. EVERY choice I make is dedicated to this overall goal.
One of the “little things” I’m doing to meet this goal is how I’m using my pocket-money. Both my hubs and I get around $200 a month for “whatever”. For him that’s beer, bike parts or range fees. It’s up to him how he wants to spend it. Mine has always gone to little things. I’m a spender, I bought flowers for the house, an item from a friend’s lularoe or posh business, a fancy coffee, or it just sort of evaporates from my wallet.
Now my pocket-money is going to buying stocks that pay dividends. This choice is in line with my overall money goal.
I don’t care how my hubs spends the “whatever money” and that’s the point. From our pay 30-60% each month goes to paying off debt or into our IRA. We both work hard and this is our money to spend how we see fit. I’m just choosing to use mine to hit the overall money goal sooner.
Figure out YOUR overall money goal
This is the fun part. What is the one thing that you *wish* you could do or achieve?
- Pay off debt?
- Live debt free?
- Retire secure when you are no longer a military family?
- Build X net worth?
- Retire at 62 in comfort?
- Retire at 42 in comfort?
All of these things are important but you need to pick one thing to be the overall goal. This one overall goal should direct every financial choice you make. This is the main direction, the destination of your budgeting efforts. By focusing on this one overall goal you are far more likely to achieve it! Not only that, but you now have a goal or end point. You can now start to work backward to figure out how to get to this overall money goal. The budget you make will be the road map to this destination!
Maybe now it’s to pay off debt. If so, EVERY choice you make should bring you closer to that goal. Maybe it’s to live debt free; in that case, maybe you should be building a good emergency fund so you never have to use a credit card again once you pay them off and anything else you owe on. Or maybe it’s to retire in comfort, you know what to do; START INVESTING. Heck, maybe it’s just to figure out HOW to invest, if so you’re in a good starting place.
Will this be forever? What if…..
It can change, life changes. But you need to print out the worksheet to above and sit down with your husband. Dream together! What is the overall thing you both *wish* could happen financially? You CAN achieve it if you plan and work towards it!
Life stages may have different overall money goals, it doesn’t mean you don’t work on your other money goals, pitstops if you will. You just make your overall direction towards this overall money goal.
Get going! Dream Big.
By having a direction and a goal for your money, your whole financial life will have a meaning. You have a destination, a target, a goal for the money that comes in and goes out of your budget.
What is your overall money goal? Let me know in the comments below!