Journal

My To-Do List by the Decade

I’m at a stage in my life where everyone around me is entering new stages of their own. A few of my closest friends just graduated high school. One of them just got her first job. My younger brother has to consider going to college. My mother just kicked off as an entrepreneur. My hard-working father (if possible considering familial expenses), might start making retirement plans.

As I take economics courses in college, I am also gradually starting to understand my own financial standing and the importance of proper planning for money (as well as discovering useful online resources for the task like this). I also came to the realization at some point that as an individual who doesn’t plan to get married or start a family, my financial future is rather different from that of others. Thus, I’ve decided to share with all of you some things on my to-do list by the decade.

20s

  • Acquire my undergraduate degree (Psychology/Linguistics double-major, Philosophy/Legal Studies double-minor)
  • Publish my first novel
  • Finally establish enough credit to get a credit card – turns out that as someone who lived in South Korea for more than half my life, now living in the States alone, I don’t have a line of credit to get a credit card. Be careful about this, it’s important and no one really teaches you about it?? Make sure to ask your parents to explain it for you while you’re in their care.
  • Use the aforementioned established line of credit to rent my first apartment!
  • Find my first job in either the publishing industry or at a psychology clinic. It doesn’t have to be anything big – it can even be a paid internship. Once I get my foot in the door, I’ll be able to wriggle my way in the rest of the way.
  • Also, at some point in this decade, I would like to go on a trip with at least one of my friends! Aeolus, Danny, Iramor, which do you fancy, the Salar de Uyuni or the Northern Lights?
  • Second question, West End or Broadway???

30s

  • Work as a valued, full-time employee at either a prominent publishing house or a reputable psychologist’s clinic.
  • Receive a motorcycle license and purchase my first motorcycle. A lot of people in my life have warned me away from this due to the danger factor, but from a financial standpoint, a motorcycle is actually more fuel efficient, especially since I don’t plan on starting a family. They’re cheaper to purchase and maintain, and offer more mobility. We’ll see what happens when the time comes, though.
  • Buy my first permanent home – I’m actually quite excited for this milestone. I think I will always be living in an apartment of some sort rather than a house, but to have it be mine instead of a rental would be amazing.
  • Publish at least three more novels and a short story anthology.
  • Write my first play or video game story.
  • Host a New Year’s celebration for my loved ones!

40s

  • If I ever plan to have a family, I believe that I will adopt a child in my early 40s once I am financially stable and secure in my own independence.If as I grow older this becomes a concrete plan, I would definitely have started saving for this child’s college tuition.
  • If not mother to my own adopted child, I plan to be the best aunt or godmother to my friends’ children. Gifts galore, I’m going to spoil those kids rotten and make life harder for my loved ones~
  • Hopefully by now I’ve gotten a hang of this writing thing and can put out one story after another across all mediums.

50s

  • I would like to retire from my day job in my fifties and continue on as a full-time writer. Ideally I would have somewhere around $200k saved before I turn to a precarious goal of living off my writing,which means that I should be trying to save upwards of two-thousand dollars every year. Once I start getting paychecks, I think I’ll probably make a habit of saving a percentage of my income for retirement/emergency purposes.

 

People my age aren’t well-educated in finance nowadays. I had to learn the banking system completely on my own once I returned to the States for college, and now I have to navigate secure loans and whatnot in an effort to build credit. I didn’t know how America’s banking system or the Federal Bank worked until I took my first economics class.

The fact of the matter is that my generation has been force-fed the idea that a good university = a good life, but that isn’t the case at all. What is important is proper planning and budgeting, as well as an awareness of daily expenditures and cutting back where you can. How many college students think about saving for retirements? I know that in my case, it’s never been in the forefront of my mind.

In my experience, many parents exclude their children from family financial discussions so they don’t worry their children or cause them undue stress. However, this leads to a culture of ignorance towards how money works in the modern world. It isn’t wise to let the children figure it out as the need arises – preparation allows for smarter decisions. Saving for retirement starting in your 20s is a lot easier than starting in your 30s or 40s.

Of course, for all you romantic folk out there, you have to also think about saving up for your wedding and all the expenses those entail, and if you plan to have children, you have to think about how many and start planning accordingly. Think about what you want for the future – have a picture, and then do everything in your power to make it happen comfortably. Especially as time goes on, it isn’t about how much money you make – it’s about how much money you save and have left at the end of the paycheck.

This is just my take on the issue, based upon my experiences. Hopefully it gets some other people my age thinking about their futures from a different angle. Thinking about money can be stressful, but if you’re optimistic, it can also be reassuring and fun. Planning is just a way to ensure that your dreams do, in the end, come true.

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