Category Archives: Retirement

My Dream Future

I’ve talked a few times before about how focusing on my long-term goals helps me forego things I want now to help me achieve those goals.

I have also recently shared my mid-term goal strategy, 101 in 1001.

But what exactly are my long-term goals?

I don't anticipate going for a place quite this rugged, but who knows.
I don’t anticipate going for a place quite this rugged, but who knows.

I want to have my own place. While I enjoy where I live now, I don’t want to rent forever. Economically, it makes more sense to buy (once I get my savings and income where I want it).

But more than the economics of it, I want a yard. While I’ve made do with gardening on my balcony, it’s not enough to satisfy my gardening itch. Not all summers are going to be as a unproductive as this one, but the larger the area I have to garden, the more I’ll be able to grow to feed myself (and hopefully others).

My ideal property would be a small house on an average-sized neighborhood lot, with quick access to bus routes and stores. This would provide me the best of both worlds: urban and back-to-the-land.

While my focus on getting a property is growing a garden and possibly some fruit trees, I also think about raising bees, chickens and goats one day. That’s far-fetched for someone who has never desired a pet, but we’ll see.

I would also love to make this property as simple and environmentally-friendly as possible. I picture harvesting all my own energy from the sun and doing away with the traditional laundry system.

While I have no plans on a traditional retirement (time to put me first), I do hope to not need to work as much in a corporate environment one day. I’d love to devote more time to urban homesteading activities…especially once I have an urban homestead.

If I allow myself to dream, I picture myself retiring from corporate America early to spend the rest of my days urban homesteading and fostering children. Yes, I’d love to be married and have my own children some day, but regardless of if that happens, I want to provide family to those who do not have any.

This is my dream of the future now, but it definitely wasn’t my dream even 5 years ago. It may not be my dream in 5 years, either, but I’m okay with that.

Photo by Richard Elzey

Interesting Financial Interactives

calculatorI have always been the person who enjoys taking those silly little quizzes–“Does He Like You?”, “What Kind of Mother are You?”, and the like.  Interacting on the internet AND getting answers to my questions?  What a concept!

So, when I stumbled upon these interesting interactives, I knew I’d be sharing them with you.  Each one involves money in some way, and most impart valuable insight or tips for how to be better stewards of the gift of wealth.  Plus, since math is not my forte, I like being able to just plug in numbers and get answers, as opposed to using an actual calculator–or, heaven forbid, a pencil and paper!

Income Upshot

Marketplace.org is one of my regular websites, and this interactive has been really informative.  The premise is more entertainment that anything else:  type in your zip code and your annual income to see how you compare to others in your zip code.  It was enlightening to learn where we fall on the spectrum, as well as discovering such random tidbits as what kind of car those in our income bracket purchase (23% choose small cars like ours).

The Secret Life of a Food Stamp

It is way too easy for me to want to scream, “Let me fix your finances for you!” to someone who indicates they are struggling financially.  While I maintain that there is always something that can be cut from your budget, all too often I forget that, for some, the only things left that can be cut are necessities like food and shelter.  This interactive (also at marketplace.org) has you try to make do with budgets based on geography, family size, and national averages.  It’s a lot tougher than you think, and is a sobering reminder to consider all the facts before passing judgement.

College Cost Calculator

Nothing like considering the staggering costs of sending our kids to college in a couple of decades to knock me off my high horse!  We started saving for our kids’ education from the get-go…but calculators like this not only help to figure out a rough idea of what we should prepare to spend, but also serve as an important reminder that saving for big stuff is essential.

Retirement Calculator

This retirement calculator is another great reminder of the importance of saving.  Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it’s never too soon to save!

Tithing Calculator

Regardless of your views on tithing to a religious institution or giving in general, I think most of us can agree that it is important to use our gifts to be a blessing to others.  This handy little calculator lets you not only see what tithing (or giving 10% of your income) would look like, but also what percentage of your income you are currently giving.

What handy (or amusing) financial interactives have you come across?