The third word I selected at the beginning of this year to focus on was ‘Wealth‘
When I thought of this word, the image of prosperity was definitely at the forefront. I always dream of being debt free, working at something I am passionate about instead of a job just to pay the bills and living a life travelling the world – doesn’t everyone? But when I really think of what wealth means to me, I realise that I am actually wealthy beyond measure and that I have all the wealth I need, I have a place I call home with a loving family who love me and I am healthy, and that’s worth all the wealth in the world.
I am grateful every day that I wake up more wealthier than a large proportion of the world, I live in a lovely house with running hot and cold water in a beautiful suburb by the sea. I can eat what I like, when I like and am employed in a safe workplace where my wages increase each year. I get 4 weeks paid holiday a year plus time off at Christmas. My employer contributes to my superannuation fund which will assist me in retirement. I have a wonderful husband who I get to come home to each night and two beautiful children who I adore, an amazing stepdaughter who inspires me and two very special grandchildren…I have lived 51.5 years, have never broken a bone, or been sick more than a few days at a time,
I already have in spades,
and feel incredibly blessed because of it.
I have, however learned a very big lesson this year when circumstances beyond my control have required an ’emergency fund’ to get me out of. From a fund I did not have. For years I have tried to create this ’emergency fund’ or as Mary Hunt, author and founder of Debt-Proof Living explains, its a fund none of us can live without and she says its a a sure fire way to debt proof your life so I am currently taking her advice to ensure I never place myself in this position again.
Mary suggests three funds we all need to keep adding to throughout our lives if we want to remain debt free – a ‘Contingency Fund, a ‘Freedom Fund‘ and the Rapid-debt-repayment plan where she teachers how to live on 80% of what income comes into your hands. I had tried to do this for years however having a family and moving the amount of times we have and various other ’emergencies’ meant any extra was always gobbled up any extra ’emergency’ funds I tried to hold on to. (If I had my time again and was at the beginning of my working life, this I would definitely do this now that I know what I know)
This February however when my investment property problem had me looking down the barrel of no funds to help has made me finally stop and take action. So even though for the rest of the year I will be starting to ‘build my bufffer’ I have realised that at 51/52 this year I need to take a new look at our retirement plan and work out something new as my old plan has just been taken away.
But what I have learned to be true, is that sometimes you begin a plan or a strategy where at the time, seems like a pretty good plan but then life throws something at you where you have to let that plan go, and part of moving ahead is sometimes letting go of things you thought would be with you at the end but it turns out that they were a means to something else. I think my lesson this year has been learnt the hard way but its a lesson I hope that in another 30 years I will look back on and always remember this turning point and the catalyst for the beginnings of my Contingency and Freedom funds.
What this has given me though is the realisation of what is really important in my life and what I really need to do over the next 10 years to ensure we not only retire on time and with enough to be comfortable, I want to ensure we are still having fun along the way.