The origin of Life Over Money is simple. It is an accountability blog where I will document my journey through a change in mindset where freedom, life experiences, and relationships take the place of wealth as the symbol of prosperity. For many, life is put on hold for someday when their money allows them to have the freedom to live their dreams. My goal is to reprogram my life so that someday is now and decisions are made based on this new definition of prosperity rather than simply the bottom line. The blog will feature posts on steps that I take to meet this goal as well as helpful information I find along the way. In this post, I’ll explain where I’ve been, where I am today, and where I’m going.
Where I’ve Been
How did I get here? I was well on my way to the American dream. I had a house, a nice car, a steady career with great benefits, and could watch my already great credit score steadily rising. Life was good – or at least it looked that way from the outside. In reality, I had a mortgage, a car loan, and time that was managed by someone else for pay they decided I was worth. I was normal.
Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.
– Ellen Goodman
My job was great but I decided that working for a global company with tons of profit to help them make even more profit wasn’t quite what I wanted. I decided to work for a non-profit – this would surely be more rewarding work. My time at the non-profit was great but there was still something missing so after my contract was finished I decided to give self-employment a shot.
Working for myself was great! I was able to do so many types of projects instead of doing the same repetitive tasks every day. I could decide my own hours and even bill at a rate high enough that I could live on 10-20 hours a week. Perhaps I may have been onto something here. Soon I learned that 10-20 hours a week of billable work could lead to many more hours that are not billable if not properly handled and suddenly being an employee sounded much simpler.
Where I am
Today, I’m almost back to where I started. This time the nice car is paid off but it’s business as usual. I have a salary job with great benefits. I’m recently engaged to an amazing woman. Again I find myself having conversations around the office about whether life is meant to be spent sitting at a desk in an office for hours a day for decades in order to one day retire and enjoy living. What keeps me or anyone else from living the life I want now rather than waiting for someday if and when I can retire? What if I wanted to take a month off to enjoy a great vacation with my fiancé? What about when we have children? Will I be able to spend the time I want to with them?
Where I’m going
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
– Proverbs 22:7
I have listened to Dave Ramsey for years on the radio but listening without taking action doesn’t accomplish much. Tuning in to any show, you will hear story after story of people who have changed their lives by paying off their debts. They effectively pay off their yesterday so that more of their resources are available today. This raises another question. If I had no debt, and only the expenses of today to cover, could I actually make less income than I do now but have more to give and invest? If so, would I be able to work half the hours I do now and enjoy more freedom to use my time to live life?
With many questions still unanswered, I can at least focus on the one I know the answer to for now. It’s time to say goodbye to debt. My fiancé and I have started Financial Peace University to get our finances in order and prevent debt from being a problem in our coming marriage. I am aggressively attacking debt and will hopefully have all of mine except for the house paid by the wedding date. We are only four weeks into FPU and people around me seem to think I’m crazy when I talk about paying everything off. Is it really that weird not to be in debt? I think I’m fine with being weird.
While looking for answers, I have discovered the book Lifeonaire. Lifeonaire presents a different take on winning at life. It proposes that winning at life may not be based on the amount of money in your bank account but that you have the best life experiences and relationships. This does seem to challenge a lot of our cultural norms but it makes a lot of sense. The book also suggests that many times we make financial and life decisions based on what others have told us we want. Lifeonaire was a great read and there happens to be a three-day event coming next week. I don’t really know what to expect from this event and was back and forth on whether I should attend. Ultimately, I decided it couldn’t hurt to dedicate three days to focusing on a vision for my life to help guide me through this process.
I seem to have more questions than answers lately but I am working to find purpose and clarity for the future. The purpose of this blog is to document my thoughts and findings as I position my life to support this new definition of prosperity.