Time flies my friends! I’m officially 30 years old, having celebrated the big 3-0 earlier this week. It’s funny, people used to think I looked younger than I was, but the past couple years I have been getting the opposite. This past outage season 3 times when asked I told people I was 29 and each time it was met with laughter, it seems most people peg me as being in my mid to late 30s, which is okay I suppose. Over the last 10 years I have earned the grey hairs and the circles under my eyes, as Indiana Jones would say ” It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” I’ve never looked at 30 as being a huge milestone, its a round number and people like round numbers, but for the most part its jsut another day, another year.
What I Accomplished In My 20s:
Throughout my 20s the main mission I have accomplished is spending a combined 19 years raising our kids (10 years for kid 1, 7 years for kid 2, 1 year for each of my nephews). Having kids young changes the way you live your life dramatically. I have found it extremely difficult to relate to other 20 somethings and early 30 somethings who have no kids.
My second mission has been to work hard and build a base for a life that is inexpensive and well bellow my means. Mrs C. and I bought a house that cost about half what the bank would lend us, put 20% down and have been paying extra on it aggressively. We pay all our insurances in full for at least 6 months to get a big discount. We drive vehicles that are an extremely small porportion of our income. Dave Ramsey recomends having no more than half your annual income in cars, for us this would be around $35,000 to $40,000. The total value of both our vehicles combined is around $4,000. As our income increased we didn’t allow our lifestyle to increase much, which has allowed us to establish a large savings rate, that will be right around 50% this year. Saving money and building a strong financial base in your 20s makes it possible to build an enourmous amount of wealth in your 30s. In the past 10 years Mrs. C. and I have gone from an estimated net worth of $15,000 to just shy of $200,000. By the time I am 40 we will be pushing up on 1 million in total net worth.
Years ago my dad told me that yes, saving money early is important, but it’s much easier to save $5,000 at 50 than it is to save $1,000 at 20. Heck at 30 its far easier for me to save $5,000 now than it was for me to save $1,000 at 20. That doesn’t mean don’t save any money at 20, just don’t worry that it takes a while for those balances to add up.
During my 20s I also graduated from college. I made the experience more difficult on myself by choosing to have children and a job during the entire time. My parents paid for my college, which if they hadn’t I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gone beyond my associates degree. I graduated in 2011. Since then I have also passed the CAPM exam and taken the OSHA 30. I have no desire to do any more formal education. I have been reading a few management books, but nothing akin to taking college courses.
A more thorough look at what I accomplished in my 20s is in the post reflections of my first decade as an adult from 2 years ago.
What Will I Accomplish In My 30s?
In my 30s I will launch my two kids into adulthood. By my 40th birthday they will be 22 and 17 respectively, while my nephews will be 15 and 13. That means I will have 3 kids who are driving, 1 who is completely grown and another one just shy of his 18th birthday. One of my primary goals in life is to assist our kids in launching into successful adults. In this country, and the human race as a whole we do a great diservice to our children when they become adults. We don’t set them up well for success. Often the approach is either “you’re 18 and out of high school, see ya!” or “Mommy’s gonna let her babies stay at home forever and ever.” neither is helpful. All of my kids, right down to the 3 year old understand that work = money, and you need a job in order to have a car and a place, and the lights on. So far they are all developing good saving muscles. I would like to encourage them to get real jobs as young as possible to start earning social security credits and to be able to contribute to a Roth IRA. I would like to set up a match for them from age 16 to maybe age 22 where we match at least $1 for $1 for their IRAs. 6 – 8 years of $3,000 contributions will provide a huge base of money for retirement by age 60, even if they never save another dime.
During my 30s I will continue to build wealth following the rubrick I have built. I should fairly easily be able to save $40,000+ per year going forward. In all liklihood this will increase with time as well. I see myself earning more over the next several years. Once the kids are all in school Mrs. C. will be able to earn more money by working more hours. Once the house is paid off we will be able to save more money as well, this should happen within the next 5 years. As part of this plan I also want to buy the 14.3 acre chunk of land behind my railroad bed. This will bring our total acreage to just over 25.
During my 30s I also plan to do more volunteer work, especially in the summers. I recently started volunteering at Sarett Nature Center on the trail crew to help keep their 8 miles of trails in good shape. I also plan on helping out our family pediatrician with his community gardens and with rehabilitating the building he recently purchased that will eventually become a youth shelter in Benton Harbor, MI.
I think by 40 I wll also have acheived a full head of grey hair at this rate lol.
I’m sure the next ten years will hold several surprises for me, we can’t plan everything! Anyone else have a milestone birthday recently?