Friday, December 9, 2016

Life After Debt: Part 1

“I wish I had a million dollars.  Hot dog!”  Adolescent George Bailey’s famous words have quite a different meaning today.  But I have always loved asking people what they would do if they won a million dollars.

The dreams we indulge in when money is no object to our fantasies tells us a lot about ourselves.  Most people talk about having fun, buying cars or mansions, and living it up when their ship sails in.

While daydreaming is a fun pastime, the reality of having all the money you need is surprisingly obtainable.  We are out of debt, including the house, and still have a higher-than-average income.  One of my husband’s bucket list items is setting foot on the continent of Antarctica - a dream I believe we will accomplish within the next five years, despite its $20,000-plus price tag for two.

My lotto list has changed from horses, a house, trips around the world, and houses for all my family members to something a little more modest.  I honestly have everything I need, and the only things I still want will come to me in time.  Today, my “million dollar lotto” list looks more like:

Pay taxes - $300,000
Donate 10% - $100,000
Invest in my and my husband’s retirement funds - $500,000
Move up in house - $100,000

I might add “adopt 20 cats”  and “buy Lizard Boy a gecko” to that list at some point.  The reality is, a million dollars is only useful as far as it can set you up for the future.

My idea of wealth has changed now that I have my needs covered and we no longer owe anyone a portion of our paychecks.  No, I’m not always as magnanimous as I am right now.  Sometimes I wish we had more.  But when I consider where we are versus where we’ve been I can’t help but feel grateful, and believe everything we truly want is within our reach.  Even without winning the lottery.

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