The Two-Income Treasure

As our wedding date nears, the future husband and I have been talking about our long-term goals and plans. As I pay down my credit cards, I’m also thinking about the next phase in our financial planning. Basically, I want the habits that I’m forming now to become permanent. Budgeting, snowflaking, and writing about my finances are all helping me pay off my debt, but I plan to keep using these techniques to help us achieve our long-term dreams as well.

When we discuss what we really want out of life, our top priority is time. We want to be in control of our time and have time to pursue the things we really enjoy. The future husband and I don’t need fancy cars or a McMansion or expensive toys. Instead, we want time to enjoy our life together. Now, we could say we’ll wait until retirement for that, but retirement seems a long way off. Instead, our goal is to semi-retire early (in ten years to fifteen years). We’d like to make enough from investments to only need to work part-time. Over lunch the other day, we daydreamed about a life where the future husband could see patients for five hours a day and leave the day-to-day operations of his practice to a partner. I could write in the mornings, have lunch with him, and then teach in the afternoons. We both believe we’ll work longer by being able to work less. 

We realize how lucky we are to have meaningful, interesting careers. He’s an optometrist, and I’m a professor. We like being able to help people and get paid decently for it. I feel blessed that we don’t hate our jobs and don’t need to radically change our careers to be happy. Instead, we just want to get to a place where there’s enough of a financial cushion for us to have flexible hours. So, how do we get there? We’re viewing two incomes as a blessing, and I want to do some wise financial planning before they become the Two-Income Trap.

Here are my long-term ideas to get us to our financial goal:

  • Stay in our current home and pay it off early
  • Don’t increase our standard of living when we get raises
  • Spend frugally
  • Fully fund our retirement accounts
  • Invest the equivalent of my take-home pay each year
These are just the big brush strokes for now.  Once my credit-card debt is gone, I plan to start a budget for both of us to enact these ideas.  Basically, we have a comfortable standard of living now; we love our home and its location, and we’re getting better about spending less.  If we could live off a limited income and invest a significant amount each year, we’d have a very nice cushion in ten to fifteen years.  Plus, we’d be used to living frugally, so we wouldn’t need as much to semi-retire.

The key is to start off our marriage with these goals.  If we just combine our incomes and keep spending at the rate we did when we were single, we’ll never get ahead.  However, if we spend more wisely, save more, and don’t “trade up” on housing, I think we’ll be in great shape to get what we really want out of life!  Stay tuned and see how we do.  🙂

 

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2 responses to “The Two-Income Treasure

  1. It’s funny you should mention The Two-Income Trap – I’m reading it right now. What do you think of her contention that it’s a desire for a strong education for one’s children, not some sort of absurd overconsumption, that has led to the rise of bankrupcies?

  2. mydailydollars

    She makes a good point, but I can’t help looking around and seeing lots of consumption! Of course, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. My own life has certainly been fueled by over-consumption. I’m just thankful that I’ve reigned in my bad habits, and met someone who shares my values. It’s nice that we can set up our financial planning to actually build some wealth from the beginning of our marriage.

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