Photo Credit: iamwahid
Tomorrow is my birthday & I will turn 40. I really don’t have any issues with turning 40…except that I had set a goal that I haven’t achieved & the deadline was my 40th birthday. I don’t typically set specific goals, so not achieving this is a bit frustrating for me.
But first, here is some backstory. I’m just gonna lay it out there: In the last 5 years, my husband & I have lost approximately $500,000. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. (Take all the time you need.)
This wasn’t through any fault of our own, since it’s no secret that the economy & housing market have been terrible the last few years. My husband works for a luxury home builder so we’ve been hit hard like anyone who makes a living in the real estate industry. We did everything ”right” according to financial experts; in fact, we had a savings account that was 1 year of my husband’s net salary. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how badly things would turn.
Please don’t mistake this for whining, because I’m not; my husband is still employed & our family is doing fine. For that I am grateful beyond measure.
It should be said that we didn’t lose that much money in actual cash, but rather from our total net worth. Some of it was cash, but most of it was equity in our home & our retirement portfolio. As I’ve stated before, imaginary money is just that…money that isn’t cold, hard cash. Regardless…losing that kind of net worth is a tough pill to swallow.
Which brings me back to my goal I set for turning 40. When I was pregnant with my daughter & getting ready to stop working outside the home, I told my husband & our financial planner that I wanted us to be millionaires by the time we were 40. Again, I didn’t mean we would have a million dollars in cash that we could pile up & roll around in. Rather, I wanted our net worth to be in the seven figures. And 5 years ago, we were on track for making that happen (& perhaps happen a few years early).
You may be reading this & thinking “That’s a pretty materialistic goal, Heather.” Trust me when I say, this goal wasn’t about keeping up with the Joneses, or driving a luxury vehicle, or owning a private jet. To me, having a net worth north of seven figures was about security. It was about the possibility of retiring early, of traveling more, of having more quality time together as a family. Of working because we wanted to, not because we had to. It was a dream of how I wanted our family to live our life.
And it didn’t happen. Not by a long shot. It’s been frustrating & humbling & challenging all at the same time. It’s made me rethink how I want our family to live. It’s made me question what’s important to me. It’s made me realize that achieving a goal isn’t what life is about (it’s about getting out there & living!).
So tomorrow I will turn 40 & I will not be a millionaire. I’m OK with that. I will celebrate with a dinner out (using a Restaurant.com voucher!) & a Costco birthday cake surrounded by loved ones. I am blessed.