Towards the end of the 2019 I began to really look at my life. A made a major decision to leave my job of 14 years. I was working too many hours and under a lot of stress at work which was having a negative impact on my life. The commute to and from work was 45 minutes each way. The new job provided for less hours, a lot less stress and a commute of 5 minutes. The result of changing jobs gave me the time and energy to reevaluate my life in general and especially my financial life. Up to this point in life I was basically living paycheck to paycheck and allowed my finances to control me. I was tired of living this way. I began researching ways to manage debt, budget, invest and plan for retirement.
On January 1, 2020 my finances were in poor shape. I had $546 in savings. My retirement savings was $69,664. My net worth was negative, -$44,069. At 48 years old, I needed to make some serious changes quickly in order to become financially free.
I went back through my bank statements for the past year to see where my money was going. I was surprised at how much money I was spending at convenience stores and restaurants. At this point I decided that I must create a budget. I chose to use a zero based budget. This allowed me to assign each and every dollar that I earned to specific expenses. After a couple of months of following this budget it became easy to stick to the plan which included assigning money to savings each month.
Creating a monthly budget was the key to get started on the path to financial freedom. Prior to creating a budget my finances were very stressful. The budget allowed me to gain control of my finances and reduced my stress. Now I could see how my bills were going to get paid. It showed me that I could save money for an emergency. It also showed me that I could invest for my future.
I set a goal for my financial independence/retirement. The target date is February 28, 2031. I have a long way to go but I am confident I will be able to achieve this goal if I can stay the course and follow my plan. The plan is to spend less, earn more, pay off debt, invest and stay invested.