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  • Writer's pictureLisa Rousseau

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my future and retirement. I've started setting goals so that my husband and I can maybe retire in our 50's. I keep thinking about Lifehouse's lyrics to their song Days Go By... "So don't sit back and watch the days go by, are you ever going to live before you die?"

I know there is more to life then working your entire life. I get it though, you need to work to pay the bills and pay for the things you want but it's a never-ending cycle. I know that I don't want to be working when I'm 70 because I have to, I'd like the option to work if I want to. So yes I am going to live before I die. I'm thinking about how I can make a change so I can spend the time I want, doing what I want in life, because I know working at a job that I don't love is not the answer.

My first goal: Paying off my debt. I don't have a lot of credit card debt because I've been in that position before when you rack up the balances on your credit card and I've struggled with making those monthly payments, especially when I was in college. I applied for a few credit cards and just spent and spent not thinking about the consequences. No one ever gave me the credit speech, I knew nothing about credit scores. Once I did know, it was too late I had already made some mistakes. I eventually learned my lesson and I was able to clean up my credit and pay off those cards.

This time, since I didn't owe that much on my credit cards I turned to the snowball method to pay them off. Basically you pay off your lowest balance card first, then you take what you were paying on that card whether it was the minimum payment or other and you apply that to your next credit card. Once you have the next one paid off you take your snowball and apply it to the next one. Here's an example:


Credit Card 1 Balance $200- Monthly payment $50

(Once this is paid, take your $50 payment and apply to your next card.)


Credit Card 2 Balance $500- Monthly payment $75+$50 snowball=$125 new monthly payment

(Once this is paid, take your $125 payment and apply to the next card.)


Credit Card 3 Balance $700- Monthly Payment $100+$125 snowball=$225 new monthly payment


And so on until your debt is paid.


I was able to pay off my credit cards in 2 months with this method. Now I am throwing my snowball towards my husbands cards. After all the cards are paid and by my calculations they will be paid by November this year we will have a savings of $1200 and then we have a loan we can attack and then we are thinking of making double payments on the house so it will be paid off when we are in our 40's!

My second goal: Increasing my 401K and savings. I have a good nest egg so far (thanks to my first boss who made me start investing in my 401K when I was 22) but if I want to retire early I'm going to have to increase my contributions. I'm going to take advantage of my employers match of 75%. After our debt is paid I'm going to use some of the savings to increase my contribution to my 401K to 20%, then each year I can increase if I need to. By the time I'm 50 I would have enough to retire, and that's only 15 years away!

We've started putting some money away into savings as well, the more we save the more interest it builds! That way if we need money for something we'll have it so we won't have to take out any loans, which will save us money in the long run.

My final goal: Stay smart about spending. Now that my credit cards are paid off, I'd like to keep it that way. For most of my accounts I was able to freeze or lock them instead of cancelling them. That way I can't use them! Also changing my spending habits. Working in retail it's really hard not to buy something after every shift, but I've been really good! Also I've stopped going to Starbucks everyday to get my favorite coffee and I bring my lunch to work. Starbucks alone was $5.40/day which was $27/week which was $108/month and $1,296/year...(eek!) If I do go to get a coffee I only do it once a week, usually on a Friday.

My husband and I went through our subscriptions to various phone apps and tv channels. We also got rid of our digital cable subscription and in total we saved another $200 a month!

So yes, I've been thinking a lot about my future and our retirement, just have to start making a bucket list of things to do and places to travel!

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