What is the course? Where do I want to be compared to where I am now? Where am I now? Where do I want to be at retirement? What do I want my life to look like?
Setting forth on the path is small steps. Movement forward and backwards and serpentine and straight. Choosing a direction and going with it.
I think it is most difficult for me to imagine life as I would like it to be. What do I want in five years, seven years, twenty years...The idea of living in the present but preparing for the future. Seeking the balance to enjoy both.
House: There is a desire to build a self sustaining garage apartment behind the house. Rent the house or the apartment. Is it worth the $40,000+/- investment in the property? Take out the existing garage and storage shed. Build out a garden and outdoor space. Fence between the neighbors. The house is in decent shape. It will need a new roof, new siding, and new AC unit in the next decade.
Vehicle: The Tacoma has 260,000 miles on it and it is running well. How many more years? I put away $500 a month for a new car into a mutual fund. The subaru crosstrek or outback is top of the list or a new small truck. Being able to haul a trailer seems important. Think a fifth wheel Scamp would be my choice on a nice pull behind for camping.
Trips and vacations: I would really like to be able to go somewhere for three months at a time. Immerse into a place. The thought of living somewhere else is tempting but I do not want to be tied to a place I think. I put $200 a month into a travel fund. I also deposit any oil royalty checks into the travel account. Annual trip to South Dakota with $200 going into an account for that purpose.
The studio: It is working. It is a lot of work. In seven years is it still going to be something I want to do on a daily basis. Can I find someone to be there full time? What is the cost/benefit ratio? It is not a money making proposition, in that we spend nearly everything we make. I save to purchase large items. I would have to find a way to make enough money each year to cover my expenses and the salary of someone else. The studio does cover a few personal monthly expenses; gas and electricity for the house and gas/repairs for the truck.
Accounts: There are studio and personal accounts.
Investing: Besides retirement accounts there is a mutual fund for saving for a new vehicle.
Retirement: With a fairly shallow investment pool I should be okay for a bit. Between teacher retirement (2027) and Social Security (2032?) and Safe Withdrawal things should be okay if everything goes well.
Income: Paycheck from school ($46931.92), three oil royalty checks (into Travel Account), studio pay goes into SIMPLE IRA account ($824/month).
Expenses: Personal expenses and studio expenses. I spend a lot on dining as I eat out nearly every meal. There was a small remodel on the house with painting, new floors and plumbing work.