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My Financial Bucket List: 5 Expensive Life Goals

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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My Financial Bucket List: 5 Expensive Life Goals | Faith Permeating Life

It's been a while since I blogged about finances, so when I ran across this giveaway that involved blogging about financial goals, I figured it was a good opportunity to revisit the topic.

As required: This post is an entry in the $500 Give Me Back My Five Bucks competition, sponsored by Life Insurance Finder, the life insurance experts. (...if you need life insurance in Australia.)

I'm supposed to share with you what's on my "financial bucket list." For those unfamiliar with the term "bucket list," it's essentially a list of things you want to do before you die (i.e., kick the bucket). So I assume, since it's not explained, that a financial bucket list is a list of life goals having to do with finances. Thus, most of these aren't financial goals per se (e.g., paying off debt) as much as they're life goals that our current money-saving efforts are focused toward.

1. Pay off Mike's student loans.
Thankfully, I have no student loans, as I got a full scholarship for undergrad and a teaching assistantship for grad school. Also thankfully, Mike's parents are each paying off a third of his loans, leaving us with only one (big) loan to pay. I keep upping the amount we're paying every month because I want it paid off as soon as possible (interest is evil!) but want to leave our emergency fund intact at the same time. I think I'm going to increase it again, though, so we can have it paid off in the next two years.

2. Adopt children.
Adoption is expensive! I mean, having a kid is expensive, period, but the adoption itself is thousands and thousands of dollars, and there are all sorts of variables that make the actual cost vary greatly. My goal is to have $25,000 saved on top of our six-month emergency fund before we start the adoption process for our first, but then try to save (and continue to make) as much money as possible during the process so we don't have to wait too long before adopting our next child.

3. Buy land.
Mike keep changing his mind about how much he wants to own. It'll probably end up being 15-20 acres, which will cost a good chunk of change. Ideally it would be somewhere not too far and not too close to the city, or wherever I'm working. We want to end up in Washington State eventually, so when we buy land it will be there. Then we can have our little homestead, growing food for our family and having chickens and probably some other animals.

4. Have a house custom built.
As expensive as the land will be, I don't want to take a loan out for it if we can help it, as we'll also be building on it and will almost certainly need to borrow money for that. I guess it's all relative -- we could take a loan for the land and save our money for building the house -- but either way, I want to keep socking away money so when we're ready to get our land and house, we can pay for as much of it ourselves as possible. Our goal is to design a house big enough for a large family but not any bigger than it needs to be, and as energy-efficient as possible.

5. Retire comfortably.
Currently 10% of my income is going toward our retirement fund, as I've been beaten over the head enough times about the power of compound interest to know that I need to be in the habit of putting away as much as I can as early as possible. I know I will probably work past 65 if I can, just because I like working, but once I'm done working I don't want to have to worry about money. I'm sure I probably will anyway, because that's just how I am -- but at least at the moment I can work on making sure that worrying is less justified!

Clearly these each have different timelines and stretch across the next 40ish years, and who knows how things will change, or if we'll even live that long, right? But right now, these are the things I've got my eye on when deciding how to allocate our money. And yes, I say "I," because I pretty much handle all of our finances. Mike just dreams the big dreams about where it should go :)

So: What's on your financial bucket list? Or what was on it that you've achieved?

10 comments:

  1. Those sound like wonderful goals.

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  2. Yes, great goals! I have been meaning to write something similar for ages, so maybe it'll be coming soon! And I also handle the finances, but C is pretty involved...weekly. haha.

    Re #2. I'm sure you know this, but posting for the others (and in case you don't). Another good point to mention is that the agencies often require some money up front, then at certain points during the process, and then at the end.

    Some other fee-generators: getting forms filed with whatever local government, travel costs (even if the adoption is in the same state, you might have to file in a different county), parking fees if you're going in and out of a city with bad public transportation, any work you need done on your house to pass an inspection (I had a friend who had the carpets professionally cleaned before the social worker's visit).

    I only know all of this because the owners of my company were in the process of adopting a little girl from overseas when I started. She came home about a year later :)

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  3. @Kathy S
    Thanks!

    @Rabbit
    Yeah, I think some people are confused about the expenses of adoption and think that it's like, you hand over $15,000 (or whatever) to an agency and get a baby. But you're paying for various pieces of the puzzle, like having a social worker come out to do a home study, having an agency do the "matchmaking" of birth parent(s) to adoptive parent(s), the governmental costs that come with lots of paperwork...

    We're probably going to try to find a match through our network (friends, family, coworkers, etc.), which you can do in the state of Washington once you've had a homestudy completed, in which case we'd only need to pay an adoption lawyer to handle the paperwork rather than paying an agency to do the matchmaking and the paperwork.

    An interesting note on the homestudy: Many first-time adoptive parents have the misconception that their home has to be very clean before the social worker visits, and really that's not what they're looking for at all! This article explains well that the social worker just wants to make sure it's a safe home for a child and that the parents have a healthy relationship and are prepared to raise a child.

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  4. LOL about the very clean house before the SW visits. My friend was under that impression too, but she found out that they'd rather see an "every day" looking house than "SW best." She cancelled the house cleaning service, but because they have a lot of animals, kept the carpet cleaning appointment ;-)

    Another tip I've learned re: fees--find out where you can get free notarization! The owners needed so many things notarized; thankfully one of their good friends was already a notary.

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  5. @Rabbit
    Makes sense about the carpets! We'll probably need to do that before we move out of our apartment... we didn't get charged a pet fee because our rats are in a cage, but they somehow manage to get pieces of their food and their poop pellets on the carpet all around their cage :P I asked for a Dirt Devil for Christmas so I don't have to deal with the vacuum cleaner every day!

    I have to get stuff notarized all the time because of sweepstakes wins, so I do it at our bank because it's free and they're required to have a notary on hand.

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  6. Adoption is expensive. Have you considered adopting an older child? Sometimes there are grants and aid that make older child adoptions nearly free (other than the cost of raising the child).

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  7. @Lil Miss Red T-Shirt
    Mike and I have thought extensively about our adoption plans, which ages we're open to adopting at what point, whether we'd adopt siblings, if we want to adopt domestically or internationally, whether to go through an agency or independent agent, and whether to foster-to-adopt, all of which play into the cost.

    But regardless, we're going to be adopting five kids, which is expensive any way you slice it. Even having five kids by itself is expensive, not counting the adoption costs!

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  8. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  9. Wow! Your goals are huge, and as you’ve said, they really are costly. But, as long as you do not forget to bank every amount you raised and if you learn to avoid the urges of buying, then you’ll most definitely succeed in making all of these happen. Anyway, it’s been a year, so did you start the adoption process already?

    China  Ream

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    Replies
    1. Well, we're almost done paying off Mike's student loans -- we have the loans with interest paid off, so we just have an interest-free loan from my parents to pay back, which I plan to do over the next year. So we haven't saved up as much for adoption yet as I would like, but now that I finally have a new job and can start putting money away, we should get there soon, and we'll probably start the process with less money than I was originally thinking. We have to be residents of our new state for six months before we can start the adoption process here, so we figure we'll wait until closer to the end of this school year so we can get some of the big stuff out of the way while Mike's off in the summer.

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