One of the nice things about maintaining a blog is that it creates sort of an online journal to track the major milestones in your life. I imagine in the coming months and years that I will share many goals with readers, and you will share a few with me. Hopefully, we’ll celebrate together the accomplishment of a few of those goals and reflect on how far we’ve come. So here is a post from my future self, twenty years down the road. Technologies will likely change many times along the way, so this might be a good one to print off and slip in a keepsake folder.
Dear Frugal Dad:
The year is 2028 and here you are, 50 years-old, a little wiser, a little wealthier, but certainly not any better looking. You’ve made some progress along the way, and hit a few bumps in the road on your journey (thank goodness for that emergency fund, huh?). Back in 2008 you identified a few areas of your life you would like to change, so let’s see how you did.
I’m So Glad You Became Debt Free
Next to marrying your soul mate and having kids, this might be the best thing you ever did! You’ve been living credit card and student loan debt free since about 2009, and you finally paid that mortgage off early in 2018 (it took a little longer than you planned). So for the last nine years you have been living a totally debt free lifestyle. Fun, isn’t it? Just the other day you sat down to pay bills. Let’s see, there was the cable bill, the wind-farm cooperative bill (I think you guys used to call this the “power” bill), cell phone payment, and insurance. Am I forgetting one? No, that’s it. Budget in a little for food and fun and you are living well under 50% of your $220,000 earnings (don’t get too excited, remember those years of inflation after 2009 – whew, rough times).
If You Bought that House, I’d Still Be Broke
Remember back in 2013 when you were thinking about upgrading the family to the all-brick two story around the corner with the pool, finished basement and huge corner lot? I know it was a sweet deal, but good thing you didn’t follow through. The next year you lost your job when robots took over the software industry (who knew?), but between the emergency fund and that little blog you started up a few years earlier you were fine until you landed on your feet a few months later.
Thank You for Leaving the Stressful Job
It wasn’t easy changing gears after the software industry debacle, and you really jumped from the frying pan into the fire joining that square foot gardening kit startup company that promised to solve world hunger for only $149.95 a box. I know they offered a sweet deal, but you didn’t really think that would take off, did you? Thankfully, you recognized the worldwide sales calls and time spent away from the wife and kids wasn’t worth a six-figure salary. After your resignation you made a smart move writing about the whole process and inking your second book deal. After that interview on the Larry King show (yes, the man is still alive, and still hosts a show!) things really took off.
Good Thing You Started Working Out Again
I know you put this down as a stretch goal, but we ought to mention it here. You said you wanted to lose 50 pounds and get in better shape. Well, you finally did it, but not until you gave up Coca Cola and those late-night scavenger hunts for Little Debbie snack cakes. In fact, you lost closer to 60 pounds, and now you are in the best shape of your life. You don’t have a problem keeping up with your grandkid’s soccer team.
This summer you and the family will retreat to that cabin you bought in the Smoky Mountains. If it weren’t for the kids and grandkids you would probably just move there. After all, now that you are financially independent it doesn’t really matter where you live. What a far cry this lifestyle is from the one back in 2008!
Not much else to report from 2028. Oh, there is one more thing. Your team finally won the national championship playoffs five years after they got rid of the BCS. I know you aren’t a gambling man, so I feel comfortable telling you this news without fear of you blowing your life savings on such a safe bet (hint, hint). See you in twenty years.