Whether we like it or not, our finances provide a foundation for the other aspects of our lives. Failing to have our finances in order can put a strain on our relationships, our careers, and set us back years towards achieving financial independence. The journey towards financial independence can be long, arduous, and flat-out tough. Yet, that doesn’t mean the journey can’t be enjoyed! Particular accomplishments should be celebrated along the way as a pat on the back for a job well-done and as further motivation to keep working towards your long-term financial goals. This article will explore the financial accomplishments worth celebrating on your journey to financial independence!
1. Eliminating Debt
If you’ve ever struggled with consumer debt or faced a mountain of student loans, you likely know how insurmountable a large amount of debt can seem. It can mentally take a toll on you as well. The key is to automate as much of your paydown strategy as you can in order to ensure you’re not missing payments and on a strict timeline to paying it off. If it’s credit card debt you struggle with, address the behaviors that got you there in the first place.
Once you’ve accomplished ridding yourself of unhealthy debts, a celebration should surely be in line. If you play your cards right moving forward, your net worth should only continue to grow, which will ultimately provide you with more flexibility and freedom in your life.
2. Buying A Home
Buying your first home signifies a relative amount of stability in your life. You’ve likely decided to settle down for the long-term in the area you’ve chosen to call home. You’ve got a stable income to support your mortgage payments, and you may have found your life partner to share the enjoyment with.
However, keep in mind that buying a home isn’t an absolute necessity if you’re unsure of where your career will take you or where you want to settle down long-term. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to rent while you look for that stability. Perhaps. you even enjoy relocating often! Regardless of the reason, when the time comes to purchase your first home, it’ll likely be your largest asset, and a housewarming party is in order.
3. Reaching a Net Worth of $100,000
If you faced the common uphill battle of student loans out of college, a car loan, all while juggling the costs of everyday living, reaching a net worth of 6 figures while still young can be a great accomplishment. It signifies you’ve likely done a great job saving, investing, and paying off debt.
4. Receiving Equity Compensation
If you’re lucky enough to receive some sort of equity compensation through your company in the form of RSU’s or stock options, you probably understand how valuable they can be – especially if you’re company recently went public or has been on a strong growth trajectory. Negotiating for an increase in equity compensation as opposed to your salary can pay significant dividends.
Just ask early employees of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, or the several other technology companies that award equity to their employees as part of their compensation. Receiving your first stock option grant or vesting of RSU’s should be a milestone worth celebrating, it could potentially slingshot you towards achieving several of these other accomplishments!
5. Starting a Business
If you’ve ever had a business idea, opportunity to start a business, or already run your own business, the ability to own your own success is truly rewarding. It’s a big risk acting on a business idea, but it’s better than regretting you never tried! As Jeff Bezos once said “in most cases, our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It’s paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened”.
Celebrate your business getting up and running, you’ll go through many high’s and low’s as a business owner and it’s certainly important to celebrate the highs.
6. Making a Charitable Impact
If you’re charitably inclined and have the financial means to support charitable donations, you’re making a difference in the world! Whether you donate to charities directly or use a donor-advised fund to invest the assets for future donations, it’s definitely something worth celebrating. You’re likely in a strong financial situation and helping to improve the lives of others or the world around you.
7. Being Recognized For Your Hard Work and Paid for it Too
Everyone wants to be recognized for the hard work they do. Great managers are able to get the best out of people through motivation and recognizing their contributions and accomplishments. It’s worth celebrating when you get recognized for your success and receive a bonus or raise as part of the recognition! Know the value you add to your team or company and continue to build on it daily.
8. Investing in Yourself
Whether it’s your MBA, another advanced degree or continuing education certification in your field of work, you’ll likely only increase your earning power by receiving further education. Not to mention the connections and knowledge you’ll gain in the process.
During my progression in the field of financial planning, I knew I wanted to get my CFP early. When I did pass the final exam and received my marks I got that feeling you only get when you finally accomplish a goal that can take years to achieve. I certainly celebrated and then looked towards my next continuing education marks. That feeling is fleeting, but the feeling of accomplishing a tough goal leaves you wanting more.
Increasing your earning power and value by investing in yourself and your education can light a fire under your ability to achieve long-term financial independence. Don’t be afraid to set aside the time and funds to do so!
9. Reaching Financial Independence
There is no magic number for achieving financial independence. It varies for everyone. People have different passions and hobbies and therefore spend their money differently. Some people will need millions of dollars to achieve financial independence while others may need far less. It’s entirely dependent upon how much you plan to spend and where you derive your income from.
Yet, the day you do reach financial independence and have the freedom to do what you want with your time including whether you continue working or not will surely be one of the most exciting times in your life.
Nobody wants to work forever or be constrained to HAVING to work at their job that they may or may not enjoy. It’s a common goal we all share to have the flexibility to do the things we love with our time. Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to be a financial planner, have a job I truly love and serve a demographic I connect with. Even if I were to reach financial independence tomorrow, I’d still be happily running my business.
The Bottom Line
No matter where you are on your journey towards financial independence, if you take the time to plan and set goals for yourself, it’s not out of reach. It will take time, and most likely a lot of it. But time is also our greatest friend when it comes to saving, investing, and paying down debt. The earlier you take the time to put a plan in place the more likely you are to succeed and to enjoy these financial accomplishments along the way.
Schedule a free consultation today to start on your own financial plan!
Levi Sanchez is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, BEHAVIORAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR™ and Founder of Millennial Wealth, a fee-only financial planning firm for young professionals and tech industry employees. Levi’s been quoted in the New York Times, Business Insider, Forbes, and is a frequent contributor to Investopedia. He is an avid sports fan, personal finance and investing geek, and enjoys a great TV show or movie. His mission is to help educate his generation about better money habits and provide financial planning services to those who want to start planning for their future today!