Re: Live below your means
9 years ago, i made about 70 grand. then i joined the army and made 18 grand. last year i brought in about 60, but then i got a 40 grand bonus at the beginning of this year for re-enlisting with a critically needed skill in a critically needed job. five years into a ten year plan to set myself and my family up for our future. we bought a business, while i am still in the army. my wife runs the business and we live mostly off of my income. for the next several years, most of the business income will be reinvested back into the business so that by the time i get out, its already built up and well established.
we also live below our means, but we set aside money specifically for making memories. trips, vacations, etc. i dont much remember what kind of stuff i had ten years ago, but i DO remember what i experienced. when i think back on road trips, i dont remember the kinds of snacks, drinks, and food i ate. i DO remember the conversations i had, the things i saw, and the people i experienced it with.
this year, we may break 200 grand between the two of us. living within our means wasnt really what got us here, it was our plan. living frugally without much of a plan for growth is fine for a lot of people, but it just isn't enough for me.
i have things i want to do later on in life, while i am still young enough to enjoy it. and i dont want to make the same mistake my parents made. my father knows what its like to try and raise a family of five on 6000 dollars a year. i remember what that looked like... several years ago, he started his own business. last year he made over 150 grand. but my parents didnt save a dime, and when tough times came earlier this year, he went bankrupt. he didnt plan. so now my parents live with my wife and i, for free, and we are paying them to help out with our business. unfortunately, they are still spending every dime they make. im probably going to start holding back some of his pay and put it into an account that he cant touch just so that he can actually build up enough money to get back onto his feet. we are also putting money aside so that we can expand the business when i get out of the army. my parents have never been one to think long term, but they are going to learn. they dont have much of a choice... they dont have anywhere else to go and nobody else in our family can afford to do what we are doing for them.
live below your means, of course. but have a plan. have a goal.
"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson