What exactly is ambition intermission? It’s a term I made up; I’ve been running in circles finding a way to express what’s on my mind and haven’t been able to describe it without a wordy explanation.
There are blogs dedicated to figuring out what your goals are, how to achieve them. Self help books on motivation, passion and skills to help you get to where you want to go. Happiness, ambition and passion are all interrelated into making your dreams and goals come true. I’ve found accomplishing a goal is a moving target. Not in the sense that you’re never satisfied once you accomplish what you set out to do. We naturally set goals based on what we perceive is possible. As we grow along the way, through new perspectives and skills learned, our ambition or goals grow with that new understanding.
Sometimes though, along this journey, you can still have the same ambition and passion, but you end up in what I’m calling ambition intermission. You still have the same broad plan but not sure what the next step is.
Money as a topic can be related to anything. I’ve drawn comparison’s to back country camping and video games. This is because money is a means to an end. It is irrelevant and at the same time interwoven into every aspect of our lives. It’s one facet of helping us achieve our goals and dreams. There are so many other facets involved in making our goals and dreams a reality.
How do you track your money? Detailed budget? Pay yourself first? Wing it? There are as many ways to budget as the stars you can see in the sky. And I don’t mean on a cloudy or light filled city night. There are some common threads among them all: know what’s important to you, spend your money according to your values and what brings you happiness, spend less than what you make and make the rest of your money grow. It really boils down to figuring out what works for you and run with that. It’s really that simple. I started with making a budget with amount to spend in each category, and meticulously tracking my spending. That was super important when paying back debt. I could never have been that aggressive otherwise. After that, I switched to pay yourself first method.
Death and my mom are never far from my mind around this time of year. Five years ago, we removed my mom from life support after she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. To say that it was a hard decision and it sucked was an understatement. I sat by her side until she passed. This is also what kicked off my biggest financial lesson.
This article isn’t about how she died though, it’s about everything else that happened after. You see, after a bedside vigil for 14hrs, I was exhausted and even felt a bit of relief that it was finally over. But as it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s A LOT that needs to be done. And what you do now will help determine how much harder, or easier, it will be for your family.
When I started learning about personal finance, I felt accomplished opening my no fee chequing account and first credit card. I was a student then. I graduated, got my first apartment, then bought a house. We’re familiar with all those things growing up, if only indirectly. It’s exciting opening a bank account — to deposit your first pay check. You want to build up your credit score — credit card is an excellent starting point (let’s assume happy path and you don’t carry a balance). Purchasing your first house is the next logical step in society — we’re familiar with mortgages. Sure there’s a lot more to it. But those first steps aren’t scary. We’ve understood the concept, if at a high level since childhood and they’re attached to exciting things in our lives.
Memories of my first foray into finances, beyond the few exciting events, is generally associated with stress and anxiety. Stressed about filing taxes incorrectly. Anxiety I’ll owe more than anticipated. What about you? Most of us have had no exposure. Most adults in our lives don’t understand it, or don’t talk about it and it’s not taught in schools. So it feels like you’re walking through a fog. You can’t see where you’re going. If you’re about to trip on something. Sound travels differently and can be distorted…
Where did you learn about money? In North America, we’re generally not great at talking about finances. Next to sex ed, it’s probably one of the bigger taboo subjects –though I’m willing to bet one would seem much more interesting than the other as a teenager!
It’s considered inappropriate to discuss among friends, much less strangers. So if it’s not taught in schools or at home, how can you be expected to have confidence in managing your money? And if the lack of knowledge makes it complicated enough to sort things out solo, how do you manage things if you’re partnered? Each camp, solo or partnered, believe the other group have it easier.
“At least they have two incomes and share expenses. They have double the money to work with”.
“Budgeting is so hard. We have different opinions on where it should be spent. I’m a saver, they’re a spender. It would be easier if I had to answer to no one.”
Up here in the snowy north, we hunker down around December and mostly don’t stray too far until March or April until the snowy weather clears up a bit. So come late winter, I get cabin fever and am eager to stretch my travel legs at the first opportunity. What about you?
This year was unusual in that we planned a week in a sunny destination for the first time ever. We went to Barbados for some much needed sun and relaxation. Even so, the very next weekend happened to be easter. My Whymances home town friends have a tradition of holding a Good Friday BBQ that he hasn’t missed since it started a few decades ago. Between not wanting to miss that and the fact we hadn’t seen family and friends since the wedding in September or xmas, we booked a car last minutes… At the cost of $400! One of my goals was to reduce road trip expenses this year, so I felt we weren’t off to a good start!