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Balancing the Present and Future: Handling Money For Now and Later

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p>I take much of my everyday inspiration from other popular blogs that I read everyday. Some are about finance, others about retirement, and still others are simply about life and living the life you want. One such blogger, JD from Get Rich Slowly, talked about how money fits into his life:

I believe that money is a tool that should be used to help build the life of your dreams. After you’ve repaid your debt, saved for emergencies, and funded your retirement, anything you have left over is yours to do with as you please.

This is great for JD, who is finally finding the time to pursue whatever it is that he finds interesting, in this case traveling the world and seeing what there is to see outside his home state. But for many of us, following those dreams can seem like a push-pull towards one goal or another. Do you want to travel the world or save for a house/pay your mortgage early? How much is enough of an emergency fund? What if your dream means giving up the extra income of your 9 to 5 job? In short, where do you find the balance to save for the things you have to, like retirement, a home (if you want one), and pay for insurance while still starting your own business or traveling the world?

Unfortunately there’s simply no right answer, and you won’t get the same answer from the same person you ask no matter where you go. The reason for this is that each of us act differently under the same circumstances. Some people like having that fire lit under them, having to drive toward a goal because they simply have no other choice. Dropping everything and throwing everything they have at a new business idea or designing their own lifestyle despite not having that nest egg or emergency fund actually works for some people, like it did for Naomi over at Ittybiz. The stakes are high and that provides even more incentive to succeed.

Others, (I consider myself in this camp, I should note) would not do well under these same circumstances. Not having a nest egg or an emergency fund to support them if their endeavors failed would only exist a source of worry and stress that would distract them from their goals. For them (and me) it only makes sense to really pull the trigger when it is financially viable to do so. This is similar to a situation I’m in now, where I gave up a chance at a decent-paying 9 to 5 job for a part time contract gig and my fledgling hydra to support me, but it wasn’t something I took into consideration lightly. I do have an emergency fund and severance from my previous employment to that could keep me going for at least a year even without any outside income. The question you have to ask yourself is when are you really going to be ready to make the leap and accomplish your goals? If you need that emergency fund and the mortgage paid off before you’re comfortable, do it.  If you have the drive and fire to go all out on a goal you know will work, fire away. Neither one is the right path, per se, but it’s important to know the right balance for you.

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