Friday, October 3, 2008

Start Where You Are

It is really easy to feel depressed when reading retirement planning books and sites. Of course I would not have to worry if I had started saving before I was born. That isn't the point, is it?

I tend to be a linear thinker with respect to money. I like to tackle one goal at a time. I didn't graduate until I was 26. I put myself through university (entirely) and graduate school (living expenses only, the rest was student loans). When I graduated and had my first meeting with a bank representative about "consolidating" my student loans, I nearly fell off the chair when she told me how much I would be paying each month for the next 10 years.

I did some quick math and realized that I could not afford it and living expenses and practice start up costs, insurances etc. So, I decided to play upon my strengths and applied to do a master's degree in education. This would mean the interest on my loans would be paid by the government and any monies I paid would be directly towards principle.

As challenging as it was juggling a new practice, studies and another part time job for a couple of years, it paid off. I paid off my student loan and immediately set my sights on the next goal.

I didn't worry that I hadn't saved anything for 2 years. In reality, I saved a ton of interest. Though it doesn't show up in a savings account, it showed itself as piece of mind. And early triumph with debt repayment paved the road to where I am today. I no longer worry that I was "late" getting started. I have the power and discipline to apply to any goal I decide is worthwhile. I now tackle major financial goals, one at a time.

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