Planning Our Life Together and Reaching Our Financial Goals

My wife and I have been having a lot of life planning discussions recently. Now that we are married it is time for us to start putting together "our" big picture.

Of course we have talked many times about this previously, but since we are coming to a crossroads with my wife's career, my career, starting a family, and settling down we are really being weighed down by where we want to be in 5 years. Here are some of the things we are both thinking about:

  • My wife left her teaching job to join me on the international assignment. Will my wife return to working full time when we return to the US? Is it time for a career change or to start looking for something that would be more conducive to raising kids?
  • Where are we going to settle down? Right now we have my wife's townhouse that she brought into the marriage, but its too small for us to stay there more than 12 months. It doesn't meet what we are looking for to settle down in.
  • When are we going to try to start a family? With all the things we are doing it never seems like a good time - 6 months from now? Next year? Or is the right time in two years when we are settled back into the US, my wife's career has been resumed, and a home established?
  • What level of importance do we give my career? The bulk of the acceleration of our net worth growth has been due to my career growth. Am I happy trying to continue to climb the corporate ladder? Do I still have the motivation and energy to continuing investing in it? Am I ok leveling off and focusing on other things besides my job?

There are a lot of questions between us and at times we are both feeling overwhelmed with the ramifications of making some of the upcoming decisions.

How Does This Affect Our Finances? All of these issues have a direct affect on our finances. At times the financial ramifications are all I can think about - perhaps because they are the easiest yardstick for me to use.

However as my wife has astutely pointed out to me every time the discussion turns to finances that we shouldn't always use that as the basis for our decisions. If we did I would be working in the most stressful and miserable job out there because it pays the most. We would also be living in the smallest, least convenient home we could find because its the cheapest. Its all about finding a balance with something that works for us.

In the end we might need to revisit our financial freedom goals or our timetable for getting to those goals if some of these changes result in a drastic change of income or expenses. Stay tuned.


Related in Temporary Assignment:

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Packing Tips for Extended Family Travel (Oct 14, 2013) My young family is on the move - we are currently living in China on a 6 month work assignment. With the exorbitant cost to ship additional stuff to China we were incented to only bring what we could fit...

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Comments (9)


I too can relate to the question you raise about willingness to climb the corporate ladder. I am frequently tempted, even internally pressured to climb harder and faster at work - but for what purpose? To get rich and retire young? To do more of what I want and less of what I have to? Maybe. But other times, I climb simply because I feel compelled to climb.

I've heard this quote several times recently. I haven't bothered to look up who coined the phrase, but whoever it was had great insight:

"If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life." How true is that? So true. When I am "into" work at work - the days melt away. When I'm not, each hour passes slower than the previous.

Instead of focusing so much on moving up, we should probably all think about whether or not we're on the right ladder.

With regard to having children, financially, the longer you wait the better. But there's never a "perfect" time or even a "right" time to have kids, just as there is no perfect or right time to have a second kid. There are so many other things to consider. After we got married, we decided to have kids three years earlier than I had originally thought we would. But then I had two miscarriages so we ended up only one year behind my original "plan." You can't predict things like that. And if waiting results in fertility problems, all of those savings can disappear with a couple of IVF treatments.

All of this is a long way of saying, don't let finances dictate when you have kids. If you are reasonably financially secure (and you clearly are), your decision should be based on other things like whether you *want* a child right now, your wife's ideal career track, whether you'll have more flexibility in your schedule if you wait a year or two, etc.

Deciding to have kids is not an easy decision. Nor is planning out your life together, for that matter, and I think it's commendable that you're talking and working to create a life that you will both be happy with. Communication is so important in marriage - sometimes I think the process of getting there is much more valuable to the marriage than arriving at the destination itself!

This is a neat blog, makes me want to do the same. I am 23 and am kind of in the same boat. I am married, have a son (3 months old) and am working with a 401K plan, a few thousand in stocks and the rest of my money in a house and the bank. I look forward to reading more.

Now that you guys are married, have you consider doing some the exercises in David Bach's Smart Couples Finish Rich? My wife and did it and found it quite helpful.

What are you waiting for? Discuss those mutual goals, consolidate those accounts and get saving!

Always think the best for our family and for you as well,I agree on what the saying says "If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life." anyway your wife is willing to go with you I know you can survive and you can do it. just think positive.

How about a divorce? It's saves on child support if you were to divorce after you had some children that might not even be yours.

Seems like you have a lot ahead of you. Good luck and enjoy life.

With regards to children I would not recommend waiting for the "perfect time"

As long as you and your wife are on the same page about children, waiting to have children is kind of like waiting until you are rich to begin investing.

Waiting until you have a larger house, more money, more time off, etc.. will not make the little things that having a child brings any easier.

You still lose sleep waking up to change them and feed them. They will still burp on you, get fussy etc... There is no amount of waiting that will prevent these day to day challenges.

These are the things I hear other parents complaining about, not "our nursery isn't big enough for all of Jr's toys"

The big issue I have come across with other parents is child care. As long as you have a plan for who/what/when/where is going to watch and care for your child, I would just go for it.

My wife and I are still in a studio with our 6 month old and other than some sleepless nights it has been fairly easy.

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