I'm Vivian, and I am 29. After 4 years of undergraduate studies (psych), 2 years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, 2 years of trying out extremely low-paying child psych research among other things, 1 year of graduate studies (ed), and 2 years of the most hellish nightmare teaching job at a broken inner city school... I have finally found my dream job--as a 1st grade teacher at a well-renowned school district!
Landing this job made me realize something. It made me realize I finally have a shot at reaching my financial goals WITHOUT being miserable. In fact, I can reach my financial goals while doing something I love and find important. This is actually quite exciting for me! After so many twists, turns, stumbles, and falls, I am almost in disbelief that I was lucky enough to land this position (to give you an idea of how lucky I was, over 200 people on average apply for just one elementary teaching position at a good school in this area... it's insane!)
To give this some more perspective, I made little to no money for 7 out of the total 11 years since I graduated from high school, even though I worked while in college and got paid a measly stipend while in AmeriCorps. 2 of the 11 years I made a more generous 22k for year-round work. The final 2 out of 11 years I worked at a place that made me chronically ill, anxious and depressed... but I made $40,800 for ten months of work and had a sizable chunk of my loans forgiven. Given I'm still recovering physically from that job two months into the summer, I question whether it was worth it. I'm just going to tell myself it was.
Now that I have gotten over this tremendous hurdle, I'm ready to buckle down and make some efficient, well-informed choices. I am not a financial whiz, so the advice, suggestions, etc. of others is very welcome! I will start my initial entry out by listing my completed financial goals. The point in doing this is to make sure I don't lose sight of the progress I have already made, despite how much more I have left to do!
COMPLETED FINANCIAL GOALS
- -Pay off undergraduate loans
-Find a job that pays at least $40,000 that doesn't make me want to kill myself
-Purchase a home/condo in a nice area I could see myself living in for years to come
-Buy a car that works well and that I don't have to make payments on
-Clear my driving accident history so that my insurance is lower (I'm a much better driver now!)
-Open up an auxiliary retirement account outside my employer (Roth IRA for me)
-Try out stocks (they're doing pretty well so far, but I won't get too comfortable, lol!)
-Contribute $50/mo to my HSA
FINANCIAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
- -Pay off graduate Perkins loan (67% to goal)
-Pay off graduate Avery forgivable loan (50% to goal, will cancel itself after two years of teaching)
-Save for a small wedding about a year from now (1% to goal)
-Set-up an emergency fund for 6 months to 1 year (0% to goal)
-Contribute more to my Roth IRA, maybe double (0% to goal)
-Pair rental payments with $900/mo towards mortgage to expedite pay-off (0%)
-Start saving up for continuing education each month (0%)
I do have free-floating money in regular savings, but I'm just deciding where I should allot that extra savings. There are so many options (e.g., retirement, HSA, loans, mortgage, stocks, tuition, etc.)
You may think I'm a little crazy for spending more money to take more classes after going through 5 years of post-secondary schooling and dealing with student loan debt. Well, first of all, let's not lose sight in the fact that the schooling will help me become a better reading teacher for my 1st graders (I plan to pursue a Reading Specialist Certification). On top of that, my salary increase that I will get for +30 credit hours will more than pay off the cost of those classes. I'll only be taking one 3-credit class a semester but will also get occasional salary credits through district professional development. By the end of 2016/beginning of 2017, I'll already qualify for a +15 raise, which is really exciting!
This is probably the most positive thing I've written these past 2 years. I feel like I'm healing more quickly in other ways more than others.