I have a problem about being in the present. Even now while typing this, I have five other tabs open and my mind is jumping to the letter I have to draft within the day, while thinking about what else I have to accomplish for the day.
When I’m with my son, I browse Instagram and Facebook on my phone while he’s watching TV. I tell myself that it’s ok because when he turns to me, I put my phone down and turn my attention to him. Obviously it’s not, and even he knows it, as he swats away my phone or grabs it and runs off with it, probably seeing it as the enemy to my attention.
It’s the same with our finances. I get so overwhelmed about what I need to accomplish and the fact that I’m doing it all alone, that I try to shove it to one side and do bits and pieces blindly, without a general plan to guide me. Case in point was how long it took me to calculate my net worth and create a zero sum budget.
If I were to rank our financial to-dos, it would be as follows:
- Build up emergency funds to 5 months worth of expenses -I have socked away almost a month’s worth of expenses and intend to direct the money towards investments and extra mortgage payments when I’ve reached at least 2.5 months worth of expenses.
- Resume FAMI-SALEF investment -I’m treating this as my son’s educational fund and the only way I can resume my monthly investment is if I can free up or produce more cash since we’re on a zero sum budget and with debt payments, everything is already tied up.
- Pay extra on our mortgage to bring down the balance -it kills me that out of the Php5,800 and Php5,600 I pay monthly on our two mortgages, less than Php1,000 for each payment made go to the balance! Again, we don’t have spare cash for extra payments at this time since the priority is our emergency funds. That’s why the bulk of the bonuses I’ll be receiving this year will be funneled towards our emergency funds. Christmas will be very lean this year.
- Resume stock investing– I also stopped buying stocks when we bought the second unit, since I had to prioritize debt payment to my family. Actually I’m in no rush to buy stocks any time soon since the market is doing so well and there are little discounts to be had. But I would like to park a little cash (maybe Php10,000 to Php20,000) in my account for when the market goes down again so I’ll have some spending money. I’m making this my Christmas gift for myself.
I’m also thinking of how we’ll maneuver our way to our future house and how I can set up a retirement fund. I have already denominated my stocks and Sun Life balanced funds to form part of our retirement fund, but they’re sadly not enough and I need to get more aggressive with my investing to make the most of time.
Also, time is ticking with my current employment and although I have pretty much decided to stay put until my boss retires, I get this nagging feeling that I’m missing out on a lot by choosing to stay where I am until the middle of next year.
But then I read this and this and they put everything in perspective. I am a whiny worrywart.
My problems are more self-made than anything, and it’s pathetic how I’ve allowed them to take root in my mind when there are REAL problems out there. If others can handle their load with such grace and faith, why am I fretting over my own pseudo struggles?
Because it’s mine, that’s why. So said my small brain.
Be still. Stay in the present while laying the groundwork for the future. That’s all I can really do. And I have to be fine with that.