Dividend investing is a means to an end, not the end itself. As much as I like investing in dividend-paying stocks it’s important to remember that I will use these investments to fuel future goals. Just like we eat to live, not live to eat – I invest to live, not live to invest.
Creating a vision and a goal is an important step in a long term investment strategy. Without it I cannot know where I hope to end up. The only thing I struggle with when setting monetary goals or creating long term plans is that I’m afraid I will limit myself. I don’t want to get too comfortable by setting easy goals but I also don’t want to miss out on quality life experiences chasing goals for the sake of goals.
My vision has become simple. I want to live debt free (including the mortgage), help pay for my kids college, have funds to travel and cash flow to fund my living expenses. I hope to be able to do all of this in my 50s and continue living financially free for the rest of my life. I also expect to work part time doing something I love for 20+ years after I “retire.” I hope I never quit working because I don’t believe that God wants me to “retire.” Instead I hope to always be contributing to society one way or another.
It will take a lot of sacrifice, hard work, discipline and balance. I’ve been trying to get a better grasp of the balance aspect lately. I don’t want to look back regretting that I didn’t spend more time with my family. After all I value time with them more than financial freedom.
It’s not enough to have a dividend income goal. I need to understand why I want to achieve that goal and what we (my wife and I) will do when we get there.
Maybe I need to work 5 extra years instead of sacrificing time with my kids while they are young. Maybe I need to work 2 extra years so that we can afford to take fun family trips and make memories. Or maybe I need to eat more noodles and rice to keep the grocery bill down so I can stop working 5 years sooner.
These are important questions that need answering. Knowing myself will make me a more disciplined investor and saver without regrets. One thing I know for sure. I don’t want to be 55 with $2.5M and regrets instead of $2M and no regrets. While that may seem like a silly statement to some because of the large dollar figure I think there are a lot of factors that could create that exact situation.
So a few thoughts I’m thinking lately:
- Invest to live. Don’t live to invest.
- Stay balanced.
- Time with family is more important than financial freedom even though financial freedom will lead to more time with family. I don’t want delayed gratification when it comes to family time. I need it now and later.