We have started to look at the possibility of being able to retire down the road (those thoughts start to cross your mind at 50, hopefully others let it cross their minds earlier than that). As we look at our finances we can see our many mistakes over the years, but we can also see what we can do currently to get on track for the future.
I love the goal list by Dave Ramsey and I have been working on this, here is his list in order of what he feels they should be accomplished:
1-$1000 savings for emergencies
2-debt snowball (except house)
3-3-6 months emergency fund
6-pay off home
7-build wealth to give away
I'm not sure where I got this quote, I found it among some notes and I really like the idea so I thought I would include it:
But paying down your debt should not be your only goal. I want you to avoid accumulating a large debt load like this in the future. How? It's easy. Save some money you don't have. Here's how that works: Every raise, promotion, tax refund or windfall must be split 50/50 between you and your savings account. This is money you don't yet have, so you won't miss it. I want you to fund an emergency savings account while you are paying down your debt with a goal of stashing at least six months' worth of living expenses. I know that sounds like a lot, but once you get going, it will take on a life of its own. Pay yourself first. That may mean you will have to skip a few meals out or make other small sacrifices during the month to get going. But the sooner you do, the better you'll feel.
I also added an app called "Debt Snowball" to my iPad that lets me put in my debts and then see how quickly they can be paid off by increasing payments each month and I find that really exciting to see.
I've also started keeping better track of retirement accounts and even Social Security accounts. I think just paying attention to these things on a consistent basis will really help us move forward!