With Instagram and other social media, we share the picture perfect moments, but never the process it took us to get there. So here’s a bit of what I don’t share on Instagram, my everyday struggle to get financially free and travel more. By sharing my goals I hope to give everyone a sense of where I hope to go and the courage to share your own goals.
I’ve made so much progress towards my financial goal since moving abroad, although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I still look at the big number and get so overwhelmed I could cry. But then I look at how far I’ve come and am proud and renewed to keep going. While I’m not lounging on a beach somewhere with passive income rolling in while I read for pleasure YET, I have paid off one and a half of my mortgages, eliminated all credit card debt and I’ve started chipping away at my student loan debt. So what’s left?
- By January 1, 2017 I want to completely pay off the mortgage on my second condo. Currently I have about $47,000 remaining. This is an ambitious goal, but not impossible.
- As soon as I pay all of that I want to turn my attention to my student loans. By January 2018 I want to pay off all of my student loan debt. I have about $64,000 left to pay.
These goals may seem gigantic, but I’ve come a long way. I started with close to $275,000 in debt and didn’t even scratch the surface until I started working and living abroad 6 years ago. And while I’ve cut out a lot of spending, I still indulge quite a bit by allowing myself to travel often.
- I want to spend a significant amount of time traveling abroad, particularly in Latin America.
This probably seems strange since I’m an expat, but living abroad and traveling freely abroad for an extended period of time are two different things. I’ve worked non-stop since the age of 14. During college I studied abroad, but even that was work in a way. So I’d like to have a period of time where I’m free to pick up and go where I like, doing whatever I like. I say Latin America because that is the part of the world I love the most (so far). I’d like to be free to study Spanish the way it should be learned, in just interacting with people everyday (and maybe getting hooked to a telenovela). I’d also like to volunteer during this time and give back to those truly in need. It’s so important for my personal growth to be able to connect with my culture and get to a level of Spanish where I’m completely comfortable, and I believe that will come with extended time in a Spanish speaking country. As a Latina, I think we can be judgmental towards each other, with the level of Spanish proficiency or where you were born often being the main criteria for judgment. It’s been an area of insecurity for me, an insecurity that I’d like to leave behind once and for all and just be comfortable and content with where I am. To be clear, I do speak a lot of Spanish, but I think anyone who knows me would say I’m hard to please, even to please myself.
- I want to organize and lead trips for those traveling abroad for the very first time.
I’ve gotten so much enjoyment from introducing parts of the world to my family. There is nothing like witnessing others fall in love with travel and see something new. I’d like to not only inspire people to do it, but to be an integral part of the process. I’d like to be the person to guide them through the experience, making it a little less frightening.
Now here is my question for you. What are your goals? How can I help you to move towards them? I hope you are led to share. Only through speaking our goals aloud can we begin to move towards them and have people support us through the journey. Please comment below or feel free to e-mail me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Update February 19, 2017:
While I wasn’t sure how I was going to meet my financial goal when I wrote this post a year ago, I’m happy to say that as of the first week of February 2017, I’ve not only met but exceeded my goal. I’ve paid off every cent of debt I had. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would (I had to sell one of my condos which was badly vandalized), but I’m thrilled that for the first time in my adult life, I’m completely debt free.
I’m still working on the personal goal I set of perfecting my Spanish and spending more time in Latin America, but am more determined than ever. I lost my grandmother this month, which has been incredibly difficult, but I think wherever she is she is proud. My brother and I will be traveling through Latin America together this summer and I’m looking forward to showing him where in Puerto Rico my grandmother was from. I’m also in the beginning stages of purchasing a home in Puerto Rico for my family and myself, where we can stay close to our roots together.