10 Years in a Life

Bronx River
10 years ago today, I turned 27 years old. I was working full time while attending law school part time. It was my fourth and final year of school and I was getting a little nervous. I would have about $90,000 of student loan debt, which included some loans from my undergrad, when all was said and done. Fortunately, I did have some money saved in retirement accounts and savings account since I had been working and saving. That amount, however, was dwarfed by the student loan debt. Life was a little stressful, but life was also very good. I was going out with a girl who would soon be my wife. I was preparing to go on a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Mexico for a month, while also preparing for the Bar Exam.

10 years before 10 years ago, I turned 17 years old. I had just gotten my learners permit and was hoping to learn to drive. Exciting times! I was in my junior year of high school and preparing to take my SATs soon. I was browsing through college catalogs wondering what school I’d end up going to. I wasn’t sure what I was going to study but the world was my oyster. I was optimistic about my future and thought that I had all the potential in the world. I also worked on the weekends and had some spending money. I dutifully saved some of that in savings accounts that my parents had opened for me. I had my eye on the future. Although my definition of future was my college years. I was looking forward to leaving high school and going to college.

And 10 years before that, I turned 7 years old. That was thirty years go and my memory is kind of foggy as to what was going on in my life. Luckily, I was frugal even back then, eschewing toys and saving my money and stickers for the future. I was 7 years old. Everything was possible. I could be President of the United States, but my dream was really to be the starting point guard of the New York Knicks. I dreamed of building a futuristic car since Knight Rider was one of my favorite shows and even made notes about what features it would have. I could have been a young Elon Musk!

Today, I have been working as an attorney for almost 10 years for the same employer. I work in the public sector so the pay isn’t the greatest but I do have really good benefits and the hours aren’t too bad. My wife and I have been married for about nine years and we have two wonderful boys ages 3 1/2 and 9 months. I have paid off over half of my student loans but there’s still a chunk left to pay. They are all ultra low interest rates so I’m not in a rush to pay them off, but I’ll try to throw some extra money at it when I can. Life is good, but pretty hectic with two little ones.

10 Years from now, I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell the future. I hope to have reached financial freedom by that point, but I don’t know if I will, being that I don’t plan on leaving this high cost of living city called New York City. If I am still working, I’ll probably be with the same employer. The benefits and pension are golden handcuffs! My kids will be entering the teen/pre-teen years…that might be a rough phase! I don’t foresee being in the co-op that we bought as we will probably have outgrown it. What neighborhood will we move to? Will we opt to rent versus buy? I don’t know.

A decade. 10 years. 120 months. 3650 days. You can do a lot in that time span. It is a long enough time to accomplish pretty much any of your goals if you put your mind to it. If you are in debt, it is plenty of time to get out of the red and into the black. It is enough time to reach financial independence, according to the Groovies. Ten years is a long time, but 10 years goes by in a blink of an eye. Time flies. If you want to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be, you need to start now to work towards it. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What are you doing today to get there?

30 thoughts on “10 Years in a Life

    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Ahh you have an April birthday too…happy early birthday! As I approach 40, I’ve been thinking about how to make my second half of life more purposeful too.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Exactly, it seems to go slowly but when you look back, it really goes by in a flash! I think I have the same goals, though we might stay in NYC since that’s where family and friends are. And I need to figure out what my passion is!

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Brian! Wow, all the commenters so far are the same age =) Where do you guys plan on going to after you retire?

      Reply
  1. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance

    I work in the nonprofit sector. Although the pay isn’t great, I love what I do and the perks it provides. I’m glad to hear that you’re well on your way to paying off your student loan. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Having a job you love and having perks is very important. Yea, some of my student loans are 1.65% so I’m not in a rush to pay them off. I have some in the 2% to 3% range…I might put a little extra to the ones in the 3% range if I have extra cash.

      Reply
  2. DC @ Young Adult Money

    This is one of your best posts. Really made me reflect on my life and what I’m working towards. I have some pretty ridiculous goals for the next ten years…well just one, really, but this post made me think “hey, that’s actually possible to accomplish if I really go after it every day.” I’ll have to do this sort of reflection for my birthday in July. It was really cool to read!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…The Ultimate Guide to Landing a Work From Home JobMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Wow, thanks DC! I remember reading about your goals…I have no doubt you can achieve them!

      Reply
  3. Mustard Seed Money

    Awesome look back in time. Isn’t it interesting to see where we end up after a decade. While I don’t feel like I am all that different from 10 years ago my life has dramatically changed with being married, having 1.5 kids and moving my way up the corporate ladder. Amazing how life turns out from time to time.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…The Cost of Having a Second ChildMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Are you sure? I feel like getting married and have kids has to change you!

      Reply
  4. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Happy birthday, Andrew!! Loving this post. I never look at life as to what I’ve accomplished over a certain period of time. I will tell you that the time with kids goes SO fast. Our oldest is 17 and I’m just in shock at the fact that yesterday I was potty-training her and today she is heading on adulthood. It’s a wonderful thing, but it’s weird knowing she will be a legal adult soon.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Laurie! I’m not necessarily looking back at accomplishment but more so as to how much has changed over the 10 year period. Time really does fly. Even though my kids are still very young, I feel it already!

      Reply
  5. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    Oh, I LOVE this post, Andrew! Happy Birthday!!! What’s the saying? We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in 10. Isn’t it amazing how things change in a decade!? I love the idea of looking 10 years into the future too – at where you want to be. This is so important – because each decision we make today impacts what life will be like 10 years from now. GREAT post!
    Amanda @ centsiblyrich recently posted…The #1 Reason we have successfully lived on one income for 16 yearsMy Profile

    Reply
  6. Done by Forty

    One of my favorite posts from you, Andrew. I love learning a bit more about the people writing the blogs I read. We had some similar paths, as I also worked in the public sector for about 8 years when just starting my career. I’ve since sold out and joined the corporate world, but those years in public service were very special ones for me.

    And the Knicks could have used you at the point for some of their recent seasons…
    Done by Forty recently posted…Boredom, Cognitive Ability, and the Mental Retirement EffectMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks DB40. Yea, I like learning more about people but sometimes hold back things about myself. Being a Knicks fan has been pretty sad lately. I think in recent memory, Linsanity, was the only bright light which lasted all of 2 weeks.

      Reply
  7. Dave @ Run The Money

    I can’t believe how fast time goes. It’s incredible to think about. 10 years ago, 20 years ago … it feels like a completely different life. I get nostalgic for those days gone by some times. How can you not?

    With my wife, 18-month-old son, and full-time job (which I don’t particularly love), life is very busy and hectic. So, 10 years from today, I hope to have simplified things to where I am working for myself. That way, I can spend more time with the family.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      We’re in the same boat…life is hectic when there is a little one involved. I’d love the freedom of working for myself though I’m not sure what I would do. Blog?

      Reply
  8. Adriana @MoneyJourney

    10 years into the future seem so far, far away, yet 10 years ago feel like yesterday!

    I don’t know what will happen in 10 years. We plan on becoming financially stable and hopefully, be home owners by then.

    However, you never know where life takes you.
    10 years ago, I never would have though I’d leave my home country, even on vacation! Yet, here I am, celebrating 9 years of living abroad! Life is funny like that :)

    PS: Happy belated birthday! When I was 27, I’ve had the time of my life! I hope you’ll enjoy your late 20s to the max as well :)
    Adriana @MoneyJourney recently posted…5 ways to invest in real estate (even with no money)My Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      So true, 10 years is a long time but feels like a short amount of time. And you really never know where life takes you. Pretty cool that you’re living abroad…will have to read your story.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yea, $100k debt is no joke. Hopefully, he has a decent paying job.

      Reply
  9. Pingback: The Urge To Swing For The Fences | Living Rich Cheaply

  10. Owen @ PlanEasy

    Ten years from now you’ll have to come back to this post with a recap :)

    It’s amazing how things can change. Even over just a couple of years or months. That’s why having goals are important. Something to work towards and keep you focused. Hopefully in ten years your recap post will be about reaching your goal to be FI.
    Owen @ PlanEasy recently posted…Canada Child Benefit: The Hidden Tax RateMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Haha, good idea! If I’m still blogging in 10 years I will definitely have to do that. Hopefully, I will be writing about FI in 10 years!

      Reply

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