Design Our Time

Purpose

We are on a journey to design our time. I’m starting this blog to document our progress, share our learnings and “aha” moments, and connect with others who are on a similar path.  And to hold ourselves accountable to making progress!

Our goal is to be in a position to design our time within
the next 5 years (2022).

Our journey to design our time is grounded in achieving financial freedom. But unlike many folks who start a side hustle to earn more money, we’ve opted to double down on a main hustle: our existing jobs. We plan to make the most of our Fortune 500 careers to become Financially Free in our 40s!

Design Our Time

What does design our time mean? It means spending our hours, days, months and years engaged in activities that make us happy and enrich our souls. We will have the freedom to choose how we spend our time without consideration to earning money. We will move from a life of have to do to a life of want to do.

Instead of…

  • Planning my life around work, I’m planning my work around life.
  • Working from a cubicle, I’m working from anywhere at anytime.
  • Living for the weekends, I’m living for every day.
  • Working for “the man”, I’m working for myself.
  • Taking 2 weeks of vacation, I’m taking 2 months to travel each year.

Now, I should mention that my journey to design our time is actually a shared journey with my husband of nearly 15 years and our canine kids. (For now, we’ve decided it’s best to protect our identities, so moving forward I’ll refer to my hubby as E.)

E and I started on this journey in earnest back in 2011. Here’s why…

How it Began

It was January 2011 – I had just been passed over for a promotion and was feeling incredibly frustrated about my career. After much self-reflection I realized my desire to advance and climb the corporate ladder didn’t excite me like it had earlier in my career. But I wasn’t in a position to quit my job yet.

My corporate paycheck was just too much to walk away from. It afforded us a lifestyle that we weren’t willing to change. Plus, we were significantly underwater on our home. Yep, we bought our “dream house” in 2007 at the PEAK of the bubble.

Yet what I really wanted was the freedom to spend my time writing, creating, learning and speaking.

A Desire for Freedom

I began to design my time – defining how, where and with whom I wanted to spend my days. It was this vision of my ideal time that prompted me to shift my worldview:

Rather than work hard to advance my career to make more money so I could SPEND more money for another 25+ years and retire by 65… I would work hard to advance my career to make more money so I could INVEST more money and make my time my own before I turned 50.

I began to run numbers to see what it would take for us to get out of debt, attain financial freedom and make our time our own. Not surprising, the numbers didn’t look good. At our current rate of annual earnings, expenses and savings, we were tracking to retire early at the age of 60. Not nearly soon enough!

So in January 2011, instead of just setting typical New Year’s goals to advance my career and increase my income, I also set “financial freedom” savings and net worth goals for the first time. (If only I could have had this epiphany at 22! Save more and let compound interest do its thing! Don’t buy the bigger house!). E and I put several strategies in motion to pay down our mortgage and increase our savings.

Goals & Target Numbers

Now, a little over six years later and finally earning that promotion plus a few more, we have done a pretty good job meeting our “financial freedom” goals. So much so that technically we could quit working tomorrow, sell our home, move to South America and live modestly on our savings for the rest of our lives.

But we actually really like it in the good old U.S.A. A big part of design our time means spending it with family and friends AND in activities that cost money, like traveling, golfing, skiing, etc.

So this means a key factor to design our time is achieving a certain level of financial security. The exact level of security – our target number – is something that varies depending on the day. (The more dissatisfied I am with my job, the less financial security I need to quit.)

Keeping Our Options Open

There are a few different scenarios we’re considering (I’m all about options and can find it difficult to commit). On one extreme, we wait to quit our jobs after attaining complete financial security. We never need to earn a penny again.

However, a less extreme and faster to attain option is where we establish a strong financial cushion with zero debt and work part time earning a fraction of our current income. I’m leaning toward the latter scenario, but this is certainly subject to change.

Regardless of where we land with our final target number, there are 4 strategies we’re implementing to achieve financial security and design our time. I’ll share more about our approach and experiences – the good & bad, successes & failures – in each of these 4 areas in future posts.

Let’s be Friends!

THANKS for reading and joining us on our journey to design our time.

We’re excited to get to know you in the months ahead. Please contact us and share your thoughts, suggestions or questions.

 

Your thoughts are welcome!