“So, where do you see yourself in five years?” asked the shift supervisor at the Starbucks by the grocery store where I was hoping to work as a barista in college. I was 20, and the question seemed straight out of Office Space.
Well, hopefully in a job where I’m ordering coffee, not making it, I thought, in the high and mighty frame of mind only those who haven’t lived much can enjoy. I stumbled through something less offensive, if not eloquent, about having my degree and working in my field or something equally banal.
Her question was valid, to a point. It seemed inappropriate in a coffee shop, sure. Especially to a college student who had no knowledge of what failure felt like. Interestingly, that was the last time anyone asked.
Visualization is an important part of this thing called living, and if you don’t plan, at least in broad terms, you might find that you do not like where you’ve ended up.
My last birthday was the big 3-0, and it was a time for reflection and planning. Also it got me old enough to start using the word “whippersnapper” and the phrase “kids these days” which has so far proved to be very useful.
Throughout my twenties, I lived without a plan. I had a fun decade, where I tried out all kinds of jobs, a few different relationships, and lived on both coasts. But, turning 30 made me realize that I needed to get serious about my finances, and basically get my ducks in a row.
My Five-Year Plan
- Get married, only once. Throw a fun party.
- Become a fantastic parent without losing my identity.
- Read all the winners of the Pulizter Prize for fiction/novels.
- Get (and stay!) completely out of debt.
- Save 50% of my after-tax income.
- Earn $1500/month on the side.
- Write a Novel.
- Make the product I work on profitable. We’re close, but not quite there yet, and in the next five years, I would like us to get to the point where we fire all of our other clients and work solely on the product I love.
- Do ten pull ups. This will not take me five years, but I want to always be able to do ten. In a row.
- Learn about investing, and also, start investing. I’m happy to be in the personal finance community because I’m already learning so much, but I’m not ready to invest until the last of my loans are gone.
So, as you can tell, I’ve got my work cut out for me. But I know where I’m going! These goals will help shape the way I live. In five years, my life will be very different than it is today. And that’s good — that’s all a part of growing up.
*In case you’re wondering, I got the job. But when I left for an easier/cushier office job, I was told by my manager that I was leaving on bad terms and would have a hard time finding work at a Starbucks in the future.
Readers, do you have a five-year plan? Has anyone ever asked you where you see yourself in five years?