|Sahalie Falls at headwaters of McKenzie River|
Hello again and seasons greetings from Darcy at Sustainable Family Finances!
I hope you've had a joyous and restful holiday season. I've certainly enjoyed the time to play with my family and celebrate all the season's traditions together (I started to write this on the 26th and now both my Twin Sis and I have been down with the flu for three days now...starting to feel a little less miserable).
It seems like ages since I've written for SFF, and it has actually been a few months. I needed a break to reflect on our next financial goals, and I have honestly been at a tough place in relation to writing about some big financial changes. I don't want to appear like I'm bragging, but also don't think I should be ashamed either. But I've come to a point where I'm ready to take our goals to the next level and continue writing about our journey.
I recently received an inheritance from my father Wally, who passed away this last May. Most of the money was actually from my grandparents, and my grandmother's estate hadn't yet even settled when he passed away. Naturally, receiving money in such a way is bittersweet and it's taken me a while to come to terms with it. I feel like I have a new personal decision-making metric to evaluate whether they would have been happy with my choices. Thankfully, I had a loving relationship with all of them, and it makes me feel like my decisions are making them proud.
Moments ago I pushed the "confirm" button to make the final payment for my student loans, all $43k worth. I was elated, despite the fact that it ate up almost half my inheritance. I will be thrilled to no longer have $300 siphoned from my account monthly (I'd been paying for 11 years already...which means that I've paid $40k already...most of it interest!) I feel like I have a huge burden lifted and we'll finally be able to start saving for our kids' college tuition.
Our next big family financial decision was to finally buy a minivan. Our thoughts of going carless have vanished, but we are still considering renting our car through Get Around, the new private car lending program that just launched in Portland. We ended up buying a 2012 Toyota Sienna. We still owed $6k, and managed to get $15k for trading in our Subaru Forrester (2008 with just under 30k miles). But instead of going into debt again, we were able to pay the remainder in full. This was a huge financial relief, and we are thrilled to no longer have a $400 monthly car payment.
We are also now 1/4 owners of a post office, which will generate a monthly rental income. My aunt, sister and I have developed an LLC to run the business, and named it after the waterfalls where our family's ashes are scattered, Sahalie and Koosah Adventures. The "adventures" part is because we want to make sure that any venture we take together should be fun too.
Obviously, these changes have changed our financial outlook significantly. Like my aunt said, we are now officially "ahead of the game, which is a place most people never reach." It feels very good indeed.
I'm also still trying to get my head around what our next financial goals will be, but I feel strongly that having more money hasn't changed who we are. We still have the same values, and despite succumbing to a low mileage vehicle for the duration of having young kids, we will continue to do our best to decrease our negative impact and invest in ways that bring us true joy.
Wishing your family abundance in 2012!
Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.