14562 days ago
2013 was probably one of the best years of my life. It was the year that my wife and I really started to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor.
A year that I got to maximize what I enjoy doing the most…spending time with my wife and kids.
As a person in my young 30’s I still consider this the ‘asset accumulation’ phase of my life, however I’ve been accumulating assets now for over 10 years. Overall I live a frugal lifestyle living well below my means so that I can leisurely enjoy my time without any financial stress. I’m proud to be debt free with a wife who fully supports our lifestyle of limited financial obligations. My wife is a compulsive saver and I am addicted to investing, so this combination has put us in a situation where we regularly save or invest 80% of our gross income.
Now it wasn’t always like this, but for our entire marriage and even before, we have always been aggressive in accumulating cash flowing assets. Saving at the very least 30% of our income, a practice I hope to pass on to my children.
This year we finally started to spend a little…We have always enjoyed nice vacations and our time with friends and family, but this is the first year we really started to upgrade our traveling lifestyle. Please remember that we have made extreme sacrifices in the past and have worked very hard to get where we are at.
My year started off with a 19 day trip to Hawaii, originally planned for 10 days until the plane landed. After traveling across the Pacific with a 1 and 3 year old, I knew the minute I stepped outside of the plane I was going to figure out a way to extend our trip. We had gone through way too much to leave in 10 days. The climate was perfect, I couldn’t believe how warm and clear the water was. The best part was meeting with a close friend from Israel who had reached out to me via my FutureMoneyTrends.com website, we became online buddies and then met in the summer of 2012 in Carlsbad, California.
After Hawaii, I think we stayed home for about 2 weeks and then left for a 21 day trip to Washington to visit some friends who offered up their beach house. After leaving Hawaii, I have to admit that my vision of a beach house was a bit skewed, Washington in March is gloomy and cold, well cold for a Californian. This trip was great, we ended up getting an invite to visit our friend’s relatives in Spokane and stayed with them for about 4 days. After our visit, we took the long way home through Idaho, Utah, and then to Nevada.
Traveling became something I just loved, there was something about exploring new places with just my wife and two kids. That quality time fulfilled me, I really captured those moments and soon realized I wanted to do this as much as I could. As we were traveling home from Washington I started to think BIG, the days of the weekend Palm Springs trip were history (previously that was where we often went).
My wife was surprised by my new traveling itch, prior to 2013 I liked to stay home or at least close to home. However, by mid April I let my wife know that I wanted to visit Disney World in Orlando and the Caribbean, the trip would be 30 days in the summer.
Between that I actually managed to book a last minute trip to Texas where we visited San Antonio, Austin, and the Woodlands just north of Houston. I wanted to shop for a new home, after seeing some incredible properties in the $150,000 range, we didn’t end up buying a place, but I am happy to report I did see the “promise land.” The weather was warm in Austin, the home prices were reasonable, and I just loved the beautiful neighborhoods; I can totally see us raising a family in Austin, Texas.
The vacation to Orlando was great, however being from California I don’t think I will ever visit it again or at least not for a very long time. California has everything Orlando had, except much better weather. As someone who was raised about 30 minutes from Disney Land, I was expecting something much grander when I visited Disney World, the Magic Kingdom and the Disney Land park are nearly identical.
Our Caribbean trip was too short, we ended up there for only 7 days. The beaches are amazing, it was like walking into bath water. The kids loved it though as we were able to go to the beach daily, try to catch fish with our bare hands, snorkel in crystal clear water, and see beautiful wild ocean life.
The best trip of 2013 was the one that had no planning. On December 6th someone showed me the Disney Cruise line vacation package, within a few hours I had convinced my wife, by that evening we had purchased airline tickets to arrive in Houston, Texas, where we would depart for a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas on December 14th!
Without a doubt this was the best vacation I have ever experienced. Seeing the joy my kids had with all the character interactions and being able to spend such quality time with them on the Disney Wonder will be something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I loved it so much I literally booked my next cruise while on the ship. The food was excellent, which I was worried about since I’m super picky; but I have to say, the 6 and half meals a day were all fantastic! The quality and experience Disney gives you is like no other. It is truly a magical vacation for your whole family.
The biggest surprise of 2013 though was my wife letting me know we are expecting our 3rd child. We had literally sat down and talked about having a 5 year traveling plan and that we were all done having kids. Not even a week later my wife took 3 pregnancy tests to confirm that we would be celebrating one more child. Spring of 2014 will bring a new baby girl into our lives and we couldn’t be happier.
On average we all have about 28,000 days to live, so go out and do it! Don’t end up dying and never having lived, especially never having lived the life you want. Make every day count.
I look forward to 2014, I hope this site is able not only to help you, but I would love to get to know you as well, new ideas and helping each other out in life is the best reward anyone can ever receive.
Happy New Year!