There are so many pressures for the head of the household. It is something I never realized before. There are many sacrifices that must be made for the good of the family, and there are many responsibilities.
It is my responsibility to work to provide food, clothing, and shelter. It is my responsibility to lead my family down the road of integrity and success. It is my responsibility to make sure our obligations are met.
I may not be the one to pay every single bill. I may not write the check for rent. However, it is still my responsibility to earn the income. This leads me to the first pressure.
- Getting out of debt. Yes, many people feel this maybe a stupid thing, but we have committed ourselves over the last two years to get out of debt. We are nearly there. We could be there at the end of September if we squeeze every drop out of our budget and sacrifice our $1000 emergency fund. I’m not sure I want to touch the emergency fund, but who knows what the end of the month will bring.
- Keeping the family goals above your own. There are several things we need to replace, but so far have them limping along. Things such as the vacuum cleaner is trying to die, our mattress needs replaced, my desk chair is shot, and the fake leather is pealing and the hydraulic piston sinks sometimes. On top of that, I want to start my private pilot’s lessons next year, upgrade my computer, and put more into my photography. So decisions need to be made. We’ll buy a new mattress as soon as we are out of debt, get a new vacuum when it finally dies, and most likely do my computer, chair, and pilot’s license after we have a house. At some point we’ll need to figure out how to buy a second car, so Susan isn’t trapped during the winter and has the freedom to go further during the day.
- Emergency fund. As we are approaching getting out of debt, I feel like I am climbing Mt. Everest with my family tied on a rope behind me. It’s my job to carry them along to greater success. As we approach the emergency fund, it looks like we are about to reach a nice flat area on the mountain. Just beyond that is more sacrifice of 6 to 7 months, at current rate, to build our emergency fund.
- Down payment. The next flat area on this mountain will be just before the final ascent. I’m sure this will be a long frustrating climb. We want to put 20% down on a $200K - $250K house. Preferably we would like to have a $300K - $350K house, but that starts exceeding how much we want to pay each month. To get to 20%, it would take us 20 – 25 months at our current rate. Reminder, this is after getting out of debt, 1 – 2 months from now and 6 – 7 months for an emergency fund. So, from today it will be 27 – 34 months.
- Buying a house. As with the down payment, there is pressure to buy a house. It is not many people saying you need to buy today. Rather it’s the realization that in a 2 bedroom apartment, if we want a larger family, it will be very difficult if not impossible. Also, any side business I want to start, or any business my wife wants to start, we are unable to do so with our current living arrangements. The city requires us to have a business license for any business, even part time. However, we must get our landlord’s approval, and our lease says we can’t operate a business.
- Retirement. Yes, this is also a pressure situation. Currently, I’m not putting any money towards my 401k or IRA since we are focused on getting out of debt. I know I am loosing compound interest. The big question is when to start back up. Do I do it now, after the emergency fund, or after the down payment? I know I need to start on it again, but really how much time do I want to lose?
I don’t want this to sound selfish at all. I love my family, and realize I must make sacrifices for them. I am only one wheel in a giant cog, and feel so much pressure to keep spinning as faster as I can. Somehow I need to figure out how to earn more money to speed this process up. I don’t want it to be 3 or more years before buying a house. I’ve already had about enough of this apartment, with its thin walls, noisy pipes, small kitchen, and small size. I’m ready to work on a house again, and do something productive. Alas, that will be 3 years out. The pressures of being the head of the household.