Numbers help my anxiety….

So you knew that as a Psych/Mental Health NP I would bring up mental health at some point in this blog, right? Well, like most folks who go into psychology/psychiatry – I have issues! But one of the ways I have found a way to ease my anxiety around my financial future is by dividing up my life into easy to measure, easy to remember goals.

When I had my second child, at age 37, I realized that when she was 18 years old and getting ready to take off for college, I would be 59 1/2 and be able to start taking withdrawals from my retirement accounts without penalties. So I put a chunk of her college savings in my Roth IRA. (There are lots of complicated tax implications of 529 College Savings Plans and the calculation of financial aid  does take into account the 529 balance. It does not, however, take into account the parents’ retirement funds, so I thought it would be a smart move tax-wise. Having said that, I very much believe in 529s and all of the other dedicated college savings I have for my kids is in them. So please don’t imagine that I don’t have other college savings plans!) Who knows what the future holds and if that fancy move will work, but I do like the way the numbers worked out.

When my son was three years old, I bought my first home independently and decided I would pay down my 30-year mortgage in 15 years. When he is 18 and (hopefully!) going off to college, I will have my house paid off. I like those numbers.

And when that lil guy goes off to college, I will be 58 and that might be a good time to retire (or at least work less than full-time) so that is the tentative goal I have set for myself. My employer offers college tuition assistance as one of my benefits, so that also means I am planning to be with this employer until as far into their college careers as possible. As such, I can easily plan my retirement savings rates, and include their generous match into the equation and it makes me feel more secure about the future.

There is something comforting about these having these numbers work out and feeling as if I have a concrete plan for the future. Even though I know that life has a way of changing, it still calms my anxiety 🙂 I recently learned about the study of psychology and finances. There is something to the idea that we make financial decisions based on emotion and I am fascinated by that process. Maybe one of my side hustles can be doing therapy for folks with anxiety around their financial situations. I definitely plan to write some more blog posts about this – if any readers have experience with this, please reach out!

Any thoughts? Please join the discussion below…

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