Failing at Goals in the Best Way


The end of September was a bit surreal.

Not only was it my birthday, but it was my Golden birthday. I’m not a 20-something anymore and I’ve put way too much pressure on myself to live up to that. I’m 30 now, it is time to be an adult. If only I knew what being an adult meant.

In addition to putting way too much pressure on myself to be an adult, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. When I graduated law school in May of 2013, my big audacious goal was to pay off my student loans by last Friday, my 30th birthday. I remember standing in line in the library, waiting to print when the goal struck me. I set that goal without grasping whether or not it was attainable. I wanted it, but I didn’t have a job. I never imagined at that point that it would actually be possible. I filed the thought away under, ‘How cool would that be?”

I spent a good part of September thinking about how far I’ve come from that moment in the library. That moment when I was graduating without a job in a bad job market, with the increasing burden of debt on my shoulders.

If I took until last Friday to make it to that goal, I would just have reached Debt Zero. I likely would have saved 1% of my salary in my 401k that first year, and the bare minimum to get the match in 2015 & 2016. I’d maybe have $7000 and nothing saved for a house.

Instead, I hit debt zero 18 months ago. I have $25000 in my 401k and nearly $40,000 saved for a house.

I’m 18 months ahead of schedule and I’ve used that time to save and capture more time in the market.

Library Kate from 3.5 years ago could barely recognize the possibility of her audacious goal. There is no way she could have grasped exceeding that goal by nearly half and plowing ahead into the future.

I’ve taken this perspective as I look forward today. What do I want to do in the next 3 years? If the next 3 years are anything like the last 3 years, I’ve felt almost paralyzed by the possibilities while at the same time inspired by all the things I could accomplish. I was so successful with my debt goal because it was my one goal and I gave all of myself to it. I’m still rolling ideas around in my head.

I’ll think of something.

Until then, I’ll keep saving and investing.

That’s something adults do.


12 thoughts on “Failing at Goals in the Best Way

  1. Very impressive, and super inspiring. Congrats on making such huge progress on your finances well before turning 30!

    Just so you know, I turned 34 back in July and still don’t know what it means to be an adult. I’ve kind of given up on becoming a typical grown up – there are a lot of commitments involved which hold absolutely no interest for me. I’m just going to focus on being myself and creating my own happiness.

  2. That’s awesome and congrats! I graduated law school the same time as you, but with 87k in student loans! Yikes! I also made it my goal to pay them off before 30 and did so by 29. It was an awesome feeling! Also still trying to learn what being an adult means…

    • It is. Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve started to feel caught up. It’s an odd feeling though, I think I prefer the feeling of being behind. There’s no pleasing me, is there!😉

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