Can You Imagine….

My beautiful wife was awoken by my 4 y/o this morning all full of wonder with a million things racing through his mind… He started rattling them off before he was even half awake!

Mommy, can you imagine… if you had this egg, where you could put stuff in?

Can you imagine, mommy… if you had a glass that was half red and half white?!

Can you imagine… if the iPad had a RAINBOW on it!!!!

It was “imagine this” and “imagine that” for 15 minutes straight and had us both cracking up :)  Just so typical of kids, right? Sharing their ideas out loud without fear of retribution or sounding ridiculous? I halfway wanted to chime in and turn it against him with a “Son, can you imagine… if you actually ate ALL your food this morning and then didn’t watch a second of TV today??” or “Can you imagine… if you played nicely with your brother all day long and then both of you took a nap without complaining?” haha, but I didn’t have the heart to kill his mojo.

The truth is though, this dreaming is SO GOOD for us – especially as we get older – and the asking of questions even more so. How many of us will dream up all kinds of good stuff and then promptly forget about it a second later? What if we took an extra 15 minutes and sketched out a (really) rough game plan to see if it was actually do-able? Or how many of us don’t even dream at all and totally forgot we even had that power??

Most of us here are probably better at this than others, especially in the finance department (what right person would be on a blog about money if they weren’t dreamers?) but let’s just pretend you’re all boring people and need some good imagining…

Here are some pretty epic dreams you can shoot for, channeling my inner 4 y/o:

Readers, can you imagine… if you actually had no more credit card debt??

Can you imagine, readers… if you paired down your spending and saved 50% of your income?

Can you imagine… if you worked a job you loved instead of a job you were forced to love?

Readers… can you imagine if you kept reading this blog, and then in 10 years you hit financial freedom and could do whatever you want for the rest of your life forever and ever?

The opportunities are endless, especially if you follow that last part there ;) And I know dreaming gets a bad rap sometimes since nothing was ever accomplished by just thinking (even trying to win the lottery requires going out and buying a ticket!), but most of us here are able to ramp up the hustle if it’s something we truly want enough. We just can’t stop imagining a better life as we get older and older! We gotta work harder at it than those freeloader kids! ;)

I’ll be doing some good dreaming of my own next week as we hit our annual family beach vacay, speaking of freeloading… (my parents get a house for us every year!). I love it because I suck at taking vacations but never miss these and use it as a time to charge up the ol’ goal setting even more so than on New Years (remember NY resolutions???).

cricket cricket

Then my siblings and I get together and compare and try to hold each other accountable more. Which is also an important piece to making stuff happen! Having someone to report to and help pump you up along the journey! Something I really hope this blog does as well as it’s supposed to vs. me just rambling every day :)

So keep dreaming, guys! And then ask all the questions you can so it gets closer to becoming reality. You can always reach me here in the comments below, and then some day real soon I hope to have an even better way for all of us to chat and share ideas around. So look for that shortly as well.

In the meantime, have a great weekend y’all and still be sure to check out the blog all week as we’ve got a handful of great guest posts lined up… If anyone’s near Rehoboth Beach, lemme know!

PS: Here are some of the past goals that’ve come out of these beach trips over the years… If you can document them it’s even better because then you can always go back and see how far you’ve come! Not unlike tracking your money!

[Photo cred: Gordon Robertson]

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  1. The Green Swan July 8, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    Can you imagine if the global economy flourished driving 10%+ returns on your investments annually and supported strong wage growth year after year!

    Have fun at the beach!

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 7:04 AM

      Haha I can!

    2. Fiscally Free July 19, 2016 at 3:34 PM

      Sounds like China for the last decade or more. Although it seems like it’s starting to slow down now.

  2. Brian @DebtDiscipline July 8, 2016 at 6:23 AM

    That’s is great J$. Kids can be so unfiltered.

    You know the mode you go into when the lottery hit $500 million, and you begin dreaming/fantasying about all the things you can do with the money? You should apply that same logic your money today.

    Kill your debt, saving more, find a better work/life balance. Dreaming like you do about the lottery winnings in your everyday life and make it happen!

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 7:06 AM

      Yup! And just like the lottery you have to DO SOMETHING in order for it to happen! Buy a ticket! :)

  3. jestjack July 8, 2016 at 6:43 AM

    I WILL be at Rehoboth next week. I’m gonna assume you’ll be the only guy on the beach sporting a Mohawk…..

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 7:08 AM

      Unless I’m in the water :)

      But you should def. stop every person you see that has one and say the secret password until you get to me…

      secret password: beans

      1. Free to Pursue July 8, 2016 at 7:58 AM

        Magic beanstalk beans? Quite the metaphor for this post. ;)

      2. Kristy July 8, 2016 at 8:10 AM

        I’m half tempted to come up and see if I can find you! Have a great vacation!

        1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 4:42 PM

          Haha you should!

          (And I’ll accept all beans, Free to Pursue – I don’t discriminate though I like where you’re going with that ;))

          1. jestjack July 9, 2016 at 9:54 AM

            Don’t forget your quarters! It’s $2 an hour now to park on the meter…..

            1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:14 AM

              Yeah – and I see that they make it super easy to hand over your money now with all the fancy c/c machine attachments and apps! (Though I must say it was nice having the “wheres my car?” feature to it :))

  4. Grettman July 8, 2016 at 6:46 AM

    Can you imagine if you got to a point financially AND mentally that you don’t think about money at all? It becomes merely a tool you use when you need it like the screwdriver in your kitchen drawer that you never think twice about? You actually don’t go to PF blogs because you are busy with all other parts of life. ( no offense j — :))

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 7:11 AM

      Haha… after 8 years of doing this and another X more, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind that at all ;)

  5. Lindsay @ The Notorious D.E.B.T. July 8, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    Can you imagine if EVERYONE saved for retirement?

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 7:18 AM

      It would be such a beautiful world!

  6. Elliot @ Our Growing Wealth July 8, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    This is brilliant! Nothing like a child’s imagination running free. I think it’s a shame that it becomes too easy for us to forget what it’s like to dream. Enjoy your beach holiday with the family!

  7. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 8, 2016 at 7:23 AM

    Thanks for the reminders. I love looking at homes for sale on Zillow and playing the can you imagine game but sometimes it starts getting me down because it makes me realize how much farther I have to go. So sometimes I have to refrain and remind myself instead what my lifetime priorities actually are. I think it would be cool to have an awesome house that others would admire but I would rather be financially free before 40. They I can wake myself up and start working towards the goals that are actually meaningful to me.

    I love dreaming, but only until it begins to distort reality.

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Haha yeah – def. a fine line there for sure. I love house looking during my daily walks though, and it’ll be even better at the new place we’re moving! Tons of interesting wealthy looking places to explore and dream up scenarios of how I’d get myself in there ;) I don’t get discouraged too much at those in particular just cuz i’d probably never even buy them even if I DID have the money, but I certainly get down in other areas more like seeing peoples’ massive savings accounts or the fact they retired at 22. Fortunately I don’t run into them all too much so it’s scattered jealousies :)

  8. Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions July 8, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    Listening to little kids was what I miss most about working at the Primary School level. They got off the bus and were just excited about anything and everything. And they loved everyone. How could you not steal some of that optimistic energy each day! I have a sibling who has pushed me to get where I am now too. It’s great to have it in the family – along with the whole PF online family too! Happy vacay!

    1. J. Money July 8, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Yeah! They DO love everyone!!! It’s so beautiful!!

  9. Rose July 8, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    LOL – dreaming about mansions and mobile homes:)

    Ten years ago, I might have still longed for a “moderate mansion” if there is such a thing, these days I am happy with the small bungalow we decided to stay in, because it means there is no need to downsize.

    Mobile homes OTH will forever remain a nightmare to me. I do not understand the attraction – it’s a sardine can for humans with no protection from the elements if a hurricane or tornado hits. Shudder… Too claustrophobic, too close and exposed to your neighbors – unless, you have a patch in the country and that has it’s own problems.

    These days I dream of enough money for home improvements … well, actually that has been a recurring dream throughout my lifetime – it never ends – when you are a homeowner, but I love both the challenge and the possibilities and certainly the privacy and designing my garden and outdoor spaces.
    So I guess, this is a lifestyle choice – dream on:)

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:43 AM

      Not a bad dream at all :)

      And hadn’t thought about the protection from the elements w/ mobile homes/tiny homes… I guess cuz we don’t get tornadoes or hurricanes much here in the DC area? But yeah – def. don’t like being up close next to hundreds of other mobile homes either… unless we’re talking a resort area and then I can deal with it :)

  10. Apathy Ends July 8, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    Enjoy your time away! You sound a lot more productive than I when I am on vacation!

    So jealous of kids, they find the simplest ways to make themselves happy

  11. Free to Pursue July 8, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    Vacation, yah!

    So pleased you chose this topic today. We’re all in need of a little fairy dust sometimes, especially when we’re working on a big project where the payoff is sometimes months or years away.

    We need to remember to wonder in the power of our actions, in the beauty of everything around us and in the awesomeness that is to be alive. To stop being amazed and curious to see more is to stop appreciating what a gift life is.

    Quote from Ricky Fitz (Jane’s boyfriend) in American Beauty: “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world. I feel I can’t take it and my heart is just going to cave in.” …gives me shivers every time.

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:45 AM

      YES! So so good to be alive and soaking it up! I always liked that part of the movie too :) (though he gives me the heebie jeebies, haha…)

  12. Aaron @IncomeHoncho July 8, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    Dreaming is good, it’s applying that’s kinda hard sometimes hehe

  13. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar July 8, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Can you imagine not having to work at all? I’d love to be able to put in creative work that I enjoyed and just being able to stay at the house and enjoy it. Man oh man. Gotta keep saving!

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:46 AM

      You’ll get there with the path you’re on :)

  14. Kate @ Cashville Skyline July 8, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    Great post, J. I think about trying to save 50% of my earnings all the time. I’ve done it before, but I’ve let things like eating out and paying for a personal trainer creep in. I’ve tried to embrace the abundance mindset rather than obsessing over every penny like I use to. But I still want to get back to a higher savings rate in the future. Thanks for this reminder! :)

  15. Lisa O July 8, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Out of the mouths of babes! What a great way to wake up and see good in this world :)

    Enjoy your vacation…

  16. FinanceSuperhero July 8, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Can you imagine building enough wealth to forever change your family tree? That’s my daily motivation– LEGACY.

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:47 AM

      Oooh good one!

  17. Linda @ Brooklyn Bread July 8, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Ah, I love this! Because when you think about being a kid, the awesomeness you remember is the world being totally colored by imagination and possibility. Life can beat that out of you, but to think that it actually doesn’t have to, that you can still dream, that you can let your brain ponder 100 different roads, no matter how old you are – that’s a choice and a blessing. I have watched so many friends and loved ones change so much as they’ve grown older, lose that spark of hope, possibility and dreaming and just like that, the special sauce is gone. I’m hyper aware of it and I try every day to not let it happen, to keep wonder and optimism and openness around.

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:53 AM

      It’s def. sad :( But good we’re aware of it and trying to keep it going! There’s def. a lot more beauty in the world than the opposite, despite what the news is always blasting out.

  18. Chad Carson July 8, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Kids wake-up calls in the morning are magic. Awesome story.

    Can you imagine if …
    – everyone handled their finances and had more free time to do what they love, whether or not it had a good paycheck?
    – politicians were decent people you’d actually want to sit down and have a conversation with?
    – your life was lived simply so that you could focus on what truly matters?

    Thanks for the morning inspiration!

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:53 AM

      Now let’s not get too crazy w/ that 2nd one there, haha… ;)

  19. EL July 8, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    Since this is now a game, lets play. Can you imagine the average savings rate being 20%. Can you imagine employee Raises that match company profits? The list can go on, as I have a ton of ideas a brewing. Good Luck in HoodRatch Beach, or something to that effect. Haha.

  20. Preston @TheDrunkMillionaire July 8, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Have a great vacation J. Money! It’s great that you set short-term goals that are actually achievable (although it is great to dream too). We’ve been trying to set more short-term goals to try to build up momentum towards FI in about 8 years!

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:56 AM

      8 years! Can you imagine?? :)

  21. Abigail July 8, 2016 at 12:41 PM

    I definitely try to imagine saving 50% of our income. Not feasible at this point, maybe ever, but we can keep trying, eh?

    I imagine being done with this ridiculous disability appeal (yes, Tim’s healthier because he no longer has to work, what do ya think is going to happen when he does go back to work?!) and he can stop freaking out.

    But most of all I’m imagining a fully funded SEP by the end of 2017, now that we’re no longer saving for his dental implants! After that, I’ll imagine a paid-off mortgage!

    Does it ever strike you that adults’ imaginations are way more boring than kids’?

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 6:58 AM

      Haha yeah, but a lot more useful than rainbow colored iPads :)

  22. Brian Lund At Measured Money July 8, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    So cool to think of what can be done in a 10 year period of time. While status quo is to take 30 years, us dreamers can get it done in 10 or less. Now that’s cool. Awesome post J. Money.

  23. Latoya @ Femme Frugality July 8, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Wow, can you imagine if we all could go to school without government and private banks backing student loans given to borrows desperate to get ahead and make positive changes in their life?

  24. Jack July 8, 2016 at 6:33 PM

    I’m looking forward to my son’s reaching that age of endless possibility. I could use the recharge. :-)

    At this point all I can imagine is being able to sleep uninterrupted for more than 3 hours.

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 7:00 AM

      That’s a tough phase you’re in! Fortunately as I’m sure you know though it only lasts a little while :) And they’re soooooo tiny and cute at that age! Mine are all running around being hyper and can’t nearly get as many hugs in as I used to be able to haha… So do soak it up when you’re awake enough to remember!

  25. ZJ Thorne July 8, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    I love Rehobeth (like every other lesbian on the East Coast)!

    Can you imagine if you had enough to live in the housing situation you prefer? This is my goal for the next year. Buy a tiny condo and get away from roommates. I’m imagining a bathroom of my own. I’m imagining the ability to have my girlfriend stay over even when my niece is over, because the board games go so far into the night and we don’t want to part company.

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 7:02 AM

      Awwww, that does sound like a wonderful next step :) I hope it comes for you sooner than later!

  26. Linda@Frugal Turtle July 8, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    Imagine if I could retire in five years instead of ten….Aaahhhhh.

    Enjoy your vacation!

  27. Jacq July 8, 2016 at 10:58 PM

    A- Credit card is paid off each month. For me what makes sense : I need to buy gas for car & food for me, may as well get reward points.
    B- working on it. Challenge spending, find more % to invest / save.
    C- Goal, be FI, teach yoga & pour wine (for tastings at a winery).
    D – Hope to be FI/RE in 10 years!

    1. J. Money July 9, 2016 at 7:03 AM

      Yoga and wine – awesome concoction!

      (Though probably not at the same time, eh? :))

  28. Tre July 9, 2016 at 11:46 AM

    Have a great vacay!

  29. Ray Ray July 9, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    I’ve managed the no more credit card debt (i don’t own one anymore). However still working on the other 3 points. Having a good wad of “F-you” money aside would be a great feeling. My time will come it not a matter of “if” but “when”.

    Have a good holiday

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:17 AM

      Nice work on not having credit cards anymore! You’re a rarity out there!

  30. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank July 10, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    I love these provoking questions, J Money! I hope we’re doing what we love and never ever regret doing all these.

  31. Primal Prosperity July 11, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    I love this post. Einstein was a huge proponent of ‘daydreaming’ and look what he accomplished! Sometimes we all get a case of adult-itis.

    That’s why I came up with my version of D.U.M.B. goal setting… Because S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is just too boring. :)

    Daring ~ Step outside the status quo. Buck the trends. Be authentic.

    Uncomfortable ~ Feel the fear and do it anyway. The route to happiness is not by avoiding unhappiness. We learn more from difficulty than comfort.

    Magnetic ~ Leverage the Laws of Attraction. You should be captivated by your goals and you should captivate others with your goals.

    Bold ~ The only risk in life is not taking one.

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:19 AM

      HAH! Love it!

      I guess that’s what some of my friends were saying when I told them I wanted to blog for a living – “you’re so D.U.M.B.!” :)

  32. Prudence Debtfree July 11, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    My 17-year-old daughter, eyes all lit up, told me about how she might spend a few years working to save for travel, then travelling, then working to save for travel again . . . When I was in a financial mess, I would probably have squashed that dream in favour of a more pragmatic plan, but as it was, I went with it, and we happily talked about possibilities. There’s something about good financial health that gives the freedom to dream : )

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:22 AM

      Awww yay!! I’m sure she appreciated it SO MUCH too as parents are known to be more practical :) What great lessons she’d learn by not only traveling so much, but also by doing all the saving and then prioritizing goals/dreams too. And I’ve learned over the years that all our goals change anyways, so I never really think anyone’s going to do anything forever and ever which also helps you be open to helping them vs squashing their excitement :)

  33. Millennial Moola July 11, 2016 at 5:06 PM

    Just got back from a week at a beach house with family down here in the Florida Panhandle. The week after is always the toughest adjusting to normal intake levels of food and alcohol ;)

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:22 AM

      Haha yup… entering day #1 of that right now as I type this out, ugh..

  34. Beth July 13, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Kids are so innocent and genuine. I love them…mine especially! I know us adults become so rigid because we deal with the harsh realities of the world BUT you are right – if we kept that child like outlook and dream a little we would be more alive and happier. And the fact that we are adults we can actually act on accomplishing our dreams now – as opposed to when we were kids. #dreamon

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:24 AM

      YES! SO TRUE!!! Totally in a position now to run with things vs back then – even though most people will throw up a million reasons why it’s not possible (again unlike kids!).

  35. Syed July 13, 2016 at 11:00 PM

    Ahh I now exactly what you guys are going through. My 3.5 year old is asking and saying some crazy things day after day. He asked me the other day why dunkin donuts keeps closing at night. I didn’t really have an answer for him they should all be open 24 hours a day!

    And for the imagining money stuff part….Imagine if CD’s returned 15%. Financial planning would be so easy!

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:24 AM

      Haha… your son and I would get along pretty well :)

  36. maria@moneyprinciple July 17, 2016 at 4:10 AM

    Thanks for writing this one, $J. It is true that the older we get, the less we tend to imagine/dream and our lives become poorer for it. It is also true that the capacity to dream is knocked out of us through socialisation and education from the age of about three. Think about it: did your mum ever say to you ‘stop dreaming and get dressed’? So there. As a reaction I used to tell my son to forget about getting dressed and keep dreaming – I’m looking forward to seeing how he turns out :).

    1. J. Money July 18, 2016 at 7:26 AM

      I still can’t wait to meet him and hang out with you all there :) Your family always sounds like so much fun!

    1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:28 PM


      I already do that because I LOVE my coffee and I prioritize my money as so! :)

      But did just get back from checking out some of your articles – I really REALLY enjoy them. Had no idea what to expect from the name of it (was wondering if you were going to be our first personal finance geologist blogger!) but I was still equally pleased to see what I read.

      Keep pouring your heart out, brotha!