What everyone wants to do before they die!

Hey guys!!

So I wasn’t going to blog about the ICE Binder stuff again, but after seeing the explosion of emails and comments from everyone the last two days, it’s pretty evident how not only *important* this stuff is, but also how many awesome DREAMS y’all are going after!!

Thank you for participating! They were so fun to read!

I wanna share all the responses with you here in a bit (if only to make you feel better that none of us have accomplished our lifelong goals yet either! Haha…), but first, let me announce the 3 winners of the binder in case you didn’t catch it: Gregory C, Nikki G, and Jill L – congrats guys!

While the giveaway is now over, please remember that the $10 coupon code is still active for a few more days, so if it’s still something you really think you can use (which you can!) make sure to pick it up sooner than later:

Now onto the list of everyone’s dreams! And what’s holding everyone back!

You can probably guess the main culprits behind standing in the way, but here they are in order of most commonly stated:

  • Lack of money
  • Lack of time
  • (Lack of both!)
  • Fear
  • Not sure where to start

The first one of course helps nix a lot of the others (with enough money you can buy back your time and then work on how to get started!), but the fear one is the one we all need to tackle face-on. And I recently had to do just that myself at a wedding the other weekend!

I’m not one who enjoys public speaking despite how social I am, however I had to give a toast as the Best Man of the groom, so I sucked it up, gained my 20 seconds of courage (both liquid and non – hah!) and moments later it was all over and people didn’t seem to hate it too much ;) Felt pretty good once the mission was completed, but it’s really those moments *leading up to the event* that causes the most anxiety with stuff like this! If only someone invented a way to avoid that part of the process – the fear itself really isn’t so fearful once you’re in it!

But I digress…

Want to take a quick guess at what the most popular *dreams* were before I share them here?? You can probably list a handful of them right off the bat, but after the first dozen or two it gets pretty specific :)

Here they are in order of the most popularly answered:

  • Travel the world (x48) (Seeing the Northern Lights and Europe were most popular)
  • RV/Road Trip across the U.S. (x10)
  • Move somewhere new (x10)
  • Hike/climb popular mountains/trails (x7)
  • Reach financial independence (x6)
  • Visit all national parks (x5)
  • Watch children grow up to be happy, healthy, independent adults! (x5)
  • Volunteer more (x5)
  • Live a fulfilling life! (x4)
  • See the birth of a grandchild (x4)
  • Become 100% debt-free (x4)
  • Visit all 50 states (x3)
  • Bike across the country/world (x3)
  • Own their own business (x3)
  • Live in a tiny house! (x3)
  • Write a book (x3)
  • Get their finances together (x3)
  • Find true love! (x3)
  • Sail around the world (x2)
  • Take a cruise (x2)
  • Start a family (x2)
  • Make a career change (x2)
  • Scuba dive (2)
  • Pay off their house (2)
  • Find their “tribe”
  • Fly first class at least *once*
  • Reconnect with children
  • Live with their spouse (more on this below)
  • See one more person come to know who Jesus is!
  • Create a major list of books to help educate 4 years old son in every aspect of his life
  • Simplify life more
  • Ride a 1941 Harley Davidson again
  • Get a pilot’s license
  • Create a foundation that would provide funding to lower income programs in Flint, MI
  • Drive an F1 or a real Baja Buggy (truggy)
  • Build more passive income
  • Hold a baby panda!
  • Learn to ride a bike around London
  • Make someone else’s life better by helping them achieve their dream!
  • Wingsuit base jumping… (aka flying squirrel suits)
  • Help kids with the down payment for their first house
  • Learn a language somewhat competently
  • Play roller derby!
  • Skydive
  • Own a dog
  • Home school their children
  • See a launch at Kennedy Space Center
  • Be as materially and financially free as possible.
  • Start a (free) in-person personal finance training program for underprivileged parents and families
  • Be an active Muay Thai practitioner
  • Distill their own whiskey
  • Find something to retire to
  • Give a paid speech to an organization/group
  • Play in the WSOP (World Series of Poker) Main Event in Las Vegas!
  • Dig up one each of the 4 major gemstones myself (Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald)

So lots of traveling and exploring the country/world, volunteering for causes we believe in, striving for financial freedom and personal *fulfillment*, wanting to start families or find love or watch our kids grow up to be happy, and 45+ other beautiful goals to shoot for…

At least we know what we want! That’s half the problem for some people!

And then because some of y’all really hit me in the feels, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite comments that either got me to stop and think for a bit, smile hard, or made me super appreciative of what I *already have* in life.

We’re pretty lucky whether we ever reach these goals or not!


The one thing I want to do before I die is actually before my girlfriend dies. She’s not on her death bed right now or anything, but she does have stage 3 brain cancer in partial remission that can and will come back. We just have no idea of when that might happen. She has a dream of going to tour castles in Ireland and maybe even get married in one. I want to be able to take her to see these places while she’s still healthy and able to enjoy them.


One thing I’d like to do before I go is see every child I taught Kindergarten I taught in 2015-2016 graduate high-school and give a certain amount towards their college as a gift at that time. My thought is $1000. What is stopping me is time (They have to grow up) as well as the continued guidance of a teacher to children where most will be the first in their families to graduate. Lost of ongoing tutoring and emotional support to keep them in school.


The ONE thing I really want to do before I die is own my own home. I haven’t been able to do this yet because a divorce destroyed my credit and then several years later went into debt again to gain legal custody of my granddaughter. I want a home to be able to pass on to her and whether she ever needs it or not, at least she will never be in the position I have been not knowing if I had a place to live or not. I do not want that life for her; I want her to know that no matter what happens, she will always have a place that is hers to call home. :)


The ONE thing I really want to do right now is volunteer for a month with Farm Sanctuary. They are an amazing rescue group for farm animals everywhere and are diligent and adamant that all living beings deserve a quality life.


The thing I REALLY want to accomplish is this: live with my husband. (1,084 days to go!) Ok that sounds weird and maybe that is just weird but there really is a reason we aren’t even living in the same state after being married 3+ years. It’s the second marriage for us both. I plan on moving to be with him as soon as my daughter graduates from high school. He has a daughter as well and neither of us thought it would be in the best interest of our children to uproot them. So we are apart for 10 days then get to spend 5 fantastic days together. It’s been working for us so far but I can’t wait till the day I can share a home with him.


The one thing that I want to do before I die is to reconnect with my son. He is a young man with special needs who has inexplicably cut off communication with me, his father and his sister. We all love him whole heartedly. We are at a loss about how to reach him. All I can do is to ensure that he is well and that his basic needs are met.


What I really want to do before I die is to create a major list of books to help educate my 4 year old son in every aspect of his life in case my last boarding ticket arrives earlier than I expected. I want to give him a guide for every stages of his life, for situations related to money, love, learning, relationships, philosophy, and so on, and complete that list with my own thoughts about the books and it’s themes.

I’ve never feared death, but since my son was born that has changed drastically, and I cry every time I think about this, imaging my son growing up without me. I want to help raise him to be a happy, good human being, and books must be the second best way to assure it (the 1st is his super amazing dad =p ).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This was the biggest change for me too when I had kids!! The fear of dying and leaving them without a daddy, ack!! I’ve stopped doing a lot of things that were trying to kill me (smoke cigars, alcohol binges), but you can still only control so much… So I do hope we all live to watch and help our kids grow up!]


Before I die I’d like to explore all of the National Parks. The last week of summer we drove out to Southern Utah from Cali and spent 2 days hiking through Zion. I was shocked by its beauty! It is truly other worldly! As a kid, I remember driving through Zion, but I was car sick and we pulled off at a few overlooks to “look” at it. This trip, we hiked through it and engaged on a deeper level with the park… this is the way it’s meant to be seen.


This is going to sound super cheesy and right of a rom com but it is a true statement for me at this point in life. Out of the many things I want to before I die, I’d like to meet and build a life with the man who is the love of my life who finds me to be the love of theirs. I am not doing it right now because I haven’t met the fella, but I am opening up to various ways to meet said guy.

In the meantime, I am working on loving myself more so that my dependency for happiness is not in another person but that he will be able to be in agreement with what I already love about me.


Before I die, I want to be completely debt free so that I can be home to home school my 4 children and teach them how to be financially responsible so I know that my legacy will live on after I’m gone. The ONLY thing that’s preventing me from doing it now is that I didn’t have a plan of action, but now that I do. I’m zero focused in making sure I do this for my children, it’s the least I could do as their father.


What I want to do and will one day do, before I die is to visit Italy and the small towns where my parents and there parents originated from. I am the only one in my family born in the US and have never been to the land my ancestors came from.


One thing we want to do before we exit this world is to travel the United States in an RV. Free wheeling across the country on our own schedule. There is so much to see. What is preventing us from doing it right now? My wife continues to fight Stage IV cancer and our lives revolve around a 3 month cycle of testing and waiting on results. Faith, Family and Friends are getting us through this very challenging time.


It has been a life goal of mine to travel around and dig up one each of the 4 major gemstones myself (Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald). Found out recently that there are places in the U.S. where you can dig for all of them. So before I die I plan to take some vacations to each of these spots and dig dig dig!!


The one thing I’d really like to do before I die is to find or found a community to live in where I feel I really belong and can make a major contribution to the health and well-being of its residents.


The answer that popped into my head when I read your question was that I just want to live a full life. I’m not even sure I know what I totally mean yet, but I know that I want to be able to say yes to things that excite me, I want to love freely and completely, and I want to be able to give back and help those who may need it.

My main learning opportunity (refuse to call it a problem) is in order to do that, I need to take care of myself. I tend to say yes, then figure out how after leading to stress and temporary unhappiness. But 2 years ago I started taking control of my finances which somehow spread to so many other aspects of my life. By figuring out a plan and sticking to it, I can confidently say no or not yet to things that don’t fit in my plan and yes to things that I know I can 100% commit to.


I want to hold a baby panda. Apparently, there is only one place in the world you can do this: Dujiangyan Panda Base and Center for Disease Control. So that’s it, I want to feed a baby panda look into it’s little eyes and feed it a bamboo shoot before I die.

What’s stopping me? Eh… the lack of additional money for the plane ticket to China. And also the lack of money for the therapy I would need upon being told, “No ma’am, I am sorry you can’t take any of the panda home with you.” :)


We all have such diverse lives and interests! And despite some pretty epic hardships, y’all are still so optimistic!!

So first, THANK YOU for pouring out your hearts with all these entries, and secondly, please do keep working towards all these and send me pics once you’ve accomplished them :)

Let me leave you with one more note/success story that comes with another handy recommendation in it (this time in *book* fashion), and if you didn’t catch the original article that prompted all these goals today, you can find that again here: Resource of The Month: The ICE Binder

See ya back on Monday!

j. money signature


Hi J,

I cannot agree more with the importance of planning for those left after you are gone. My father passed away last October after a 4 1/2 year battle with lung cancer. We were incredibly blessed in so many ways. First, with the fact that he survived that long when given only a 6 month prognosis. Second, that he and my mom LIVED all of that time! He felt good and they traveled a LOT and stayed active with family, community and church.

But, we were also fortunate that my dad was a planner. He wanted to ensure my mom would be ok when he was gone. He and mom kept my husband and I in loop of everything – even all the financials. He made sure that we had passwords to all accounts so we could assist her will paying bills, banking and investing (he even left us a list of passwords for his Facebook, email, etc). He left me a three page ‘to do’ list for right after he past.

Since mom is in Arkansas and we are in Maine, I am not sure how we would have managed to help her had he not left us all that. There were so many instances when she was upset and we could step in and help since he had left us all the information. She is not the most computer savvy, so even having to update a credit card number on an auto pay account is something that would have been nearly impossible. She was so confused but we were able to help her remotely and just take care of it for her. I know this would not work for all families as there are often trust issues, but for us it was a blessing.

A month into helping mom manage her accounts, my husband and I decided to make sure we left our children in good position if something should happen unexpectedly to us. We purchased a book called “I’m Dead, Now What”. It has space and prompts to leave information to assist after one is gone. Very similar to what Dad left for us. He would have loved this book! Just thought I would offer this other resources.

Links to the ICE Binder and Amazon book are affiliate links, meaning I’ll get compensated if you end up purchasing them. Which also means I get to keep running this blog for y’all – so thank you! ;)

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  1. Speeda September 15, 2018 at 11:18 AM

    Hey roller derby person…I’ve played for about 8 years! Email me (speedavonteese@denverrollerderby.org) if you want me to help connect you with the league nearest you and answer questions about the sport :-)

    1. J. Money September 17, 2018 at 6:25 AM

      Very cool!! I bet you get super fit doing it too, yeah?

  2. Kim September 15, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    I couldn’t agree more with that last comment! My husband (retired at 47) handles all the money and investing and though he keeps me in the loop about what he’s doing I haven’t made the effort (yet) to totally understand the ins and outs of investing. I turned 50 this year and all I asked for my birthday was a homemade version of the ICE binder. I now have a folder with all of our accounts – passwords are in an encrypted folder on the computer and detailed instructions on the hows and whys for each investment. Every minute detail he could add is in this folder. While it won’t replace him it will be a huge help to me and the kids if something should happen. It was absolutely the best present he could have given me. The trip to Portugal didn’t hurt either!! Oh and our dream is to live abroad somewhere before we die. We could go now but we made a promise to our kids we would not move until they finish high school so 4 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days but who’s counting!

    1. J. Money September 17, 2018 at 6:29 AM

      Heyyyyy – what an excellent gift idea! And one which will pay off for years to come too! I’m glad he listened to you ;) And I hope those next 4 years go by fast for y’all, haha… Will be really fun living overseas!

  3. Chris @ Mindful Explorer September 16, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Great examples of why it is so important to live in the moment and take care that you enjoy every single day. Do what you can to prepare for the future but also be sure to see and do as much as you can.

    That last comment on preparing for the future though, it is one to consider. I often think about how hard it would be to run my wife’s business, I have no idea how to do any of the accounting she does or run her systems. Even something like that is important to think about.

    1. J. Money September 17, 2018 at 6:34 AM

      You know it, brother… Life is good, but also unpredictable! I hope we both have many more moons to go!


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