Should You Celebrate Reaching Financial Milestones?

celebrating financial milestonesFinancial milestones are a super exciting time in your life.

Celebrating these milestones can be fun, but is it appropriate?

First, let’s look at some common financial milestones.

Then we’ll discuss whether or not celebrating is appropriate as well as a few different ideas for celebration.

Common Financial Milestones

So what are some of the big financial milestones? Here are just a few to consider.

Debt Pay Off Milestones

Paying off debt is a huge milestone. Some milestones related to debt could include:

My wife and I have personally celebrated a debt milestone, which was paying off all of her student loan debt. We actually celebrated a little bit before we paid off the last few dollars, but we considered a cruise we had already planned as our celebration.

Should people celebrate paying off debt? I think the answer is yes, but how you celebrate depends on how you’re doing financially otherwise.

If you’ve just paid off your first of ten credit cards, I’d definitely say you should celebrate. I would celebrate in an inexpensive or free way, though or else you’ll just start digging yourself further into debt.

At the same time, if you’re celebrating paying off the last of your debt and you are on strong financial footing, taking a lavish vacation might be a perfect celebration. Of course, that assumes you can pay for it in cash.

Net Worth Milestones

Watching your net worth grow is another potential reason to celebrate. Here are just a few I’ve heard people celebrate before:

  • Net worth reaches $100,000
  • Net worth reaches $250,000
  • Net worth reaches $500,000
  • Net worth reaches $1,000,000
  • Net worth reaches financial independence/retirement goal

All of these net worth milestones can be really exciting, but should you really celebrate them? We personally don’t celebrate net worth milestones, but I bet we will eventually celebrate reaching financial independence.

I think people should celebrate whichever milestones they feel are important to them. Just make sure you keep the celebration in line with the goal.

For instance, you could spend $100 on a celebration for reaching a net worth of $100,000 without hurting your finances too bad, but I wouldn’t take a $5,000 vacation. At the same time, you probably could take a $5,000 when you reach a net worth of $1,000,000 as long as you plan for and budget it.

Just be careful with these celebrations as they can bring you beneath the milestone you’re celebrating. That would be a major bummer.

Income Based Milestones

Another frequently celebrated milestone is the income based milestone. Here are a few examples:

  • A big raise or promotion at work
  • Awarded a large bonus
  • Just landed a huge new client for your business
  • Earned $100,000 a year for the first time

These milestones are pretty awesome to reach, but you must keep in mind that they may only be temporary.

While some people may celebrate by going out and buying a new car, boat, jet ski or motorcycle, I’d avoid adding any major recurring expenses after a raise. Instead, try celebrating by taking part in a smaller one time expenses while increasing your contributions to retirement, savings or investments at the same time.

Common Celebrations For Milestones

Celebrating milestones shouldn’t be frowned upon because there are some many great ways to do so. Here is a list of ways you can celebrate, including some of the methods mentioned above.

Just make sure your celebration matches the milestone you’ve reached. Don’t go overboard.

  • Take a day off of work to relax
  • Take part in a free activity in your neighborhood
  • Make a nice dinner at home
  • Going out to a normal dinner
  • Going out to a fancy dinner
  • Buy a gadget you’ve been saving for
  • Take a weekend away from home
  • Go on a full blown vacation
  • Plan a party or event
  • Take part in an experience on your bucket list
  • Treat yourself to a spa day or massage
  • Do nothing at all

No matter what you decide to do, make sure you enjoy it. Reaching milestones is quite an accomplishment, so congratulations!

What was the most recent financial milestone you reached? How did you celebrate? What is your favorite celebration idea? Or do you not celebrate at all? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by: Key Foster Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Absolutely you should celebrate. By noting your achievements and doing something for yourself to recognize that you’ve hit a goal, it makes you reflect on the work you’ve put it, and it also motivates you to work for the next goal on your list.

    • I think you made a great distinction. Definitely celebrate if it is a goal of yours. However, if it is just a mile marker that doesn’t matter much to you don’t waste your money.

  2. Absolutely! We have done it consistently and it keeps our motivation and drive fresh and strong. I think without celebrating at least major milestones, one would risk losing the motivation to continue…or otherwise, see a decrease in intensity.


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