Why Not Take Your Money Goals & Dream a Little Bigger?

Today we welcome our Tuesday contributor, Catherine Alford!

If there’s anything I’ve learned from packing up my life and moving to a Caribbean island, it’s that we don’t have to wait to dream a little bigger. I think we all have idea of what we hope our future will look like in terms of retirement funds and how much money we should save. Yet, very rarely do we challenge that image and dream a little bigger.

Why Not Now?

There are a select few people in the world who have developed a system of earning passive income whether from their investments or the type of businesses they have. Some of them like Tim Ferriss are young! They’ve found a way to live the life they want without being chained to a desk from 9-5.

Why Not Retire For a Little Bit?

Moving to the Caribbean has shown me that life won’t be over just because I quit a job to do something else for a little while. I think we all just live with this fear that if we leave our jobs to try something else, we’ll screw up our lives.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. When I moved here, I had no idea what I was doing. I left a job with the federal government – a pretty secure job that a lot of people wanted. I was scared, but I did it anyway. I came here with debt and without any job prospects, but eventually, it all worked out because of a little bit of luck and a lot of work ethic.

So, I ask you, why not just save up $30-$50k and live somewhere else for a year? Just retire for a little bit! You never know who you are going to meet, what opportunities will come up, or what you’ll learn along the way. You can always go back to your life as it was before, but after an experience like that, you’ll never be the same (and it is awesome!)

It’s Okay To Be Different

The type of people who dream bigger when it comes to their life and money goals are the type of people who are different. They see a bigger picture than the typical American culture of go to college, get a job, save up, and retire. They have wanderlust and an entrepreneurial spirit. They’re not afraid of trying new things until they get it right, and if they have kids, they see it as a chance to show their kids something unique, rather than worry about uprooting them from their routine.

I’m Not Sure Where I Fall

I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum. I do know that my experiences over the past two years have shown me that anything is possible and that life doesn’t have to be as cookie cutter as we think it should be. I’m going to go through a lot more changes over the next few months as we move away from the Caribbean and back to the States, except now I won’t be job-hunting. I’ll be working for myself, something I never even considered until I took a step outside of my comfort zone and dreamed a little bigger.

What are some of your dreams? Have you ever wondered how to make them bigger?

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. A year ago, I would reply to this that you are crazy! But I’ve recently lost my job and decided to try blogging full time. I make a decent income part time and want to see what I could do full time. I’m not never going back to a 9-5 job, but in the short term, I need to see if I can do this.

    The media makes you think you have to stay at a job until you are 65 and save, save, save just to have a chance of retirement. But you can get there however you want. These next 6 months might be a total failure, but I’ll as least have tried and because of that, I am OK with however it turns out.

  2. Having been abroad four months with anothe two to go sometimes I have to pinch myself! I worry that it may be hard to settle back into normal life after this, but I genuinely am looking forward to settling down and putting down roots again.

  3. i think its awesome that you were able to pull off the move and the switch to a simpler life, and i envy you.. if i was going to do something like that, it would have had to be before i had kids (too late) or after they move out of the house (perhaps).

    there is certainly nothing wrong with busting free of the status quo.

    • I’m glad we did it pre-kids too as it would have been hard with them. At the same time, there are lots of families down here doing the same things with us. Some of them have 3 and 4 kids, and the kids absolutely love it here going to the beach every day. It’s just as fun for them. 🙂

  4. I always dreamed bigger! My mantra is impossible is just an opinion! When I reached financial freedom, I had that feeling. I almost immediately started businesses to fill the void. I expect when I leave teaching, I will look for things to fill the void. I expect it will be different though. I want to maintain my flexibility.

  5. Alex @ Searching for Happy says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the fear of screwing things up.

    I’m not facing my fears in quite the same way you are, but I’m definitely facing them (at least in a tiny way) with some of my plans now.

  6. After college I took off for a year of travel and it cost me about $10k. For a family, your $30-50K estimate is pretty accurate. My traveling was backpacking and not very comfortable but you can take a superb 3 months break on $10k. Many of my friends say they could never afford it but buy a slightly cheaper car and you can have the money for it.

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