What Do You Want Your Life to Be Like in Five Years?

on a cruise in San Diego 5.5 years ago!

Today I want to hear from you about your dreams and ambitions!  Tell me how you envision yourself living five years from now.  What do you want to accomplish in that time? What transitions will you go through?


In five years Kyle and I will be thirty-two!  I see us on a beach near San Diego playing with our 1-2 small children.  We both have PhDs; Kyle has finished one postdoc and has a research position in academia or private industry in San Diego and I have had at least one job that uses my education.  I guess my image of us on the beach reflects a lifestyle of quality time together and appreciation of living in such a wonderful place.  (When I asked Kyle what he wants in five years, he said all of these things plus he wants to have won a prestigious research award for young principal investigators!)


These are some other things that I might want to happen in the next five years:

  • travel or live overseas (we have yet to leave North America!)
  • buy a house in San Diego
  • learn to live on one income (Kyle’s) (may be incompatible with previous point)
  • live in one more city before we settle down
  • buy one new-to-us car
  • reach a satisfactory body composition goal and return to it post-pregnancies
  • set up a flexible-time, location-independent job/source of income so that I can work from home/anywhere


We’re not concretely working toward any of these goals aside from achieving the PhDs and telling everyone that we plan to move to San Diego (does that count as networking?).  Once Kyle secures a job we’ll have a better idea of what years 1-4 will look like and whether we’ll be able to start saving for a car or a house or a baby.  I am continually tweaking my diet and exercise efforts to get closer to that goal weight/size/fitness.  I think  we have a chance of achieving our dream within five years and the only area I feel I should be working more on than I am is setting myself up for a post-PhD flexible job.


Where do you see yourself in five years?  Are you on track to get there?


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26 Responses to "What Do You Want Your Life to Be Like in Five Years?"

  1. Emily too says:

    I’m not going to get into an idealistic vision involving exactly where we live and what we’re doing, since I think a lot of that is out of our control. But I guess my realistic vision for 5 years from now is that my husband will have an academic and/or medical job, I will have finished my PhD and also begun a fulfilling career in the same city, we’ll be raising our first child, we’ll have a big trip behind us (Europe or Pacific NW?), and hopefully we’ll be making enough money to save more for retirement and college funds. It would be great to live somewhere that fits our general preferences – large college town or any city that’s not NY, in a cool to moderate climate – and to have a career specifically in my field, but we figure family first, and are trying to be as flexible as we can beyond that.

    How are we doing on those things? He’s networking and looking for postdoc opportunities, I’m trying to get better informed about career options in different fields, network, and gain practical experience, and we put our wedding gift money into savings for travel somewhere in the pre-kids future, although we still need to save some more for that.

    The areas we could probably be doing better are that I could perhaps be trying to generate more income and experience to set myself up for a career and give us some more financial cushion, and we really should be following job listings more faithfully to give us an idea what we’ll be in for 1-2 years from now. The trade-off is that we don’t want to get distracted and slow ourselves down for graduation. We also aren’t saving anything for a replacement car or a house, which isn’t a dream of ours, but there are many places we could end up where renting is a really bad deal in comparison. If those things come up we will have to raid whatever savings we have, frankly – we could cover an old used car out of emergency funds but a house down payment, probably not.

    1. Emily says:

      It’s definitely best to have your priorities worked out (“family first”) before the big decision points come. Kyle and I have agreed to prioritize his career so I hope that will stave off some I-got-a-job-here no-I-got-a-job-here arguments. Sounds like Kyle is where your husband is and I’m where you are. We also struggle on how much time to spend job-seeking vs. getting to graduation.

  2. SWR says:

    Well, obviously I hope that we’re both happy and healthy; and maybe we’ll be parents or thinking about becoming parents.

    I would like to be searching for my second job in my field, which may necessitate a move-and possibly the purchase of our first house. He has either finished his masters had decided to wait until our move to pursue it. Financially, I would like our only debt to be my student loan, if anything at all. We will have taken at least one major vacation, and will each have seen all 50 states.

    As to how we’re doing? I am searching for and working towards that first job, even though I’m still in school. I am taking the kinds of courses that will help me specialize and position me well for my second job. He is debating the grad degree, but is also still looking for a place to land and work his way up in his field. We are being as frugal as we can be, without feeling completely deprived.
    SWR recently posted..We are broke. (For now.)

    1. Emily says:

      What program are you in and what is your boyfriend considering?

      I’ve done a lot of “career exploration” during grad school but very little concrete job-searching. Next year I’ll really have to ramp it up.

      How many states do you have left to get to 50?

      Sounds like there is a lot of uncertainty in your future regarding jobs and moves and houses, just like ours!

      1. SWR says:

        He is debating between a masters (or PhD) in social work and an MBA-like program for nonprofit managers. I have about 20 states to go; he has closer to 35.

        And yes- our plan does sound really vague! 5 years from now is going to be another transition year for us!
        SWR recently posted..My parents have no idea how much my student loan balance will be.

  3. David says:

    I want to have ~2 kids, the house paid for, and be self employed in a way that I can work from anywhere with internet access.
    David recently posted..Weekly Favorites

    1. David says:

      Oops, I missed half the question… am I on track to get there. Yes, at our current rate of paying down the mortgage it will be complete in August 2019, I’m assuming that our income will go up and we can apply more to the principal over time.

      Producing the kids is easy, raising them will be the tough part 🙂

      1. Emily says:

        How about the location-independent work?

    2. Emily says:

      Basically, living the dream within 5 years!

  4. In five years I’d like to be married and have babies. Am I on track? Probably, I just can’t see how yet.
    Kathleen @ Frugal Portland recently posted..Snowflaking Debt, and a Giveaway!

    1. Emily says:

      Do you see yourself staying in Portland?

  5. Our mortgage will be paid off in 35 months….so in 5 years we will be working and saving and probably traveling a little more. We will also be saving for retirement at a rapid pace! My kids will be 8 and 6 =(
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Why Being Out of Style is Cool

    1. Emily says:

      35 months is no time at all! It’s interesting that just 5 years from now you will be employing your money so differently.

  6. Pretty funny, I was asked earlier today if I was where I thought I would be today five years ago. The answer to that question was a big no, but the answer to yours is more along the lines of I have no clue. Hopefully I will have finally launched my career and/or gone back to school. Handled a good chunk of my debt (assuming no more surprises, we should have everything paid off in 8 or 9 years). Possibly a little Edward or Edna (j/k, I wouldn’t inflict that name on my daughter) running around. Mostly, I’m playing it by ear. As the saying goes, life happens when your busy planning it.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..How to Repair Window Screens

    1. Emily says:

      How about Edwina? 😉

      I think we need to strike a balance with planning. I wrote before about how I don’t want to drift through life, but I also don’t think I should hold my plans so tightly that there’s no room for opportunity.

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