Author Topic: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?  (Read 1472 times)

FlorenG

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Hi!

Last year I jumped into the pursuit of FIREness guns blazing. I was good at saving to begin with so it's been a question of optimizing investing and tax avoidance and for that I read all I could, listened to many blogs, and run my own numbers in different scenarios and what not. That was fun, I love learning and improving things.

However, there are two side effects that I don't care so much for and I have the feeling that many other people may have gone through this as a phase too.

1) I don't particularly love my current job and I'm taking steps to change that, but I wonder if since I started thinking about FIRE I've been obsessing a little too much about the idea of not having to work for a salary and it is actually taking away from me enjoying the present time. Does thinking too much on how awesome FI would be makes me think that not having achieved it (yet) sucks?

2) For the most part I've chosen the portfolio and my strategy and I'm trying to stick to the plan. I know that trying to react/time the market is a bad idea and I tell myself to keep my hands off the investments so they do what they are supposed to. Regardless, I find myself checking my numbers WAY too often (pretty much every day). It's not that I have caused any serious damage (so far), but I'd rather use my brain bandwidth for other things given that the investments are better let alone.

Is this normal? Will it change on its own or should I take any steps to go back to a 'healthier' life?

Basenji

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 04:08:12 PM »
Is this normal?  Totally
Will it change on its own  Probably
or should I take any steps to go back to a 'healthier' life?

There have been lots of threads over the years about this exact question. This does not detract from your personal experience of the Mustachian problem, nor do I mean to imply that it isn't important. It is.

Keep learning. Once you get over the first flush of excitement, there will still be lots to learn and adjust. You'll adjust to each life event, new job, rent vs. buy, etc. And it's good to relook at expenses from time to time and see if all seems correct, aligned with your values, etc.

Focus on the plan and how your job (the one you have or the one you get in the future) is important to the plan (ya gotta make the cash to stash). ETA: What I mean is, sometimes try to reframe and say, I'm going to be free thanks to the money I earn at this job. Even if it sucks big time.

Live your life frugally but joyfully. If you have cut back too hard and there's no fun anymore, you've cut back too much.

Step away from the non-optimal money shuffling. Schedule a time once a week, month, quarter, whatever and look then. Otherwise, don't look.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 04:24:53 PM by Basenji »

WalkaboutStache

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 07:53:11 PM »
You know, I was struggling recently with the same issues. I read 2 good things that helped me.

1. A book called The Power of Now. There is a fair bit of new age woowoo in it, but the essential philosophical point of avoiding constant projection into the future and concerns about the past is solid.

2. The post below, and the previous one he mentions. Really good insights from a less exoteric perspective.

https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/8cqbss/build_the_life_you_want_then_save_for_it_update/?utm_source=reddit-android

Good luck!

FlorenG

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 09:18:42 PM »
Thanks for the answers.

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Schedule a time once a week, month, quarter, whatever and look then. Otherwise, don't look.

I think that's probably what I'll end up doing. Right now I feel that it's become a little bit of a weird addiction and I need to reduce the frequency of the doses.

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I'm going to be free thanks to the money I earn at this job. Even if it sucks big time.

Hmmm, I estimate it may still take me ~5 years and that's, in my view, too long to keep doing something that sucks. The question is does it truly suck or am I so excited/obsessed with achieving FI that knowing that it is going to take a while makes me impatient and so I enjoy my job less than otherwise I would?

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I read 2 good things that helped me.

I liked the post and sounds like the book is precisely about the subject I'm worrying about. I may read it, but I confess that self-help-ish books are not my favorite kind of literature...

ChpBstrd

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 09:35:29 PM »
1) I'm right there with you. Six-ish years to go and it's hard to pay attention in meetings. Of course, if I was mentally present I'd have a much better chance of getting a raise that would make it 5 years. I'm aware of this, but mental discipline is easier said than done.

2) Boredom is starting to creep in and I think I'm slowing down checking the net worth updates every day on the Mint.com app. Yes, it's still zig-zagging right along, just like every day. I keep coming back though because work is even more boring than watching zig zags.

I think FIRE fantasies are a form of escapism, and my life is super-boring. Doing the same job day after day is tedious, and money is the only thing keeping me locked inside on beautiful spring days. I need new personal projects or interests to be excited about, but there's no time when I come home from work, do all the household stuff, and feel exhausted. It would be ideal if I could apply my mind to work and simultaneously entertain myself while getting shit done, but for whatever reason I'm not able to force that interest upon myself. I'm thinking about switching to a dumb phone, because internet addiction is probably part of this.

Basenji

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 09:44:37 PM »

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I'm going to be free thanks to the money I earn at this job. Even if it sucks big time.

Hmmm, I estimate it may still take me ~5 years and that's, in my view, too long to keep doing something that sucks. The question is does it truly suck or am I so excited/obsessed with achieving FI that knowing that it is going to take a while makes me impatient and so I enjoy my job less than otherwise I would?


That's what I meant, sometimes we get impatient for RE and it makes our job dissatisfaction worse. I should have been more clear. I had that syndrome, tons of people on the forum have that syndrome. I wrote "the job you have or the one you get in the future" meaning, don't just suck it up if you can get a better job, but also try to be happy, reframe a sucky situation as best you can.

FlorenG

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 07:42:49 AM »
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I think FIRE fantasies are a form of escapism, and my life is super-boring.

Well, as John Lennon says "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". It is funny that we are aware of what the problem is, but as you say it takes mental discipline to avoid the pitfalls.

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I had that syndrome, tons of people on the forum have that syndrome.

It helps to know that :)  Taking specific actions to avoid this syndrome is the next step. For starters I'll limit the times I check my accounts, maybe once a week for starters and then reduce it to once a month, which I think sounds more balanced.
 

dcozad999

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 09:36:56 AM »
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I think FIRE fantasies are a form of escapism, and my life is super-boring.

Well, as John Lennon says "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". It is funny that we are aware of what the problem is, but as you say it takes mental discipline to avoid the pitfalls.

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I had that syndrome, tons of people on the forum have that syndrome.

It helps to know that :)  Taking specific actions to avoid this syndrome is the next step. For starters I'll limit the times I check my accounts, maybe once a week for starters and then reduce it to once a month, which I think sounds more balanced.


I always liked this quote as well:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
 If you are anxious you are living in the future.
 If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

― Lao Tzu


Plan for the future, learn lessons from your past, but live in the present.

Easye418

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 10:19:29 AM »
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I think FIRE fantasies are a form of escapism, and my life is super-boring.

Well, as John Lennon says "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". It is funny that we are aware of what the problem is, but as you say it takes mental discipline to avoid the pitfalls.

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I had that syndrome, tons of people on the forum have that syndrome.

It helps to know that :)  Taking specific actions to avoid this syndrome is the next step. For starters I'll limit the times I check my accounts, maybe once a week for starters and then reduce it to once a month, which I think sounds more balanced.


I always liked this quote as well:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
 If you are anxious you are living in the future.
 If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

― Lao Tzu


Plan for the future, learn lessons from your past, but live in the present.

AWESOME quote.

Definitely the middle comment.... I have terrible anxiety, just the way I am made though.  I hopefully we lose some of that when I get the debts in my life gone.

Laserjet3051

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 03:28:06 PM »
I'm still learning, but it is absolutely crystal clear that being "present" in the moment is the answer to your question. The more I have been able to achieve this state of mind, the less I "worry" about some future that may or may not come to fruition and the more I enjoy (feel joy) in the moment (pursuit of ...).

ramengurl

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 09:05:26 PM »
I would say your totally normal, because I'm in similar boat.  I keep semi planning my post FIRE life that may not even happen instead of being more present in the moment.  Like instead of just sucking it up and going to work, I could be building more skills and shocker actually taking more risk and finding a better job.  But instead it almost feels like my steady predictable income kinda irrationally became tied to my FIRE goals.  But the numbers thing you will get over once you get your flow, that is actually probably the one thing I should be more steady on.  I really like the idea of scheduling a set time , in my case to force myself to to review regularly.  I find that the better the weather is or the more I know I'm not going like my numbers the longer I withhold from checking.

Hmm perhaps if you feel bored a no FIRE hobby like yoga or exercise of some sort would help.  I might do that myself now that I'm thinking about this :)

drachma

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2018, 01:45:56 PM »
question to some previous posters:

how is "living in the present making me happier" not just Stockholm Syndrome aka lying down and taking it? If you are in a situation you don't like is it not right to feel some discomfort, which should motivate you to change it? I have read plenty of books, such as the power of now and books with a similar philosophy. I even practice forms of meditation / awareness / presence. But nothing has ever answered this question to me.

FLBiker

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2018, 02:41:48 PM »
I have terrible anxiety, just the way I am made though.  I hopefully we lose some of that when I get the debts in my life gone.

I have to disagree.  I also had terrible anxiety.  We aren't (initially) made that way, though.  We are conditioned to be anxious by how our life happens.  And we can be reconditioned.

For me (in response to the OP and the quote above) meditation has been extremely helpful in not obsessing about the future.  I've gotten pretty involved with a local Buddhist community, and I find myself much less fixated on my FIRE date.

FlorenG

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2018, 03:03:06 PM »
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if you feel bored a no FIRE hobby like yoga or exercise of some sort would help.

Ha, I go to the gym almost every weekday and I have more hobbies than I can take on :)   That's in part why I can't wait to have financial independence so I can negotiate/find options that allow me to spend more time doing things that I like as much as my regular work, which I do like, it's just that it takes too much of my time :)

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how is "living in the present making me happier" not just Stockholm Syndrome aka lying down and taking it?

I don't think "living more in the present" is synonymous with lack of action. But my problem is not so much that I need to change my current job because it sucks (it doesn't) but that I'm so excited about the idea of early retirement that the fantasy in my head is keeping me from enjoying the 'journey'.

I have already taken all the actions I consider reasonable to achieve FIRE soon enough, but no matter how well things go, it's still going to take a few years. So now that it is setup and in motion, I want to figure out how to stop obsessing about it and focus more on day to day life.

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meditation has been extremely helpful in not obsessing about the future.

I keep trying to do meditation and fail to be consistent at it, but I like it and there might be something to it. Maybe one day it will stick...

Easye418

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Re: How you learned to stop worrying and love the pursuit of FIREness?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 01:39:39 PM »
I have terrible anxiety, just the way I am made though.  I hopefully we lose some of that when I get the debts in my life gone.

I have to disagree.  I also had terrible anxiety.  We aren't (initially) made that way, though.  We are conditioned to be anxious by how our life happens.  And we can be reconditioned.

For me (in response to the OP and the quote above) meditation has been extremely helpful in not obsessing about the future.  I've gotten pretty involved with a local Buddhist community, and I find myself much less fixated on my FIRE date.

I get what you are saying as well, I think we will both agree to disagree with one another.