Author Topic: SWAMI Advice  (Read 2954 times)

stephen902

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SWAMI Advice
« on: October 11, 2019, 09:21:42 PM »
Well folks, today is the day. The market had a nice bump, and as a result I hit my FI number.... For me, FI is really a spectrum. When I hit a 7-figure net worth I was entering a spectrum, but today I hit 1,000,000 invested and a comfortable home without a mortgage. I know I could FIRE now and be fine. I also know I love my job. I do not want to quit, but the feeling of being free is so elating I can't began to describe it. Given where I'm posting this, I don't think I need to.

I'm posting this because I feel a bit out of sorts - in a good way, but lacking a little direction now. I've been on this mission for YEARS. I'm 37 years old and my wife is 38. We have two kids - 3 and 4. We've adopted a lifestyle where our housing and transportation are both great; Our food and entertainment are a little higher, but reasonable. Our habits have developed to the point where I don't think we could ever have significant lifestyle bloat.

What do I do now? Seriously, WTF do I do now? Money has been losing it's utility to me for the last year. My kids already have nice 529s (about 50k each). I'm not quieting my job because it's a source of pleasure and satisfaction to me. I typically give at least 10% of my income to charity - which is actually hard to find worthy causes to be honest.

On the problems... Oh the woes... sorry if this sounds like a brag post. It really isn't meant to be. I'm thinking tonight in front of my computer with a cup of coffee just trying to think of what to do next.

Phase one of my financial life was super easy - pay off debt. I had about 100k in student loans and 200k in a mortgage. Every time my account got over 5k, I would dump it into debt. Easy. During and after that time we maxed out a 401k and a 457.

Phase two was when I became debt free. Excess monies got invested into index funds except I own part of a commercial building worth about 350k.

Now it's phrase three - FI... I don't want to cut back on work. I don't want to travel more. I don't desire any more 'objects' or 'stuff' or a nicer car (I have a beautiful 2007 Rav 4 - purchased for 6k about 2 years ago - which works great), or anything I can possibly think of. I can't think of any person or organization that I want to support outside of my current monthly donations. My wife has no desires that money can obtain.

Directionless. Just keep getting more money? I'm definitely going to start contributing to more charities but probably not a lot more than 10%. I've been chasing FI for so long, now that I've got it I don't know what to do next. Any advice?

Stephen

PS. Of course over the past few weeks I knew this was coming simply depending on the vicissitudes of the market. Because of this, I actually bought an Iphone 11 Pro and a series 5 watch. I talked myself into it, and I can tell you it was a completely unnecessary purchase, and it added no significant value to my life. I'm feeling more directionless than ever from a financial standpoint. 

ysette9

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2019, 09:58:38 PM »
So why are you aiming for FI? Why have you cared about what your number is? Why do you track it closely enough that you know you have now reached your goal? Surely you set the goal because it was going to give you something. Maybe you just enjoy the process and don’t know what to do with the prize once you finish the race?

I encourage my husband to brainstorm with me. He is very practical so it is hard to get him to go on wild flights of fancy like I do all the time, but he is slowly getting better. Sit in a quiet spot with a glass of wine and ask yourself what wild things you might want to do. Or not wild things. Out of the box things. If you could do anything, what might that entail?

For me it is questioning where we live. I always wanted to live in another country and now I have a lot of specific reasons and experiences I want to give my kids. Hobbies? I want to volunteer for habitat for humanity and learn cool skills and use my hands to do useful stuff. And play music again. And get in great physical shape. And have time to read all the books again. And learn hang gliding. And get better at French. And do more hiking and camping. And spend me time hanging out with my husband. Etc.

Surly you can think of a similar list of random stuff you would like to do if you had the time and freedom.

If you explore everything out there in the wild green earth and work is still the best thing out there, then so be it. But I’d question your brainstorming skills if that really were the case.

FreshlyFIREd

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2019, 02:44:10 AM »
Surprise! I think you are experiencing contentment. How many people actually experience this? Take your time, enjoy it.

stephen902

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2019, 01:23:47 PM »
So why are you aiming for FI? Why have you cared about what your number is? Why do you track it closely enough that you know you have now reached your goal? Surely you set the goal because it was going to give you something. Maybe you just enjoy the process and don’t know what to do with the prize once you finish the race?

That was very helpful. Thank you! The reason I wanted FI was for security. I reminder a powerful quote that helped me: “Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferraris – I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it.” Charlie Munger.

thanks for helping me remember!

stephen902

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2019, 01:24:17 PM »
Surprise! I think you are experiencing contentment. How many people actually experience this? Take your time, enjoy it.

100%. Nothing changes. Thank you

Fru-Gal

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2019, 01:31:02 PM »
Perhaps you are experiencing the shocking truth, which is that in fact money doesn't really matter. Of course it's a truth that only the financially independent and those who are completely off the grid know.

Work, on the other hand? That really does matter. (Also known as purpose.)

I love to read posts like this, so thank you. I hope you find your direction. Plenty of adventures await with you being young and your kids being only 3 and 4. Also consider how you will model purpose and frugality for your children now that you have crossed this milestone.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2019, 01:54:27 PM »
I recommend applying gentle pressure at work (not so gentle if necessary?) to ensure that your tasks increasingly reflect the things that bring you satisfaction.  Opt out of any drudgery.  Let management know that is a requirement to keep you and you are fine if that impedes your advancement or the size of your annual raise/bonus. 

You have been an optimizer for years and there is nay but one thing left to optimize!

ysette9

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2019, 02:07:47 PM »
So why are you aiming for FI? Why have you cared about what your number is? Why do you track it closely enough that you know you have now reached your goal? Surely you set the goal because it was going to give you something. Maybe you just enjoy the process and don’t know what to do with the prize once you finish the race?

That was very helpful. Thank you! The reason I wanted FI was for security. I reminder a powerful quote that helped me: “Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferraris – I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it.” Charlie Munger.

thanks for helping me remember!
I’m glad you took that as helpful and not overly cheeky. ;-)

feelingroovy

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2019, 08:43:12 AM »
I see this issue in my future very soon.

Two things:

You may find helpful this list of the seven stages of financial independence by Joshua Sheats:

https://affordanything.com/stages-financial-independence-joshua-sheats/

According to this you just hit 5 of 7. I recommend listening to the actual podcast, at least skip to the section on stages 5-7. It's fascinating and it's just the dilemma you're facing. He goes into a lot more detail in the podcast.

From the perspective of now having teenagers applying to college, $50k sadly doesn't go very far, even for a state school. So depending on your philosophy of what you plan to cover for your kids, you could always build up those funds a bit.

infromsea

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2019, 01:29:13 PM »
PS. Of course over the past few weeks I knew this was coming simply depending on the vicissitudes of the market. Because of this, I actually bought an Iphone 11 Pro and a series 5 watch. I talked myself into it, and I can tell you it was a completely unnecessary purchase, and it added no significant value to my life. I'm feeling more directionless than ever from a financial standpoint.

First, congrats!

2nd, looks like you've stepped off the hedonic treadmill, welcome to the crowd! The crowd of folks who don't seek fulfillment from material things.

Now, the hard part. At some point you "took the red pill" and realized that taking certain actions would result in an uncertain, but free, future (well done!).

NOW,

You've taken the "next-level red pill" (I have a philosophy around there being multiple "red pills" one of which is realizing the impact of marketing on our lives, the other is working towards financial security, the other is coming to terms with healthy diet and exercise, the other is about the lack of a "self".... more to follow as I age...) and you realize that this goal that you've been working towards has been achieved and NOW WHAT?

The Buddhist part of my brain says "enjoy, be content, life is good!" come to terms with where you are and what you have, take a breath and recognize that it was the JOURNEY to FI that provided the most value, it is the path so to speak, not the destination. However, the Buddhist though also tells us that desire = suffering, in this case, desiring to be FI eventually lead to suffering since, when you reached the goal, you recognized that you are the same person, with many of the same thoughts/desires/ideas etc. even after FI.

The humanist side of me says that our species likely needs challenge/meaning/a little suffering to grow, it is the rare member of our species that can truly set aside all desire/need for growth/desire to strive.

I would suggest that the "work" now is to decide what "else" is important to you. Why did you want to achieve FI (as other posters have asked) and what are you going to "do" with it? For what it's worth, I'm in a similar situation and working through some of these same questions and have even "backed off" from FI/extreme frugality in order to balance life and security. I have found that seeing a counselor and getting them to call me out on my BS and listen to my ramblings has been very helpful (NOTE: I've got a dumpster fire of other personal issues going on and coming to terms with post-fire angst is only one part of the dynamic).

In addition, I'd suggest working with groups/volunteering at places that bring your meaning and staying plugged in to your local FI/MMM groups.

Lastly, as an achiever, striver, it's probably time to "find the next mountain" even if it's contrived/might not "sit" well with the FI/MMM crowd/other groups you are a part of, finding that long term obstacle that will challenge you and lead to growth may give you peace of mind, just remember to take it slow and enjoy the process, it's often more valuable than the "arriving".

Books/Ideas:
- Wherever you go, there you are, Kabatt-Zinn
- The courage to be disliked
- Principles by Dalio
- The three body problem (life is short, enjoy a little non-fiction!)
- Sam Harris meditation APP

Best wishes on your journey fellow traveler.

Tim

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2019, 09:56:27 AM »
What would you do differently, how would you feel differently, how much safer do you think you would be if you had $10M (maybe the largest round number I picture you being able to reach given net worth and age) invested instead of $1M.  If the answer is 'nothing much', I think you just have to accept the fact there are no more financial goals/actions that are going to mean much to you anymore.  But its just one area of life, you're gonna have to find challenges in other areas now.  Certainly there are other areas in life you feel you need to make some serious progress in that can now receive the time and effort put into becoming FI.  That's kinda one of the points of becoming FI, right?  Making/saving money to secure our current and future needs takes up so much of our time and effort, becoming Independent from the worries of assuring these resources for ourselves and our families free you up for the many other worthy challenges out there.

I'm definitely not preaching, I'm in the middle of this myself.  For me there are desires to leave or at least mostly phase out work, but that of course has the problem of freeing up MUCH MORE TIME that needs to be filled with new challenges.  That's always been the good thing about work for me no matter how I otherwise felt about it...it generally takes care of the having challenges part.  But surely there are plenty of that out there beyond work for me that are even more worthy of my time?  Again, I'm, obviously in the middle of this myself.....
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 10:03:12 AM by Much Fishing to Do »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2019, 12:03:35 PM »
Not a full answer, but I find that being more generous toward other people who I sense are deserving, motivated, and working hard to improve their circumstances is a very satisfying way to share my good fortune.  You said that you are charitable but it does not feel fulfilling, so I get the sense that you are not getting a 'hands on' experience or are stuck in a routine.  Charity should not just be writing a check, although that can be helpful also.  But even that can be tied together with an activity like running a race...  Or you could start putting this same money away in a donor adviser fund and turn your retirement into a philanthropic journey.

Good luck, I'm interested to hear where you go from here!

infromsea

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2019, 12:19:58 PM »
Paula Pants interview with Ryan Holiday (it was in my podcast stream today) is very relevant to this thread/discussion, I recommend giving it a listen and Holiday's books, while not that deep, are often helpful and a value-add.

LoanShark

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2019, 03:07:04 PM »
PS. Of course over the past few weeks I knew this was coming simply depending on the vicissitudes of the market. Because of this, I actually bought an Iphone 11 Pro and a series 5 watch. I talked myself into it, and I can tell you it was a completely unnecessary purchase, and it added no significant value to my life. I'm feeling more directionless than ever from a financial standpoint.

First, congrats!

2nd, looks like you've stepped off the hedonic treadmill, welcome to the crowd! The crowd of folks who don't seek fulfillment from material things.

Now, the hard part. At some point you "took the red pill" and realized that taking certain actions would result in an uncertain, but free, future (well done!).

NOW,

You've taken the "next-level red pill" (I have a philosophy around there being multiple "red pills" one of which is realizing the impact of marketing on our lives, the other is working towards financial security, the other is coming to terms with healthy diet and exercise, the other is about the lack of a "self".... more to follow as I age...) and you realize that this goal that you've been working towards has been achieved and NOW WHAT?

The Buddhist part of my brain says "enjoy, be content, life is good!" come to terms with where you are and what you have, take a breath and recognize that it was the JOURNEY to FI that provided the most value, it is the path so to speak, not the destination. However, the Buddhist though also tells us that desire = suffering, in this case, desiring to be FI eventually lead to suffering since, when you reached the goal, you recognized that you are the same person, with many of the same thoughts/desires/ideas etc. even after FI.

The humanist side of me says that our species likely needs challenge/meaning/a little suffering to grow, it is the rare member of our species that can truly set aside all desire/need for growth/desire to strive.

I would suggest that the "work" now is to decide what "else" is important to you. Why did you want to achieve FI (as other posters have asked) and what are you going to "do" with it? For what it's worth, I'm in a similar situation and working through some of these same questions and have even "backed off" from FI/extreme frugality in order to balance life and security. I have found that seeing a counselor and getting them to call me out on my BS and listen to my ramblings has been very helpful (NOTE: I've got a dumpster fire of other personal issues going on and coming to terms with post-fire angst is only one part of the dynamic).

In addition, I'd suggest working with groups/volunteering at places that bring your meaning and staying plugged in to your local FI/MMM groups.

Lastly, as an achiever, striver, it's probably time to "find the next mountain" even if it's contrived/might not "sit" well with the FI/MMM crowd/other groups you are a part of, finding that long term obstacle that will challenge you and lead to growth may give you peace of mind, just remember to take it slow and enjoy the process, it's often more valuable than the "arriving".

Books/Ideas:
- Wherever you go, there you are, Kabatt-Zinn
- The courage to be disliked
- Principles by Dalio
- The three body problem (life is short, enjoy a little non-fiction!)
- Sam Harris meditation APP

Best wishes on your journey fellow traveler.

Tim

Really enjoyed your post. Thanks!

2sk22

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Re: SWAMI Advice
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2019, 04:13:45 PM »
Now it's phrase three - FI... I don't want to cut back on work. I don't want to travel more. I don't desire any more 'objects' or 'stuff' or a nicer car (I have a beautiful 2007 Rav 4 - purchased for 6k about 2 years ago - which works great), or anything I can possibly think of. I can't think of any person or organization that I want to support outside of my current monthly donations. My wife has no desires that money can obtain.

I see a lot that's familiar! The one best thing you can do in my opinion is to start studying something. Pick a subject that's hard: math, philosophy, astronomy, a foreign language. Alternatively, you can learn a difficult craft - say woodworking or metal working. As long as you keep learning, you will be happier.