Author Topic: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout  (Read 6824 times)

cbj86

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Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« on: April 05, 2015, 11:36:19 PM »
Sorry for the book, but I originally wrote this question to gather my thoughts.  I wasn't originally planning on posting it, but wanted to write it to help me sort through my thinking.  But I'd honestly love your feedback.

I discovered MMM and FI sometime back around 2011, and have been pursuing it avidly every since.  I'm 29 years old now, and have always had a savings bug.  At the time, I would make myself goals without purpose like "I'm going to spend a minimum of 1k less than I earn every month".  I'd tell myself, someday I'll spend it on a fancy car or some other silly thing*, but even then I knew that wouldn't really make me happier.  Luckily I found this world (and all the connected sites) which helped me find a purpose for that savings bug.  I finally started making my money work for me.

I have data dating back to 2010 on my spending habbits, and back to 2009 on income (when I graduated college).  Before I even knew about FI, my savings rate was around 30~40%.  But as I kept reading and learning more and straight up becoming obsessed with FI, I kept pushing to get there quicker.  I use a two year rolling window to calculate my savings rate, and by March 2012 I got it to 50% and it hasn't dropped below since.  I've been above 55% since December 2013, and just got above 60% in March this year with a nice tailwind as some large expenses are about to roll off.  Most of the growth has come from maintaining my college lifestyle and growing my income through 3 promotions at a company that values its employees.  I'm lucky to work for this good a company even though I'm avidly pursuing the opportunity to be FI and be able to choose not to.

I have two goals for FI.  The first is I'd love to have more freedom in the choice of how to spend my time.  I'll probably still continue working in some capacity, but not nearly as many hours.  I have so many hobbies and interests that I can't pursue either due to lack of time or lack of energy since I've already spent it elsewhere.  The second is as a form of insurance.  There is a history in the men in my family of really rough midlife crisis** that they don't quite recover from.  My grandfather had one around 50 and it took him over a decade to be able to return to work.  My dad had one in his 40s and went from the corner office to now a decade and half later just working minimum wage jobs.  My grandfather was helped by an inheritance that kept him afloat, my mom kept our family going.  FI is my way of knowing that if this ever strikes me, I'll be OK and won't be a financial burden on those around me.

The reason I'm here is because I'm worried I'm approaching burnout and find myself contemplating hoping back on that hedonic treadmill like a "consumer sucka".  I'm about 9~10 years away right now mathematically*** with a spending level that isn't full mustachian.  I had a crazy realization today, and wouldn't mind y'all either poking holes in it or helping me be ok with it (and I'm pretty sure I know which way you're going).  I'm split right now.  I never wanted to look back from my 60% savings rate.  If I went back down to 50%, that's 4 more years**** to FI for me from where I'm at now.  Not worth it.  But here's the thing, my two reasons for FI were being able to own my time and insurance against lack of the ability to work.  What I realized today is, if I increased my spending by a whole 25% (going from a SR of 60% to 50%) and know I could reduce it back to my current levels, it only adds a year to my "insurance" date.  I.E. the date my stash can cover my current spending levels that I could go back to.  I could still own my time through extended part time work around the same time as well.  That trade off suddenly sounds tempting.

I spend on just me a bit more than the whole MMM family spends, but haven't paid off my house yet either and live in a higher cost of living area.  My budget basically breaks down into fixed/accepted costs (include housing, food, auto, utilities, and work-related expenses) and "everything else" costs.  Everything else includes all shopping (sports equipment, clothes, furniture, electronics, eating out, etc), entertainment, travel, gifts, etc.  Currently, after all my accepted costs, I usually have around $200-$300 a month left over for that everything else category.  So this 25% increase in spending is a huge increase to this everything else category (potentially more than tripling it).  I would use this money to treat my friends more often (I enjoy entertaining), spoil my parents a bit, update my wardrobe and furniture from the college hand-me-downs (quicker than I'm currently doing it), and take maybe one more traveling vacation each year.  I'd use some of it on a high school team I coach, and put the rest into house improvements.  Obviously not all this would happen every month, and honestly I might not even spend it all if I allowed myself to, but that's a pretty big increase in my financial flexibility that can go towards some things that have value to me.  The mustachian in me knows I can stretch that money really far.

At a cost of 4 years till FI, I question its value.  But when I phrase it in terms of my goals for FI (own my time and insurance), the cost of 1 year***** and some part time work (which I'd probably be doing anyway post FI, I have a habbit of making money at my hobbies) sounds worth it.  Am I being a consumer sucka?  Have I thought this through right?  I'm not going to make any drastic changes in the next couple months, but I have stopped trying to push my savings rate past 60%.  If I'm still feeling this way in a couple months, I may start slowly taking my foot off the gas to see if the extra spending and wiggle room do help.  If I'm just a little burnt out right now, hopefully the spring and nicer weather will energize me.

Thanks for reading my way too long post.  I appreciate any thoughts or feedback as I work through this new idea.

* There is a specific story here for a specific silly thing which is a good one for another time.
** This is what they like to call it.  It's probably something bigger.  My fear is it runs in the family.
*** Assuming I carry on the same life.  I know this could change very easily, especially as I'm a single guy who wants a family if I meet the right girl.  Also, I may transition to part time before hitting FI depending on the situation.
**** I phrase things in terms like "costs 4 years".  I recognize these numbers aren't that precise.  It being exactly "4 years" isn't what's important to me, but it gives me a baseline to think through the impact of my life choices.
***** Whenever I finally get to FI, I'm going to suffer from "1 more year syndrome".  I already know it.  I deal with it when I get there.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 01:50:49 AM »
Only you can decide how Mustachian you want to be. It is easy to be conflicted.

Today, I dropped $300 on a gas powered hedge trimmer. I already had a perfectly good electric one, but I have grown to hate the hassle of the cord. I feel guilty about the spending. Despite the guilt, I don't regret. It will make my yard care easier. It also delayed my retirement by a week.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 06:50:42 AM »
I'll give you my answer as a personal analogy.

When I was still working a job, I would really get into doing the work.  I would basically "go on a mission."  So I would work like hell, put in lots of hours, just basically live the work.  And then...

Sooner or later the day would come when, all of a sudden, I absolutely did not want to work.  This would happen sometimes at the beginning of the day and sometimes right in the middle of doing something. I learned not to push it when that happened.  I would simply close up shop and take time off.  Sometimes that would be just the balance of that day; sometimes a couple of days.  And that absolutely refreshed me.  It reset my work capacity gauge and I was cheerfully able to resume.

I think the same can be done with regards to spending and frugality.  When and if it becomes "too much" take a break.  Not a sabbatical, a break.  Your frugality muscles will be rested and you'll be ready to get back on your frugality horse.

Good luck.

cbj86

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 08:03:04 PM »
"It is easy to be conflicted."

-It certainly is.  This is the most conflicted I've been in the 4 or so years I've been pursuing FI.

"Your frugality muscles will be rested and you'll be ready to get back on your frugality horse"

-This is a really good metaphor and helped me understand my situation better.  Thanks!  I habitually overtrain for some of my hobbies.  I now schedule rest days in advance so I don't do that anymore.  Maybe I pushed a little too hard recently in my attempt to get over the 60% hump.  I hate the idea of giving it up, but if I'm still feeling as conflicted in a couple months, maybe I'll rest up, let myself drop a little below, and see how I feel then.  I can always reattack it once I feel my energy come back.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 07:04:51 PM »
I think you're doing quite well cbj.  Focus on your ideal life, not on frugality and depriving yourself.  Align your spending with your values, and then you can avoid frugality exhaustion.  Congrats on your success so far!
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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 07:38:01 PM »
My wife and I have 3 budgets.
We do not worry about some kind of rolling average.

We make a broke budget.  This is bare survival.  If you (in our case both of us) lost our jobs, this is how much life costs.  Even this still has a little tiny bit of luxury.
We have a poor budget.  This is actually our normal budget to reach the goal of saving extra money.  Say, reaching your FI goal; which we are too looking to do.
We have a rich budget.  When we decide we need to go on a vacation or want to be rich for a month, we switch to this budget.

I think you might benefit from having multiple budget plans.  For both directions.  You have your budget right now.  Let us call that the middle one.
What you need to do is make yourself your Broke version and your Rich version.

Then take yourself a month of that Rich budget and go enjoy some of that money you are saving.

For your reference our monthly expenses on these three budgets for 2 people are; 2k, 2.5k, and 3.5k.  If that helps you any.

We also plan to FI based on the broke budget + Dream jobs.  As opposed to retiring.  A "Hobby" that turns into making money would be what we call a Dream job.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 08:24:33 PM »
If I'm understanding and interpreting your post correctly, I'd guess that we have a similar personality type. Anything I do is done at 100% capacity. I really can't help it. Burn out is a periodic occurrence for me. As another poster alluded to, part of what's key is finding a way to reset. Regardless of how hard you're willing to work there are mental limits. For example, I've gone a period of weeks where I work or study essentially all of my waking hours. At some point I'll be trying to get work done, and my brain will just stop. I'll stare at a spreadsheet for 25 minutes having no idea what I'm looking at.

When this happens I have to force myself to take a break for whatever period I can afford. Mindless television, believe it or not, can really help. Part of my issue likely stems from the fact that my genuine interests are finance and economics. If I find myself looking at interest rate spreads, backtesting, etc., my mind is not getting a break (regardless of the fact that these are things I truly enjoy).

Increasing your monthly discretionary spending may or may not be the answer. You don't have to decide to increase your spending every month for the next couple of years right now. I'd suggest you find ways to "reset" right now, whether it involves spending a little more or not. After successfully resetting, you can revisit the decision. That would be the right course of action for me. If you identify with what I'm describing, then  this type of thing might work for you.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2015, 08:22:27 AM »
To me it sounds like money, frugality, and FIRE, have been at the top of your priorities for a long time, at the expense of mental energy put into other activities.  Maybe instead of spending more money, you need to do something new.  Something to take your focus off FIRE.  Have you tried a new hobby or a new skill?  Since you will likely direct 100% effort to that, it might draw your mind away from concentrating on your budget.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 09:27:04 AM »
Looks like you have 6 or so categories of things you really enjoy and would like to increase your spending on.  Do any and all of them, just pace yourself.  We went on a bit of a hedonic binge a few years ago, then pulled back when I got serious about knocking out FI.  What I have noticed is that we still do all the same things we enjoyed before, we just do them less often.  +1 on winter getting you down, this winter was tough on me, but now that it is warming up and the days are getting longer, I feel much better in general. 

With severe burnout (possibly depression) running in your family and being single, it might not hurt to ask a trusted friend to help keep an eye on you and raise the alarm if things start to look shaky. 

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2015, 12:14:20 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story, insights, goals & struggles cbj.  I've experienced similar feelings along my journey. 

Initially when I caught the FIRE bug, one of the main aspects that appealed to me was the whole anti-consumption awakening.  I finally realized that buying newer, shinier, bigger widgets won't lead to happiness. 

However, I also have come to learn that simply amassing more money doesn't lead to happiness either. Boosting savings rate from 50 to 60, or having $100k vs $200k really has no impact on your life enjoyment.  Don't get me wrong, growing the stash and pursuing FI is a worthwhile goal.  But happiness and life satisfaction has to come from some other place.  Figuring out what you value and aligning your life with those values is more important than obsessing over spreadsheets.  If you're at a point where you're avoiding enjoyment to move the numbers, the money is controlling you your life.  I've been there.  You could try putting an action plan in place to get back in control of what matters & let the money take care of itself for a little while.  Then set a date to re-evaluate things.  Maybe next quarter, 6 months, whatever works for you.  My bet is you'll still be right on track w/ your financial targets but will have a greater sense of liberation.

cbj86

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2015, 09:09:11 PM »
So much good insight, I'm glad I posted this.  Thanks for all the help, everyone!

Align your spending with your values, and then you can avoid frugality exhaustion.

Thinking through your response, I think I didn't understand my values fully.  I understood my goals for long term independence, but I didn't understand my values for the present term.  I'm going to take some time to reflect on this.  I may have been discrediting how much I valued some convenience items I considered superfluous.

We also plan to FI based on the broke budget + Dream jobs.  As opposed to retiring.  A "Hobby" that turns into making money would be what we call a Dream job.

This is a really good way to think through things.  This "crisis" was spawned by the idea that I was calculating FI off currently spending levels, when it would costs so much in time (very valuable to me) if I was able to drop my spending post FI back down.  But I don't really plan to retire, I just plan on spending more time on my hobbies.  And almost all of my hobbies, I've ended up earning money on in the end accidentally.  My dream job may be hucking peanuts at a baseball stadium for a summer, or teaching kids at a YMCA, or trading equipment/items in a hobby I pick up later.  But thing is, I'll probably make money at it.  I've considered picking up jobs at a mechanic shop for a year or two post FI just to learn as a sort of apprentice.  I don't know what interests I'll have in 10 years, but it's good to remember that with additional time, I should be able to work that into my financial plan much easier.

I'd guess that we have a similar personality type. Anything I do is done at 100% capacity. I really can't help it.

...

I'd suggest you find ways to "reset" right now, whether it involves spending a little more or not.

You nailed it.  I've described myself before as someone who's either 100% or 0% at all times.  I think I'm going to delete the budget spreadsheet for a few months.  I'll still think of value when I'm deciding on spending, but I won't worry about it's impact to FI.  I'll still review at the end of every month.  If I go way off track, I'll adjust back.  Combining with what another response said, I think I'm struggling understanding the value tradeoffs between my short term wants and long term wants.  If when I relax a little in the short term, it doesn't have a great impact for the long term, I think that is the way I should continue on.  If I find it adjusts it too much, it'll be time to really try to understand the balance of those values for me.

To me it sounds like money, frugality, and FIRE, have been at the top of your priorities for a long time, at the expense of mental energy put into other activities.  ... Have you tried a new hobby or a new skill?

In the past few months, I've taken a hobby I've had for the past year (Ultimate Frisbee) to the next level by coaching a high school team and am preparing to play for a high level club team in the summer.  I've also been described as a bit of a serial hobbist by some of my friends.  Every 6~12 months, I've got a new hobby I'm 100% in on.  Some I stay with for years, but for the most part, I get most of my enjoyment from going from the beginner stages to near advanced.

But I think you hit the point, FIRE has been my top priority at the expense of understanding my short term values.  I'm going to be doing a bunch of reflecting on this over the next couple months.

We went on a bit of a hedonic binge a few years ago, then pulled back when I got serious about knocking out FI.

...

With severe burnout (possibly depression) running in your family and being single, it might not hurt to ask a trusted friend to help keep an eye on you and raise the alarm if things start to look shaky. 

I've always been a "long distance runner" type guy.  Slow and steady progress.  I kind of like the analogy of a "Fartlek" workout here as a way to adjust.  Rather than just concentrate on going the distance, I can alternate periods of intense activity (high earning work, low spending) with lower (more hobby time, more home improvements, etc).

I asked my sister to do exactly this.  She recently moved out of town, and I shared my family history with a good friend who is a doctor.  I asked him to call timeout on me if he ever notices something weird.  I trust him fully if he ever does this.  I'm debating adding a third person to this trusted circle.  I have a friend in mind already, its just a heavy topic to bring up.

Initially when I caught the FIRE bug, one of the main aspects that appealed to me was the whole anti-consumption awakening.  I finally realized that buying newer, shinier, bigger widgets won't lead to happiness. 

However, I also have come to learn that simply amassing more money doesn't lead to happiness either. Boosting savings rate from 50 to 60, or having $100k vs $200k really has no impact on your life enjoyment.

This is the story I didn't share in my initial piece.  Before I learned about investing and FI, with my high savings rate, I quickly saved a large sum of money (~$30k) within a year or two out of college.  At the time, I knew I didn't want a house, or a car, or fancy clothes.  I had all the electronics I really wanted, and I was very happy with my consumption levels.  My big hobby at the time was poker and I was earning more playing cards on the weekends than I was for my regular job.  So I started searching for things to spend the money on.  My family had a heirloom that was stolen from my parents before I was born, an gun owned by my great great uncle (by marriage) that was given to my parents in his estate.  He was a relatively famous person, but no one that anyone besides historians would probably recognize the name.  I thought about trying to find another gun he owned to buy, and the only one I could find cost over $20k.  It took me about a day of debating the purchase to realize I needed to find a better purpose for my money.  Within a couple of months, I had found FI and was ecstatic.

You are 100% right that a larger account won't add to my satisfaction levels.  I kept saying, "but this means you'll be able to buy your time sooner and be more satisfied then."  Well, looking at my life, I have everything in place to be 100% satisfied.  I have a great group of friends, and really good hobby (between coaching great kids and playing on a really fun team), and if I had to pick any job, I really enjoy mine (but not enough to do it if money didn't matter).  I've been thinking way too much in the long term, and need to shift some of my focus back into the now.  That'll mean relaxing a little when the team goes out for beers after a long weekend tournament, and other things like that.  I need to be more in the now.

...

I seriously can't thank you all enough for the time you put into your responses.  You've given me a bunch to think about and ponder.  As I'm in my kinda of holding period here, you can be sure I'll be rereading these a few times to make sure I understand all the wisdom you are passing on.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2015, 09:39:22 PM »
So much good insight, I'm glad I posted this.  Thanks for all the help, everyone!

Align your spending with your values, and then you can avoid frugality exhaustion.

Thinking through your response, I think I didn't understand my values fully.  I understood my goals for long term independence, but I didn't understand my values for the present term.  I'm going to take some time to reflect on this.  I may have been discrediting how much I valued some convenience items I considered superfluous.

YAY!  I love that response.

This will be a valuable exercise that will not only help you now, but is worth revisiting at least every few years.

Too often we spend without thinking--or in the Mustachian case, don't spend without thinking.

Whenever I review our annual spending (once/yr) to look at the categories where we spent money the year before, I often purposefully try to increase spending in certain areas that align with my values that I don't feel I spent enough on, that I let slip.
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zurich78

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2015, 09:17:41 AM »
I think I'm approaching burnout as well.  When I first started, I had some very specific goals.  Save an 8 month emergency fund.  Ok, did that.  Max out the 401K, ok, yep, did that. Clear out all of my IRAs and move to 401K to allow for backdoor Roth.  Done.  Now, max out the Roth, ok, yeah, got that going now.  Open a taxable investment account and start putting funds in there, ok all of my leftovers are going in there.

I've got cushions to cover unexpected costs like a car repair, or a new computer, without touching the e-fund, so I pretty much have everything covered.  Now, all I can do (for the most part) is sit and wait.  I find myself updating my spreadsheets that I use to track my retirement accounts (I have them spread across 3 different institutions, T Rowe Price, Fidelity and Vanguard) a lot more often now which I kind of hate.  I also look at my AA and to give myself something to do, sometimes I go in to my 401K and re-allocate.

For me, I think I just need a new financial goal. There are some projects I want to do around the house, but it's all cosmetic.  I'm going to start siphoning some of the money I put in to investment accounts to fund those projects.  Yes, I realize that will impact my ability to FIRE, but, in order to keep it going, I have to find some short-term goals to focus on and work toward.  Just the way I work I guess.

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2015, 10:04:42 AM »
Without consciously doing it, I've suffered FI push burnout several times in my life.

In my 30's I remember having $100k in cash in the bank (in addition to having a robust 401k, IRAs, etc) and being depressed about working too much or not working at all.

I seriously contemplated quitting and going to work at a McDonald's or Starbucks for minimum wage to not have real work stress due to politics at my professional job then.

The problem was time, trends, and money were not on my side.  I was making too much money to quit...even though money is not everything, walking away from a pile of money is tough no matter what. 

I was in my 30's, I was a puppy still (just didn't really realize it), and if I decided to RE back then I'd be seriously bored with all of the energy and motivation I had, after I recovered from burnout.  Finally, generally you make the most money in your 40's and maybe top out in the 50's.  I didn't want to give up the highest period of earnings in my upcoming life just because I was tired of work.  Things could always be a LOT worse, so I stuck with it.

Now in my 40's, I look back and realize I made the right decision.  I am high income...without having to suffer too much about stress. I changed jobs a few times which increased my pay even more, to where it is a bit absurd to be making the money I am for what I'm doing.  A lot of luck but also perseverance.

You have a LOT of life ahead of you, a lot of growing up and life experiences.  Don't throw away the most productive years of your life over the obsession on FIRE now.  Focus on work, and also take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

I am very frugal but I have also enjoyed the rewards.  I have had sweet vacations to the islands, bought nice cars to enjoy (all used, never new to avoid serious depreciation), and done things that I thought were worth the trade off for the money I saved. You only live once. I don't want to have to be bootstrapped all the time and have a mentality of a cheapskate 24/7. 

Most of all, enjoy this journey. You have a goal, work on it, but don't obsess over it. Time flies by and you'll be in your 40's, 50's wondering what the hell happened. Having more money won't suck. Quite the contrary, you will have more freedom with more money.

Good luck!

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2015, 10:09:43 AM »
Thanks for sharing your story, insights, goals & struggles cbj.  I've experienced similar feelings along my journey. 

Initially when I caught the FIRE bug, one of the main aspects that appealed to me was the whole anti-consumption awakening.  I finally realized that buying newer, shinier, bigger widgets won't lead to happiness. 

However, I also have come to learn that simply amassing more money doesn't lead to happiness either. Boosting savings rate from 50 to 60, or having $100k vs $200k really has no impact on your life enjoyment.  Don't get me wrong, growing the stash and pursuing FI is a worthwhile goal.  But happiness and life satisfaction has to come from some other place.  Figuring out what you value and aligning your life with those values is more important than obsessing over spreadsheets.  If you're at a point where you're avoiding enjoyment to move the numbers, the money is controlling you your life.  I've been there.  You could try putting an action plan in place to get back in control of what matters & let the money take care of itself for a little while.  Then set a date to re-evaluate things.  Maybe next quarter, 6 months, whatever works for you.  My bet is you'll still be right on track w/ your financial targets but will have a greater sense of liberation.
Yup, one of the most difficult things I've had to learn was how to spend money.

Generating money was not the problem...spending money appropriately was.

I had peers on similar career track as me...but they were wearing $1k shoes, $600 shirts, $2-3k Rolex's, driving brand new luxury cars trading in every year or two...all the while saving very little.

This kind of excessive consumerism sickened me.  I disassociated with those people quickly. I value my freedom above all.  A shiny $100k car simply won't bring me $100k in happiness.  $100k in the bank gives me the opportunity to sleep soundly at night, and go to work with a relaxed attitude that shiny objects simply can't buy.

What's amazing is the wretched spending I see around me every day.  I make good money. I see people who make less money than me acquiring boats, luxury cars, toys I would barely be able to afford at a financially responsible level...those folks are really lost in their spending.   I drive a 10 year old beater that is very anonymous but reliable.  It makes me happy that I can replace my vehicle if need be with a single paycheck.  That made me very proud.  But that may be a little excessive in the miserly space...

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2015, 10:26:32 AM »
as a single person living on what MMM lives on you should already be living a pretty baller lifestyle.  I'm married and we live on about double what MMM does and i would say our lifestyle is crazy good and most people would be apauled at what we do in these forums.  to each his own.  model it to fit your needs.  my projects have me in the same 9-10 year ranges as you and i'm still looking to cut spending b/c we have a lot of fat.

Doulos

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2015, 02:28:23 PM »
I was going back through some MMM articles today and found one that seems relevant to this topic.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

Stop worrying about money.  You are rich.

little_owl

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2015, 05:17:45 AM »
Hi!  I am a little late to the party, but have a few ideas.

First, for some help thinking through your values, the VIA Character Strengths survey is a really cool tool to help you get started: https://www.viacharacter.org/www/  Sometimes it can be overwhelming to "figure out what you value" - since you likely value a lot of things!  so, this could be an interesting input to that process.

Second, I noticed your post had a lot of detail about your savings rates, but not the mission / vision of why you are pursuing FIRE.  I found FIRE to be more meaningful to me when I started to create a vision of what life would look like once I got to that elusive point.  Then, I could make more rational trade-offs - is this African Safari worth splurging on now, compared to working a few extra months in the future, YES, because one of the main things I want to do when FIRE is more travel and wildlife conservation - so, go for it.

The FIRE burnout can come from lasering in so much on the numbers, data, without the vision.  And, a tedious life for 8, 9, 10 years - no thanks.  I'd rather live a meaningful, reasonably frugal, life I enjoy now, too.  Finally, if you are like most of us, you'll continue to see income grow.  My income in the first 8 years out of school grew exponentially, and once you start to throw in things like stock options, etc - companies that value good employees are generally good to those employees.  Sounds like you are there, so embrace that, too, and keep asking for what you're worth!

Bearded Man

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Re: Help: Avoiding FI Push Burnout
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2015, 11:35:38 AM »
I think a lot of people can be FI NOW if they are willing to relocate or restructure their lifestyle a little. Also, the pile of cash high income allows one to save is hard to give up, even when you are burned out. It causes you to burn out even more. It becomes an endless cycle and self fulfilling prophecy.

Point is, if you are burnt out now, and still have 9 years to go, I think you have a problem. That problem will compound itself as your income rises. Yes, you can quit sooner, but it will be hard to give up that money, which is ironic, because your job will become more stressful as your income rises, which will burn you out more, but then there is that money...saving more than the median household income every year, while your investments make several times that each year and just keep growing because you add more and more money. Eventually you get to a point where you are just going through the motions, even submitting to situations you would have fought hard for, only because you only care about the money, because at the end of the day, THAT'S what matters.

When you find a way to decouple from this pattern, let me know.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 02:57:43 PM by Bearded Man »