Author Topic: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?  (Read 1988 times)

YTProphet

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How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« on: January 14, 2021, 10:38:20 AM »
So I just finishing paying off my mortgage, and that was the culmination of about 10 years of debt pay-down. Started with my student loans and then went on to my house, and in all I paid off around $525,000. I did some investing along the way once the loans were gone, so current situation is that I have about $300k in retirement plan money, a little cash, and a $450k paid-for house on a base salary of $185,000. Bonuses and side hustles put me in the low $200s.

However, I'm feeling a bit lost without another big goal. I have kids and have started saving for college for them, but I feel like these next 10-15 years are going to be boring from a financial perspective. I won't retire until my kids are done with college, so FIRE isn't really in the picture for me. I also don't want to go back into debt, at the same time I want a reward for my work and I'm tempted to buy a vacation house that I can use for a month or two a year and rent out the rest of the time. And so I waffle between a fear mentality (which is debt-averse and boring cause it's just saving) and wanting something exciting (which to me is financed real estate since I can't currently pay cash).

Give me some advice on how to still find finances interesting!

ixtap

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2021, 10:43:37 AM »
Why can't your next goal be to save up the money for that dream vacation home? Or dream vacations with the kids?

What does the rest of the family want?

lhamo

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2021, 11:53:46 AM »
What about focusing on non-financial goals instead?  There's a lot more to life than money.

My money stuff is pretty much on autopilot now that I am FIREd.  My new fixation is gardening.

Nick_Miller

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 11:58:42 AM »
I'm no real estate guru, but from my understanding, vacation houses and rental houses are not the same thing. A vacation house is primarily for you, suited to your preferences and priorities. If it provides some income while you're not using it, fine. But it likely won't be optimized for profit.

I just say because that's a BIG freakin' decision you'd be making $wise, so I'd suggest you figure out if you primarily want a second home for fun or if you really want it to provide solid returns and be a piece of your overall investment plan.

reeshau

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 02:37:09 PM »
Why would becoming a millionaire be boring?  It seems like a lot of people aspire to it, or at least say they do.

GuitarStv

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2021, 02:39:13 PM »
Make new goals.

ixtap

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2021, 02:47:46 PM »
Why would becoming a millionaire be boring?  It seems like a lot of people aspire to it, or at least say they do.

It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

What about focusing on non-financial goals instead?  There's a lot more to life than money.

My money stuff is pretty much on autopilot now that I am FIREd.  My new fixation is gardening.

This is probably the best answer. We still peek once in awhile, but while we are aware of financial milestones ahead, we have actually met all of our long term goals. DH has some short term stretch goals, but they are more about managing cash flow than actually changing our savings rate.

Freedom2016

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2021, 04:02:33 PM »
It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

Wait. What? Where are we?

Freedom2016

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 04:03:45 PM »
It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

Wait. What? Where are we?

OP, you say you won't be retiring til your kids finish college. Why? Is something stopping you from retiring sooner? Voila. New goal.

ixtap

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2021, 04:04:57 PM »
It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

Wait. What? Where are we?

Wait, what? I could have included a political rant with that?!! Sorry, I have had a bad day and can't keep my forums straight. Sure, a Million might be exciting if it happens to be your FI number, and it is a perfectly reasonable one!

Steeze

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2021, 04:42:29 PM »
I think about milestones-

I have enough saved to retire at 65 if I stopped saving now
I have enough to retire at 60, 50, 40, etc.

Mini-goals: like 529 is fully funded, or house paid off, etc

Or FI components like: I have enough to pay my home insurance for life, food bill for life,  car insurance for life.

For me, I have 25x my housing and food expenses saved. Now I am working on covering the next major item like 25x health spending. Maybe Iíll save up for 25x the cost of a new iPhone every 5 years, or a used car every 10 years, or 25x my vacation budget.

reeshau

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 05:58:03 PM »
It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

Wait. What? Where are we?

Wait, what? I could have included a political rant with that?!! Sorry, I have had a bad day and can't keep my forums straight. Sure, a Million might be exciting if it happens to be your FI number, and it is a perfectly reasonable one!

A million gets interesting because, sometime on the way there, the compounding of your investments outweighs your contributions--you get momentum.  Believe me, it feels different once that happens, and you pay more attention to the investments once they are in the driver's seat.

ixtap

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2021, 06:20:42 PM »
It is boring. You have nothing to show for it. If it is invested, the market could take it away the day after you achieve it. It is just a random number. Slightly more exciting if it happens to be your FI number, but that isn't very common here on bogleheads.

Wait. What? Where are we?

Wait, what? I could have included a political rant with that?!! Sorry, I have had a bad day and can't keep my forums straight. Sure, a Million might be exciting if it happens to be your FI number, and it is a perfectly reasonable one!

A million gets interesting because, sometime on the way there, the compounding of your investments outweighs your contributions--you get momentum.  Believe me, it feels different once that happens, and you pay more attention to the investments once they are in the driver's seat.

I can't get over the fact that in 2020 my growth was what it was precisely because of contributions during volatile times. Or in 2018 I only had growth because of contributions, given that equities were down for the year.

seemsright

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2021, 07:26:57 PM »
I had a hard time when I hit my big goals. I paid off my house and earned my Black Belt (two things that I always dreamed of) within two weeks of each other.

I took on a few things, not having a goal. Doing Triathlons, putting finances on auto, and reading more. I am

Find other things. This year I am working on reading 104 books. It is something that I can control within this Covid environment. 

reeshau

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2021, 05:55:46 AM »

I can't get over the fact that in 2020 my growth was what it was precisely because of contributions during volatile times. Or in 2018 I only had growth because of contributions, given that equities were down for the year.

Sure, you're not there yet.  Your $300k would be expected to make $30k a year, on average.  That's not a small thing, but might match your contributions, with employer match.  Once you have $1M, it will be expected to make $100k per year, and you would have to live much more frugally than you do now to match that.  (Although, given your salary, it would be possible.  But if so, then you would be frugal enough to RE anyway.)

When you start to feel that your investments have taken on a life of their own is a personal thing.  But It's kind of like they're all grown up.  I felt this way about 7 years ago.

Car Jack

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2021, 07:36:19 AM »
I had a hard time when I hit my big goals. I paid off my house and earned my Black Belt (two things that I always dreamed of) within two weeks of each other.

Interesting.  While not weeks, I earned my Black Belt and about a year later, paid off my mortgage.

On the question, in my investments spread sheet, I have a couple boxes that keep me going.  One is $$ to my next goal.  So it could be $20,232 to hit $1M, for example.  I up it every time I hit the goal.  It's currently $$ to hit 3.3M.  The other is "times spending".  I have a running list of expected spending in retirement.  The total is divided into my total liquid investments.  I don't have a goal on this number....it's just informational.  It's currently 52.15.  :)

ixtap

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2021, 09:27:53 AM »

I can't get over the fact that in 2020 my growth was what it was precisely because of contributions during volatile times. Or in 2018 I only had growth because of contributions, given that equities were down for the year.

Sure, you're not there yet.  Your $300k would be expected to make $30k a year, on average.  That's not a small thing, but might match your contributions, with employer match.  Once you have $1M, it will be expected to make $100k per year, and you would have to live much more frugally than you do now to match that.  (Although, given your salary, it would be possible.  But if so, then you would be frugal enough to RE anyway.)

When you start to feel that your investments have taken on a life of their own is a personal thing.  But It's kind of like they're all grown up.  I felt this way about 7 years ago.

I am not sure where you got these numbers from, perhaps you were directing them at someone else? They certainly have nothing to do with my reality. I didn't say that I hadn't reached an arbitrary number goal; I said that I haven't and don't foresee reaching the point were contributions are dwarfed by growth, at least until we downshift or don't have contributions. I specifically pointed to the recent case of a year in which equities were down for the year - growth only existed due to contributions. In that case, it doesn't matter how much you have, contributions make a difference. Earlier this year when we did our semi annual snapshot, the portfolio was up by less than the contributions we had made. That makes you appreciate your contributions no matter your portfolio level or optimistic growth projections. Then the market recovers and you have made more on the lots purchased during the dip than the lots purchased a year prior and you really appreciate it

I do think that part of the different perspective can be income/ savings total. Someone who reaches a million by saving $100k or more for a few years is going to view their growth differently than someone who reaches a million by saving $10k for a couple of decades.

Boll weevil

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2021, 10:00:10 AM »
Depends on what the goal is.

Job: basically Iím at where I want to be at so resist significant change (my current and 2 previous managers have asked about me becoming a lead. No.)

Retirement savings: I make the assumptions more conservative. Reduce the rate of appreciation and/or increase the amount you expect to spend (especially healthcare and taxes). Depending on your age, assume Social Security wonít be available (maybe it becomes means tested, maybe they just cut everybodyís benefits by, say, 20%).


YTProphet

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2021, 02:25:59 PM »
What about focusing on non-financial goals instead?  There's a lot more to life than money.

My money stuff is pretty much on autopilot now that I am FIREd.  My new fixation is gardening.
Sure seems like this is the answer but I'm much worse at hitting those kind of goals than financials goals lol. I need to lose about 20 pounds and I'm awful at diet at exercise. Just doesn't bring me any enjoyment event though I know it's important.

reeshau

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2021, 03:09:18 PM »

I can't get over the fact that in 2020 my growth was what it was precisely because of contributions during volatile times. Or in 2018 I only had growth because of contributions, given that equities were down for the year.

Sure, you're not there yet.  Your $300k would be expected to make $30k a year, on average.  That's not a small thing, but might match your contributions, with employer match.  Once you have $1M, it will be expected to make $100k per year, and you would have to live much more frugally than you do now to match that.  (Although, given your salary, it would be possible.  But if so, then you would be frugal enough to RE anyway.)

When you start to feel that your investments have taken on a life of their own is a personal thing.  But It's kind of like they're all grown up.  I felt this way about 7 years ago.

I am not sure where you got these numbers from, perhaps you were directing them at someone else? They certainly have nothing to do with my reality. I didn't say that I hadn't reached an arbitrary number goal; I said that I haven't and don't foresee reaching the point were contributions are dwarfed by growth, at least until we downshift or don't have contributions. I specifically pointed to the recent case of a year in which equities were down for the year - growth only existed due to contributions. In that case, it doesn't matter how much you have, contributions make a difference. Earlier this year when we did our semi annual snapshot, the portfolio was up by less than the contributions we had made. That makes you appreciate your contributions no matter your portfolio level or optimistic growth projections. Then the market recovers and you have made more on the lots purchased during the dip than the lots purchased a year prior and you really appreciate it

I do think that part of the different perspective can be income/ savings total. Someone who reaches a million by saving $100k or more for a few years is going to view their growth differently than someone who reaches a million by saving $10k for a couple of decades.

Yeah, sorry--was using OP's numbers as the example, but that wasn't clear at all.

Beach_Stache

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2021, 05:57:40 AM »
I like to do 5 year challenges/tracking.  I track our financials once/year and load the numbers, and project "5 year goals" in the future to see what I think we'll be at, so if I don't hit it or it looks like we're not, I tighten up, if we exceed it I get really excited!  We haven't paid off the house as interest rate is so low after re-financing, which was difficult to switch my mindset, as we were on the rate before refi to pay it off in around 7 years from now.  So I focus on the 5 year projects, and the pessimist in my always says "a crash is coming", so I try to take 30% or so off of our NW just to keep things in perspective.  We hit $1M NW a few years ago, then $1M invested, then $1M retirement accounts, then I hit $1M investments w/o DW in the equation.  We have 3 boys and 3 529 accounts and are doing pretty well there, so I just like to keep 5 year goals and track them.  I get the people who've said that hitting $1M doesn't feel like much, but honestly I enjoy it every time I creep over that milestone!

Next milestone for me is to become a TSP Millionaire, then have DW become a 401k Millionaire, get the boys through college w/minimal debt, pay off the house, etc.

Since you put most of your eggs in the paying off the house basket, just shift gears towards investment goals, hitting certain net worths.  If money doesn't interest you now, then pick up a hobby. 

I don't brag about NW outside of this forum, and to DW, but through conversations in work, older employees who thought they were money savvy quickly learned that they are not even close to my knowledge (and really I'm not good at all - I subscribe to the low cost index funds and set it and forget it), but talking to these people and giving them this basic advice makes me feel like some kind of a genius around them when I give them very basic advice like "save more and spend less", and "you're paying 1.5% for your financial advisor to not even match the S&P500, and I'm paying $0 in Fidelity no-cost index funds" and stuff like that.

That gets me excited when I get a weekly call from a co-worker who needs guidance about money and retirement! 

For a 2nd home, that used to be a dream of mine, having a vacation home, until I bought a home and hated the stress of it.  We had a rental condo b/c we moved in 2008 and had to weather the storm for a bit, and rented for 3 years, and the day we sold was a huge weight off my shoulders.  So you can do that if it doesn't stress you out, but personally I could gain or lose $15k/day on a normal day in the market and it's easy for me to justify, but getting a call for a $200 repair would keep me up at night...  So to each their own in the real estate department, I guess you have to have a certain mindset to own property.

I would aim for smaller goals, having a 1 year goal or really a 5 year goal is good for me, and even before I hit that goal, I'm setting out other goals, so sort of like a CD ladder for goals :)  If you keep up w/mini goals it will help keep you motivated, keep you excited about hitting them, tighten you up when you slip up, etc.   

flyingaway

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2021, 08:55:27 PM »
Get a bigger new house.

bownyboy

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2021, 02:52:10 AM »
We've had any number of goals over the last 9 years including:

FU Money pot
x25 barebones expenses
x25 moderate living expenses
x25 luxury living expenses

£100k invested
£250k invested
£500k invested
£750k invested

Increase liquid networth by £100k in a year
Increase liquid networth by £10k, £20k, £30k in a month

Fill up ISA, SIPPs to the annual allowance each year

We also have plan in January of personal, professional and financial goals for the year. Nothing too long or complicated, but we do a check-in in June and end of year review in December.






kevinb421

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2021, 01:25:52 PM »
I am in a strikingly similiar position. I make about the same as you do but my child is a newborn.

With that income I am finding that I can't help but save a ton of it no matter how hard I try. I still owe on our primary home, but I saved up and bought a rental property for cash. That was a great goal because now I have income pretty much forever on a property that's appreciating.

You have your date that you intend to retire, which seems to be when the kids are in college. This means that you will likely have far far more saved at your retirement date than you'll need even for a conservative withdraw rate.

Again, my position is very similiar and I have really enjoyed spending some of the money we are making now. I have the investments setup to automatically invest about $80k a year and with our current assets will more than set us up to retire in 5-10 years with far more than we need. This still leaves quite a bit left over, as I'm sure you experience at $200k as well.
That "extra" money that we don't spend or invest directly for retirement......get this, it's radical.....we enjoy it.
It goes into a savings account and we agree to pretty much spend it without much thought. It's been very freeing to not have to worry about a decade long goal, because those goals are on autopilot, and focus on enjoying life.
As our income has gone up the purchases from that account have included a $55k cabin on the river that we will spend 6 weeks a year at while I'm working at 3 months at once we retire.
It's included depreciated sports cars and fancy stereo equipment, etc etc.

What I'm saying is that with your income and number of years you are working I would suggest you set an automated investment system and then just enjoy the rest of your money while you're still earning that.

waltworks

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2021, 01:28:50 PM »
If making/saving money is entertainment to you, you're doing something wrong. The whole idea is to have enough that you don't give a crap anymore and can do what you actually want.

-W

YTProphet

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2021, 06:28:11 AM »
If making/saving money is entertainment to you, you're doing something wrong. The whole idea is to have enough that you don't give a crap anymore and can do what you actually want.

-W

I don't think "you're doing something wrong" if making money, doing well in business, etc is entertaining. I've always been competitive and now high-level sports are kinda out of the picture, so I enjoy the competition of trying to succeed in different business-related ventures. I don't overwork (believe me) and spend plenty of time with family and friends.

YTProphet

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2021, 06:35:09 AM »
I am in a strikingly similiar position. I make about the same as you do but my child is a newborn.

With that income I am finding that I can't help but save a ton of it no matter how hard I try. I still owe on our primary home, but I saved up and bought a rental property for cash. That was a great goal because now I have income pretty much forever on a property that's appreciating.

You have your date that you intend to retire, which seems to be when the kids are in college. This means that you will likely have far far more saved at your retirement date than you'll need even for a conservative withdraw rate.

Again, my position is very similiar and I have really enjoyed spending some of the money we are making now. I have the investments setup to automatically invest about $80k a year and with our current assets will more than set us up to retire in 5-10 years with far more than we need. This still leaves quite a bit left over, as I'm sure you experience at $200k as well.
That "extra" money that we don't spend or invest directly for retirement......get this, it's radical.....we enjoy it.
It goes into a savings account and we agree to pretty much spend it without much thought. It's been very freeing to not have to worry about a decade long goal, because those goals are on autopilot, and focus on enjoying life.
As our income has gone up the purchases from that account have included a $55k cabin on the river that we will spend 6 weeks a year at while I'm working at 3 months at once we retire.
It's included depreciated sports cars and fancy stereo equipment, etc etc.

What I'm saying is that with your income and number of years you are working I would suggest you set an automated investment system and then just enjoy the rest of your money while you're still earning that.

Very cool. Feels nice to be moving ahead quickly with saving (though college will bring it to a screeching halt it seems like).

Yeah, we've got saving on autopilot now. Not quite as high as you due to some expenses that I choose to incur, but we've started to loosen up on our spending. In particular, my wife loves Disney so we're probably going to start going there every winter now.

waltworks

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Re: How do you keep going once you've hit major goals?
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2021, 08:30:31 AM »
I don't think "you're doing something wrong" if making money, doing well in business, etc is entertaining. I've always been competitive and now high-level sports are kinda out of the picture, so I enjoy the competition of trying to succeed in different business-related ventures. I don't overwork (believe me) and spend plenty of time with family and friends.

Well, look, you're the one here asking anonymous strangers how to stay engaged/entertained. If that's not a wake up call for you I don't know what is. Find some other avenue to be competitive, there are plenty of masters athletes out there to challenge you no matter what sport you're into. Or start a business of some kind that isn't your primary job. Or help a nonprofit do some kickass fundraising.

There's a lot of opportunity out there to do neat fun stuff. Plugging ever more money into your FI spreadsheet is fine, I guess, but you've already discovered that it's not that exciting anymore after a certain point. You could keep doing it, but you're basically dunking on first graders at this point, right? What's the fun in that?

-W
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 02:56:05 PM by waltworks »