Author Topic: Lack of Progress  (Read 5325 times)

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Lack of Progress
« on: March 15, 2016, 10:53:40 PM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

This has been a rough 12 months for many of us, and as I dump money into my funds and know that, not only am I not ahead from a year ago, but I am a significant amount behind where I was, I find it disheartening. I know that I am 'buying at a discount', etc. but for those of us trying to reach 'early' retirement, the psychology is not the same as someone with decades to go.

I think this is doubly difficult for people in Golden-handcuff situations like me who has been at it for a decade (no longer a bright-eyed overly optimistic newbie investor). I make and save a lot in comparison with others, but I am sticking out a job and lifestyle just to obtain a financial goal. This is hard at the best of times, but over the past year I find it especially demotivating.

Maybe I just needed to vent. Anyways, am I alone?

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 11:30:23 PM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

This has been a rough 12 months for many of us, and as I dump money into my funds and know that, not only am I not ahead from a year ago, but I am a significant amount behind where I was, I find it disheartening. I know that I am 'buying at a discount', etc. but for those of us trying to reach 'early' retirement, the psychology is not the same as someone with decades to go.

I think this is doubly difficult for people in Golden-handcuff situations like me who has been at it for a decade (no longer a bright-eyed overly optimistic newbie investor). I make and save a lot in comparison with others, but I am sticking out a job and lifestyle just to obtain a financial goal. This is hard at the best of times, but over the past year I find it especially demotivating.

Maybe I just needed to vent. Anyways, am I alone?

Read this:
http://jlcollinsnh.com/2012/04/25/stocks-part-iii-most-people-lose-money-in-the-market/

ZiziPB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3273
  • Location: The Other Side
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 07:37:26 AM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

This has been a rough 12 months for many of us, and as I dump money into my funds and know that, not only am I not ahead from a year ago, but I am a significant amount behind where I was, I find it disheartening. I know that I am 'buying at a discount', etc. but for those of us trying to reach 'early' retirement, the psychology is not the same as someone with decades to go.

I think this is doubly difficult for people in Golden-handcuff situations like me who has been at it for a decade (no longer a bright-eyed overly optimistic newbie investor). I make and save a lot in comparison with others, but I am sticking out a job and lifestyle just to obtain a financial goal. This is hard at the best of times, but over the past year I find it especially demotivating.

Maybe I just needed to vent. Anyways, am I alone?

I'm in a similar situation and have some of the same feelings but the one thing I view differently is the fact that I still have decades to go and there is plenty of time for the money I invested over the last year to grow.   

Just keep on saving and investing.  Things will right themselves.

Lucky Girl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 175
  • Location: Boston area
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 07:40:46 AM »
I am feeling this way too.  When I first discovered the MMM site and FIRE, the market was at a high, and the time to goal did not seem too bad.  Ever since my net worth seems to be going down, even though we are at a very high savings rate. 

I am trying to remember a few things:
1) stocks are on sale!
2) it is never a good idea to RE in an inflated market.  Much better to work OMY and have poor sequence of returns while accumulating than in the first few years of RE
3) If I had never found out about FIRE I would still be working longer anyway, so this situation is still preferred to 15 more years of work!

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 10:47:26 AM »
Not alone - sometimes I wonder if the hedonic treadmill (the theory why we always want more and more stuff) also applies to financial goals. At first even the smallest financial successes seem huge, and fluctuations in the market feel less ominous because we are so excited to be doing this thing. We pay off debt, we increase our savings rate, we start maxing our accounts. And then...we plateau. There is only so much to save, only so many methods for investing and generating passive income that are attractive and appropriate for our specific circumstances. If we are already maxing our accounts, and putting aside some taxable investments, or maybe have a property or two...well what else is there to do except tow the line for 2, 5, 10 years until it is enough? Add the volatility of the market- not only are you missing the initial thrill that accompanied achieving the to-do's on your financial checklist, but now some of those to-do's are looking pretty crappy in the immediate future. Double bummer.

We are still in the early stages - just paid off our debt and are now maxing our accounts. But already things are feeling a bit anti-climactic - the intensity that allowed us to demolish the debt and fly through all of our must-do checkboxes has fewer outlets now. We could keep throwing more money in taxable investments, but that doesn't sound nearly as fulfilling as what we just recently achieved. We're going to soldier on, but I suspect that our super intense excitement about FI may start taking a back seat to other passions given that it's not as exciting when you are just in a holding pattern.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 10:50:01 AM by little_brown_dog »

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 12:39:56 AM »
Thanks for the link FIRE me. I have made behavior finance and behavior economics an area of study for a long time. I am aware of the theory and know where the feelings come from, but it is far different in practice, especially after a decade of investing and with the goal of getting out early.

I guess that fact that we must face is that ‘average returns’ over time, and markets in general are not nearly as predictable as we would like to believe (especially with so much government intervention these days). If we have entered a Japanese style era of low-to-no growth, many of us will be working far longer than we ever hoped.
 
My concern is time. I watch myself age, and I watch my children do the same and I am very aware that not everyone will make their goal. Not everyone will have that chance to be free and to enjoy the time while it is still useful. Yes, in several decades when I am 60 this will be a distant memory, but for those interested in ER and relying on traditional investments to get there, it is not really my point.
Lucky Girl, I like that advice, especially 2 and 3. I have not thought of it that way before. Thanks for that. My wife keeps telling me that if we hadn’t tried we would not be where we are, and that is true.

little_brown_dog, those are some interesting points. It is true that at first hitting milestones makes a big difference. Going from debt to postitive, $10,000 to $100,000 etc. I think it is also partly the fact that, when markets go down and you have more in the game, the losses seem larger. The loss aversion is amplified if you get me.

bearkat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Age: 29
  • Location: California
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 02:59:24 AM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

This has been a rough 12 months for many of us, and as I dump money into my funds and know that, not only am I not ahead from a year ago, but I am a significant amount behind where I was, I find it disheartening. I know that I am 'buying at a discount', etc. but for those of us trying to reach 'early' retirement, the psychology is not the same as someone with decades to go.

I think this is doubly difficult for people in Golden-handcuff situations like me who has been at it for a decade (no longer a bright-eyed overly optimistic newbie investor). I make and save a lot in comparison with others, but I am sticking out a job and lifestyle just to obtain a financial goal. This is hard at the best of times, but over the past year I find it especially demotivating.

I'm assuming you're saying it's been rough because of stock market performance over the last 12 months? And not some personal stuff?

The S&P was at 2,072 a year ago and yesterday it was at 2,027. Throw in the dividends and you're basically flat for the last 12 months. I shutter to think how rough it will be one we technically leave this bull market. Now if all your money was in emerging markets, then I can understand your "rough time period" better.

Abel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: USA
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 04:32:46 AM »
Reflecting on this: I think one has to acknowledge that the Mustachian thrill of knocking down debts and re-orienting one's financial decisions also operates on its own "hedonic treadmill". It's a thrilling step when you go from zero to $10,000 in that taxable investment account. A few years into the journey, $50k to $60k might not be so dramatic, (or $550k to $520k with a negative market swing) and you might be doubting that you'll make it happily to the destination.

You're in a position where you're making and saving a lot...perhaps you're in a position to still achieve your financial goals with a less punishing lifestyle, concurrent with a career change? It has to be said that there's a psychological / behavioral side to all of this, and burnout is not sustainable. Better to have a sustainable lifestyle that allows you to FIRE happily in 15 years, than an unsustainable one that leaves you stressed and unwell after FIRE in 8 years.

I think you have to be careful not to put the cart before the horse. The numbers are just symptoms of your savings rate and the market swings. Focus on a simple life, well-lived, maximizing the Position of Strength, and you'll get to your destination. It's a virtuous circle, and the financial independence side of that circle is probably *less* important than the sides of less materialism, more opportunities for giving and sharing, and a more resilient lifestyle.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/11/11/get-rich-with-the-position-of-strength/

ransom132

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 05:21:34 AM »
I remember 2 years ago, I was at 50000$ something and it didn't take me long to reach the 60K$, last year I also hit 70K$ net worth pretty fast early in the year....however since then I have been stuck between 70K$-80K$ for many months, before the small market correction of last year starting with the Greece crisis, I was confident to hit the 90K$ mark in 2016, but seeing how the market has fared so far this year, I would be very lucky just to reach at 85K$ by the end of the year. But on the other hand, I love the fact that the shares are less pricier than last year, I still remember when I was paying for 31$/share on VXC and VCN was also near that amount, now they are both under 30$/share (at one point VCN was at 23$/share).

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1468
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 05:54:09 AM »
This blog is the perfect place to vent your frustrated thoughts.   Go ahead blast away get it out in the open.   Now, breathe in...breathe out...move on.   Go to work and make that dollar.  Save that dollar and buy good investments.  VTSAX is the easiest.   There are so many more.  It takes time to smooth out the rough patches.  It hurts to see your account lose money.  Good news is, it has come back every single time in history so far.  Individual companies may go bankrupt.  The broad index never has and most likely will not.  It will return to average gains with time.  My base area of my home flooded this past week.  So many things were stashed away that I'd forgotten.  One neat thing I found was my notebook from 1993 with my daily net worth tabulations.  The first entry was $9,939.  I was proud of that $9,939 dollars and thought I was on top of things in 1993.  I had a mortage at the time and didn't consider the fact that I had a negative net worth at the time.  To lose $1,000 in paper loses in the stock market at the time was mentally taxing. Time marched on.  When the accounts reached $100,000 years later to lose $10,000 in paper loses was just as mentally frustrating.  Time marched on.  The mortage was paid off and greater savings acculated with time and debt freedom was realized.  The housing bubble market fallout came and wiped out years of gains.  In the same time my wife was out of work for two years caring for our sick child.  We were debt free, still invested what we could and time marched on.  The oil bust of 2016 just hit and wiped out some of market gains, in fact recently I was down over $100,000.  Time marched on.  I'm currently down about $30,000.  The accounts are worth in excess of 1.3 million now.  There is no debt.  There is somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 in checking and savings for emergency funds at all times.   We still work and will save with company contributions between $75,000 and $100,000 this year and lack nothing we desire.  If we see a 10% gain year hit we will increase our NW by $150,000 to $200,000.  If we lose 10% we are at 1.2M something.   I'm no longer mentally frustrated losing money now like in 1993.  Time moves on.  Get here.

dandypandys

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 446
  • Age: 43
  • Location: USA
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2016, 07:04:21 AM »
subbing
i am just starting out compared to most people here, with 100,000 in my retirement fund, it is a bit disheartening when you guys talk about the 1M, haha, especially after 15 year in my professor job full time ugh .. i keep seeing personal rate of return in the minus range, for agesssssssssssss now, despite employer match totaling  15% savings a month.. I am however, paying down my mortgage fast, that is a super fun goal 44k to go!

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2016, 07:24:52 AM »
This blog is the perfect place to vent your frustrated thoughts.   Go ahead blast away get it out in the open.   Now, breathe in...breathe out...move on.   Go to work and make that dollar.  Save that dollar and buy good investments.  VTSAX is the easiest.   There are so many more.  It takes time to smooth out the rough patches.  It hurts to see your account lose money.  Good news is, it has come back every single time in history so far.  Individual companies may go bankrupt.  The broad index never has and most likely will not.  It will return to average gains with time.  My base area of my home flooded this past week.  So many things were stashed away that I'd forgotten.  One neat thing I found was my notebook from 1993 with my daily net worth tabulations.  The first entry was $9,939.  I was proud of that $9,939 dollars and thought I was on top of things in 1993.  I had a mortage at the time and didn't consider the fact that I had a negative net worth at the time.  To lose $1,000 in paper loses in the stock market at the time was mentally taxing. Time marched on.  When the accounts reached $100,000 years later to lose $10,000 in paper loses was just as mentally frustrating.  Time marched on.  The mortage was paid off and greater savings acculated with time and debt freedom was realized.  The housing bubble market fallout came and wiped out years of gains.  In the same time my wife was out of work for two years caring for our sick child.  We were debt free, still invested what we could and time marched on.  The oil bust of 2016 just hit and wiped out some of market gains, in fact recently I was down over $100,000.  Time marched on.  I'm currently down about $30,000.  The accounts are worth in excess of 1.3 million now.  There is no debt.  There is somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 in checking and savings for emergency funds at all times.   We still work and will save with company contributions between $75,000 and $100,000 this year and lack nothing we desire.  If we see a 10% gain year hit we will increase our NW by $150,000 to $200,000.  If we lose 10% we are at 1.2M something.   I'm no longer mentally frustrated losing money now like in 1993.  Time moves on.  Get here.

I always appreciate it when you take the time to post something like this (I've seen others in the past), bateaux (are you cajun by any chance?). It gives me hope! Sounds like a rough patch when you had a sick child.

To the OP, are you really not ahead of where you were a year ago? Do you track your net worth as well? I am Canadian and our year was much rougher than the US (down ~17% in 2015; though we are also invested in US and international stocks). Some days I feel like we are going nowhere and in January and February we definitely lost more than we saved for those months and then some. But over the last year, our net worth has grown substantially and our investment accounts have grown by a decent amount. When I start to feel like what you are describing, I look over those numbers and it makes me feel better. I have been loosely tracking net worth since 2010 and even though I only discovered MMM a year ago, we made progress during every one of the past 6 years. I sometimes need to be reminded of that.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 07:43:36 AM by Travelling Biologist »

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2016, 07:41:17 AM »
I only just started investing (and seriously saving) a year to year-and-a-half ago, and I feel like it's been nothing but losses since day one. I made a bad decision in my 401k that lost me ~$1000, so any gains we're starting to see now are countered by that. I know I shouldn't even check it, but I can't help it. Just hoping to see some light. My IRA is bleak as well, but less so since I don't have the same bad decision haunting me there, and my newest contribution is already up from when I invested it last month. But, ugh, still net losses all over the place.

I don't even have $50k net worth yet, and even a modest $100k seems unreachable right this moment.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6744
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 08:59:35 AM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

I don't let 12 months of investing performance get into my head. It's literally a blink of an eye in FIRE terms. If a flat year is freaking you out I'd advise you to evaluate your investment plan. What are you going to do when something really bad happens and you are down 35%+? If you don't have the stomach for the asset allocation you have chosen it's better to figure that out sooner than later.

Personally I try and look at my portfolio as little as possible. I have a spreadsheet setup that shows me % by ETF compared to my asset allocation so I can direct my monthly additions to rebalance things. I don't look at the total value at all.

Once a year I'll evaluate my change in net worth and see how I am doing.

If I could automate my addition and rebalancing process without incurring higher MERs I think looking at my investments once per year is about how often I need/want to get updated.

ransom132

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2016, 09:43:20 AM »
I only just started investing (and seriously saving) a year to year-and-a-half ago, and I feel like it's been nothing but losses since day one. I made a bad decision in my 401k that lost me ~$1000, so any gains we're starting to see now are countered by that. I know I shouldn't even check it, but I can't help it. Just hoping to see some light. My IRA is bleak as well, but less so since I don't have the same bad decision haunting me there, and my newest contribution is already up from when I invested it last month. But, ugh, still net losses all over the place.

I don't even have $50k net worth yet, and even a modest $100k seems unreachable right this moment.
Your situation is the same as mine with the only difference me being a Canadian. Before finding out about MMM, I was invested in mutual funds and it is only last year I started following MMM and began investing in the Canadian Couch Potato portfolio model (ETF's)...however my first dollars invested with Vanguard ETF's arrived at the same time as the Greece crisis and the oil industry hurting the Canadian market....so I understand you when you say it's been a rough past year. But I stay optimistic, I remember in '08 when the US had their share of problems and I remember losing 20-25% that year...what were going through this year is nothing (yet)....but I also remember how everything went up (especially between 2012-2014) and not only I recouped my losses, but I made alot of money...so I feel the same thing is going to happen eventually, it's just the "when" that is hard to predict. Right now, I just keep saying "Stocks are for sale"...that is the only way not to be discouraged.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2016, 10:08:52 AM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

I don't let 12 months of investing performance get into my head. It's literally a blink of an eye in FIRE terms. If a flat year is freaking you out I'd advise you to evaluate your investment plan. What are you going to do when something really bad happens and you are down 35%+? If you don't have the stomach for the asset allocation you have chosen it's better to figure that out sooner than later.

Personally I try and look at my portfolio as little as possible. I have a spreadsheet setup that shows me % by ETF compared to my asset allocation so I can direct my monthly additions to rebalance things. I don't look at the total value at all.

Once a year I'll evaluate my change in net worth and see how I am doing.

If I could automate my addition and rebalancing process without incurring higher MERs I think looking at my investments once per year is about how often I need/want to get updated.

+1 to not checking the investments too much. We try to make decisions we are comfortable with at the beginning, and then we just invest regularly and only check the quarterly statements. If I checked every week or every month, it's not like I'm going to change anything based on that information, so all it would get me is frequent disappointment. Instead, we pat ourselves on the back each month knowing money went in, and conveniently protect our psyches from the downside by ignoring the balances until the next statement arrives.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2016, 02:07:10 PM »
I have and still do have these feelings, like others have said there is a hedonistic aspect to it but also psychological aspect to it with the numbers.

- go from negative NW to O...awesome.
- go from 0 to something positive....awesome
- say your annual savings is $10k, then:
    - go from $10k to $20k is double, but
    - next year you go from $20k to $30k is only 50% increase, but
    - next year you go from $30k to $40k, is only a 33% increase
     ...and it diminishes from there unless your income and/or savings rate is increasing faster and so becomes less exciting/impactful.

Same goes when your stash gets to a point where your annual savings represents only a few percent of your stash...on a $350k stash $10k only represents about 3%.....market swings will make this seem meaningless and it your dividends will almost equal the amount you are saving....but that's the special sauce right there.

Keep going.

Edit to add that while the markets were down in Jan/Feb 2016 they have come back and regarding views about high or low markets, I look at it right now that valuations are a bit high but because the market is basically where it was two years ago the valuations have come in....this is a good thing.  There are only three ways for markets to get to valuations that are in line with historical averages (1) drop, (2) stay flat while earnings slowly rise, (3) earnings rise much faster than markets rise.  #2 isn't a bad way to go.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 02:33:41 PM by tooqk4u22 »

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1122
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2016, 02:24:56 PM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?

There are two parts to this, one I love, the other is I do not.

1)  The part about incremental progress due to having your savings dialed in and being far enough down the path that your additions to the stash start being a smaller and smaller percentage, that can be hard.  Especially knowing you're doing everything right and there's no more tweaking to be done (or at least you've evaluated the options and already decided you're not interested).  I thrive on challenge.  This stuff was great early on when I was fighting old behaviors and learning and implementing new ideas and tricks, making big improvements in my savings rate.  Now it's on autopilot and uninteresting, which is frustrating.  I don't have a solution to this other than 'ignore personal finance completely so I stop thinking about it'.  I still like PF as a hobby, it's just lost the excitement it used to have.

2)  The other part, about the shitty stock market returns this past year, I think is great because I understand on a core/emotional level that when the stock market recovers, I'm going to be that much better off because I've been able to buy more shares than I would have otherwise.  The past year I've come close to a milestone, stalled just below it for a while, finally hit it, immediately lost it, got further away from it than I had been in a while, stalled again, then the past couple weeks shot right past it.  It was a little bit of a bummer to be teased like that, but I was loving every bit of it because I knew the recovery was coming and that I was going to be put well past the milestone when it finally hit.

Abel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: USA
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2016, 04:18:41 PM »
How do you deal with lack of progress in obtaining financial milestones?
I thrive on challenge.  This stuff was great early on when I was fighting old behaviors and learning and implementing new ideas and tricks, making big improvements in my savings rate.  Now it's on autopilot and uninteresting, which is frustrating.  I don't have a solution to this other than 'ignore personal finance completely so I stop thinking about it'.  I still like PF as a hobby, it's just lost the excitement it used to have.

I totally sympathize with this. I like to think of it like learning a musical instrument, say the guitar. Initially, just putting fingers on the frets with the right pressure / placement and getting clear notes and chords is a thrill. This is personal finance: budgeting, prioritization, simplifying, minimizing, de-cluttering, doing the MMM badassity thing. It's a tool, a mechanism, a procedure.

Eventually just playing notes and chords would lose its allure and challenge, which is fine, because the point is to make music.

Put The Good Stuff On Automatic, I say, and don't even bother worrying about anything until you wake up one day and your balance is over your FIRE target. Even in a world of long-run 0% stock returns, the MMM way is NOT somehow invalidated. The worst case scenario is more years of work. The whole point is not lashing yourself into misery with oppressive personal finance tools and self-deprivation. The point is to enjoy the liberation that comes with no debt, large savings, and a materially small life. Best of luck!

BigBangWeary

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • The Great Canadian Housing Bubble Co.
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2016, 12:11:19 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I used to check my investments once a month. Now it is maybe once every two months.

Since March last year I am down about 8% despite continuing to save. Part of this is my own stupid fault. I have been watching the value of my Canadian decrease steadily with the decline of the Canadian dollar vs. the US. Over time we have gone from being ‘certain’ we would be returning to Canada to being really unsure what the future holds and where we might end up (probably somewhere that values USD).

When the CDN went down to 68 cents I got nervous and stupidly transferred a bunch into USD. Well, all I did was lock in my losses. SO ya, stupid. I’ve never done that when there have been significant market corrections, but from the CDN being about 1.10 to the USD all the way down to .68 in a few years, I was starting to freak. Lesson learned. The hard way.

But even despite this, my investments have been flat. I’ve spent another year in a job I am starting to hate and which I can’t replicate anywhere else. It’s that fine balance between being ‘financially responsible’ and ‘emotionally’ responsible. I know the answer is to keep fighting the good fight for now, but sometimes it is good to get it out.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughts everyone, it has helped.

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: Lack of Progress
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2016, 12:37:15 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I used to check my investments once a month. Now it is maybe once every two months.

Since March last year I am down about 8% despite continuing to save. Part of this is my own stupid fault. I have been watching the value of my Canadian decrease steadily with the decline of the Canadian dollar vs. the US. Over time we have gone from being ‘certain’ we would be returning to Canada to being really unsure what the future holds and where we might end up (probably somewhere that values USD).

When the CDN went down to 68 cents I got nervous and stupidly transferred a bunch into USD. Well, all I did was lock in my losses. SO ya, stupid. I’ve never done that when there have been significant market corrections, but from the CDN being about 1.10 to the USD all the way down to .68 in a few years, I was starting to freak. Lesson learned. The hard way.

But even despite this, my investments have been flat. I’ve spent another year in a job I am starting to hate and which I can’t replicate anywhere else. It’s that fine balance between being ‘financially responsible’ and ‘emotionally’ responsible. I know the answer is to keep fighting the good fight for now, but sometimes it is good to get it out.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughts everyone, it has helped.

We did something similar but not as bad. We prepaid a bunch of expenses for a UK trip in the summer right when the Canadian dollar was at its lowest (everyone kept saying it would keep going down - not sure why I didn't apply the usual investing logic). In any case, if your portfolio is still flat after saving a lot, that probably means it's a good size enough to so, right? For example, if you save 25k per year but your portfolio is only worth 10k, then even a 20% market correction doesn't seem like a lot compared to your savings rate, but if your portfolio is 500k, a 20% correction of 100k would overshadow your 25k savings by a huge margin. Our annual savings still make up a decent proportion of our portfolio so it would take over a 25% drop to swamp out our annual savings.