Author Topic: What It Feels Like to Become Rich  (Read 6455 times)

wilk916

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Granite Bay, CA
What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« on: August 16, 2012, 04:29:11 PM »
This post hits pretty close to home for me, and I thought I would add my own comments regarding this paragraph:

"Many (perhaps even most) of the current US population wrangles with money like itís a fiery serpent. Thereís never enough of it. It provides jolts of great pleasure and relief as it fetches us  really big new televisions, or allows us to buy our way out of unpleasant situations like an uncomfortably hot house, a lack of home-cooking skills, or an outdated car. But it also provides decades of constant background stress, as bills and expenses pile up, desperately-needed job income is interrupted by layoffs, and interest payments drain away a good portion of the fruits of our labor." -MMM

My mother is one of 4 children, all of which entered the work force in their late teens in the 1970s with a high school diploma and no college degree.  For each of them (and their spouses), the "great recession" has taken an enormous toll.

One aunt and uncle have been laid off multiple times, lost their house, and were forced to move across state lines to find work with all their assets in a 24' Uhaul.

Another aunt and uncle are dealing with a recent layoff and a fledgling construction business and are struggling to pay the bills.

My father lost his job and was forced into retirement and my mother was given reduced hours for an extensive period of time before retiring a few years back.

The state of these economic hardships seemed to reach a pinochle last week when my last uncle was found lifeless in his pickup truck following a gun shot to the chest, seemingly by his own hand.  As more information rolls in regarding why he would do such a thing, it is clear that my uncle had accumulated an insurmountable pile of debt -- for years turning a blind eye to the fact that he could not afford the luxury cars, motorcycles, and properties that he often boasted about -- and hid the problem from his family.  Rather than swallow his pride and work with his family to solve their money issues, he took his own life.

There is an amazing pattern at play here.  In every case, the recession has resulted in seemingly crazy economic hardships, but in one case (my parents), you wouldn't know it.  My parents managed to retire during the downturn and live at the exact same standard of life that they have all along.  No debt, sufficient retirement income, and modest spending habits that they have accumulated over the years.  In the other three cases, excessive spending and all around poor financial management has left them all with effectively 0 net worth at 55+ years old, and a seemingly long future of "constant background stress".

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but man, it is amazing how important solid financial practice is to the quality of your life in the long run.  I think that simple fact will never allow me to be bored when the debt is gone and everything runs on auto-pilot.

Happy 'staching.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28471
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 06:57:45 PM »
Sorry to hear about your loss.

Definitely some good, real life examples of struggles with money, and why many of us strive for FI.  Thank you for sharing. 
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

galaxie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 11:48:06 AM »
I'm not yet rich, but I'm on track.  And now I'm bored.

Let me tell you, the first few months of getting the FI plan in order were really exciting.  Estimating what our expenses are, planning for the future, refinancing our house, paying off my student loan, cutting costs, getting more serious about biking to work.  With each wheel we set in motion, I felt like we had accomplished something that would make a big difference in our long-term happiness.  Optimizing our finances was like a puzzle, with prizes at the end.

Now all of that stuff is automatic.  I can't find any more things to optimize.  I'm watching the savings graph go up over time, but the goal is a big number and the weekly change is small.

Now, I'm not bored with my job.  I've got hobbies.  Those things are great.  My life has a lot of fun, not-boring things.  But FI used to be one of them!  The beginning of the whole FI project was really fun!  Now it's like we've hit the stage where the FI pie is assembled and I have to play Solitaire and wait for it to bake.

igthebold

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 42
  • Location: NC Piedmont
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 10:23:00 AM »
Seems to me that being bored with that part is a good thing. After all, I suspect few of us are in the FI game for the purpose of becoming FI as an end to itself. If that's the case, then after FI, you can give away all your assets and start over. :)

mechanic baird

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 109
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 12:43:12 PM »
Sorry about your loss...Every problem can be resolved. When ego gets in the way, people tend to do some drastic things. That's unfortunate.

Being responsible with money should really be a foundation for all family finances, whether FI is the goal or not. it's never wrong to know what you spend and live below your means and have a long term outlook.

Too bad most of the people don't understand that THINGS do not equal to happiness. They search in the wrong path, gets high a few times, but sustainable happiness always lies in places that are not associated with dollar sign. It's just sad majority of the human beings don't see it.

Nancy

  • Guest
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 09:12:26 AM »
I'm not yet rich, but I'm on track.  And now I'm bored.

Let me tell you, the first few months of getting the FI plan in order were really exciting.  Estimating what our expenses are, planning for the future, refinancing our house, paying off my student loan, cutting costs, getting more serious about biking to work.  With each wheel we set in motion, I felt like we had accomplished something that would make a big difference in our long-term happiness.  Optimizing our finances was like a puzzle, with prizes at the end.

Now all of that stuff is automatic.  I can't find any more things to optimize.  I'm watching the savings graph go up over time, but the goal is a big number and the weekly change is small.

Now, I'm not bored with my job.  I've got hobbies.  Those things are great.  My life has a lot of fun, not-boring things.  But FI used to be one of them!  The beginning of the whole FI project was really fun!  Now it's like we've hit the stage where the FI pie is assembled and I have to play Solitaire and wait for it to bake.

I understand this. Could this be Mustachian hedonic adaptation? We learn about MMM ideas, and then we make some badass changes that result in boosts in happiness levels. These boosts feel great, so we keep fine-tuning our plans and making changes to get that great feeling. After a while, there are no more changes to make, and no more short-term happiness boosts to achieve. So we return to our normal level of happiness, but now that level of happiness feels a little less awesome because it is tinged with wanting that next boost, the ultimate boost: financial independence and early retirement. The boredom, as I see it, stems from being super excited about attaining financial independence, while not being able to speed up time to get to it now.

So maybe this is true and maybe it isn't. But for me, it seems to be. So here's what I've concluded: 1.) becoming FI will likely be something I adapt to very quickly. If I want to avoid boredom after FI, I have to make sure that I have cultivated interests and hobbies that I can focus on during my ample hours of post-FI life. This dovetails nicely with how to avoid boredom on the road to FI: I'm changing my focus from the money stuff to the fun stuff. I'm making a list of things I want to learn, breaking them into rough yearly goals, and then getting excited about attaining those skills. Of course, I'll keep an eye on my finances and ask questions/change plans as situations arise, but I've decided that it would be pointless to let myself wish X amount of years away, when I can start living the lifestyle (albeit in a limited capacity) before I retire. For me, it's taken effort to change my perspective. I remind myself that time will pass, and I will be FI, so I should focus as much as I can on getting the most out of right now.

MsSindy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 534
  • Age: 54
  • Location: Philly Burbs
Re: What It Feels Like to Become Rich
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 07:47:10 AM »
I understand this. Could this be Mustachian hedonic adaptation? We learn about MMM ideas, and then we make some badass changes that result in boosts in happiness levels. These boosts feel great, so we keep fine-tuning our plans and making changes to get that great feeling. After a while, there are no more changes to make, and no more short-term happiness boosts to achieve. So we return to our normal level of happiness, but now that level of happiness feels a little less awesome because it is tinged with wanting that next boost, the ultimate boost: financial independence and early retirement. The boredom, as I see it, stems from being super excited about attaining financial independence, while not being able to speed up time to get to it now.

Nancy - you nailed it exactly as it is for me.  I really like budgets and figuring things out and playing the 'what if' scenario in my spreadsheets.  I loved the excitement of each idea to cut cost or pay off something - it's an instantaneous thrill.  We have our agreed-upon plan in motion and now it is on automatic, which can be boring because it is just a waiting game.  However, if my hubby even mentions the idea of moving to a smaller house (my hope), I get that excited feeling all over again and start planning out scenarios.  I am starting to learn to enjoy being "on automatic" and make the best use of my time by focusing on non-related FI things...but it's funny how your brain can get wired a certain way.  But I know that now it is just a waiting game (3 - 5 years depending on how fast hubby comes around to my way of thinking!!).