Author Topic: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE  (Read 3295 times)

Captain Cactus

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Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« on: March 23, 2016, 09:17:24 PM »
I have taken the first steps toward FIRE but I am still many years (9-10 years) away.  How do you stay motivated/disciplined saving and investing for this goal?  I mean psychologically speaking, 10 years is a long time!  It's the price to pay for FIRE but it's still a significant amount of time to stay focused and on track.  Thanks!

Heckler

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 09:32:44 PM »
Focus real hard and do it in 8!

FIRE me

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2016, 11:09:03 PM »
I have taken the first steps toward FIRE but I am still many years (9-10 years) away.  How do you stay motivated/disciplined saving and investing for this goal?  I mean psychologically speaking, 10 years is a long time!  It's the price to pay for FIRE but it's still a significant amount of time to stay focused and on track.  Thanks!

[edit for typo]
Keep your eyes on the prize. Take pleasure in your progress and passing milestones. And remember, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 09:43:10 AM by FIRE me »

steveo

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 12:15:37 AM »
A couple of things. Firstly in my opinion living frugally needs to become ingrained into you. To frame it in diet terms it needs to be lifestyle rather than a diet. So spending money shouldn't be an issue because you don't want to spend money. I find this easy.

Secondly realizing that it's going to take some time and learning to accept that. I'm really not there yet and maybe I won't be. I like my life and I have a good one but I really don't want to work. It's going to take me about 5 years I think to get to that level. I might work part time sooner but work for longer but the point still remains it's going to take some time.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 07:45:05 AM »
Early days should provide lots of easy gains in saving and investment growth. You'll have lots of low hanging fruit you can gather to reduce the cost of your lifestyle. Taking all that money and investing it will make the total you've got grow well simply through the power of your additions.

Where I have found it more difficult is once you are getting closer to FIRE [say 2-4 yrs out] and your investments are a decent size, your lifestyle has been frugalized and you have been working a long time. It's hard to watch a whole year's worth of savings additions vanish as the markets do their thing. That has a treading water quality that's not fun. Intellectually you know it's normal and that if you keep adding money to your investments as they are dropping you'll reap a benefit later, but it's hard psychologically. Especially if you are burned out on your job and can't wait to FIRE.

What works for me is to ask myself the question "Do I want my freedom or do I want to spend money on X?" So far the answer has been freedom which means I keep saving/investing. The other thing I have done is tried to understand what I can live with and what I can't. There is no point in me cutting my COL so deep I don't like the life I am living. That will make staying on plan very hard if not impossible.

OTOH I also know that my perspective changes over time so I don't hesitate to go back to something later and re-evaluate it. At the moment I want to keep my motorcycle. I figure that costs me $1K - $1.5K/yr or that I need to save $25K - $38K more to FIRE which is a year+ at my current savings rate. I can see coming to a point where I might only have a year left and deciding to sell the moto...perhaps to buy another one later if I get lucky with my early sequence of returns. I also know that if I sold the moto as I was cutting lots of other costs I might push myself too far and rebel against my own plan.

So what I would do is write down what you are enjoying about your current FIRE path and what you are finding challenging. Look for ways to deal with the challenges while accentuating the positives. In my case I don't look at my investment totals regularly [unless I know the markets are charging up!] and I track my savings progress. That keeps reinforcing how well I am doing, gives me a rabbit to chase I can catch each month and each year plus it's in my control unlike market returns. This gives me near-term targets I can focus on instead of soley a FIRE goal that is years out.

ZiziPB

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 11:51:18 AM »
I have taken the first steps toward FIRE but I am still many years (9-10 years) away.  How do you stay motivated/disciplined saving and investing for this goal?  I mean psychologically speaking, 10 years is a long time!  It's the price to pay for FIRE but it's still a significant amount of time to stay focused and on track.  Thanks!

Automate your saving and investing plan as much as you can and don't think about it too often.  Focus on other things in life and enjoy the here and now.

I have my 401k contributions and contributions to the taxable account on auto-pilot (direct deposit from my paycheck into a Fidelity brokerage account and automatic mutual fund investments once a month).  I rebalance once year when I get extra money to invest from my bonus.  It's amazing how quickly the accounts grow when you make regular monthly contributions :-)

meghan88

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Re: Staying focused/motivated/disciplined on the path to FIRE
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2016, 02:37:08 PM »
A couple of things. Firstly in my opinion living frugally needs to become ingrained into you. To frame it in diet terms it needs to be lifestyle rather than a diet. So spending money shouldn't be an issue because you don't want to spend money. I find this easy.

Secondly realizing that it's going to take some time and learning to accept that. I'm really not there yet and maybe I won't be. I like my life and I have a good one but I really don't want to work. It's going to take me about 5 years I think to get to that level. I might work part time sooner but work for longer but the point still remains it's going to take some time.

+1
Especially about learning how to not want to spend money.  It's an attitude adjustment and it needs to kick in when you're thinking about buying something.  Do you really need it?  Will it last?  Is it going into the landfill after one use, or soon?  Where was it produced, and under what conditions, and what are its environmental costs?  Do you need a bigger place because of it?  Do you want to house it, clean it, maintain it?

Unless you're in a truly intolerable job, try to focus on the good things you have.  Things can change in a heartbeat and this might just be the time of your life - you never know.  Enjoy your health if you have it, and preserve it in every way you can, especially by using your muscle and fat to get you places and save you money - that's a win-win.

Maybe think about focusing on the short-term plan and just working through that.  Every frugal day is a victory for your bank account, your health and maybe even the planet.  Best of luck!!