Author Topic: Struggling with resentment about choices  (Read 10394 times)

Izybat

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Struggling with resentment about choices
« on: July 18, 2017, 05:10:06 PM »
I'm relatively new to the whole Mustachian world, only having found the site last year. I'm also relatively new to this whole 'having my financial sh*t together" world, having just started buckling down about it two years ago. I've been working diligently to get DH and I out of debt  (just the car loan left!), but because of that, our savings rate is relatively low (not including our 401ks). Ever since figuring out that FIRE was something that was possible, I've wanted it more and more. I really dislike my job, and more to the point, I really dislike my current career field. The issue is that my career pays very well.

Where I'm currently struggling is that I now look around and every decision we've made in the past (and some future plans) and resent money spent that isn't really being used (like a $700 keyboard piano no one plays), or that I now have to live with for long term, which means our bills can only go so low.  For example, we have a 160+ year old house that takes a lot in mortgage cost, maintenance, and utilities. We also have 6 pets, two giant dogs and four cats. (There's plenty more like that.)

My issues stem from wishing I had found out about FIRE a long time ago, so I could have made very different decisions in life, and now not wanting to spend a dime on anything so that I can accelerate this process and let me leave my job sooner.

Does anyone else struggle with this? Any tips or advice? We are years away from FIRE (so far away I haven't even bothered to try to calculate it), so I have to come up with something so that I don't drive myself insane.

VoteCthulu

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 05:26:23 PM »
Act like your an alien who just took over a backwards human host. Look at what stupid expensive crap they bought! Then decide what's worth keeping and what needs to be sold or thrown/given away.

Nothing is sacrosanct (except possibly your children). Clown houses and cars can be sold. Subscriptions and memberships can be cancelled. Keep only the things that are valuable to the new you.

Then take the time to really enjoy the things you kept and the time you have. If you realize it's not actually bringing you joy (long term, not immediate gratification), get rid of it or stop doing it. Hopefully you can think about the wonderful things your crummy job let's you do and have, and it becomes a bit more bearable until you can leave it.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 05:29:40 PM by VoteCthulu »

trashmanz

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 05:30:40 PM »
Can't look to the sunk cost, but its good you are looking at re-doing what you have and prioritizing going forward.  Just keep on moving towards the goal, try not to get hung up on the past too much except for when you can learn from it. 

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 05:47:25 PM »
There's an old saying that the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, and the second best time is now. You can't change the past, and can only be grateful that you've started on this path now instead of 10 years from now.

Loren Ver

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 05:49:46 PM »
The good new is you found it a year ago and not this year or even next year.  Imagine all the stuff you didn't buy.

As already stated, getting rid of things is a good way to start to rectify the situation since you can't change the past.  Craigslist or equivalent can get some money back, another option is to donate it to someone that could use it (a middle school music student could probably use a $700 keyboard).   The less you need to maintain the better.

Pets are harder, but they generally have shorter lifespans.  At least you don't have a tortoise :).  Plenty of frugal people manage to balance pets, just don't spoil them, they need the basics just like you.

Cut the stuff that can go right now and save the money.  Work on cutting out the harder stuff and leaving it behind.  This should include the guilt :).




Cassie

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 05:56:21 PM »
Is it feasible to downsize to a cheaper house? Yes having multiple pets adds up but they will die and maybe in the future have 1 or 2 if you love being pet owners. Housing, cars, eating out and travel are usually the biggest $ wasters. Sell what you can to recoup some of your $.

Gray Matter

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 05:57:21 PM »
Yes, I went through a period of time like this.  One of the potential downsides of catching the FIRE bug is the strong emphasis on the future, on future happiness, sometimes to the detriment of present-day happiness.  I realized that I only have regrets about the past when I am unhappy with the present, and so I started to put more effort into being happier now, not when I am FIRE, but NOW.  This has paid off substantially and the happier I am in the now, the fewer regrets I have about the past, and the more good memories I retain.

Now, if I could go back and do differently, would I?  Sure.  Why not?  But I can't, and that's OK, because all of that has lead me to where I am right now, and that's a pretty damned good place.

Full disclosure:  Getting to content required me to leave a high-paying career and move into a new field.  YMMV.

Izybat

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 06:30:51 PM »
It isn't really feasible to sell the house, for several reasons. The biggest of which is that it now needs a lot of work done (see: $$ and time) before we could get it sold. There are other family related reasons that it doesn't make sense to move as well.

@Gray Matter, I totally hear what you're saying. I need to work on being happier in the now, and I realize that I will likely have to change jobs, even if that means staying in my current career field, just because I have so long to go before FIRE. Ultimately, I'd like to change career fields, but that will take a while to get to the point where I can actually make money doing what I want to be doing, hence sticking with the field I dislike for now.

It doesn't help that DH isn't fully on board yet. He's getting closer, as he's seen what all my financial efforts have done (how much debt we've paid off, how much our net worth has gone up, etc), but he's still stuck in the consumer driven world of wanting fancy vacations and fun new toys.

@Loren Ver, you make a good point too. I did find FIRE now, so at least I won't be stuck on the consumer driven rat race forever. That's always something to remember.

WildJager

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 09:30:33 AM »
Where I'm currently struggling is that I now look around and every decision we've made in the past (and some future plans) and resent money spent that isn't really being used (like a $700 keyboard piano no one plays)

As others have said, you can't change the past.  But you can change your future.  You've got the first concept down required to escape the consumerist lifestyle so prevalent today: stop buying shit you don't need.  The second addresses the problem of regretful purchases.  Simplifying your life (or minimalism if you will). 

Take stock of everything you own and get rid of everything you don't use / really appreciate. 

Let's use hobby items as an example (since the piano falls in line with that).  The natural inclination of people is to have an ever increasing amount of hobbies.  "I saw this dude snowboarding on youtube, that looks awesome!  I'm going to become a snowboarder!"  A month later and $1,500 down the drain for new gear and a matching (of course) outfit and you're ready to hit the mountains!  A year later you notice your board gathering dust in the corner of your garage.  "I should go snowboarding more often" you think to yourself.  But you don't.  Just as you don't play your piano, or use your sewing machine, or your copper plated skillet, or...

Point is, people often dive into buying items because they like the idea of doing an activity, but they don't have the time or inclination to do said activity to make the purchase worth while (as opposed to just renting gear when the mood strikes).  So we acquire more and more items that we don't use, and eventually we come to resent all of the lost opportunity.  Soon the idea of the item and activity starts to become something you actively feel guilty about, leading to a spiral that paralyzes you from doing that activity ever again.  It becomes exhausting.

So you need to sell or donate the items you won't use.  Trust me, you won't miss them.  Then, for the rest of your life as you look around your house you'll feel happiness when all you see are items you enjoy, maintain meticulously, and use often.  This will help in the quest to financial independence too because you'll learn that you don't need to buy shit to be happy, because buying too much junk just leads to resentment for the reasons stated above. 

Check out the book below.  I'll admit, I didn't read it buy my wife did during our process of streamlining our life.  She had nothing but good things to say about it.  It covers what I said better than I could as well as life maintenance in general.

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing/dp/1607747308

TheAnonOne

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 09:43:00 AM »
You screwed up BIG time, delayed your FIRE date IF YOU CAN FIRE AT ALL NOW, now you are trapped in a job you hate with little energy to continue. Depressing.

^Of course, this point of view is simply from the MMM perspective. You never had that perspective, nor desire earlier in your life.

People change, I bought some fancy cars and I ended up keeping them into the MMM world but I wouldn't RE-BUY them. I don't regret the choices because that version of "ME" found it to be the right choice at the time.

Did you screw up and do you deserve "face punches"? YES

Though again, only from an MMM POV

Cwadda

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 09:59:11 AM »
You're spending time and energy dwelling on things that you now can't do anything about. Why bother wasting your time and energy?

It's like getting angry that the weather is poor or worrying about your plane crashing while you're up in the air. You have no control over these things.

Your attitude and emotions are a choice.

You've taken the right steps to become more financially conscious. Now continue and don't look back.

TabbyCat

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 10:09:49 AM »
I may be taking a bit too much of a philosophical approach, but I think the MMM movement is really about making choices to maximize lifetime happiness, not necessarily about retiring by a certain age (although most of us are here with the intent to maximize lifetime happiness by leaving corporate work early).

I would say: don't beat yourself up, it is counter productive to the goal of greater happiness. DO let go of things you don't need. Maybe the keyboard isn't something you need, let it go - it no longer maters what you spent originally, it's taking up space in your life and stressing you out - that's the real cost.

Job wise, think about what makes you happiest. If it is staying in a high paying job you hate, do it. Set a goal and when you're having a rough day, check your investment balance and feel better. If it's taking a risk at a job you may love - do THAT.

nowseehere

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 10:58:51 AM »
Don't sweat it too much. I made financial mistakes that I wish I could take back, but it was before I learned about FI. All you can do is learn from the past and work to make more sensible choices in the future.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 11:01:20 AM »
I'm relatively new to the whole Mustachian world, only having found the site last year. I'm also relatively new to this whole 'having my financial sh*t together" world, having just started buckling down about it two years ago. I've been working diligently to get DH and I out of debt  (just the car loan left!), but because of that, our savings rate is relatively low (not including our 401ks). Ever since figuring out that FIRE was something that was possible, I've wanted it more and more. I really dislike my job, and more to the point, I really dislike my current career field. The issue is that my career pays very well.

Where I'm currently struggling is that I now look around and every decision we've made in the past (and some future plans) and resent money spent that isn't really being used (like a $700 keyboard piano no one plays), or that I now have to live with for long term, which means our bills can only go so low.  For example, we have a 160+ year old house that takes a lot in mortgage cost, maintenance, and utilities. We also have 6 pets, two giant dogs and four cats. (There's plenty more like that.)

My issues stem from wishing I had found out about FIRE a long time ago, so I could have made very different decisions in life, and now not wanting to spend a dime on anything so that I can accelerate this process and let me leave my job sooner.

Does anyone else struggle with this? Any tips or advice? We are years away from FIRE (so far away I haven't even bothered to try to calculate it), so I have to come up with something so that I don't drive myself insane.

I have made a million decisions over the years that I could flagellate myself over. I've worked ridiculous hours and had huge amounts of money go in and out of my hands. I've had a McMansion (I don't any more), and had lots of children, and wasted money on private schools for a while, and had an expensive divorce, and a second marriage which has been excellent in all other regards but has not been financially advantageous to me. And there have been the little things that all add up ... yes, if I'd made wiser decisions over the years, I could have FIREd in my early forties or, alternatively, been deep into the two comma club by now.

But money and retirement weren't a priority for me then like they are now. I had other priorities - having a big enough house for my big family, doing what I thought was best for my kids, getting out of a highly unpleasant marital situation, and then offloading the McMansion (at a big loss - what a money pit that house turned out to be) and relocating. I didn't mind my job - for years, I loved it and it was my refuge. When I interviewed for my current position just over six years ago, I was asked what age I expected to retire, and I said, in all sincerity, "Sometime in my nineties, I suppose, I've never thought about it."

It didn't occur to me that within a very few years I'd crash and burn, patch myself together, and want to plan a dignified exit at the earliest possible opportunity. I'm now hating that the earliest possible opportunity is still 20 months away.

I'm choosing to focus on the things I've done right over the years. I've earned big and spent big, but never beyond my means. I haven't churned houses or cars or been big on luxuries (there was a beautiful, beautiful bespoke kitchen in the McMansion, it broke my heart a little to leave it, but it was mine for six years and that's long enough - the McMansion itself wasn't such a stupid residence when I had my children, other family members, and stepchildren all living there much of the time). My parents brought me up to be phobic about gambling and debt and I've never forgotten what they taught me - I won't even buy a tombola ticket for charity. I haven't made outright stupid investments. And over the years, my income has quietly been top-sliced to pay for my retirement before I ever saw it, and I haven't sabotaged that process.

YOU, Izybat, are already a step or two ahead of most people. You've found your way here and you're finding your way to avoiding the mistakes of the past (if they were mistakes at all - maybe your current self needs to be kinder to your former self), undoing the ones that can be undone, and feeling your way towards a level of current expenditure that will allow you to prepare for your future without suffering too much today.

I wish you every success.

And she who never made a mistake never made anything at all. Or something like that.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 11:03:41 AM by TartanTallulah »

fruitfly

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 03:41:32 PM »
TartanTallulah, I can't speak for the OP but man that was the pep talk I needed!

Izybat

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 04:05:14 PM »
Thanks for all the encouragement, folks.

I think I've actually pinpointed at least some of my issue. I have a very obsessive personality, and so I tend to fixate on one area of my life at a time. I try to upkeep the other parts, but there is usually one area that I think about to excess. Of late, that has been FIRE and our finances. I have spent hours on a daily basis reading about it, doing budgeting, checking the forums, etc. I realized that the obsession is largely making me unhappy, since there isn't a whole lot I can do to expedite the process. I just need to keep making smart choices and let my money have time to grow.

To that end, I'm now putting a time limit every day on how long I'm allowed to think about/read about/focus on money stuff. I even made a list of alternate things I can do with my time (hobbies and what not). This realization has already helped, and I feel better today than I did yesterday. Now I just need to keep it going.

BAM

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 04:13:34 PM »
I totally understand where you are coming from. My DH and I have been in that position for awhile now but I also feel like we are working our way through it and getting to the other side of the resentment by making changes.

Look for the things you can change now and/or in the future to make things better. You mentioned selling your house as not being a good idea but make sure you really look at it before deciding. For us, it was a decision we made. It took us a year to get it to market - lots of things needing repair (tile, wood flooring, porch stairs, entire interior painted, etc) on top of real life and the chaos that can come from that (2 kids leaving for college, DH hospitalized for a few days and then sick longer) but it has been worth the time now that the house is gone. We used that year of work to think through and plan what we were going to do as we got the house closer to market and then sold. Now we are feeling a little freer every day as we work that plan (just sold the house at the end of June).

Get rid of the stuff that reminds you of the bad money decisions you've made. Those things are sitting there reminding you everyday that you made mistakes that are now eating at you. If you get rid of the items, the mistakes aren't staring you in the face. Much easier to move on. If you can, sell them to bring in a bit more invest or debt payoff money. If you can't sell or don't have the time, just get rid of them. The freedom is worth it even without the money.
Two books to help with getting rid of stuff: Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (another poster recommended this one too - HUGE help for us) and The Joy of Less. There are others out there as well as some really good blogs. I found it kept me motivated to always have a book or blog to read on minimalizing as I got rid of more and more.

I think that for us, at least, making choices that are leading us in the right direction - toward FI - has helped get rid of the resentment of past choices. It's also making us happier in the present.

life_travel

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 04:36:00 PM »
TartanTallulah your post resonated with me , thank you for expressing so eloquently what I was feeling . It's great to know some people are in the same boat so to speak . The "new us" are now making decisions so it's all upward from now :)

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 04:51:36 PM »
The feels, I share them. Many stupid financial and career decisions in my youth have nuked current net-worth. If I was better with my money, and wasn't such a lazy bum, I'd probably have an extra $150,000 to play with right now.

Instead, between Wife and I, we've got a mountain of debt.

We probably won't ever really FIRE. Sad. :(

Plus-side, though? Life is long. We should be able to retire at 55 and not have to rely on SS, though. Which means whenever our kids have kids, we can be with them as much as possible, instead of having to work into our 70s like both of our parents.


Bee21

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2017, 05:18:23 PM »
This site and this philosophy can be overwhelming. If you are a bit obsessive, definitely limit your time around here, you don't want to get depressed.

Don't blame yourself for past decisions. You made those decisions based on the information available to you. You will make different decisions in the future, based on your shifting priorities. Move on. Pick a few areas within your control to concentrate on. Whatever makes you happy and your life easier.

Ps. I give you permission to think about our 15k grand piano cluttering our smallish living room. Better? The husband bought it as a consolation after his first marriage ended. My kids are musical, so we are hoping that they will be able to use it some day, but the sad reality is it is a giant (grand) waste of money.

NV Teacher

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2017, 06:24:39 PM »
Like grandpa always said, "If my foresight was as good as my hindsight I'd be a damn sight better off."  The past is the past.  Stop looking back and focus on what's ahead.  Celebrate your successes and enjoy your newfound life with gusto.

LalsConstant

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2017, 12:21:54 PM »
As someone who has made a lot of mistakes and lost a lot of time, who cannot be successful or retired at a sane age any more because of those choices, I do this all the time.  I still kick myself.  It never stops.  That never changes.

What does change is the further out I go into the "getting my shit together" process is my reaction to it.  And something I have realized the hard way is that just because a bad experience is a part of who you are now, that alone doesn't dictate the kind of person you will eventually become.  People endure much worse things in life than I ever have and go on to great things.

The other thing I've realized, which goes hand in hand with the concept that the past is not the future, is that you cannot compare yourself to other people for the purpose of making self-judgments.  You are a unique being whose exact biological and mental limitations, circumstances, fortunes, happenstance, and experiences are singular.  There's no reasonable proxy for you.

It doesn't matter if someone else who never made more than $20,000 a year maxed out their 401k every year or whatever.  That person is not you.  You should be happy for them without any expectation that their triumph is some kind of personal standard you must now adopt.

Your own cognitive biases are against you too.  We, as humans, remember and place much greater weight on our own failures, mistakes, shortcomings etc. but for others we tend to mostly observe their successes, triumphs and most impressive characteristics.  It's cruel really.   The way we are hard wired to think makes it very difficult to form a balanced self concept sometimes.

It's very easy to look at someone who is far, far advanced ahead of you in some way and feel like you've failed, but the problem is, you're only seeing the end of the movie.  You haven't lived their life or understood what it took to get there.  You are, in short, comparing somebody else's point "F" to your point "A".

Finally, something I've realized is that attempting FI after you've been a fuck up feels like pushing a boulder straight up a cliff.  But it's really not that, rather it's pushing a boulder along a series of gradually sloping ridges to ever greater heights, with a few sharp offs here and there.

When I first started to try to get things together, I tried the approach of saving $1000 first.  Before then, I had never had $1000 in the bank.  It took me something ridiculous, like 7 or 9 months, to get that first $1000.  I felt exhausted and anxious but elated at the same time.

Years later, when I had paid all my debt off, I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot for a week.

But, what's more important is not the temporary high I got.  What's more important is every time I hit a little milestone like that (and they do become harder and harder to hit as you go, but you also have more inertia as you go as well), every minute of my life that comes after is fundamentally different and better.

It took a while to realize this.  You have to absorb the new experience, make it as much a part of you as the old bad experience.

The point being, I'm well short of my ultimate goal.  I may never get there.  But pursuing that goal has been its own reward, and unexpectedly now I start running into signs I don't give myself enough credit.

I don't check my balances often, but when I did a couple months ago, I thought my net worth was maybe $40,000 or $45,000.

Wrong.  My net worth has crested $100,000.

Now, I could stop here and shrug and say big deal, most of the people reading this have $100,000 they keep around for firewood.

But those people aren't me.  I'm not the kind of person who has $100,000 in any way shape or form... right?

I had to stop and add it up again, it couldn't be... but it is.  Part of that is the market is sky high right now, but even that doesn't explain why it's so much higher than I thought.

And it was then I had the epiphany that while it has taken me decades to get this first $100,000, under conservative assumptions, pessimistic assumptions at that, the next $100k would take about seven years.

Holy crap. Why do I say holy crap?  Because I've learned every time I set one of these milestone goals, I smash the living hell out of it.  Even with problems like an unexpected hospitalization a couple years ago.

It's like some kind of bizarre exponential growth.  And the more I contemplate my new reality at every point on the curve, the less and less the thought of past stupidity arrests my thoughts.  It's just... why think about it so much?  I've got better things to think about instead.

I don't know if any of that even makes sense, but that's the best way I know to explain it.

Izybat

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2017, 01:45:03 PM »
@LalsConstant thanks for your words of advice. It all makes total sense.

Thankfully, I wouldn't say that I've been a total fuckup in my life until this point. I have been contributing to my 401k/TSP/retirement accounts all along (though nowhere near as much as I am now), but I do have the tendency to wish I'd made different choices. However, as you rightly point out, there is nothing I can do about it now except move forward from where I (we) are.

We've been doing the "hellfire get out of debt" thing for the past two years, and we're almost there. One more loan for a car, and it'll be gone (not including the mortgage). I can't wait to see what my savings rate actually turns out to be once I hit that tipping point, I'm sure it'll be amazing.

My best friend is the one that first encouraged me on this journey by recommending YNAB to me two years ago. She said something that didn't make sense at the time, but now it totally does. She said that once you have your shit in order, money just seems to come out of nowhere. You seem to find it everywhere. I didn't want to believe her, because I thought I knew where my money was going. But now that I have my shit in order, she's totally right. The same money is coming in, but the important part is that it's STAYING in, whereas before it would have easily slipped through our fingers.

deeshen13

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2017, 08:21:59 AM »
"When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?" - Keynes

Your information has changed, and you're altering conclusions. That's great. Forgive your past self!

Dee18

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2017, 11:29:42 AM »
I wanted to sell my charming, old house for quite a while but kept thinking I couldn't sell it until I fixed everything.  Then this spring I was so fed up with an estimate for a major repair that I decided to test the market.  I sold it "as is" in two weeks, without a realtor.  I calculated that if I had spent six months arranging for all the repairs (which I would have disliked) and if nothing terrible was found during those repairs that required more repairs and if the hot housing market held up, I probably would have made 10-15% more.  That was so not worth it for me. 

AmyS

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2017, 09:24:18 PM »
I really appreciate this thread. I discovered MMM (and YNAB) a year ago. I obsessed so much over it all. SO MUCH. I have a very very very long way to go. There is simply no way for me to retire at 30 (like MMM), since I didn't even discover the possibility of early retirement until I was 50. The amount of self-flagellation has been intense. So I appreciate the thread and the responses lots and lots.

What I'm discovering is that I can make changes now to make my life better, even though my retirement will be at 62 (almost a decade earlier than I had anticipated, so definitely my version of FIRE). Over the next few years, I'll be able to change what I do for work (while staying at the same place), so that I will feel able to continue until I'm able to retire.

It's a good feeling, but it involves a huge mind-set change. I'm still working through that part of the process. It's ongoing. And trying not to obsess too much is important, if difficult sometimes.

Laura33

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2017, 07:52:47 AM »
Be kind to yourself.  One of my favorite quotes is Maya Angelou (paraphrasing):  you did what you knew how to do.  When you knew better, you did better.

Nobody gets everything perfect the first time.  Which is good, because we learn far more from our failures than our successes.  If you had done everything right so far, I'd have to wonder: are you the one in a billion who is brilliant and has perfect judgment and insight and actually managed to nail it in one?  Or have you just not been tested yet?  So you bought some stuff you didn't need, and you didn't save as much as you now wish you had.  OK.  Now you know what not to do, which is just as important (if not moreso) than knowing what to do.  You know the stuff didn't make you happy like you thought it would, and you miss the security and freedom of having a big 'stache.  That is huge -- a lot of people say they get that intellectually, but most people don't really *feel* it, know it deep-down, until you fuck it up.  You are significantly ahead of the pack for figuring that out.  Yay you!

The other thing to keep in mind:  you made the choices you did for a reason.  There was something about you that led you to do those things -- something you needed, something that spending your money that way gave you.  You are a different person now, more mature, with a better perspective, and you have different needs and goals.  So now you will make different choices.  But don't disrespect who you were then.  Those choices served a purpose, and they led you to where you are now.  You would be a different person today had you not done those things that you now regret, not nearly as wise, without the critical perspective and understanding of what really matters.  You are a work in progress; ten years from now, you will think that today's you was really stupid in some way that you can't even conceive at this point.  And that's ok too, because it means you are still learning and improving.  You weren't wrong, you were just incomplete.  And each of those "bad" choices helped complete you in some little way.

Izybat

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2017, 03:55:53 PM »
@Laura33 - Thanks for your kind words and your reminders. I've actually come to the same conclusion myself a few times, it just gets hard to remember.

Take, for example, our house. Right now, we have a 2100 sq ft house that we paid about $250k for. Our previous house was ~1700 sq ft and cost $146k (different state). We bought a bigger, more expensive house because we wanted to. Because, at the time, we would have felt like 'failures' to go backwards. The house is also old (like 160 ish years old), because we wanted an old house that we could fix up. Now, however, I really want a smaller house. I hate cleaning this one. I hate paying to heat this one. We have space that we don't actively use. I hate the fact that our house is falling down around us and that nothing is square or standard size (thanks, old house!).

I'd love (at some point, probably not soon, but in the next 10 years or so), to buy a smaller house.  However, just like you mentioned, I wouldn't have known that that's what I wanted, if I hadn't first bought this house and tried it out. So I'm learning and growing and figuring out what I want by ruling out what I don't want. It pays to remember that.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2017, 06:20:46 PM »
All you can do is your best. And when you know better, you do better.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Struggling with resentment about choices
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2017, 08:01:57 PM »
When I got my DW more seriously into the idea of FIRE, after having discovered MMM, there has been some regret in the household at the idea of not having been retired by the time our son came along, unlike MMM and family. If I could load from a save of me at 21, just out of college, would I replay and make different choices? Maybe. I dunno, our son is pretty frigging amazing and with different choices who knows if, or what kind of a kid(s) we'd have had. Heck, we might not be married at all!

The only point in going, "you know, I wish I'd done X Y or Z different" is to remind myself to be mindful and try to find those situations before they turn into "you know, I wish ..."

On the old house -- if you aren't handy types and aren't actively invested in becoming handy types, you should really test the "we can't move" axiom you hold more strongly. What's the opportunity cost here? Don't think about "but we'll lose money" selling it -- sure maybe you would sell at a loss, but if you downsize and it frees up capital, can you make that capital work for you and offset or even overcome said loss? How many years would it take at a 7% annual stock market gain? Calculating out a FIRE date here can be really useful because as you start playing around with the savings and compounding it'll help you look at the opportunity costs in a different way.

Is it just money holding you back from repairs and a profitable sale? Can you attack that problem in other ways -- a loan from a well-padded 401k? Consolidate them first if you need too. Or a HELOC and use that to fix up the place, then sell it.