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Hyperopia
Old 06-23-2011, 09:54 PM   #1
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Is there a danger in focusing too much on the future?

I've read the books, ran the numbers, set my AA, and I am restless. In 15-20 years, I'll be able to retire. How do yo guys stay motivated when the planing is done, and all that's left is the problematic execution? A lot can go wrong in 20 years.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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Best advice I ever got was an essay on the theme of "life's a journey, not a destination". It was in the Wall Street Journal sometime in the late 70s - my late father clipped it and mailed it to me while I was in college with a handwritten note. I still have it somewhere but couldn't find it just now when I was looking for it - carried it in my wallet for many years and moved it to a file folder when it got ragged. You have no idea what the next 15-20 years have in store for you so keep at the plan and enjoy each day you are blessed with.
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:36 AM   #3
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I've always tried to focus on the now, keeping the future in my peripheral vision, otherwise I found that I was wishing my life away.

Once I got within 5 years of my retirement date I could not help but focus on retirement planning much more. I had a specific date because of my employment (Health & DB pension when I reached 55 and 25 years service) so I was very lucky to have a definite date in the cross hairs.

Even so, during those last 5 years we had some great foreign vacations to plan and enjoy. (at 20 years service I got an extra 5 days vacation and no need to use vacation days taking kids to college and no kids to take on vacation with us ).
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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mortal - having the plan is what allows me to enjoy the "now". I have my spreadsheets, my AA goals, my automatic savings/investings all in place, so I can enjoy today, while knowing that I am doing what I can to retire when I want to do so.

Anything can happen, of course, but having a long term plan makes us more able to adapt. Feeling like I am organized and on track actually makes me think less about the future and helps keep me focused on enjoying the time while I am still working.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mortal View Post
Is there a danger in focusing too much on the future?
Yes - you may miss life in the current time.

What is today, is today.

What is tomorrow? One can plan, but nothing is guaranteed.

(BTW, I'm "old", retired, and did prepare for the future. However I never let the "possibilites or planning" of the future interfer with today, along the way of my life)...

Just my personal POV, as an "old soul".
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #6
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"Live in the present. The past is gone; the future is unknown -- but the present is real, and your opportunities are now. You must see these opportunities; they must be real for you. The catch is that they can't seem real if your mind is buried in past failures, if you keep reliving old mistakes, old guilts, old tragedies. Fight your way above the many inevitable Traumatizations of your ego, escape damnation by the past, and look to the opportunities of the present. I don't mean some vague moment in the present -- next week or next month, perhaps. I mean today, this minute."
- Maxwell Maltz

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Old 06-27-2011, 12:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kaudrey View Post
mortal - having the plan is what allows me to enjoy the "now". I have my spreadsheets, my AA goals, my automatic savings/investings all in place, so I can enjoy today, while knowing that I am doing what I can to retire when I want to do so.

Anything can happen, of course, but having a long term plan makes us more able to adapt. Feeling like I am organized and on track actually makes me think less about the future and helps keep me focused on enjoying the time while I am still working.
+1
I set up my plan years ago (at the time, knowing it wasn't enough but was all I could afford) and then tweaked it along the way. "Life" gave plenty of bumps along the way but we stayed the course, in particular enjoying ourselves along the way.

Now, I have a similar problem as your question: To wit, with my ER some 1-2 years hence, not hating the commute each day until I can finally pull the plug.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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What everyone already said.

And also, I realize for myself that there are times I get too obsessive with the future-focus and the planning. After a while it goes away. And then sometimes it comes back and I fixate some more. Having other things to do helps, too(i.e., simply not having time to think about it so much). I find I've gotten less obsessive as we've made progress and I see that we're on track.

Also remember that right now is your chance to focus on right now. Think about whether there's anything (especially work-related) that you want to accomplish before you retire. In other words, if you're going to limit your paid work time to xx years of your life, what do you want to get out of those years or how can you make the most of them? Even if all you want is to spend the least amount of time making the most amount of money, you can still be thinking about the best way to do that.
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