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Need a jumpstart
Old 06-25-2010, 11:51 AM   #1
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Need a jumpstart

Hello everyone,

I have had an on again off again relathionspip with my FIRE plan. I start the plan follow through for a while and then life seems to pull me away from the plan. I need some help getting back into the planing and following through. I think my problem is as I track the planit seems I am not seeing enough improvement towards my goal on a week to week basis.

Any suggestions? A book or article? other?

Also looking for some help convincing my skeptical spouse?

One other thing should I try to aggresively invest? Or aggressively pay down debt (Home Mortgage)? Or balnce the two? Which will get me to the goal faster?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:04 PM   #2
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All us young dreamers (is there an age limit--do I time out at 40?) have this same tumultuous relationship with our FIRE plans. Rest assured, life happens and the plan becomes less of a focus for a time, then it comes back to the forefront (a sudden death of a friend, a change in work environment for the worse, etc).

Delayed gratification, which is what FIRE is all about, is hard to teach. Get her to watch the donut video if you don't believe me. Your spouse has to believe it for her/himself.

There are as many different opinions on the invest/pay down debt as there are people on this site. It depends on your own temperament and life goals. I did it one way, others did it another. None of us have all the answers, all the time.

But rest assured that we all have the same questions. I will say that in the earliest years, before budgeting became automatic, I had lots more trouble. Also, use charts, graphs, what-have-you to make your goals come alive. We even had a mortgage burning party when we paid off the house. These things give you confidence to stay the course.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:05 PM   #3
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Oh, dang, it wasn't donuts, it was marshmallows. Still hilarious!

Joachim de Posada says, Don't eat the marshmallow yet | Video on TED.com
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paws View Post
Hello everyone,

I have had an on again off again relathionspip with my FIRE plan. I start the plan follow through for a while and then life seems to pull me away from the plan. I need some help getting back into the planing and following through. I think my problem is as I track the planit seems I am not seeing enough improvement towards my goal on a week to week basis.

Any suggestions? A book or article? other?

Also looking for some help convincing my skeptical spouse?

One other thing should I try to aggressively invest? Or aggressively pay down debt (Home Mortgage)? Or balance the two? Which will get me to the goal faster?

Thanks for any help.
Though it's difficult, and gets more difficult the older you get, looking at it week-to-week will just drive you batty.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:33 PM   #5
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looking at it week-to-week will just drive you batty.
+1 - I had to re-read that three times just to check you actually said "week to week".

It's OK to look at it that often, but don't try to derive any significance from the movement.

I'll just add, no matter how good/bad a balanced portfolio does, you'll be ahead of the people who didn't bother to save anything.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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Don't focus on a financial snapshot, work toward the bigger picture. - with the markets and economy in tumult, none of us are where we thought we'd be, anyway.

There isn't any one magic financial bullet (pay off the house vs. rent, gold vs/ equities, cats vs. dogs, bonds vs, annuities, etc - these have been discussed here ad nauseum) that will get you where you want to go EXCEPT....... LBYM. Save the difference.

Just keep focusing on the goal, and structuring your lifestyle to support it- whether it is your career choice/ spending decisions/savings rates. You'll be there before you know it.... I got a letter from my college alma mater the other day, just a friendly solicitation reminder that I graduated 30 years ago..... that can't possibly be true, it feels like just yesterday.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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Week to week is fine in my book as long as you have your goals structured appropriately. A week to week goal that would be good to look at might be goals that you have for reducing your cost of living - one example for us would be avoiding excessive ordering in of pizza. We were spending a good $200/month on that at one point. Little goals like that can look kind of bleak when looked at too long term, so it pays off mentally to take it a week at a time and build the good habits that way.
Looking at the big picture every week on the other hand (net worth, ROI, etc) will drive you batty!
Paying down the mortgage vs investing - only you can answer that one. It's down to your attitude regarding risk, and your general philosophy about what makes sense to you after you research various options.
Personally, we paid off our mortgage. We probably could have done better than the 6.5% interest it saved, but we liked that doing so simplifies things for later - less variables involved in having to make a smaller amount off investments to support a lower cost of living. That, and piece of mind knowing that whatever happens down the road, as long as we can pay the property tax we know we have a place to live.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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Oh, dang, it wasn't donuts, it was marshmallows. Still hilarious!

Joachim de Posada says, Don't eat the marshmallow yet | Video on TED.com
Seen it. Love it.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #9
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Hello everyone,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paws View Post

I have had an on again off again relathionspip with my FIRE plan. I start the plan follow through for a while and then life seems to pull me away from the plan. I need some help getting back into the planing and following through. I think my problem is as I track the planit seems I am not seeing enough improvement towards my goal on a week to week basis.

Any suggestions? A book or article? other?

Also looking for some help convincing my skeptical spouse?

One other thing should I try to aggresively invest? Or aggressively pay down debt (Home Mortgage)? Or balnce the two? Which will get me to the goal faster?

Thanks for any help.


Good questions.

For starters, week by week for the big picture may be too often. As another poster may have mentioned, frequently focusing on what can be done may be much more useful.

If you're looking for books to help your spouse see the light, The Richest Man in Babylon as well as The Millionaire Next Door are both oldies but goodies that are well written. Although I was introduced to his work after my wife and I achieved FIRE, Richard Bach's work is quite good. You might want to check out Smart Couples Finish Rich. The whole Smart Couples series have the same ideas in them. When my DW and I read it for fun, we laughed about how useful it would have been if we had it when we first met.

I'm no financial planner (except for my own financial planner), but as far as aggressive investment goes it would depend on what you want and how you see the risk.

It's a nice feeling to own ones home free and clear. Both stock and housing prices move all over the place. Just remember that every $ that you put in a portfolio that's isn't going towards your mortgage is essentially investing on borrowed money. Make sure that you subtract your mortgage rate from the expected return on your stock purchase. I know that's overly simplified and there are also tax and asset diversification issues, but it's something to consider.

All the best.


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Old 06-27-2010, 02:09 PM   #10
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Oh, dang, it wasn't donuts, it was marshmallows. Still hilarious!

Joachim de Posada says, Don't eat the marshmallow yet | Video on TED.com
Oh, that little girl with the hairband who ate the inside of the marshmallow and had gobs of marshmallow all over her face......"she will be successful, but we have to watch her". ROFL!!!
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:16 AM   #11
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Oh, that little girl with the hairband who ate the inside of the marshmallow and had gobs of marshmallow all over her face......"she will be successful, but we have to watch her". ROFL!!!
I know, isn't that THE BEST!!! So funny to watch the internal agony of some of them--I've been there when the chocolate cake in the fridge is calling to me.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:48 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the advice. I will check out the books. I am looking for books or article to help me plan for FIRE. So any suggestion would be a great help?
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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I have had an on again off again relathionspip with my FIRE plan. I start the plan follow through for a while and then life seems to pull me away from the plan. I need some help getting back into the planing and following through. I think my problem is as I track the planit seems I am not seeing enough improvement towards my goal on a week to week basis.

Any suggestions? A book or article? other?
I suggest setting small, realizable short-term goals and seeing them through.

When I was 14, I was going on a school trip to Disneyland. Through fundraising and through my parents, the airfare and hotels were covered. But my parents told me I needed to use my weekly allowance to cover any spending $ I wanted. Beginning in September (the trip was in late March, IIRC) I took $3 from my $10 allowance each week and put it in a jar. To that I added the small sums my grandparents sent for Xmas. Each week I could measure the progress made, and I felt like I was "on track" to my goal. By the time of the trip, I had saved enough $$ for a few nicknacks at Disneyland.

While I was in college, I wanted a new Bike, It cost about $350ish. I could have put it on a credit card, but I didn't like paying interest to a company. I also enjoyed drinking beer in college. I would usually have 1 or 2 beers most nights while I studied (yes, I know . . .). That cost money. So to pay for the bike, I made two complimentary goals: (1) stop drinking beer and (2) start putting my beer money toward a new bike. Every day I didn't have a beer I'd put $2 in a box. That's probably what I previously spent on beer each day. Each day that I drank a beer, I took $1 out of the box and put it in my wallet (where it disappeared into some abyss). I really wanted that bike. I also added in the miscellaneous Xmas and Bday checks I got from relatives. Every few days I counted the money -- I could see it growing regularly, and I could count down the days until I had my bike.

These days, my goals are a little larger, but I nonetheless have goals and regularly check them. I have long terms goals (retire early, maintain a fulfilling career, have a happy family, etc.). But those are not really quantifiable on a week to week basis, and as others have mentioned I suggest you avoid doing so. I also have shorter term goals -- cross the $50K mark in my Roth IRA, save $ to climb Kilimanjaro next year (yes, I'm setting aside $ each month for that, now in an account instead of a jar), etc. These are more quantifiable on a short term basis. These are the sorts of goals that you can realize and that will help feed further saving.

Sorry for the long post . ..
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:29 AM   #14
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The more your savings compound, the more they compound, so to speak.

This is a pleasure when you are older and a long-term investor, but when you are young, the slow growth (esp during down-markets) make it frustratingly slow. Stay the course and remind yourself you are planting seeds.
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