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Where does the patience come from?
Old 09-28-2010, 05:14 AM   #1
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Where does the patience come from?

Hi everyone,

I just have one question...

Where does everyone get the patience for this stuff?

For instance...

Right now, I have pretty much fixed the issues that originally got us into our current credit card debt. Yay! That means we're not getting any worse off, and we are slowly making progress. In fact, I expect to have everything paid off within about six months.

On the other hand, that's the next six months worth of watching gobs (for me - probably pocket change for other people) of money go out the window to pay for past financial sins.

After that, there's an emergency fund to build/rebuild. Then, there's a car loan I will start throwing money at to pay off early (pretty sure I'm paying more interest on it than I could earn with the options available to me at the moment).

All that has to come before I can even think about investing anything in a way that will actually grow my assets. All that JUST to get to sea level, so to speak.

How do you folks keep it all in perspective and avoid getting bogged down by the relative immensity of the task before you?

Josh
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:10 AM   #2
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Focus on the goal. Know that it is achievable. Track your progress. Celebrate your little victories along the way. Do that and FIRE will sneak up on you surprisingly quickly.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:15 AM   #3
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It's like exercising, or any other endeavor wherein a lengthy period of sacrifice (or extended effort) must come before the reward.

It is important to have some early victories. Paying off that first credit-card or car loan, just anything to give you some feeling of accomplishment. Consumerism (for many people) can be an addiction, so you may be experiencing a period of withdrawal (not all that different than someone who recently quite smoking).

Good luck.


Disclosure: I'm not much further along than you, so I have these feelings too. It's normal.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:29 AM   #4
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Search on the web for articles about people 20 years older than you who have debt and no savings.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:41 AM   #5
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Perseverance is the most rewarding type of goal accomplishment, to me. But, I don't run marathons, on the other hand. Keep plugging away at it, and when you get there, it'll feel great; no matter what the goal.

Are you the type of person that tries something once, and gives up? "Oh well, didn't pay off the credit card after one month, I guess I'll go back to spending foolishly." I doubt you are that way. Think of how good it will feel to have zero balance hanging over your head if you pay a credit card off every month once you get them down to zero/paid off.

-CC
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:48 AM   #6
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I learned from my parents, who who went deep into credit card debt that took years to pay off.

Decided I was never going down that road.

I have taken out loans for vehicles and a home, but did so knowing that when the loan was paid off I would still have something tangible to show for it.

Inspiration comes from looking around at others struggling to make payments on "this and that".

Ask yourself "Where do I want to be financially in 20 years?". After that all it takes is grade school math. And the ability to turn away from the siren song of "buy now pay later".

Suzie Orman's advice is debatable, but one thing she says resonates with me: "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it".
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:36 AM   #7
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We took our march toward FI and broke it down into a series of attainable goals, i.e. pay off all consumer debt, then build a large emergency fund, followed by greatly increased retirement account contributions, and so on. This made our progress more apparent and gave us incentive to sacrifice in the short term for long term rewards.

I can't believe what we've accomplished over the last five years.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:51 AM   #8
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Instead of patience, try looking at focus and sheer determination.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:12 AM   #9
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Joshua,

If you've got the guts to go walking around where you know there are people in hiding who are trying to kill you, then I suspect you have what it takes to control your finances over the long-term.

Maybe it would help to think of the world as being full of bad people who are trying to get your money away from you, and you must be constantly on guard to protect your family's future against them.

I don't know if it would work for you, but for some people, it is helpful to create some spreadsheets that represent your debts and savings, and get very interested in watching the good numbers go up, and the bad numbers go down. On this forum, it is more than acceptable to celebrate mortgages paid off and $100K milestones achieved, although I know in the "real world" people may look at you funny if you do that.

Also, I very much second what BigNick said. You only get one go-around to get it right.

Good luck!

Amethyst
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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There are so many free or next to free things to enjoy in life that will take your mind off of the grind of financial worries. Saving and being frugal, attacking debts can actually become a sort of a fun game.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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Having never gotten into that sort of financial mess, the question doesn't resonate. I guess this is the pain of growing up & taking responsibility for one's actions.

But dividing the problem into small steps is how to accomplish any big task, which you did in your post. Look at each purchase & stop buying stuff you can't afford. Look at all the stuff you have & think about what you actually use during the year. A good bit of it is junk you never use. So that is stuff that dug the hole you are in.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:21 AM   #12
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I do not have any words of wisdom on how to do what you need to do.... I never dug me a hole, so I never had a lot of debt to pay off...


But, my take is that you dug yourself a big hole... you are in it now... the first thing is to fill it back up (or get to sea level as you say)... the alternative is not attractive... but you can keep digging if you wish...

Lots of people do keep digging... that is why there are lots of people in bankruptcy... If you can live this way you can do it..... Me, I am too worried about how much we spend each month even though I have a lot saved...
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:27 AM   #13
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I like this answer:
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Instead of patience, try looking at focus and sheer determination.
Once you take away the random bits of luck, all it comes down to is not giving up. The people who never finish the race can have many excuses, but in the end they are just quitters.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:22 AM   #14
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Automate it, and leave yourself enough of a monthly "allowance" that you can still enjoy yourself while the debt gets whittled down behind the scenes. Try to forget about it until it's done - focus on enjoying what you're left with after all the automated payments come out.

I agree, it's challenging, and definitely not the most "fun" part of personal finance. But I think the patience and focus required to accomplish this kind of task is what sets the "well-offs" apart from the "just-getting-bys."
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:28 AM   #15
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I can't say that I have any words of wisdom which will be timely for you, but when I was in my 20s and just starting off on my own, the one thing I did was to avoid taking on more than one of these types of costly debts:

(1) Student loans.

(2) Car loans.

(3) Mortgage loans.

I went to great lengths to pay one of the above off before taking on another one, or I avoided one (car loan) altogether by paying cash. While I was paying off my student loans (granted, not a large balance back in the mid-1980s, but still...), I bought my first car with cash even though I did not have a lot of it. I had just moved back with my parents for a few months so I was able to replenish my account in 6 months.

The next year (1987), after I had moved back out on my own, I paid off the high-interest student loan. Due to the 1986 tax reform act, personal interest was getting phased out so I could not deduct the SL interest any more.

After further building up my savings in the next 2 years, I was able to buy my own apartment and stop paying rent (most of my mortgage+maintenance was tax-deductible). Interest rates were high in 1989 so I was able to refinance it 3 years later and save a lot of money. At the same time, I was able to easily buy a car with cash to replace to first one which was no longer suitable for me.

And it was not like I was in a super-high-paying job. My salary back then was just under $40k in 1989 (not huge even back then) when I bought my apartment and was under $30k when I did the earlier two things.

Avoiding a lot of debt back then was a big part of setting the groundwork for my future financial success.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrabbler1 View Post
when I was in my 20s and just starting off on my own, the one thing I did was to avoid taking on more than one of these types of costly debts:

(1) Student loans.

(2) Car loans.

(3) Mortgage loans.

I went to great lengths to pay one of the above off before taking on another one, or I avoided one (car loan) altogether by paying cash.
This is truly great advice.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
...All that has to come before I can even think about investing anything in a way that will actually grow my assets. All that JUST to get to sea level, so to speak.

How do you folks keep it all in perspective and avoid getting bogged down by the relative immensity of the task before you?

Josh
Josh,

I guess many of us have already made the journey you are starting, we know once you get to "sea level", your view and outlook are just so much better...

Keep at it, your reward will be worth it.

Jim
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:57 AM   #18
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We are all different. I am a goal-oriented person and, during my journey to FIRE, tracking the evolution of my net worth helped me remain on track. When you pay off debt, your net worth increases. When you build your emergency fund, your net worth increases. When you contribute to your retirement accounts, your net worth increases. Every time your net worth increases, it takes you that much closer to your goal.

Sure, there are times when you add money to your accounts yet your net worth slips for long periods of time because the stock market is being mauled by the bears. Those were times when I felt bogged down too. But, over time, seeing my past accomplishments on paper gave me the patience to see through my FIRE project.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:24 PM   #19
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BTW, while working on your "FIRE" account, make sure to balance the "accounts" for "food," "fun," "family time," "and some other f-words that I seem to have forgotten at the moment. All are important, you need balance, otherwise FIRE will be an empty goal.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:03 PM   #20
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In my case, I don't know if patience is the word. I'm so busy at work, with DD4 and all the other stuff that I just don't think about investments all that often. I have my plan set up, automatic contributions, and it chugs along as I try to keep my head above water.
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