The destination to FIRE can seem like it’s all about getting to that endpoint, but that’s not really what it’s about right? Isn’t it more about the journey and the freedom you’re giving yourself by getting to that stage of your life? There are loads of posts about “enjoy the journey” and “we shouldn’t be focused on the end goal, we should be present”. Hell, I think my 2017 goals were to be more relaxed and present and quit worrying about the end goal. I think the best description of trying to get to FIRE, is from Maggie at Northern Expenditure when she describes it as a “sprint followed by a rest on a moving sidewalk”. I second that feeling!
So then what am I talking about with the destination being important? Well, imagine you’ve been working towards your version of FIRE and a few weeks before you hit your number you find out that, nope, that number has been moved, the dates have changed, sorry, Wally World’s Closed… That’s how I felt this past weekend when I found out my 1st Olympic triathlon that was scheduled for March 5th was bumped back to Oct. 8th. Yeah, friggin’ October! So how does this relate to personal finance, early retirement, financial independence and your own planning? Bascially, there’s only so much you can control, so how do you plan for it? I don’t know, and I’m no financial planner, but let’s discuss the similarities that I found between the sheet being pulled out from underneath me with the race and how that could happen close to reaching FI.
What’s Really In Your Control?
We only have so many things in our control when we work towards FIRE and we try to manage it as best as we can by diversifying our portfolio base across whatever makes us sleep the best at night. If having your whole nest egg in gold is what does it for you, more power to you, if it’s all bonds and cash, right on brother! Let your Personal Finance flag fly, because that’s what keeps the personal in personal finance. Imagine that you’ve done all the things you can to mitigate your situation, diversify your assets, and what should be a sure thing crashes around you right at the finish line.
That’s what happened to me this weekend. I’ve been in the mindset that I’m doing an Olympic triathlon in 2 weeks, and then they sent me an email saying, yep, no, that’s not happening until October. Talk about deflating a balloon. Honestly, I had a few more beers than usual Friday night half celebrating/lamenting that my race was pushed back. Saturday, I still felt that same deflated balloon feeling, but soon I realized that I’m the only one making this a negative. Yeah, so what, poor me, I can’t go compete in some race in 2 weeks because the schedulers didn’t work it out well with TX DOT. Whoopty friggin doo…
This Goal WAS About The Destination
Like Mrs. SSC pointed out after my half day of mourning and pity party throwing (FYI- I throw excellent pity parties) we both looked around and found some other races that I could compete in and give myself a little more time for training. I also still went to the gym and swam 1500m (60 laps) breast stroke in 35 minutes and then did a 400m arms and 400m leg workout. Here’s where this is the real pisser for me. This was supposed to be my “return to racing” (I don’t race except against myself, those guys that win are ridiculous…) and my “I’m back, baby!” statement after my partial achilles tendon tear last fall. And now it’s gone, snatched from me by TX DOT and their asphalt improvements over our race course. You bastards! (Kidding, that area really could use some new paving, lol)
Maybe this was more of a blessing in disguise too. I mean, I don’t feel 100%, but I’m committed to the race. I have my 1500m swim down to a solid 32 minutes consistently, doing only breaststroke. Yeah, I know freestyle is faster, but lack of visibility with openwater swimming freaks me the F out, and with breaststroke I can keep an eye on the shore, sharks, and buoys. So that’s what I worked on speeding up, plus I swam that as my best stroke when I competed back in “pre-highschool” days.
My biking was on point too, and I recently got a new used Craigslist roadbike after I took Mrs. SSC’s bike out for a ride. I found out quickly it would not work for me. The frame was too small and I was even slower on it than my hybrid. That sent me into a frenzy of bike research, and ultimately purchase, which led to more purchases. So many purchases – my allowance is already negative $500… Yep, that was quick, but I’ll detail that later – not to worry.
Then finally running… I’ve gotten up to 5 miles but I’m running that in 48 minutes, not my previous 45 or less. Also, I find beyond extra stretching and massaging after the runs, I still have to ice my left calf/tendon so maybe it’s not liking running as much as it used to. I’m confident 6 miles would be fine even after biking, but yeah, it’s not back to normal at all… I think a half marathon would re-injure it, but slower running and not as long distance is what it needs currently. Or maybe more rest, but is that going to happen? Likely not! Hahahaha
Is There a Financial Tie In?
How’s this like financial planning? Hell if I know, but it sure hammers home the point that there’s a lot out of our control in every aspect of life. Currently, I can’t get any free cash out of Mrs. SSC’s hands to invest anywhere. I just keep hearing the phrase, “when you pry it from my cold dead hands” hahaha I’m kidding. It goes back to what makes you sleep at night, and right now with the political environment what it is, CAPE where it is, and lord knows what else, I’m just happy she keeps plugging $4k each month into the stock market. She sleeps better knowing we have that cash on hand for whatever we may need it for.
What Did I Learn?
What I learned was, you have to plan for these things. If the market tanks would we be “retiring” in 2018/2019? Bwahaha, surely you jest. As Ms. ONL pointed out, most of our money is in stocks, with very little “stable arena” buffer, so yeah, I’d still be working. I’m fine with that though because well, I like my job. I like our living situation, and I like our modest style of living even if we happen to do it out of a McMansion.
Our positives are that we owe no debt except for our house – woohoo! We don’t mind working lower paying jobs for a better overall lifestyle. I’ve looked at BLM jobs in bumsquaddle, USA that would be fine for a few years. It’s more about the Lifestyle Change than the “not working” for us. What’s it about for you? If you can answer that question, then you would know best how to prepare against your own Lifestyle Change “crash”.
Have you had the rug pulled out from underneath you on something in life? How have you safeguarded your “retirement stash” from that happening? Are we the only ones over 80% in the market? I’d love to know!
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