Let me cut right to the chase. Being accountable on your path to FIRE is the one step that will make or break you. You educated yourself, set your goals, changed your mindset, and now the grind of everyday life sets in. I get it, you were excited. You were ready to conquer your finances and achieve FIRE. Then a few months went by and this sh*t got hard.
Don’t worry, the same thing happened to me. I was super excited after finding the FIRE community on Twitter. I was reading articles and posts non-stop and building out models in Excel on just how well I could make the numbers work for me. Then I got bombarded at work, had another baby, moved, and then switched jobs. I suspect many of these things have and will happen to you too. I mean, that’s life, isn’t it?
I think most people encounter is that they use life as an excuse to not succeed. Having a baby or moving are reasons why it’s “ok” to not stay on track with your goals. Now, I’m not suggesting goals don’t need to be reviewed and potentially altered based on life events however, I do not believe that using life’s changes to relax expectations on yourself is acceptable. For me, having a second child was MORE motivation to stay on track with my FIRE goals. I want to be able to spend more time with her as she enters middle school, not less.
is tough. Generally, people do not like to discuss their financial situation or financial goals with others. Because these discussions do not happen, it’s easy to get off track. Hey, if you decide to go out and book a $5,000 beach vacation for the family next week, who’s going to stop you? That’s right, nobody! What’s worse is that so many people book that vacation and rationalize it to themselves. “I deserved it”. “You only live once so why not?”. I’m guilty of those types of rationalizations as well.
What I’ve done is adjusted from beating myself up for questionable spends to reinforcing and revisiting all the positive things I’m working so hard for in my pursuit of FIRE. Instead of the $5,000 beach vacation, I bought an annual membership to the local aquarium. At $250 for the year for the family, it’s a ton of fun and I have $4,750 left to invest to help me reach my goal. We still get to have fun as a family and we’re saving money. However, I’m the only one that is there to keep me (well really us as in my family) accountable for our spends.
how do I keep myself accountable? The most effective way I have found to date to help stay on track is my budget. Not just the fact that I have a budget but the fact that I USE my budget. That idea takes me into the next step in this effective path to FIRE. Review.
Or, head back to all Six Steps.