Financial Envy

I am an impatient person.  I read approximately 30 to 40 personal finance blogs a week and a lot of the writers are further along in their financial goals then I am, and it frustrates me sometimes that I’m not there yet.  I am approximately 6 years away from paying off my mortgage.  The payments being made now amount to approximately 40% of  our net pay do not seem to be making much progress towards the final goal of being debt free.  I would love to be three years ahead of schedule now –  it seems like I’m just slogging along making minimal progress.

I know that I am making progress towards my long-term goal, but emotionally, it seems to be taking forever.  I know that comparisons are not really all that useful, but it’s hard not to do it, with a lot of my “recreational” reading focusing on personal finance.  Reading stories about how Tim doesn’t need his day job anymore and how Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme is spending most of his days in his early 30s sailing it’s frustrating to know I am about 7-10 years away from even thinking about these goals, let alone achieving

I have a couple of options to speed up my plan, including:

  1. Getting a higher paying job.
  2. Further reducing spending.

I don’t really want a different job, and I have a feeling that if I were to earn more, my dollar per hour would probably stay close to the same (I would have to work more hours).  I think my quality of life would be reduced working more and in the end it would really only reduce my time to retirement by maybe a year or so.

As to further reducing spending, there’s not much more I could reduce.  As you can see from this post my budget is pretty tight as it stands, and there is really not much more that could be removed.  Unless I can come up with a pretty good argument, I think there may be a revolt from my spouse as I have been told that the way we are doing things is not “normal”.  I don’t think for example, we could spend less on food without having to give up some of the fresh food and nutrients that are important to us.

With neither of these options entirely attractive, I think that I basically have to be patient and allow the plan I have set up to (hopefully) come to fruition.

Do any of you have “Finance Envy”?  Do you wish you could be further ahead towards your goals then you are currently?  How do you keep your end goal in mind when it’s 15 years away?

**On another note – GO CANADA GO !!**(The Olympics have been on this long weekend at our house about 16 hours a day).

14 thoughts on “Financial Envy”

  1. I really do understand Dave’s point of view. At some point everyone feels like they are standing still, especially towards the start where you have very little compounding occurring on your savings or debt repayment.

    I know what has helped me at points is to read less PF blogs for a while. Take a break from all this reading on savings and goals and just watch the Olympics for most of a week. You have a lot more life than your mortgage balance.

    Tim

  2. Dave, I’m with Tim on this one. After establishing “the plan”, I pretty much stayed off the early-retirement.org forum because it just made me anxious that I wasn’t there yet. I focused on saving and investing as much as possible, knowing if I did that I’d get there eventually.

    Personally though, I’d go after a higher paying job especially if you can find one that you think might allow you to get into a contract/semi-retirement type of position in the future. Or any type of job where you think you could do it on a semi-retirement kind of basis like Tim’s extracurricular job. I think semi-retirement is even better than full-on retirement. It kind of mixes things up a bit yet you still have loads of leisure time, especially if you have the right kind of flexible job.
    Do you really want to live as frugally as Jacob at ERE on $600/month (I guess $1200 as a couple)? Considering he doesn’t have a house, your net worth may not actually be that much less than his.
    Run a scenario like Tim did a few months ago on how many years you could cut off if you went the semi-retirement route and only worked for 6 months out of the year. It helps to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
    Have you read Bob Clyatt’s “Work Less, Live More”?

  3. Hi Dave;

    I too am impatient and can relate to your pain. Unfortunately that makes even great progess ie. your being mortgage free in 6 years seem inconsequential when it isn’t. It is a huge feat!

    Sometimes comparisons can give you a boost, sometimes they can make you feel inadequate.

    When I get like this, D just shakes his head and I know it is time to do something fun to take my mind away from beating myself up too much when there really isn’t any valid reason to do so.

    We used your sandwich bread recipe this past weekend and it turned out great. Thanks again!

  4. Since you’ve got your ducks in a row, it sounds like time and patience are all that’s needed. (I laugh as I write this because I get very impatient with financial goals as well.) In case it helps anyone, I recently learned that my cable and landline phone bills are negotiable. I called retentions at both places and asked if there were any promotions available to bring the costs down. Both gave me good deals (20-50% off x 1 year) just for asking.

    Also, in hindsight, I really wish we had purchased a house with room for a rental suite. That’s a great way to gallop through a mortgage. I think I read you have a condo so I guess that’s not an option for more income for you?

  5. I feel your pain Dave. I’m actually envious of your position, so I’m WAY behind the curve.

    I’m going to try and work on short-term goals just so I can see the accomplishment. Not sure how well this will work.

    Money has been tight for so long it’s hard not to run out on a spending spree when my wife gets her job (hopefully May!).

    Trying to cut costs is hard for me too. My wife just insisted on a $135 Canadian jersey. She made me feel horrible for saying no, but eventually she bought one using her Petro Points. We could have used that elsewhere, but at least it doesn’t hurt the budget.

    P.S. Go Canada Go! Maelle’s gold was awesome!

  6. Yeah, sometimes I wish I was further along the ER road… but the more time I spend on ER related blogs and forums (too much time according to my wife) I realize that I’m extremely fortunate to be where I am at 37 years old.

  7. @ Tim – It’s kind of like I have this “great” plan in place, but now I have to wait 15 years for it to sort of happen, right now it’s a little dull just putting money against a house.

    @ Jacqjolie – I’m hoping at some point in the next few years to get into tax preparation, which (if I could find the right firm to work for) would work I think, with much of the work coming from January to June. I’m happy where I’m at now and the money/vacation/benefits are worth staying as well.

    I think I could live on $600/month, but I think I would have to do it alone as my spouse would be more then a little cranky at the lifestyle.

    I have put the book on my reading list:)

    @ Middle Way – My wife reminds me all the time that we’re doing fine and are set up better then most people.

    Glad the bread worked for you!

    @ Melissa – We thought about having a basement apartment to rent when we were buying our house, but in the end decided to go with a smaller house after weighing the pros and cons of having a tenant under our roof.

    I have never been offered more deals then when we switched phone companies – amazing what those guys will do to try to keep you as a customer!

    @ Financial Student – All of my short-term goals are kind of done, we just kind of have bigger long-term goals right now, maybe I should split them up a little and I wouldn’t be so frustrated.

    Good luck on tapering the spending spree:)

    It was an exciting race!

    @ Jon Snow – I realize the same thing, it’s just hard not to make comparisons.

    (My wife feels the same way about my blog reading)

  8. Hi Dave,

    I am far away from your point so I do envy you very much 🙂 I totally understand. And yes, as the others suggested, maybe you should read less financial blogs… but maybe you should read less financial blogs that are where you want to be… and read more blogs wrote by people more in your situation (or worse, I mean like me 😉 ). You will appreciate the road you travelled so far, don’t you think?

    As Financial student said, maybe you need some short term goals to stay motivated… splitting some of your long term goals as you said is a good idea I think.

    Good luck!

  9. Dave, I think the fact that you’ve been grinding it out and your like 5-6 years away from owning your home at a young age is a great accomplishment. Some people take 30 years to pay off a home.

    The fact that you consistently read PF blogs and personal finance-related information shows where your interests lie and only good things can come from that.

    The two items you mention (getting a higher paying job and reducing spending) are some of the obvious ways of advancing your objectives.

    Maybe there are others that you aren’t aware of yet or have not decided to venture into yet. Beating me on this part-time blog position is a testament to what you’re capable of doing. In my own personal experience, I have found that some of the ways one can get more money is to get a higher paying job but that can come with more responsibility (as you mention), explore real estate opportunities in the region you live in, get into business or follow a business idea, etc.

    It may not be clear to you now but as soon as you have your home paid off, you will be able to plow more of your hard-earned money into investments and your goals will be realized at a much faster rate.

    Keep on grinding, you seem to be doing the right things. Your frugal ways also show that you are committed to your goals.

    Cheers,
    The Rat

  10. Dave,

    I think a few other people have commented on the fact that yes you do have a good plan in place, but perhaps you need some other short terms goals to keep you motivated (perhaps even non-financial ones). Also you might want to expand your interest base and see what develops.

    I know I certainty didn’t get involved in my school board for the pay. That was really a secondary result. I did it to make a difference and because I care what happens with my children’s education. Obviously in your case you will do something different, but the concept is the same. Try something new and be aware of new opportunities. You will be surprised on what comes up.

    Tim

  11. I hate that “not normal” comment. I get the same thing too but then, under my plan, I will be debt free in 3 years. Under her plan (she doesn’t actually have one), she will be debt free in perhaps 10? “Normal” nowadays is having a mortgage for 30 years and being up to your eyeballs in debt. I don’t care about being “normal”.

  12. Hey Dave,

    One important thing I like to think at all times, is to not regret. Life is way less stressful and you enjoy life (no matter what the quality is( if you dont make regrest. Come on we only live for 25-30,000 days, no time to regret what we have done!!

    I don’t know much about you, but I can easily say your doing better than half of the country; is it fair to say that?

    My situation: I am young, but when I graduated from high school I did no post-secondary school like all my friends (most of them). I took up a part time job, which turned into a f/t job and that is all I have done for a few years now.
    Do I regret my current situation? Could I be better off now if I did things differently when I was 18/19?… Could I be in a wose situation?

    The idea is not to only dream, or to only make tiny goals for yourself, but to turn your dreams into reasonable and attainable GOALS. This has helped me become a better person, and I have been told by everyone I know that I am better off than anyone else my age by being ‘frugal’ and saving.

    Higher paying jobs or saving more money is on the mind of many ‘financial savvys’. One goal I have made for myself, at about the age of 19? Was to increase my gross income, and subsequently my net worth, every year that I work; and I don’t just mean through inflation by getting that 0.50/hour raise each year (but that sure does help).

    (I’m in my early 20’s and am able to a afford a brand new condo in vancouver through saving as much as I can to get a better quality of life when I am older)

    ps. I don’t plan to ‘retire’ at age 35 like many wish, but I do plan to have 1million. But I am DEFINITELY no expert and have much much to learn.

    GOOD LUCK!

  13. @ Future Money-Bags:

    It sounds like your decisions made at 18 have worked out well for you so far. I really enjoyed my time in University, but I sometimes wonder whether finding a trade or something would be more satisfying now.

    I really don’t regret most of my decisions, I guess I wish I was just a little further ahead of where I am currently, but I think most people feel this way and it doesn’t matter where they are in life.

    I wish you luck in your chase for a million!

    Dave

  14. Dave:

    So far yes, but in order to achieve anything ‘great’ in life, one definitely needs to go out of their comfort zone.

    It’s good not to regret what you have done, and of course everyone wishes they were farther ahead.
    Almost anyone, at any given time, ‘could’ be farther ahead. But they either don’t want to put in the effort, don’t realize what the extra effort could accomplish, or are waiting for some magical fairy to come along with a great opportunity.

    Now that magical fairy does come by, more than we may notice, but you have to do more than just watch it come and go.

Comments are closed.