Downsides of being on FIRE path and how to overcome them
Financial Independence and Retiring early(FIRE) sounds really great(at the start!!). But soon after an year or just a few months of frugal life choices to save 50-70% of your salary to accumulate 25 to 30 times of current expenses, you start feeling the brunt of it.
There is nothing wrong with it. But the amount of discipline it takes to control your spending, stay focused on the path for more than 10 – 15 years without any distractions come what may is hard.
On top of this, there is social media in which you are exposed to unnecessary amount of distractions about life goals, travel goals, fitness goals and what not. These might make you have FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out), considering we are all humans. So if you are someone who is active on Social media as well as on the path of FIRE, then you are screwed!!
So here are a few things I feel could be hiccups on path of fire:
Controlling your spending just to essentials most of the times causes certain amount loosing out on the fun even though you like to indulge yourself in guilty pleasures like eating out frequently, taking a spa day(whenever your boss puts you down), buying yourself a treat, do online shopping when(ever) there is a sale. Living a careless lifestyle on FIRE is like committing innumerable amount of sins(Just Kidding!!)
When we are talking about FIRE, we have to be on the path for 10 to 15 years and it is a not a short amount of time. There might be significant life updates like getting married, having kids, loosing a job or just being in a great pandemic(like Now!!). In that case, all our calculations and plans might go for a toss if not thought through.
Focusing your energies on the FIRE path sometimes makes you feel lonely, selfish, disconnected and causes anxiety about the future. Particularly with volatile markets, planning differently from 90% of the people is hard. With social media showing only positives all around of people enjoying, having lavish life and taking trips that we wished we were on kind of kills our motivation.
I am not a Financial advisor or planner. This blog is about financial literacy(knowing the terms and language of money to make better choices) and my own choices of investing.
So many unknown factors but it can be achieved with the following:
Find an accountability partner/community:
This works like magic. Even if you two/all have different family structure, goals/dreams, different retirement age or stay in a different country, it will still work because people with same mentality of growth mindset can help us be on track and stay focused. You don’t feel alone on the your less-taken path. You can develop good spending habits, learn about new opportunities to invest, grow your knowledge and make deep connections. You can keep your emotions in check to avoid over-spending on something trivial like over eating, shopping etc. It will also help you connect with similar minds and learn their approaches which broadens your mind and knowledge.
Building a community:
I created a group in telegram to discuss FIRE goals and sustainable lifestyle choices. If you are interested you can join and be a part. I promise to not spam you.
Plan Travel/purchase Wisely:
It always helps to plan your travel/purchase before you buy. If you want to buy something, add it to the cart and sleep over it for atleast a week. If you still wish to buy it, then go ahead and plan to buy it by saving every month for it(incase of a big purchase) from your non-essential budget(follow 50/30/20 rule of budget). While planning for travel, book your tickets in advance, check for the hotels with great deals, stay near to the happening area so you can walk and explore which is good for health and economical too.
Keep track of your spending:
Use a budgeting app(like Mint) or maintain an excel sheet where you can add all your savings, checking and spending(credit) transactions which shows you analysis of where your money is going and your net worth. This will help you in planning a better future as well as gives you a “sense of accomplishment” which you get from spending. Assign some budget for entertainment(like taking a spa day). It will help you stay more focused as your mind feels relaxed.
Volunteer for your favorite cause:
I cannot stress this anymore. In order for you to be more self-less, grounded and grateful, choose a cause that connect deeply with. It could be preserving environment, Recycling, clean energies, pet-rescuing or helping the poor. You can volunteer financially(invest), physically(give) or psychologically(speak up) to the causes that not only help the world but also help you stay connected to the community, humanity(within you) and world on a larger scale.
Choose who your role-models wisely:
Choose the right person to be jealous of(Just kidding!!). I mean to say choose right role-models. This will help your mind to point all the energies in right direction. It helps you move forward in your journey without getting distracted. It will help you be on your goal more reverently. If you don’t set a specific goal then you feel envious(different from jealousy) with everyone’s every accomplishment and eventually feel FOMO. If your goal is to be on path of FIRE then follow or be part of similar communities.
Be spiritually active:
I have never seen a healthy person who is not spiritually(could be anything they believe in) active. It can be god, science or your particular area of work. It helps us be more secure, grounded, content and have control over our emotions. It gives something healthy to obsess about as long as you do not take extreme steps and impose your opinions on others. Infact a true believer understands others better(also called empathy) and be more open-minded.
Let me know in the comments if you found other ways to be more focused on your FIRE path.