Sit Back And Relax. Or Stand Up And Be Tense. Either Way, We’re On Our Journey.

crispydoc Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This post takes it title from a charismatic flight attendant’s announcement prior to takeoff on a recent flight from California to Texas. It resonated for me. Like many other FI bloggers, I’m a recovering neurotic transitioning to calm.
Also like these bloggers, now that I’ve got the big rocks in my financial life straightened out, there’s a lot of free time to kill. The reason personal finance bloggers eventually write about their experiments with peer-to-peer lending and real estate is time and boredom. Granted, some make affiliate commissions. But once an optimizer manages to get the hard stuff on track, there’s not a lot of day-to-day maintenance to be done, so they have to stretch to explore new ideas that have to do tangentially with finance.

You payoff debt, and move what’s left to Vanguard or Fidelity. You determine your asset allocation. You distribute assets across accounts in a tax-efficient manner. You increase your savings rate, max out retirement accounts, and build up a taxable brokerage account. You rebalance with new contributions, and then as needed once a year in your tax-deferred accounts.

Old habits die hard: you keep checking Personal Capital involuntarily each time you open your computer, but there’s nothing you need to do other than stay the course. Personal finance done right is so exceedingly boring you have to invent new topics to master just to channel your extra time and nervous energy.

Something else happens when you start to notice you have extra time. You develop sufficient confidence to act on your newfound competence. You become more comfortable with letting your smart decisions play out, “set it and forget it” becomes a less nerve-wracking philosophy, and you reallocate your newfound time in a manner that reflects your values.

You realize this new free time is fantastic.

Doing more of what you love prompts you to start blogging about “soft” topics, like how fun it is to spend more time with kids or partner if you’ve got them, deepen ties to the folks you love, volunteer to causes you care deeply about, or master some new passion that is totally unrelated to how you earned your initial nest egg (See Mr. Money Mustache and carpentry, or Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme and pretty much any obscure martial arts skill).

Getting my finances in order and cutting back on my shifts has transformed me into a different person. I’m in the outdoors more often. I’m helping with homework more often. My wife and kids are able to rely on me more. I’ve never been more present.

There’s a lot less tension. The journey, once a source of anxiety, has been repaved as a path to joy.

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