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The Journey to Financial Independence is a Game

I have to think of this journey to FI as a game.  Or, I would probably give up, get disinterested, too overwhelmed, or worse and go back to living like most people. I do not want to judge others and their lifestyles but I can’t allow myself to spend frivolously and put off what is important to me and my wife.  So, I make it a game.

How much can I contribute to my 401k? Hell, lets just max it out and see what happens.  Less taxes here we come!

How much can I contribute to our ETF?  Screw it, lets start with $200 a week and see what happens.  I don’t miss it and I get to see our ultimate goal grow and grow.

You get the point.  I also do this with my rental property savings and personal savings.

It reminds me of working out.  I hate trying to set aside 30 minutes to an hour everyday to work out.  The idea that I have to set aside time when there are so many other things that I would rather be doing like time with my wife and kids, painting, web surfing, diy projects makes me not even want to start at all.  However, I discovered if I made working out a game by seeing how many pushups I can do without stopping (which started at about 30 and now is 70), it doesn’t feel like one more chore.  It only takes a minute to do that little exercise,  Then, I decided, I will do this several times throughout the day, whenever it crossed my mind or I was bored.  At my cubicle and restless, bam do some pushups.  Ate a meal I shouldn’t have, get down and gave myself 60.  I started seeing results in my arms and chest and a little in my stomach.  I figured why stop there, lets start incorporating planks.  Hell, lets start incorporating variations of planks.  One minute to 3 minutes here and there throughout the day and no dreaded gym!  I can still do all the other crap I want.  Woohoo! Now, I may never get the beach body I never had but it wont hurt.

Just like my exercise game, I start seeing positive results.  I get excited seeing our retirement accounts grow which only makes me want to continue the game.  I figure out how to invest more.  My retirement daydreams get more vivid and clearer with every deposit.  I like what I see because it can be a reality if we continue.

What do you want out of life?  My goal is to be free and  there is a number associated with that.  Can it be painful getting there? Yes.  Is it more painful than being 65, 70, or older and working just to survive?  I don’t think so.   I am motivated by the image in my mind of having to work until death, just to survive.  F@$% thaaaaaat!

Will my game work?  Will my investments pay off in 10 years?   Who knows… All I do know is that if it doesn’t work, I shouldn’t be worse off than if I hadn’t started at all.  Even if I don’t make our ultimate goal of retiring in 10 years, we are still closer than we would have been if we didn’t start saving more of our income.   I want to be responsible for our own path and how we got there.  That means stop buying everything we want, don’t live beyond what we make, and don’ just live for today.  Making this journey to FI a game helps me to not fall back and keeps me on track.

Anybody out there want to share some tricks to their finances?  Any thoughts on the subject matter?  Does anyone else make their FI a game?  Would love to hear from any of my 4 subscribers:)

Why Should I Do DIY Projects

DIY Drill

As a Wannabe Retiree, I have many interests as all of you, or at least I assume you do.  One of my interests is Do it yourself projects.  I haven’t always been very handy and compared to others I am far from it.  However, I like to try new things, make new things, “update” my house, and hopefully learn in the process.  I feel a real satisfaction when I complete a project and other times I am not happy with what I have done.  Sometimes I feel both, depending on what day it is.  Knowing that I want perfection, yet can always see the flaws in something makes it hard for me to fully appreciate the finished product or project.  Still, I try.

I was thinking about these things while talking to my sons about always striving to learn more.  I want them to be better than I was at the young ages of 9 and 10.  I don’t want them to be lazy and think that school is the only time to learn anything and so I have them read and use Khan academy to explore and learn outside of the classroom.  I take them to national parks to hike, take them on vacations, enroll them in sports, and try to be involved in any way I can so they can  learn about themselves and appreciate what life has to offer.  I want to give them every opportunity to be the best person they can be.

This is what I needed in my life at their age but unfortunately the opportunities were few and far between.  So, I am making up for lost time.  I do not have a mentor to teach me about remodeling a bathroom, laying tile, resurfacing cabinets, installing flooring, painting, building furniture, and all the other diy projects I have done or plan to do.  I do not have all the tools for all the different jobs and I definitely don’t have unlimited money to spend. What I can do is watch youtube, read blogs, use common sense, borrow or buy the tools necessary, and sometimes muddle my way through certain aspects of the project.  Is it cheap? Hell no!  Can it be cheaper than hiring someone?  Hell yes!  Which provides a little more incentive and motivation aside from learning.  Can it be more expensive?  Sometimes it can be if you make a bad mistake that you cannot fix.  I suspect that this is the main reason why many people don’t do their own projects.

I understand  peoples trepidation about screwing something up and not being able to fix it.  Some may not think it is worth their time to fix, make, or change something. Hell, I feel that way myself before, during, and after a project is done.  I get overwhelmed by a projects scope, the cost, and complexity.  I focus on little things that don’t go right, how the project is taking too long, and that my body is sore.  No matter what though, I am learning.  Whether it’s about myself or how to do something new.  I enjoy turning something old and unused into something refreshed and useful.  I like saving money so that I can save the rest.  I like surprising my wife when she may have secretly doubted me (I don’t know if this is true but I do have my own self doubts).

I have never regretted one of my diy projects.  I have cursed in anger, ran over budget, scrapped somrthing and started over until I was satisfied or ok with what I had done. Yet after every project or even during the current project, I plan the next one.  There is something about using my hands, my brain, my muscles to create something.  I am addicted to it because I never thought I would or could do the things I do now.  It’s a creative outlet for me.  It shows my sons that if you want to do something then you can do it if you try.  Rarely, do the projects go smooth or perfect but I am learning, I feel satisfied, and I feel more complete after each one I do.

Please share your thoughts, projects, or ideas on anything you would like.  Thanks for reading!


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