The Loneliness of FI

I continue to dive deeper into the universe of financial independence.  As I continue to pursue this goal and lifestyle, I continue to encounter a certain feeling.  This is a feeling of loneliness.  I have often heard folks in this space talk about the loneliness of FI, but it is always in reference to that first year of early retirement where you no longer have the daily interactions that the workplace provides.  What I am experiencing is something very different.  This brand of loneliness is occurring during the journey, not once the destination is reached.

Admittedly, this is a different path than the norm for someone my age and station in life.  That alone creates a situation where I almost feel that other people don’t “get” me.  I watch friends purchase new luxury cars while I decide to continue to drive my 125,000-mile scratched-up truckster.  I see friends move into larger and larger houses, while I work hard to pay off the mortgage on my current house.  I have even considered moving into a smaller, cheaper house but can’t even broach that subject with my wife, who is definitely not on the FI bandwagon.  I pretend I don’t hear the comments or “jokes” made at my expense about being cheap or when my kids make comments such as “… I know, we can’t afford it…”  All these things together combine to make this a very lonely road.  

I truly believe that the path I am on is what is best for me and my family but that doesn’t mean it is an easy road to trek.  I will continue to keep my head down and plug away, but it is really tough at times.  With the explosion of social media, there are more and more narrow communities taking root.  There are local FI-inspired user groups.  I might seek those out and find myself a pool of like-minded folks that might help to reinforce my choices and decisions.  However, I tend to be very introverted and putting myself out there in those types of settings are tough for me.  But, if it helps quell the alone feeling, it is probably worth pushing through that discomfort.

2019 Goals- Six Month Check-Up

I have not been blogging as regularly as I would like.  Chalk that up to lack of time and to a lesser extent, motivation.  I will try to improve on that so as not to disappoint my one or two constant readers (haha).  Below is a look at the goals that I had setup for myself for 2019 and a snapshot of where I stand on progress for those goals.  

1. Keep Weight under 235 (see above for incremental goals):

This goal continues to elude me and is a cause for much disappointment and self-loathing.  I just returned from a week-long vacation and my current weight is the highest it has been in about two years.  I hope to regain my motivation and get that back down to my target.  We shall see.

2. Max my 401K contributions:

In the recent past, my compensation structure was altered which led to a somewhat sharp decrease in my earnings.  The correlating impact is that my 401K contributions have decreased in parallel.  To date, I have contributed $10,920.03.  Based on current calculations I should still reach this goal of maxing out the full $19,000 for calendar year 2019.  As I have mentioned previously, I may also slightly increase my contribution rate.  I will decide on that path later in the summer.  

3. Fully Fund Wife’s ROTH IRA (Stretch Goal:  Fully Fund my ROTH IRA as well):

Both of these accounts have been fully funded.  

4. Read at least 24 Books & Listen to at least 24 audio books:

As mentioned above, I just returned from a vacation.  That week gave me plenty of time to catch up on reading.  My travels included approximately 12 hours in each direction in the car.  Due to this I was able to complete 3 audio books.  Additionally, ample beach and pool time led me to finish one book and start another.  To date, I have completed 22 books and 19 audio books.  This puts me way ahead of my targeted pace of 2 of each per month.  If I can continue this pace, I will certainly raise my goal again next year.

5. Re-read “The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco & “Set for Life” by Scott Trench:

I have still not begun a re-read of either of these titles.  I continue to utilize the reserve system at my local library, and this has kept me in a strong supply of books to read and this has caused me to fail to restart these two books, which I own.  I have them sitting on my nightstand and fully intend to re-read them in the near future. 

6. Get Vanguard Taxable Investment Account over $55k

This goal has been accomplished.  At present, my taxable account sits at $57,613.89.  While the market winds can change, I am confident that my continued bi-weekly contributions will keep this account above the targeted amount.  Additionally, I am in the process of selling one of my rental properties (I will detail this transaction in a future post).  Once this sale is concluded, some of those funds will be held aside for taxes, others will be earmarked for a kitchen renovation in my home and the rest will be moved to my taxable account.  With this in mind, I hope to push this account above the $100K mark by years end.

7. Pay Credit Cards in full each month:

Thus far, I have paid all credit cards in full each month of 2019.  However, this month, that target is in jeopardy.  I ran up the credit cards quite a bit lately with issues at my rental properties and then vacation.  Based on my current budget, I do not believe that I will be able to pay this card in full in the coming month, but I will ensure to get caught up in the next month at the latest.

8. Get HELOC Balance under $30K:

This goal has been reached.  The current balance on the HELOC is $27,133.06.  I have mentioned previously that I will revise this goal to now get the balance under $20,000 before the end of the year.    

9. Continue to Blog weekly:

In the past few weeks, I have begun to struggle with this goal.  I was on a strong streak of weekly publishing and starting to gain some momentum in creating community with certain readers and commenters, but this has fallen off as of late.  I am struggling with my motivation a bit lately, but I will attempt to buckle down and get back on track.  

10. Earn additional $100 per month in income through various side hustles:

For the most recent month, June 2019, I failed to reach the targeted amount.  Below are the items I was able to earn.

  •  $50
  •  $25

I did, however, receive a Father’s Day card from my parents that included a $25 check and additionally received a $50 gift card from my co-workers for my birthday.  I was not sure if those should be counted in this category since they were gifts and not earnings.  I can see the argument in either direction.  But at the end of the day, this goal was about realizing additional money each month above and beyond my paycheck, so I guess with that in mind, I was able to realize an additional $150 in total for the month.