Cue the Beatles Music.
What do you do once you’ve gotten all your investments in order, your spending in control, and you have maxed out how much you can put away towards your FI goal? You have run the numbers, and now you just have to wait the 2 years, 4 years, etc. till you hit your FI number. What do you do in the meantime? I’ve seen this topic covered a couple of times in the FI blogs that I read.
I would say one of the major things people do while on the path is worry.
- Did I choose the right investments?
- What if there is a market correction?
- What is going on with healthcare (primarily a US issue, but other western countries have their own health care issues)
- Is there any more money I can squeeze out of my income to put towards FI?
- What do I do once I hit FI? Retire? Continue to work? Move to another job?
I can say that these and many other issues continue to bubble up in my head, now that I have worked through the basic numbers and have a date – as well as quite a few others. Each of them can involve hours of going around in circles, trying to determine if the decisions made were correct. What is a more productive use of your time while you slowly wait to hit your FI number?
Here are some ideas on what you can do to occupy yourself while the clock ticks down:
Determine travel you want to do once you hit FI, and determine basic costs for it: This is probably one of the most popular ones. Most FIRE people dream of travel – going to exotic places, seeing the world, visiting with friends and family. Since most of us are research fanatics, this is a way to get your jollies by doing research and pricing stuff out. It is one of the best ways we can dream while waiting to hit our date.
Continue researching FIRE via Blogs, Podcasts, etc. to glean additional ideas (travel hacking, etc.): The FI community is growing larger every day, and everyone has their own “spin” on the topic. One of the things I love about it is that I am almost constantly learning new ideas, new thoughts on the subject. While many of the topics don’t get me closer to FI (I don’t change my plan) I do take them to heart – and occasionally I do find something that will help me.
Research potential alternate career fields/jobs once you hit FI: You often hear people talk about hitting FI, so they can pursue a career in what they really love to do. Well, while pursuing FI, why not take the time to do the actual research on the career field, so you can find out if you really will love it?
One of the best books on doing this sort of career research is “What color is your parachute.” They called it informational interviewing. You find someone working in the career field that you are interested in and ask them three questions:
- What do you like about it?
- What do you not like about it?
- Who else do you know that I can talk to about it?
By doing the research, you can narrow down the wide range of possibilities into things that are more manageable, and identify career paths that looked great, but ended up not being so “sweet.”
Look for ways to teach, even for free, in order to share: There is always an opportunity to share the lessons you have learned on your path, either in FI or in your current career. Take the time to share them, through writing, lecturing, etc.
Look for additional ways to reduce stress in your life: Even as we approach FI, there are other things causing stress in our lives (family, health, etc.). As you slowly eliminate the stress of finances, look for other ways to cut the stress out of your life.
What are you doing to take up your time while waiting to hit FI?
Mr. 39 Months