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Subject:  Re: What keeps you going? Date:  8/7/2003  10:05 AM
Author:  feawen Number:  130 of 5232

What keeps me going?

As negative as it may first appear to sound, pain is more of a motivator than anticipated pleasure. Like many others, I have worked very hard my whole life, and it has not had the remuneration which I thought it would. At least, every goal I have been involved in has had the promise of something better. When I finally finished my training, did my post-doc, and got licensed, there wasn't much better out there. I work in a job I never thought or dreamed of doing (who dreams of being a psychologist in a prison working with criminals all day?) Sorry, but I had thought I would get to focus on healing people from emotional injury, and well, society still doesn't value that very much. Mental health is always the first thing to get cut from budgets, by the government and health plans, if you hadn't noticed.

Having the threat of job loss constantly present before me became a huge motivator to figure out how to be able to live financially independently. I don't care so much about the Retire Early part, I really enjoy working and being productive, but I want choices.

My date for FIRE was much farther out a couple of years ago, like aboaut 12 years away. Then, due to collective bargaining and new contracts for my husband's job, his eligibility to retire from his civil service job was moved up by 3-5 years, putting a possible FIRE date much closer to seven years away. That was a shocker, and since I am the financial manager in the family, I began FIRE planning with a vengeance. I would love for him to be able to not have to work after he reaches his 20 years, he has always worked so hard. He is planning on 20 years because at that point full medical benefits for life kick in.

I have digressed. How do I stay the goal? After living many years of deprivation as a student, I simply knew that I needed to not let my expenses swell up to my income. I decided instead to do forced savings with 401(k) and IRA on auto-withdraw so that I never saw the money and so am never tempted to spend it. We both make good incomes, though, so I am hardly living in deprivation, and could actually save a lot more.

On the plus side, there are many hobbies and interests I have which either cost money or are poorly paid. Or not paid at all. I have a deep abiding spirituality, and volunteering for the food pantry at my church is time consuming and while full of value, puts no bread on the table for me, so to speak. I still have many books I want to read I was introduced to in college that I haven't yet made time to indulge in. I could go on and on, but more later.

Thanks for starting this board, I too was looking for others who are trying to make it to FIRE.


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