It Gets Easier (FIRE)

Much like those anti-bullying campaigns from a few years ago (It Gets Better), the sometimes tedious nature of slow progress and over-fretting about your own net worth gets easier.

I remember way back, like 2 years ago back, there were only a few blogs doing monthly net worth updates. I posted mine religiously and openly because I enjoyed following the few people who were doing it. That is how fast this landscape changes. You turn around and you are old school.

Now it seems everybody posts a net worth regularly and therefore there is a wide spectrum of net worth data. From the people still operating in the red to the folks with multiple millions of passive cash working for them.

I find myself gravitating towards the people that most remind me of me. Sure I am interested in the extreme ends of the scale, but I relate most to people on the upper end of things.

Then I thought of all the things going through my brain as I read other people’s blogs and realized this probably happens with other people brains too.

By that I mean everything from;

“Of Course your net worth is massive, you have a job that pays you a $20,000 bonus at the end of the year for breathing, Wow, super impressed you were able to save.’

To;

‘I get it your dividends increased 70% month over month, but the total is sitting at $9.38. I will check back when your numbers get interesting.”

Data overload can be daunting and constantly comparing yourself to people on different paths can be frustrating.

I wrote this post to soften the blow for anyone getting disheartened by the lack of speedy awesomeness of your FIRE goals. I have a lot of personal data going back many years. Here is the truth;

IT GETS EASIER

Yes, my wife and I both have good jobs. But I have never made six figures and my wife has only broken into the six figures as late as 2012 and has yet to crawl halfway to the $200,00  mark. Good money yes, but we both started out twenty years ago in the $40’s, like normal people.

We may be lawyers, but we are government lawyers. Plus, we did have a ton of debt from law school, over $200,00 to be exact.

My earliest net worth numbers from 2006 show a grand total of $ 74,469. For the first six years of ‘real jobs’ starting in 2000, we did not pile up any assets, just living our lives.

There is a steady upwards and onward progression of our numbers, but no ‘I sold my house in California‘ jumps.

Nowadays, I watch my piles of money grow unbelievably right before my eyes each month. Last month was a $39,000 increase over the month prior. WOW!

It did not start out like that, go through the data, it is a long slow slug through the forest, but eventually momentum takes over.

All this comes with the Asterisks that you do need some LIFE LUCK as well. No major illnesses, economy moves steadily up, things like that. But those things are mostly out of your control.

Take the steps we all keep saying to take and you will get traction.

Keep doing your thing.

Keep looking dreamily at people ahead of you on the journey.

Keep encouraging those below you.

It Gets Easier!

5 thoughts on “It Gets Easier (FIRE)

  1. you know what else? i was a lousy portfolio manager/stock picker when i really started investing around ’06. i got better and then got much better. all those “stay calm and stay the course” muscles really grew and that growth accelerated. it does get easier indeed and when it does that’s a spectacular place to be and worth the slog!

  2. I can vouch for the “it gets easier” title. I graduated college in 95. In 2009 after 14 years of monthly contributions to an investment account, I had lost money, and only had $28k saved. The stock market recovered, and I withdrew a chunk of money to buy real estate, but hit $100k in 2015. That was 20 years to get to the 100k$ mark. I have taken money out for the kids college, but I hit 150k$ for the first time last week, less than 5 years later. In fact it smashed right through that mark to hit 152k$. Next stop 200k$.
    Great post.

  3. Things initially got easier for me once I paid off my &^%#%$ law school loans. Once that was done, I could take a deep breath and, on exhaling, curse an even bluer streak about law schools. I’m still exhaling more than a decade later. It may be a while before I need to inhale.

  4. I do think having a six figure, times two, income puts high earning bloggers in a tough spot. There is no way to make that level of compensation sound less than affluent. I think you have to be careful to pick your topics because many people that earn less will not think you can understand what life is like raising three kids making $40,000 a year. I was the well known big boss in a small town, I quickly learned my opinion on money issues had no credibility with others because everyone knew I was rich, it wasn’t the case, just like with you, but perception is reality.

  5. True. It’s incredible how once things get to a certain level, momentum takes over and it rockets off.
    I couldn’t believe my eyes last year when I totted up my net worth figures and my investments made more than I did at my full-time job. WHAT?!?
    It was a long, hard slog to get to this point, though.

Let's get things nice and sparkling clear