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Boil A Frog All The Way To An Early Retirement

Tweet Pin Share If you’re fixin to boil a frog, one popular technique warns against dropping the critter into a pot of boiling water.  Not surprisingly, a frog will immediately hop out of a pot of boiling water. #shocking How To Boil A Frog The best way to boil a frog is to begin with […]

If you’re fixin to boil a frog, one popular technique warns against dropping the critter into a pot of boiling water.  Not surprisingly, a frog will immediately hop out of a pot of boiling water. #shocking

Boil A Frog

How To Boil A Frog

The best way to boil a frog is to begin with room temperature water and slowly turn up the heat whenever the frog gets used to its new situation.

Gradually increasing the water temperature from warm to hot to boiling allows the critter to stay in an environment that it normally wouldn’t tolerate.  The frog thinks everything is great without realizing that it’s now in a situation from which it would have run from not long ago.   And that is how you boil a frog – bon appétit!

Weird story but it has a good lesson that’s applicable to our money.

Avoid Drastic Changes

If you’re ready to improve your finances, making major changes that will dramatically change your life can be just like jumping into your own pot of boiling water – you probably won’t last very long.

Instead, start by making small changes, then turn up the heat slowly as you get comfortable.

For example, if money is tight, don’t try to max out your 401k.  Your intentions might be good, but why not try contributing an extra 1% for a few paychecks, then up your contribution again in a few months.  Keep doing this each time you get comfortable and before too long you’ll have maxed out your 401k contributions.

Or, if your goal is to get out of debt, instead of emptying your savings account to pay down debt, try paying an extra $50 per month towards the debt you hate most.  If that’s not too hot to handle, slowly contribute more and more money each month until you’ve reached your goal.

There are lots of examples, but you get the idea.  You wouldn’t sign up to run a marathon before you’ve tried running a mile.  The same principal holds true with your money.

Slowly Turn Up The Heat

Easing yourself into a new budget by making gradual changes to it could make it easier for you to stick to your financial plan.  Whereas drastic changes that completely flip things upside down might be too much, which could lead to broken resolutions and a financial situation that’s worse than the one you started with.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect solution, it takes time to reach FIRE so just get started and make minor adjustments as you go.  Keep making changes and before you know it you’ll have yourself a boiled frog. Or an early retirement.

Personal finances are similar to how you boil a frog. Making sudden and major changes can be just like jumping into a pot of boiling water. It's not smart and you probably won't last very long.

Chime in!

Taking things slowly can be hard for me – I like to jump in with both feet.  But I also recognize that a slow and steady approach probably has a better chance of success.  What about you ?  And have you ever eaten frog?  I’ve had frog legs; tastes like chicken 😉

12 replies on “Boil A Frog All The Way To An Early Retirement”

Okay, yes, a bit weird but a really great analogy, Ty. This strategy has worked well for us over the years. First paying off debt and increasing our savings, and then more investing. As for eating frogs…no thank you. Only the proverbial kind.

If we want to mix animals, it’s like eating an elephant, right? One bite at a time. That’s the most challenging part of PF/FI. I have to be patient, and I’m not great at it. The real trick is to find a way to chart your progress so even the small successes matter. Then, you’re more likely to build habits. Thanks for the food (ick!?) for thought.

Good points you bring up. Making small improvements each week or month can really add up. Once you get started and have some small successes, momentum can be a powerful force. Trying to do too much all at once can be overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to give up. Do a little each week and I think you will be surprised at the results.

In most situation, it’s probably much better to ease into it. Making a big change will be jarring to everyone.
Luckily, I started contributing to my 401k right out of college. At that point, being poor was still okay. If I waited, then it would have been much more difficult to set aside the money.

I LOVE this, Joe. The more I think about it, the more I realize that lifestyle inflation is the root cause of so many financial problems. Sounds like you were able to avoid some of that by establishing good money habits before your lifestyle inflated.

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