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Prepare Your Finances

Hurry Up and Wait

Getting your personal finances in order isn’t complicated.  That’s not to say it’s easy, but for most people it’s not hard.*

  • Spend less money than you make
  • Invest that difference
  • Eliminate/avoid debt

Make a habit of these things and your finances will be on autopilot.  Run on autopilot long enough and you’ll cruise through the six layers of FIRE. It just takes a bit of time, and this is where it gets hard.  For me the most difficult part of personal finances is the waiting game.
Hurry up and wait

Hurry Up And Wait

Depending on where you’re at in your financial journey, waiting can take YEARS!  And that can be excruciating.

There are really only two things you can do to shorten the waiting game:

  1. Cut back on your expenses
  2. Earn more money

Cut Expenses

Cutting expenses is great example of the personal finance multiplier effect in action because it means you need to save LESS money to reach your long term goals while simultaneously allowing you to save MORE money each month so that you can reach those goals faster.

Earn More Money

Reducing your expenses makes an immediate impact on your finances, but there’s only so much you can cut from your budget.  On the other hand, earning more money takes time but there’s no limit to how much you can make.

Of course earning more money doesn’t help you reach financial independence unless you use it to pay off debt or put it to work by investing it, letting it grow, and shaving YEARS off of your working career.

Autopilot

Once your finances are on auto pilot, all that’s left to do is hurry up and wait.  For me this stage is both hard, and great.  Hard because I’m impatient and want to reach financial freedom.  Great because being on autopilot frees up time for you improve your situation, work on your passions, and plan a better future.

Once your personal finances and budget are on autopilot, financial freedom becomes a waiting game and ain't nobody got time for that!

Chime in!

Is it hard for you to hurry up and wait?  Are your finances on auto pilot?  Have I overlooked something that could be done to shorten the waiting game?

* I get it – there are times and scenarios when finances are complicated and significantly more difficult (you’re unemployed, going through a divorce, have a failing business, etc.).  If you’re in one of these situations then I truly feel bad.  I’ve been there and can empathize. Hang in there!

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

12 replies on “Hurry Up and Wait”

There comes a point where it mostly manages itself. Then as you pointed out you can focus on anything you want. I’ve been in that for a few years, and it’s a nice place to be. You don’t particularly need to worry about money as it comes on it’s own.

I dunno, Ty…this is kind of a long post 😉

This is so important. It’s the part of personal finance that I struggle with the most now. I’m so impatient that I’m always looking for ways that I can inch myself forward. Unfortunately, though, that generally means trading the time I already have for the possibility of more time in the future just a wee bit sooner. Basically, I need to learn patience…or Bitcoin.

haha. 416 words is definitely pushing it for me. 🙂
For me, a pitfall of impatience is that it leads to frustration, which can lead to throwing in the towel or giving up. I’d guess that’s where a lot of people fall short – they get started, progress feels slow, they give up in frustration. The struggle is real – thank goodness for crypto!! 😀

So with you Penny! Looking at the timeline of likely FI and to most anyone else they’d be like OH MY GOSH THAT’S SO FEW MORE YEARS. but we look at it and go… omg that’s SO MANY MORE YEARS. But the trade time for money thing is what we’re trying to avoid, so side hustles must be carefully evaluated for “is it worth it-ness”. Ty, all about that automation! Bless technology and it’s ability to keep me saving and not defaulting on credit cards bc I forgot to pay the bill.

That’s a very interesting point.
The waiting phase wasn’t that long for me because FI wasn’t my goal when I was young. I just saved and invested as much as I could for no particular reason. I guess financial security. Once I realized I wanted to shoot for financial independence, I was already most of the way there. Pretty lucky.

That’s awesome, Joe. By the time I got my act together I was already in my mid-30s. Add 10 years to Get Rich Quick’ish and I’m EXTREMELY antsy. I’m making sure my kids are more financially aware than I was so that they don’t have to deal w/ the late start that I got.

So true, my friend. You’ve done an excellent job of describing something I now call the FIRE paradox. We in the FIRE community are conditioned to take action. We formulate a goal or pinpoint a problem, analyze how best to address that goal or problem, and then do steps 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. to conquer that goal or vanquish that problem. But then when we get to the autopilot point of the FIRE journey, we know the prudent thing to do is to leave the autopilot alone, and that ABSOLUTELY KILLS US. We’re doers! We’re not sitters and watchers! I hated the autopilot part of my FIRE journey, but I toughed it out and did nothing. Aaarrrggghhh! That was so painful. Love the way your mind works, Ty. Great post.

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