16 thoughts on “Why you should FIRE in order to learn how to plan

  1. Finding goals along the way is very important – not just the big ones.

    Take our mortgage for example. 30 years, hope to pay it off in 20 or less. But then I think about that and it’s just too long of a time horizon for me to truly comprehend. 30 years ago I was 7 months old. Even 20 years ago I was 10…time changes SO much that just setting one goal for the mortgage of 20-30 years out is not something my little brain can comprehend.

    I think it gets more difficult after you hit #8 above since like you said it’s mundane stuff. You need to find something to work toward, something on a shorter time scale. For some that’s easy – for others, not so much.

    Those microgoals help a lot. For my mortgage example, our first goal is to get rid of PMI. Then we’ll track down every $25k in principal since that’s a big enough chunk to feel good about, but on a short enough timeframe to comprehend.

    Microgoals are also really helpful for blogging. Of course I’d love to eventually get to a point where I’ve got tens of thousands (or more) readers each month. Looking at that right now is incredibly daunting – I’ve got some readers but my site growth isn’t great right now. But breaking down those goals into monthly targets, and then figuring out what I can change or add or tweak to try to get there, and then that persistence like you said, should land me there eventually.

    1. Hi Dave! Thanks for stopping by! You’re making some great points. I actually really enjoy your blog, even if I don’t have something meaningful to add each time. I look forward to reading your posts!

      As you point out, I think the micro-goals are very important. You just can’t really look at anything life that worth doing and imagine doing it. You have to take one small step at a time. The challenge is always not feeling like your steps are inadequate. Looking back at HM, I can’t actually believe how far it’s come. I think I saw a Tweet today by another blogger that said – “when I look at old posts I feel like a superhuman wrote them.” I definitely chuckled at that one!

  2. I think this is your best post yet. The quote “we are happiest when we are striving and achieving” may define my 2017 (plus the new baby of course). Its why I want to FI but not FIRE. I want to accomplish the stuff that I care most about!

    1. Thanks Jason! I really appreciate you saying this! I agree with you on “I want to FI but not FIRE.” Maybe my views will change as I get closer and older, but for now, I feel like I have so much left to do.

  3. Good way of looking at things. My goal is the FI in FIRE. During my journey towards this I have learned a lot about planning. You have to be on top of things to do anything radical with your life. Each step of the way I feel as though it is worth it though when I look back, it brings a lot of satisfaction.

    1. Thanks DM! I appreciate you stopping by! I think the satisfaction of looking back is why we do anything (including FI). It’s just amazing to look back and see what you have created.

    1. Thanks Mrs. Kiwi! I really appreciate you stopping by here! I think we are kindred spirits. I love planning and FIRE is such a natural next step here. It doesn’t hurt that making this plan is also so good for you in terms of personal growth too.

    2. You said exactly what I wanted to say. It’s great to think about FIRE as a way to infuse meaning into life after the big “goals” are achieved. Another example of a traditional goal in this vein is when a parent’s child graduates (high school, college, etc) because the parent feels like their child has used the lessons from the parents to accomplish something.

      For those of us that are childless, though, and even for parents, this take on FIRE as a new life goal seems to be really productive!

      I also appreciate the tone of this post. Other FIRE blogs just end up making me feel guilty most of the time. It’s better to start on this journey with a positive, reaffirming outlook and I think Handy Millennial has given that to us.

      1. Hi Bob! Thanks for stopping by! That’s an interesting observation. I can’t yet confirm this but it feels true. I will say that people who are striving for FIRE are probably being having an easier time juggling parenting among their other pursuits. FIRE is just a great way to relieve some pressure from you.

        I’m glad you enjoyed the positive approach. My goal is to come an irrational optimist. 🙂 Kind of like Mr. Warren Buffet.

  4. Inspiring! Excellent summary of the FIRE landscape, HM.

    I can attest to the power of persistence and sticking with one’s goals. Very neat to see the years peel off the ol’ spreadsheet as the big objective approaches.

    1. Thanks Cubert! I appreciate that! I can also attest to the same feeling of accomplishment as you move closer to the goal. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  5. This is a wonderfully insightful post and completely accurate. I am a huge planner by nature, but after graduating college (21), getting married (21), buying a house (23), paying off student loans (24), having a baby (27), my financial goals really floated. I stayed reasonably frugal, but with no real next step goals, we really only did “okay.” Since deciding FI is a serious goal, I’ve set some strict goals and we’re on track to hopefully hit 50% savings next year. Amazing how much goal setting is really life changing.

    1. Hi Angela! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this comment. I think FI has been pretty life changing for most of us here. It seems like you were particularly good at knocking out life’s goals – glad you found that new one!

  6. Love the article. Learning the art of setting the right, challenging goals is a challenge in itself. I’ve been setting goals for two to three years now and I’m still finding to find the right balance of achievable but challenging as hell. Still learning and I’ll give myself another chance for 2018! You made a great point about the importance of the goal setting process in FIRE. it will be challenging and tough, but we’ll worth it and your early retired self will thank you haha


    1. Hi Bert! Thanks for stopping by! I like this: “right balance of achievable but challenging as hell.” That’s exactly how I feel. I tend to set goals that are too hard. Maybe some day I will learn :).

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