A lot of working on finances is about playing the long game. What do you want now, vs what you want later? What does choosing to spend that money – on a latte, a pair of shoes, more expensive rent – mean for the future?
For me it has also been about learning patience. Being able to create new habits, and do the same good things day in and out even when I feel like I really deserve a break. Making daily good choices: packing a lunch for work, checking bank balances (but NOT my savings – more on this later), looking up free events so I can take the kids out at the weekend without blowing the bank.
The monthly good choices are easier because they’re automated: bills, savings, mortgage over-payments, pension – they’re good habits because I don’t get a chance to overthink them. There’s lots of good information about automation in the FIRE movement: as the Mad Fientist says, “Figure out your investing plan… then take yourself out of the equation as much as possible so that you don’t get in your own way”.
They are good habits that have taken a while to form, and I will talk about how in coming posts. This week I have been reflecting on them in the middle of the stock market freefall where my savings (that I have proudly scratched together in the years before my salary increased) lost 10% during about ten days. I know, I know – they’re only losses if you realise them by selling out too early. And you should only invest money if you plan to spend it in a long enough time frame to see it through ups and downs.
So I have tried to add some more good habits. Leaving the money alone, not even opening the lid to peek in and see what’s going on. Carrying on investing and saving, and planning for a brilliant future – even if this week it feels a little bit further away.