Baby Van - Sis
Listen, I don’t do numbers. As you may have read by now, my brother and I are a good balance, like yin and yang. I like colors and flowers. He likes numbers and metrics. So when it comes to tools to help benchmark your journey to FI, I don’t tend to get them fully. But what keeps me motivated on my journey? There has to be little wins because the road can be long and it is very easy to fall off the bandwagon of freedom.
My husband and I opened a Vanguard account a few months ago. We sold our first home and had a lump sum of money we were not sure what to do with. This is when I asked my brother his suggestions and the rest is history. They say to pretend you don’t have the money in the account and to just “forget” about it. I am not good at forgetting. I like to look at the account every few days and watch it grow.
It’s like raising a child and its name is Van. Van is small at first and needs lots of attention, but does not contribute a whole lot. You research schools and decide which is best for your family; the account. Then Van goes to that school, gets a report card, and a good student reward 4 times each year; dividends. You can decide if you teach Van to put that money back into his schooling or if he wants to use it for a new toy. As Van grows you start noticing his rewards are larger and he is contributing to the family more and more.
Sometimes Van surprises you, really does great in school and grows a lot. These times can be exciting and you really get to see him grow. Sometimes Van gets in a fight and loses. He might disappoint his parents, but in the end you still love him. You have to stick with it, because you know that Van will rebound and grow from his low points.
Then someday, Van is big enough that he can take care of his parents on his own. All their hard work paid off. All the sacrifices they made no longer seem so big. Van now is able to give back to his parents and pay them back for their sacrifices.
Like raising a child, investing for early retirement can be hard. It's a lot of work and is not always cut and dry. It takes time and commitment, but the growth as a family you receive in return will be worth it in the end.
Whether you have a sticky note on your desk with your 2080 number or you picture a little baby named Van, perception can make all the difference on your FI journey.