The Five Year Plan - Bro

I recently read a blog post by Zach over at “Four Pillar Freedom” titled “How to be in a Better Place Five Years from Now: Stop Looking Around and Start Looking Ahead” and it got me thinking about long term planning. Five years is a short enough time that the “end” does not seem out of reach but it is far enough away that you have to room to make many small efforts to make a large impact. This is not a New Year's resolution. I see it as more of a direction instead of a destination. Without further ado here is my (first attempt at a) five year Plan.

Family:

This area of my life is one of the more contentious areas. I am the sole breadwinner in my family. My primary focus is typically providing for my family (I find this to be a large motivator in wanting to be FI). To achieve the goal of providing for my family aspects of my relationship gets sacrificed. This includes things like missed anniversaries, school events, and holidays. To make up for this I plan to work on improving my relationships when I am around. I plan on working more on communication (eternal goal of all husbands) and being more in the moment so I can appreciate the time I do have with my family. It is very easy to take a few pictures of the kids putting ornaments on the tree and then go back to playing on my phone or getting ready for the next work trip. It is a lot harder to engage my family fully for the whole time. To encourage more focus I would like take time to make “dates” with both my wife and children.

I recently read A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine and found it a great guide on how to approach being more present. That being said I found it very difficult to follow through with the ideas in the book. As part of my five year plan I hope to read this book a few times to remind me of some of the processes for being more present especially because I find them difficult.

Health:
I have been blessed with a metabolism that lets me get away with a lot. I have always overeaten and I have never had to be good about avoiding “bad” food. Despite my lack of control with my diet I still look fairly healthy. With that being said my BMI is 26.6. That puts me in the “Overweight” group. While I do not really agree with BMI I think it is a decent yardstick for measuring health. As with everyone else in the world I would like to be healthy so my five year plan is to creep down to BMI of 25 and maintain that.

To push my BMI down I plan to do a few different things. The first thing I plan on trying is intermittent fasting. Most work days I do not eat anything until about noon (lunch). I then have dinner at about 6. I do not typically have dessert. That translates to me fasting from 6PM to noon or about 18 hours. I am contemplating taking it to the next level by doing a true 24 hour fast on occasion. I can confess to only have done this once but found it enlightening in a stoic kind of way.

I am not the sort of person that goes to the gym. In a past life I was a bit of a runner but due to some throat issues (soon to be fixed I hope) I have not been running much. Instead, I would like to work on doing more spontaneous full body workouts. In plain terms I would like to be better about picking my kids up and throwing them around a bit. As they grow I will hopefully grow stronger.

FI:
I am on pace to be basic FI (while keeping the cabin) in four years. I feel a lot of pressure to provide for my family so every step that I make towards having more financial security the better. My plan is to maintain focus and to spend some time really pondering what FI means to me. I intentionally do not really emphasize the RE in FIRE (early retirement) but I do like the options being independent can buy.

Work:
This is one area I dont have a lot of goals in. I work for a small company of very good engineers. I am the fifth most senior person (out of 12) so at this point my best policy is to just keep my head down. I want to continue to strive to be good at my job but besides that there is not much I can do.

I have no real plans to side hustle due to the fact that I would have a much better return on investment to push myself at my day job. I also have no plans to chase investment returns via individual stocks or real estate.

Environment:
Global warming is real. Given that fact it makes sense that I need to do my part to reduce my carbon/greenhouse gas footprint. That being said I am not in the extreme camp where I feel we all need to stop making progress as a society and force the world's poor to stay poor in order to save the environment. This creates a fine line where I want to reduce my footprint but not be so extreme as to sabotage the world economy (or personal economy).

The first thing I would like to do to reduce my carbon footprint is to cut down on the amount of meat I eat. I love steak as much as the next carnivore but I feel it should be kept in the category of treat versus daily staple. To help this goal as a family I would like to on average eat one vegetarian meal a week. I would also like to explore vegan once a week but that honestly might be pushing it a bit.

Second, I am interested in solar. The problem I have with solar is I have IREA as our utility provider at both the cabin and our house. IREA is not at all friendly to solar energy. They charge a connection fee and various other fees that make it not very cost effective. I am still looking into options but from a financial perspective it is not all that great.
I am still pondering this area. It is possible to go the charity route. I could possibly go a more minimalist route to help reduce clutter and trash. I could even go the investment route to encourage new technologies.

End:
Overall I have some areas that have clear directions and some areas that really need more pondering. The hope of this outline is that it will be a guide and something to look at when I need a bit of a nudge. In the end small nudges can drastically alter courses if done at the right time.

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