2017, the year of no motivation

This is it, procrastination is getting the best of me.

Hey, I thought Financial Independence was supposed to make me a better employee?

The end of 2016 had been tough on me from a motivation perspective. My side gig was doing great without any activity from me, which is great, but as any blogger will confirm, once you stop writing daily it gets very, very difficult to get back into the mood. Somehow, the 2 hours a day I used to find to dedicate to my blog are gone (not sure where they went).

In addition, I came back to work today, from 2 weeks of vacation, hoping I would be full of energy to approach 2017. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve spent my first day at work procrastinating on every single task, pretty much doing only the bare minimum. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just completely burned out from this job, or because I reached “KoFI” recently, or because I know I’m only in this specific position for a few more months (our plan is to move back to Japan in a few months).

Many Financial bloggers tell us that reaching some level of financial independence have made them “better employees”: they’re not worried of losing their job anymore, and therefore can tell people the truth, work on things that really matter to the company (rather than what will get their manager promoted), and generally be more efficient.

That didn’t work out this way for me. Knowing that I could pretty much quit anytime (well, if it wasn’t for the fact that my Visa is tied to my job with this company, and I don’t want my pregnant wife to have to do an international trip right now) has made me Lazy, with a capital L.

The problem of course is if this laziness extends to my blog: I’m Kind of Financially Independent, but currently still heavily rely on my side gig (which is definitely not passive income) to provide a huge chunk of our future revenue. This last bit of dependence is shrinking as we save more money every year, but it’s still significant at the moment.

This year I’ll be doing my best to scale back on work in order to help my pregnant wife, while in parallel trying to maintain my side gig in a good working state. I only have to get rid of the procrastination for that bit, I guess.

Icing on the cake, Steve over at ThinkSaveRetire just announced he retired. I relate a lot to Steve because we had similar FI timelines and he’s 35 just like me. I was secretly hoping I would be able to pull the plug before him, grrr 😉 Ha, but this also gives me extra motivation, and Steve if you happen to read this congrats to you and your wife!

Understanding the plan, confirming it works, then what?

Looking back, 2015 and 2016 have been pretty good financially for us. 2015 was the year we learned to cut on our expenses and where I put lots of work into my side gig. in 2016, we reaped the benefits of those, with my blog bringing in significant income and our savings habits now streamlined into our way of life. in 2016, we saved 67% of our post-tax income, a really tiny increase from our 66% savings rate last year. There’s not much more we can save at that point: with a 3rd kid on the way we’ll need to move to a bigger place, and ultimately buy a car, so, although I don’t expect our overall expenses to increase that much with the newborn, it will be extremely difficult to save more moving forward.

In other words, 2015 was our learning phase, and 2016 felt like the confirmation phase. In 2017, finances will not be in the driver’s seat anymore, as the new baby and the move to Japan will take a lot of energy. Ideally, we can put finances on autopilot moving forward. To be honest, 2016 was already pretty boring from a financial perspective: there’s so many things you can do to cut on your expenses without sacrificing everything, and we’ve done that successfully.

2017, here’s to happiness

Hopefully, the second half of 2017 will be more about the longer term plan, where we want to settle in Japan, and what things will look like once I pull the trigger… It’s time I focused on the “happiness” part of this whole financial independence thingy. Because that’s what it’s about at the end of the day.

Happiness is another thing lots of financial bloggers seem to have figured out. I find that for me it doesn’t come that easily. I actually have to think a lot about what makes me happy, what makes my family happy, and how to make these two (distinct on many aspects) goals work together. For now, my work heavily gets in the way of that, and that’s where Financial Independence comes into the picture.

It’s been very easy in 2015 and 2016 to forget that financial independence itself is not the goal. It is one of the tools to reaching the goal, but I sometimes forget the goal itself…

What does 2017 look like for you? Are you already procrastinating on your good resolutions?

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire
  2. Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes
  3. The Green Swan

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