How to Stay Hungry on Your Journey to Financial Freedom

10 years of investing. That is 10 years of Frugal Living and saving as much as possible. In addition, that means 10 years of managing the portfolio & monthly budget. 25,000+ hours worked in your “career”. What do all these items have in common? Time. Time can wear you down or time can build you up. You may feel tired from putting in all of the blood, sweat and tears on your journey. I am here to show you what you may need to STAND back up, to stay HUNGRY and to keep GOING on your journey.

Symptoms of losing your fight

First, it makes sense to go over the feelings that you may be going through yourself. Some, you may not be aware of. Others, you may know full heartedly what I am talking about. Starting with the symptoms of losing the fight for financial freedom will help in diagnosing where it came from and then, ultimately, how to overcome these symptoms.

1.) Losing the drive. Essentially, you come home from a long day of work. You may have worked 8 hours or maybe it was 12. When you arrive home, you are depleted. There doesn’t seem to be a direction and you become ‘lost’, in a way. You know that there are things you can be doing, such as analyzing your portfolio, creating a watch list, finding out how to optimize idle cash or even negotiate an expense. However, you have lost motivation in doing this. You mindless wander online, from article to article and next thing you know, it’s late and you need to start your routine over again.

2.) You are lost. There’s the killer article that you want to write on investing and pursuing financial freedom, but don’t have a point to start or any clue on the topic to write on. Money is automatically transferred to your savings account, for that purchase of a new income producing asset, but don’t know how to begin analyzing what makes sense for your portfolio. You have the goal, but you truly aren’t sure on the levers to pull or tools to use.

3.) Control has vanished. You know what I’m talking about. You used to save 60%+ of your income, but now you are catching yourself not being savvy and spending more money than usual. However, the spending definitely hasn’t increased your quality of life.  The unnecessary spending has crept in. You lost control of owning your situation.

Examples of this situation can be unique.
Example #1 – Friends wanted to grab drinks and you definitely want to see them, so you go. They picked the place and drinks are $12 per pour. You order one drink, as it’s a strong one, but your friends order two. One check comes and the place of business can’t split, so everyone puts a card in, and your expense just increased.

Example #2 – You attend a wedding, excited to give them your gift and time, to celebrate their amazing day. In between the ceremony and reception, you go to a bar with friends, because that’s where everyone is heading and they are excited to hang out with you. At the bar, everyone doesn’t have a wallet, except you. They all saw you hold your card out to pay for your drink, so you can’t hide that you have yours. Therefore, you are stuck with the bar tab. No one has venmo and most of these friends are out of town.

Example #3 – You go to the dentist for a cleaning, expecting your insurance to cover your cleaning. You receive a bill from the Dental office stating you owe hundreds of dollars, after insurance kicked in.  Now you are confused on how that is even possible. You call the office and your insurance and aren’t receiving clear answers. In fear of collection, you pay the expensive bill and don’t fight any more.

the root of losing the hunger

Losing the hunger, the drive, the passion, usually comes down to a few basic things.

1.) You are physically tired.  In essence, your job takes over 55-70 hours of your week and if you are hustling on a side income project, there goes another 20-25 hours.  We are now talking 75-95 hours per week folks!  Guess what, you are mentally making decisions outside of those hours as well.  Decisions such as, which groceries to buy, which food to make, what you will pack for lunch, when you will cut the grass and clean the house.  The list goes on.  Lastly, you need to find a way to fit sleep in, which is not happening or is now a consistent sleep.  Therefore, you are physically exhausted and can’t pour in the resource of your mind, to working the next step to financial freedom.

2.) You are the “Yes” man.  Everyone at work needs you and your president loves you.  Simply, you say yes to helping people, because that’s who you are at your core.  You may be gifted and know how to rally your teams, expand your mind to accomplish tasks, but guess what – you aren’t saying no to projects as well.  In addition, what you are currently outputting, becomes the brand-new norm and there’s no way around it.  This is now the expectation of you and the question is – how fast can you keep running before burnout occurs?

Since you are saying yes, you are running out of time, as more hours are needed, thus taking away from your life!  What’s tough is when family members and friends want to spend time and you know you need a night(s) to yourself.  Take them, as when you are with your friends/family, for next time, it’ll be that much better. Further, that’s less time analyzing stocks, finding fun ways to make side hustle income or opening a new business that you had dreams of.

3.) It all comes down to Time.  If you can’t tell, you are losing time. You are spending the majority of time, potentially, doing things you don’t fully enjoy or with a team that you fully want to be around.  However, you never want to let anyone down.  The vicious cycle of being the nice guy continues to drag you down and it’s hard to stay upbeat when you are completely bogged down, no doubt.  It just is, plan and simple.  Therefore, you are spending all of the time, with people that may or may not bring you joy, at a job that may or may not bring you happiness.

how to stay hungry on your journey to financial freedom

1.) Think of why you started. Think of where you have come from and why you wanted to reach financial freedom in the first place.  For me, I was poor growing up and didn’t realize how tough of a financial shape our family was in, until I was almost 20 years old. I decided at a young age that there was NO WAY this was going to happen for anyone in my family and I wanted to make a difference on all of my loved ones.

Further, I know what working in a career/job for a long-time can do to your soul and your time on earth. Every time I am feeling fatigued, I think of all of the TIME I want to have doing what I love and spending the TIME with whom I love.  I do this for the family and to accomplish this insanely difficult goal.  Truly, I do love the challenge.  The competitiveness drives me, to beat the challenge.

2.) Write Down Goals. Writing down what you want to accomplish, on a daily, weekly, monthly and/or annual basis is key. This is a document that you can go back to, to help provide direction. This is beneficial when you know you want to write, or invest, or pursue an action, but aren’t sure where to start.  Going to your goal sheet, will help the brainstorming and journaling how you will get there.  If you want to invest in a certain yield, you can screen/filter for that. If you wanted your dividend income to be a certain amount at the end of the month or year, you can calculate what type of an investment that needs to be and start the research process that way.

3.) Pay yourself first. Always and I say ALWAYS, pay yourself first. This will continue to avoid #3 above.  Further, will give you the resources automatically to buy cash flowing assets, which will put you on your pace towards financial freedom. As an employee, I have savings directed to a different bank, automatically, each pay day. Each week, I evaluate the budget versus actual, and will make an additional transfer to my online savings bank (which is tied to my investments).

ending thoughts

I actually hope that not everyone can relate to this.  If you can, I hope I didn’t strike a nerve or a chord.  I hope, though, that if you are going through this, know that you are not alone.

You most definitely are not alone, as I know I have and continue to go through this myself.  I literally am attempting to wrap this article up at close to 10PM at night, after I spent 11 hours at work, while battling a cold/sinus/sore throat.  Oh and that doesn’t include my commute.  I know what you are going through, you are not alone.  I have sat down to write articles or to work on the house, not knowing where to start.  Money has been spent in situations that were not fun or enjoyable.

However, that’s the beauty here.  You ARE in control.  Dig DEEP in your heart and mind, to control your thoughts and behaviors.  Know that you CAN change your situation.  You can find your WHY by taking a deep breath and remember what got YOU started in the first place.  This is YOUR life and you only get it once.  If I were you, I wouldn’t let anything stand in my way, on the pursuit of your goals – whether that be financial freedom or anything.  The only person that can fuel that hunger, is you.  Change your job or stop doing the items you don’t like, by finding someone who many enjoy them.  Do more of what you like.

What are you waiting on?  Take time for yourself.  Real, one on one time.  Give yourself time, to get hungry again.  The only item in your way… is YOU.

-Lanny

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10 thoughts on “How to Stay Hungry on Your Journey to Financial Freedom

  1. Quite the interesting read Lanny. Sometimes I go through these phases where I seem to have lost some control over spending. A bored 9 year old daughter can really result in some unexpected expenses.

    In regards to time, I feel that this is a long game. A marathon. In the end we are buying more free time away from the working world. I work all the time also. And then there’s the chores at home to keep up with. But I know it is coming, I just don’t know what it is yet.

    I keep up on my portfolio on my lunch break. I spend 15 minutes or so on the market and do any updates as needed. I spend another 15 on my personal finance (bill pay, etc..). I break my budget down to the day and divide my paycheck by the 14 days in between them. I know my limit and put all the extra in savings or in my portfolio, almost daily. It really keeps me on track and keeps me from having to do it after work. Also, the savings results in paying for a family vacation 6 months before we even go. Having a vacation to look forward to makes long work days go easier.
    My mantra is “work is what I do between vacations”. And in a decade or so, that will become permanent.

    Hang in there. And no need to worry about paying for that extra drink. You only live once. In the end those moments will be worth it.
    – John

    • John –

      Love your comment. Makes me feel like I’m not alone in this.

      Right now, even typing this comment, I’m exhausted. It’s crazy. The stress is constantly weighing like 100 pounds on me. I know it’s hard, but to keep moving forward is the only option. This will make me tougher and I know the purpose.

      But yes… need to enjoy now, definitely need to enjoy the time we have now.

      -Lanny

  2. Nice write up, Lanny, after a long day at work, you put in so many good points. Certainly, the journey to freedom is a long one and requires lots of patience. Some can achieve it in 10 years, while others in 30 years. But once you have the plan from the beginning, you just follow the plan and ignore the rest. For me, the plan is very simple. I make monthly contributions for monthly purchases. I don’t follow markets on daily because daily fluctuations doesn’t really matter. I check the markets a few times a month and I have a list of stocks I want to buy for the year ahead. My journey is on auto mode and I focus on other things like my family and hanging out with friends. I also choose to work 35 hours per week, with no overtime. That’s just my principle. If my employer doesn’t like it, they know what they need to do 🙂

  3. Lanny,
    That is a great write-up. It can be tough to keep your eye on the prize sometimes, but reminders are the best way to jog one’s memory. I think a good way to sum it all up was Bruce Springsteen’s lines:
    “They say you gotta stay hungry
    Hey baby I’m just about starving tonight…”
    – Gremlin

  4. Love this different kind of post and I think we’ve all felt like this one way or another. I know I have. For me it results in reevaluating where I spend my time on and that means less time working on my blog and hanging out on your blogs commenting. But it all comes down to choice, you gotta decide for yourself.

    Mantra of mine: “One Day or Day One? #ODDO

  5. I’m about 5 years into my journey and like you, I have days where nothing makes sense and I’m too tired to untangle anything. For me, I have to have a huge, gigantic goal. On the bad days I trust my budget and just put one foot in front of the other. On the good days, maybe the weekend or even monthly, I work on my plan. More here, less there? What can I do to help reach my goal? Then look at what I’ve accomplished and dream about where I can go.

    As others have said, this is a marathon. For me, having a plan that points me in the right direction (increasing net worth) has paid off in ways I never imagined before. Automating everything I can removes a lot of the mental energy required.

    That is one of my goals. I don’t want to be focused on my finances daily, as I have been doing. I want to simply put everything on automatic, sit back, take care of things that aren’t budget related, and know things are getting better every month. I’m getting there. Somethings I can’t automate, but it seems there are less and less of these things when I put my mind to them. Things like utilities that fluctuate every month, I budget a little more than the average amount, then update it when the bill actually arrives, they automatically pull the amount of the bill so all I have to do is update the amount in my budget. For spending categories, like groceries or fuel for my car, I generally budget more than I normally spend then when that sale happens, or special trip comes up, I have extra in the category and it all works out. I don’t get a regular paycheck as I have variable income, but I do get interest income. I schedule that in my budget and when it comes in, I simply update the amount.

    Part of my secret is I work my budget with YNAB. I have learned so much by working with their program, and learning from their classes, videos, and podcasts has given me the tools I need to improve my financial situation.

    Maybe in ten years, this will change. Today it works for me. Have found that having a huge goal helps immensely.

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