I have been writing this blog for just under two years now. I have written posts on how I have tried to reduce debt, advice on investing, buying a home, etc. I think it is safe to say that I am passionate about personal finance. However, like any passion I think I might have gone overboard a little bit. I find myself spending my days thinking about the best ways to pay off my debt or to invest. I consistently check my Fidelity account even though it hasn’t changed from earlier in the day. I get angry, sad, or happy if the stock market goes up, down, or sideways in one day when I know that one day doesn’t mean a hill a beans in the grand scheme of things. I will check my bank accounts on a daily basis. I will read personal finance blogs as my primary reading pleasure. I will check investing calculators to determine how much money I will have in the future if I save this much or pay this off. And I have let something lapse that is near and dear to my heart: my research.
I write long articles here on the blog, but I have barely touched my own research for the past six to nine months. I still do research, but I am certainly not as productive as I was just a few years ago. The truth was I was actually probably spending too much time on my research at that time. I was just in a bad place in my life and my research was the only thing that gave me solace. It was the only thing that I was having success at.
Today, I am in a much better place, at least emotionally and professionally. I have more money than I did a few years ago in terms of investments. I am a home owner. I have paid off almost $50,000 in personal debt compared to where I was just a couple of years ago. I think I am on the right path financially. In fact, today I sold one of my mutual funds and distributed the funds to my index funds. I am closer to being totally invested in index funds than ever before, which is something that I want to do. However, personal finance has become not only a passion, but somewhat of an obsession. And I know when that happens I need to step back a bit. I find myself conflicted between wanting to blog and catch up on my research it is almost like I am trying to serve two masters and that has to stop.
Remedies to this Obsession
So how do I step back from this a bit and trust the path I have put myself on.
First, I need to stop checking my accounts on a daily basis. I am going to do an experiment I am going to going to try to go one full month without checking my Fidelity investment account. There is no real reason to do so. I mean I have the investments I want. I don’t want to change them. I have the proper allocation I need to just trust the plan.
Second, I need to give some time to my own research. I have this book that I have been working on for literally three years and I have probably only finished half of it and that half was stuff that has been published before. I need to get back to that. I need to focus on that. I love doing it. I just need to make it a priority.
Three, I have to knock out some small debts. Part of the reason for this obsession I think is that I am so close to paying off some debt that when I get in this mode I have blinders on. I don’t think about other things. I just need to wipe these bad boys and get them done so I can focus on creating a bigger emergency fund and cushion.
Fourth, I need to save a bigger financial cushion. I have written here about how this summer will be really tight financially. And while it will be things have gotten a little better. Mrs. ROB was able to get a new part-time gig that she is really excited about and it is perfect for her. She is going to do great. That will bring in some income and should provide us a little bit of a cushion. I, however, need to build an even bigger emergency fund to cushion the blow of future monetary droughts. This might not alleviate my desire to pay off debt, but it will give me some peace of mind.
Fifth, I need to accept the fact that I have a plan in place that is solid. Yesterday I was actually shredding some old tax documents. One of the things I have wondered is how well I have done with my investments since I started investing over the past 10 years. So I actually had 10 years of W-2s where I could locate that data. I did some rough calculations and realized that my investments have made about 11% over the past 10 years. Now that is not saying they will do that in the future, but that isn’t too shabby. I need to be more confident in my approach and just go with it. I will get there it will take some time.
Sixth, perhaps I need to push pause on paying debt for a while. Now that doesn’t mean I stop paying my bills, but maybe I just need to put things on auto pilot for a while and just live in the moment a bit more. I don’t know what that means, but bear with me people I am trying to do this on the fly.
Finally, I may curtail the blogging a bit. I really enjoy blogging, but I have found that it almost feels like a burden at times. I almost feel like I have a responsibility to do so. And I am not sure why. I mean I don’t make money from this blog (not that I wouldn’t like too). I have some loyal viewers, but it isn’t like I am Mr. Money Mustache or some other famous blogger where I have literally millions of people visiting my blog every month. I have to become the master of the blog again and not let it be my master. I know this sounds so dumb. But I feel like I made a commitment to this thing and I MUST write because if I don’t somehow my life is over. And nothing could be further from the truth. I should do this because it is fun, not because it is a chore and because I hope I help people. I hope I do, but right now I almost feel like it is a chore. I am not going to stop blogging, but maybe I only do it twice a week instead of three to four times or even once a week.
The truth is I can have a bit of an obsessive personality in the sense of once I get on something I don’t let it go. That was true of my research and personal finance has replaced that. I need to find something different. I need to find balance. That is why I named this blog Reaching Our Balance because “balance” is really hard for me. It is time to get a little more balance in my life.