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Fast and steady

March 17, 2008

I get so impatient with my goals. I decided having an emergency fund of $15,000 was important to me, but it isn’t an exciting goal. Once I reach $15000, what do I get to do? Feel secure that I have a nice sum of money in the bank? While that gives me peace of mind, it isn’t exactly thrilling. It’ll probably take me more than the rest of 2008 to accomplish this goal!

From here on out, it’ll be as boring as auto-depositing an allocated amount into my account each month, then updating the sidebar by similar quantities each month. No more tax refunds, no more reimbursements for moving, no more signing bonuses. I know that making it simple and automatic is good, but I’m convinced I would thrive on more complicated and involved process! Slow and steady is BORING!

I just feel like there isn’t a lot for me to do towards these goals, other than just try to do well at my job in hopes of a promotion this fall. I have about 7 months to earn a promotion, and I still am having a lot of self-doubt about how well I will be able to do this job. I know in my last job my manager was much more impressed with me after 18 months in than he was at 6 months. It is hard to come up to speed and become a valued team member in just 6 months, at least in this particular job. I might be able to do it, but I might not. I’ll certainly try. If I don’t get a promotion in late fall, then the yearly salary reviews are in February.

Wasn’t this personal finance stuff more fun when I could at least count on my retirement portfolio to actually increase in value?

The tortoise and the hare fable talks about how slow and steady wins the race. But if the stinkin’ hare would have just been steady, he would have won. Fast and steady will win over slow and steady any day!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2008 11:42 am

    It is hard to stay motivated to save now that end of year bonuses, raises and tax rebates are out of the way. We were seeing our savings grow very fast and now it will be a steady rate with no more big windfalls for until the end of the year. I think you just need to take comfort knowing that with each passing month your working towards your goal. Possibly you could set up another account where you put a small amount in towards a reward that you can get when you reach your emergency fund goal. Or reward yourself the next month after reaching your goal by taking the money you were saving each month towards the goal and use it for something for yourself like a weekend trip or clothes shopping or something.

  2. March 17, 2008 12:51 pm

    Hmmm… maybe you could try making smaller goals, that will be achieved more quickly? Give Me Back My Five Bucks is doing an April budget challenge… I don’t know whether you enjoy budgeting or not, but at least it’s a goal that would be achieved (or not) by the end of next month.

    Also, hang in there at work! I hope things start seeming more manageable soon. It always sucks to really want to be able to do a good job, but to feel like you don’t quite have a sense of how/what you’re supposed to be doing.

  3. March 17, 2008 1:06 pm

    I agree. I wish I could do things faster so they would be more exciting. I agree with shuchong that the smaller goals help with the motivation. I’m always looking for ways to cut my budget to put more towards saving, and it is incredibly frustrating when I can’t.

  4. March 18, 2008 7:31 am

    I’m experiencing that with my student loans. My first year after graduating I paid off 2 of my smaller loans, but now I’m down to the big one. After checking my balance this morning I’ve only paid my loan off from $32k to $29k in two years. Its going to be almost 20 years before I get that all paid w/ min. payments.

    For my savings I just concentrate on my weekly battles. Everything is automatic for me, so I try to see how much extra I can add each week even if its just a few dollars. (Its kind of like trying to fight an ant infestation by trying to kill one at a time, but it’ll keep you distracted for a while!)

  5. March 18, 2008 8:52 am

    It seems like you’re in a really good place — you’re bored with how simple it is to save. Lucky you, right?

    Once you get $15000 what type of account will you put it in? You may have already mentioned this, but I guess I missed it.

    $15,000 sounds like an impossible amount of money to me. But you are almost there!

    =) Stay positive.

  6. sjean permalink*
    March 18, 2008 9:03 am

    @brayden – Right now it is in a money market fund at Vangaurd. Other popular choices are high yield (online) savings accounts like those at ING, hsbc, etrade, emigrantdirect….

    I suppose it does start out seeming impossible… It isn’t, but it is sloooow. That 10k has been building all through 2007….

  7. March 18, 2008 9:17 am

    I’m also feeling bored with my saving projects too…

  8. March 18, 2008 10:10 am

    Me too.. it just -feels- slow, you know?

    But since my goals are sort of aggressive for me, I’ll be very happy if I end 2008 having accomplished those goals.

    Also, a good book to read is The Four Pillars of Investing – once you do, you’ll understand why young savers should “get on their knees and pray for a down market” (paraphrasing the author).

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