There is a constant battle between the process and the product in early retirement talk. Mr. T and I lean toward a calmer, more comfortable process leading to a delayed product of early retirement. Others choose to give up a lot more than we do in the process for a sooner product.
Balance is important. If you ruin your health, happiness, or relationships along the way, you’ll find yourself retired early and alone and sick. But you are the only one that can determine what that balance looks like for you.
It’s important to take another factor into consideration as well: Pride – The good kind. The kind where you roll up your sleeves, grab a cup of lemonade and just sit and stare thinking nothing but “I did that!” It’s a great feeling, right?
Related: What are you proud of?
This makes the equation more complicated. You see, we now have 3 P’s in play.
P+P=P or P/P=P or even P to the power of P is bound to equal P
Alright, so the equations don’t compute. So what am I talking about?
There’s a balance of process and pride. If you win a million dollars in the lottery (which you shouldn’t count on), you’ll probably be pretty proud you’re an overnight millionaire. You may even buy fancy lemonade to sit there and think: “That happened. I’m now a millionaire.” But how much did you work for it?
Satisfaction is often directly correlated with how much influence you have over the product. Take the research on work. The researchers concluded: “Labor leads to love only if that labor is successful.” If you are not directly involved in the output or you don’t finish something, you don’t value it as much.
Working hard isn’t a bad thing.
Life is too short to kill yourself in the process on the way to the product. Maybe you’ll end up with sufficient pride in your accomplishments, but you’re also bound to have a few regrets.
The ideal balance is one where the process is hard. If the process is too easy, the pride factor goes down. But the ideal balance includes a process that isn’t TOO hard. You definitely don’t want to discount the opportunities you have today for future possibilities. If you put too much focus on the product, the regret factor rises.
How do we find this balance?
A budget review should be more than just looking at numbers. A budget review should involve determining the value you are getting from your money spent. As you look over August’s expenses, ask yourself these questions:
- Did the majority of my money go to things that are priorities for me?
- What did I add to my Fill-the-Bucket List this month?
- What steps did I take this month toward the product or end goal?
- What did I give up to make those steps?
- Am I proud of my money choices this month?
- Did I make progress on my life now and my future goals?
- What regrets do I have and how can I minimize them next month?
How does the sense of accomplishment, or pride, play into your plan?