The Point of Inevitability

The Chautauqua in Ibarra, Ecuador was quite an amazing trip. We got to meet so many amazing people. Throughout the week, we found ourselves mentioning to each other,

“These are our people, This is our tribe.”

It’s quite amazing to find such a diverse group of people that have so much in common. Ages varied drastically, career paths varied (although there were disproportionately more software people there). There were people that had just started their journey, there were people who had reached their goal and have already FIRE’d. There were people, like us, that were not quite there, but well on their way.

The speakers were awesome. Their presentations were more about the philosophy of FIRE than the nuts and bolts of FIRE. It was fantastic to get so many people together that already understood the basics of the FIRE techniques. We could concentrate on more complicated strategies and more higher level thinking.

As I continued talking with people there seemed to be a theme that most people took away from this week. That is:

Stop worrying about the details. Concentrate on making yourself happy and finding your place in this crazy world.

With that in mind, let’s discuss the main take-aways that I took away from the week:

  1. Communicating your plan: With me (Mr. Wow) being the one that mainly knows what we have and why we have it. I need to communicate to the Mrs. what my thoughts are. We had some interesting discussions this week about my habit of jumping in front of cars.  While the Mrs. would be fine financially, she wouldn’t really have much of an idea what is where, why it is there and what my plans are for it. She has developed an interest from reading some great books on the topic. I’ve also made a point to have Personal Capital installed on her phone so she has access to all the balances. It serves as a great place to inventory all of our various accounts. But the true technical aspects she doesn’t have a full understanding of. In the coming weeks, we’re going to sit down and go through it in extensive detail. She doesn’t need to remember it all, but hearing it once and actually re-balancing and moving money around a few times will show her where things are and get her understanding why money is where it is. I also plan on putting together a notebook of everything that we have with a little memo about the strategy. I’m going to print out the approximate values of the accounts and the log-in info. I’ll also have to put together a play book. This is one of those things that I hope we never have to use, but it needs to be there just in case.

  2. People are truly interesting once you stop talking about work: The people we met this week were amazing. Every one of them had an interesting story. Hell, there was even someone who went to my high school, be it 10 years later, but we had the same football coach. It’s quite dumbfounding to have an extremely deep conversation with someone you have known for all of 4 hours. But, when there’s an underlying understanding that you are all on the same path, there’s an instant connection to something greater. I think the first day we had those typical questions. “What do you do?” beyond that day no one really cared. It was awesome! We talked about dreams and aspirations. Some were lucky enough to have most of it figured out. Some are still trying to figure out what’s next after they are done with the rat race, but these discussions helped put them on their way to figuring it all out.

  3. Don’t sweat the details: People on this path have a natural propensity for numbers. We track everything to an insane level of detail. I mean everything: our fitness goals, our monetary goals, our caloric intake, etc. While this is a great way to get you started down the right track, it will eventually drive you insane. It’s great to find out where your money is going. It’s not the best idea to be so consumed with tracking every cent that you miss out on life, and you drive yourself batty. It was surprising, at least for me, to hear so many people known for being so meticulous in their record keeping discuss that once you’ve laid the ground work, the details sort of melt away. They’ve become relaxed about it, it’s almost cathartic in a way.

  4. The Point of Inevitability: This was the biggest take away for me and it plays a little off #3. While #3 talks about relaxing on the details because in the grand scheme of things the tiny details don’t matter, this is about aligning your priorities. There is a point in your journey that I begun to call this the Point of Inevitability (PI). You, being the self-selected reader of this blog, or attendee of Chautauqua, have probably made it to your PI. What this means is that you have changed your life. You have trimmed your expenses to the point where you are still comfortable. You’ve set up your investments so that they are growing and continuing to compound. PI means that you are going to accomplish this goal, you’re in mile 24, if you will. It might be 3 years from now, it might 10 years from now, but if you change nothing in your current life, you are going to reach FI and the world WILL become your oyster. The question becomes: “What makes me happy?” And this is probably the most difficult part of the journey toward FI. The numbers and the math are the easy part.  These bigger questions are hard, and a lot of people have a lot of trouble answering them. Once you’ve hit your PI, it’s time to start thinking about the bigger picture. I found myself saying this multiple times during the week: “This is going to happen. I’m not 100% sure when, but it’s going to. So, I better start to figure out what makes me get out of bed in the morning.”

All in all, Chautauqua was a fantastic trip. I would highly recommend it to anyone on this journey that has the means to make it happen. We had amazing discussions. There’re so many things to think about. I had pretty high expectations, and this trip blew every one of them away. Most importantly, we’ve made so many new friends. Friends that are all over the world. They’re our tribe, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

19 Comments

  • Mr. 1500 October 18, 2017 at 4:57 am

    “They’re our tribe, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

    Yep.

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Glad to see you skimmed the article and quoted the last line!! Ha.

      It’s true. Last week was a refreshing blast of cold air. We needed it. Although it’s definitely making sitting at my desk all that much harder.

      Reply
  • Mrs. Picky Pincher October 18, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Sounds like the trip was a lot of fun! Gotta get my passport renewed so I can join the international FIRE adventures. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…The Life-Changing Benefits of MovementMy Profile

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Blasphemy!!! An expired passport should never happen. You should be traveling enough to eliminate that issue.

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 18, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Glad you had a good time!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…September Rewind: The One Where I Didn’t SleepMy Profile

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      It was fantastic! It’s definitely something that anyone I this community or on this path should attend.

      Reply
  • Steveark October 18, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I so get the jumping out in front of cars thing. I have had two violent bike car collisions and one under painful car collision while running. Also had the concussion/amnesia thing plus a broken arm thing from my close encounters. It does make for great stories though, right? What was my name again?

    Reply
  • Scott October 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    “Meet me in the cock-fighting ring in 10 minutes, do you need a beer?”
    -Any Tribe Member Probably

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 18, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      You mean cockpit? And si senor…. uno Grande pilsner por favor!!!!

      Reply
  • Miss Mazuma October 19, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I definitely have had my tribe moments on my journey to FI. From the blog, meeting you guys and other bloggers in person, and also Camp Mustache where 4 days wasn’t enough!! What we do is never as interesting as who we are and what makes us tick. Also, good news for the Mrs. If something should ever happen to you, she has us to help her out. 🙂
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…Early Retirement: Roadblocks & ContemplationsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Camp Mustache sounds awesome. We’ll have to look into that definitely.

      People sure are interesting, and it’s making me appreciate it more and more as I get older.

      Thanks, I can count on you to do that for me! I’ll still have to put together a playbook so she’s aware of everything. But good to know we’re all looking out!

      Reply
    • Mrs WoW October 19, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Another amazing benefit to being a part of such an amazing community! Thanks for looking out if the Mr decides to collide with a car again.

      Reply
  • Todd Garrett October 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Ha! Just had the chat about, “..if I wake-up dead, buy more VTSAX..” with my spouse.

    Must be something that’s going ’round the tribe, post-Ecuador, eh?

    It was great having pancakes with the WOW family – you just can’t get enough of that FI vibe.

    And it’s SO hard to be all chipper at work this week!

    The good thing? All this is going to be rear-view mirror, sooner than we thought possible.

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 20, 2017 at 6:30 am

      We’re gonna have our talk next week as we’re traveling again. It must be a major point that everyone picked up.

      It was a pleasure to meet you as well. And yes, work this week has been especially hard. I can’t wait until this is all in the rear view!

      Reply
  • Mr. Need2save October 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Sounds like you two had a great time. This is something that Mrs. N2S and I will need think about attending. I feel like I’m totally ready to live the FI life and have lots of things I want to explore and try.

    BTW – which of those 5 brews was your favorite? I’m a sucker for Witbier
    Mr. Need2save recently posted…Funding & Maintaining a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)My Profile

    Reply
    • Mr WoW October 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      It really is fantastic. And it sounds like they’ll be going to some pretty great places next year. So we would both heavily suggest it.

      So we both really liked the honey ale because of the maracuya (passion fruit). The Amber won the south American brewfest. The witbeer was good. It was infused with orange. The best part is they were all brewed on site. Pretty awesome to stay at the brewery!!

      Reply
  • Mr Mofi November 15, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Super inspiring! We’ve just started in the last 18 months and have made plenty of progress after reading such great content written by the tribe. Thanks for your contribution to our path. We’ll definitely be looking to attend a Chautauqua in the 2018-2019 timeframe. Camp mustache also sounds rad!
    I liked your summary of the takeaways. It really helps to distill the focuse for our next phase since we have the basics moving in the right direction.
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Mr WoW November 15, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Go! That’s all I can say. We loved it and it was well worth it.

      We need to look into a Camp Mustache. It would be fun. Maybe we can help plan one in SoCal.

      Glad you’re on your way. Keep making progress, and once you hit that PI, stop looking at the details, start looking at the bigger picture.

      Reply

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