finance, Health, Living

Indecisiveness is Painful

The joy and the agony of the Internet is that there is endless sources of information for you to read with minimal effort. Being able to sit in the comfort of your own home, in your comfiest clothes (or in the nude, you do you!) and discover the secrets of the universe is a very powerful thing. Unfortunately it can also swarm you with so much information that can paralyze your decision making abilities.

I’m sure they’re all fine.

The FIRE movement has so much material out there. When I discovered it a few years ago it was through Mr.MoneyMustache (whom I continue to idolize to this day) and I left it at that. In more recent years he has had less time to post as frequently, and in my quest for knowledge I started to look for other blogs that could fill my time in the mornings before work. Now my Bookmarks bar is full of these awesome blogs that I scroll through every morning, devouring their content and patting myself on the back for doing my research. They allow me to feel like I am doing enough by simply reading them, rather than putting any actual actions into place.

All that is well and good, and I’m clever enough to realize that more actions need to take place on my side of things in order to reach FI. That’s when all hell breaks loose.

Every single one of the blogs I read is well-intentioned and full of useful information. Most of it is similar and easy to follow. But then the contradictions come in. How much for stock allocation? Bonds? Which bank? Robo-advisors? Yes! No! Yes! No matter how much I read it does not become clear what the best decision could be. So I make no decision at all. I sit at my computer, imagining the day when I don’t need to set an alarm to go to work because my passive income covers all expenses, but I have no clue on how to get there. I have multiple sources of information, but it’s too much. Days go by and I still can’t take action.

I add fuel to the FIRE (cue crickets for a cringeworthy pun) by listening to podcasts on the way to work. Sometimes they are for health, sometimes they are for finance, and the results are the same. I know what I should do, I just don’t know how to get there. It hurts, it’s demoralizing, and it makes me feel a little bit hopeless.

So. What next?

I unplug.

I drink my coffee and read a book or stretch out first thing in the mornings. My computer stays closed, my phone is in the other room, and I take a few minutes to let my brain be clutter free.

I turn off the podcasts when walking to work. I’m fortunate enough to be able to walk up a trail on my way to work, so instead of sweating about if my choices are going to bankrupt me at 7:00am on a Tuesday I listen to the birds and enjoy breathing in crisp clean air.

I consume less information.

When I do feel I’m in a good place to read more blogs, I give myself a time limit. I’m also going to try to not check every day. I know what the message is, so I don’t need to hammer it in on a daily basis.

I talk to people.

My parents and sister are wonderful sources of information. We can have an honest heart-to-heart about money without fear of judgement. I value their opinions greatly, and I also gain insight about strategies that may or may not be right for me. My parents have also been very open about mistakes they have made in the past, and this is invaluable to me. Talking it through with people you trust is a wonderful way to see your options from different perspectives.

I go old-fashioned.

I used a good ol’ pad of paper and pen to write down the facts and the options. I can compare them based on my own situation and make a decision without the extra clutter from online sources. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t know anywhere near as much as I do without these wonderful blogs, but there comes a time when I know enough, and need to take steps to act on that knowledge.

Never write without a flower.

Indecisiveness is painful and a little bit soul-crushing. It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of someone else’s journey while doing nothing towards your own. Take a deep breath, clear your mind of the clutter, and take a step towards your goal. Even if it doesn’t work out next time you will know, and you will grow from there.

2 thoughts on “Indecisiveness is Painful”

  1. I love this post. It’s easy to get caught up in information paralysis or become wrapped up in a kind of financial FOMO that leaves you anxious over a good decision. Your strategies to address these fears are spot on. I would like to add a small thing that I need to say to myself often – don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Additional payments to the student loans, or the mortgage? Max out the 401k, or start a Roth? Maybe one of these things (or something else entirely!) is the perfect answer, but there are MANY good choices. I’ve been really digging your posts!

    Like

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