Olympian Efforts


I love the Olympics so have been watching and enjoying the games in Rio – I’ve stayed up as long as possible to catch certain finals and am pretty much watching as much as I can, mixing in all kinds of events and occasionally shedding tears myself when I see the winners cry with joy/relief.

The hours and hours and years of practice, dedication and single-minded focus to win a medal that only comes round every 4 years. Miss your chance and it’s another 4 years til your next attempt, and that’s if your body is still young/fit enough to compete at that level.

I’d love to apply the Olympic ethos of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ to achieving FI/RE but alas, I couldn’t come up with anything clever off the top of my head, haha!

Not that I’m comparing myself to an Olympian (I certainly don’t make the sacrifices required) but in my own way, I am prepared to dedicate years of focus and perseverance to achieve my ultimate goal.

FI Steeplechase

Maybe my journey to FI is a bit like running in the steeplechase event.

I’m just jogging around the track, saving and investing as I go along, rubbing shoulders with other PF/FI bloggers. It’s an international field, mostly US, others from Europe and of course, various Team GB members!

This is no ordinary race however – everyone is going along at their own pace, the aim just being to reach the finish line and achieve whatever personal goal has been set.

The runners are wearing their own kits, which some have saved up to buy new, others have bought theirs from bargain shops, although TFS appears to be wearing old grey underpants!

Check out Mr Z shuffling along – more ‘Running Dead’ than ‘Walking Dead’ with that high savings rate! Oh look, Huw and RIT appear to be at the finish line already!

Around the track, there will be the usual steeplechase obstacles that need to be navigated past successfully. In this case, obstacles such as redundancy, financial emergencies and other life events. Fall at the hurdle and I’m just going to have to pick myself up and carry on.

Like bad weather conditions, other external conditions beyond our control may occur to make our progress around the track more precarious, such as stock market crashes, a drop in interest rates/yields, investments going sour. We need to make our way through these, hold our nerve and not panic.

All winners?

So, we’ll all be winners when we get to that finish-line – that would be the happy ending except that not all of us will get there.

Some of us may change our minds as we’re plodding round the track.

Others may not be able to get past certain obstacles.

Still others may need to take a long rest before continuing their journey due to changes in their circumstances.

And some, after reaching their goal, may carry on running, just for the sheer joy of it or because they just want to keep going for a while longer (some call this the ‘one more year’ syndrome but I see nothing wrong with doing this if that’s what you want to do).

All, however will have learned something valuable from attempting the race in the first place.

So, I’m on the track and I’ve got a long long way to run til I get to that finish line. My ‘speed’ will depend on my savings rate, earnings potential,  keeping expenses low and some luck with the external conditions.

I can see obstacles looming on the horizon – let’s hope I prove to be mentally as well as financially prepared to leap over them!


14 thoughts on “Olympian Efforts

  1. I really enjoyed this analogy. It encompasses how FIRE is an individual pursuit undertaken In a team-like atmosphere, and we as spectators are cheering everyone on! I also had to drop by TFS to figure out what the old grey underpants referenced – which then had me laughing on the train!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Mrs ETT. Perhaps at some point, we’ll be seeing you running alongside as the Aussie representative! 🙂

  2. Wow, that was a really nice piece weenie, well written and I’m now feeling inspired! Which is a shame as I’m about to go to bed, maybe I should read it again in the morning.

    Thanks for the shout out to the OGP (old grey pants) 🙂

    How about:
    ‘Faster – Financial Freedom, Higher – Savings Rate, Stronger – Health’

    I was going to write Higher State of Consciousness but that sounded a bit poncy and not sure it really means much (or just a blatant rip off of the Josh Wink song… hah)

    • Cheers TFS, I was getting inspired myself as I was writing it!

      Liking your Olympic FI motto!

      Higher State of Consciousness doesn’t sound poncy…sounds pretty deep! Not rip off, more ‘homage’ to the Josh Wink song!

  3. FI journey is an endurance race – a marathon rather than a sprint. Endurance races test your brains as much as bones; they also earn you bragging rights regardless of whether you finish first or last, so as you do finish 🙂 Good luck with overcoming the obstacles.

    • Hi hosimpson

      The marathon has no physical obstacles that you need to get over and that’s what I was trying to get at with the steeplechase, ie obstacles in life, although you are right, the FI journey is very much an endurance race. At 3000m, the steeplechase is no sprint either, but I guess I’m running very slowly haha! Thanks for the good wishes!

  4. Nice attempt to become the first poetic finance blog 🙂

    Thanks for your posts (all of them, also the non-poetic).

    Hang in there…

  5. I too had been thinking about the links between the Olympics and the quest for FI. You’re absolutely right about the race ultimately being a personal one, I for one can forget that at times especially when I get overtaken!

    • Hey Ellie

      Yes, it’s a very personal ‘race’, although I have to admit that I do occasionally get ‘savings rate’ or ‘net worth’ envy! It was worse in the early days as I was starting out with my blog and everyone around me seemed to be way ahead of me, but I realised that actually, I’m ahead of most people who haven’t even thought about putting money aside for their future. It’s hard not to be kinda competitive though but I try to keep it fun. Cheers for stopping by.

  6. Hey Weenie,

    Loved this post, it really made me smile. Wish I’d have had the idea for that one ha ha!

    Perhaps we should introduce our own online FIRE Olympics with some innovative events where those who are brave enough can track their progress against the other Olympians! It’s the closest I’d ever get to being able to compete in an Olympic event, that’s for sure.


    • Hey OR
      Glad you liked it.

      Having online FIRE Olympics would be too competitive and with people starting on different amounts, with different salaries and at different stages of their careers/lives, it would be hard to measure. Even something like measuring networth or savings rate can’t be done as people do it differently!

  7. It’s a long old trek, that’s for sure. We’ll get there! I’m looking at it like the Tour De France 🙂 A mighty trek with some huge %$£%ing mountains to get over 😀

    Mr Z

    • Hey Mr Z
      Yep, a Tour de France would work too, except you aint seen me on a bike (I’m a hazard to everyone including myself!) so I’ll stick to the slow running!

Comments are closed.