Financial Independence

Success is Like a Blister

Success is like a blister

The biggest struggle in my journey to financial independence hasn’t been finding ways to improve my budget, reduce my expenses, or even increase my income.  The hardest part has been trying to find the patience to wait for success to show up.  But success is like a blister – it shows up once the hard work is done.

Work Hard

I grew up in a blue collar home where hard work was both expected and required.  My hands, while not as rough as they once were, are still calloused to this day from the manual labor I did growing up.  Working hard is in my blood and I have the genealogy to prove it.*

I’m the son of a drywaller, who was the son of a steel mill worker, who was the son of a farmer who was the son of an immigrant that traveled to the United States in the 1840’s.

Just like me, each of these men worked hard to provide for their families and success probably looked very different for each man.

My father was a successful small business owner that taught me to not only work hard, but to get paid well for that hard work.  Dad is retiring on May 1st of this year at the age of 69.  I’ll be traveling back home this month for his surprise retirement party.

His father, my grandfather, worked in a steel mill.  Grandpa also wrote for his local newspaper and sold cars (like I did!).  Talk about a hustler.

Unfortunately, I don’t know much about my lineage once I hit my Great Grandfather, but I do know that he was a farmer and I know that farming is a whole lot like hard work (especially in the pre-tractor days!).

My Great Great Grandfather was an immigrant, and starting life over in a new country can’t be easy.

Going back multiple generations the men in my family had no choice but to work hard to provide for their families.  While I work hard today, I’m not going to pretend I know what they went through.  But I do know I’m in the position I’m in today because of them.  In a literal sense I’m the product of their efforts, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Success is like a blister

The sacrifices these men, and their families, made landed me in a position where I was able to to graduate from college (the first in this particular line to do so, but not the first in my family).  That education has enabled me to follow a career path which allows me to pursue an early retirement.

I doubt the term “early retirement” ever went through the minds of these men.  Thankfully the world I live in makes this dream a realistic possibility. It’s not only possible to become wealthy, but the formula to do so is surprisingly simple:

  1. Spend less money than you make
  2. Invest the difference
  3. Eliminate, then avoid debt

Okay – I’ve done that.  So … am I rich yet?

Don’t I wish!  Maybe there should be a fourth variable added to that equation:

4. Hurry up and wait.

Doin’ time

It can be frustrating when you first start tackling your finances.  You’re doing everything right.  You track every penny you spend, create a budget, develop a debt elimination strategy, save, and invest money.

But success doesn’t show up that easily.

It’s kind of like trying to lose weight.  You start by eating right.  Eliminating fast foods.  You exercise.  You sleep better.  Then you hop on the scales after a week and are frustrated with the results.

Finances are the exact same.  You gotta have patience because success is like a blister – it usually shows up once the hard work is done (#rimshot).

Just keep doing the right things, build momentum and give it time (and try not to get frustrated and quit when progress isn’t happening as fast as you hoped it would).

The biggest struggle in reaching financial independence isn't money - it's time. Success is like a blister - it only shows up once the hard work is done.

Chime In!

Patience has never been a strong suite of mine.  What is your biggest struggle and how do you deal with it?

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

15 replies on “Success is Like a Blister”

Good analogy. Time is definitely the greatest resource we have when it comes to getting rich. Although it stinks to wait around for it to happen, it is pretty incredible once it starts going to work and you actually see your net work increasing by five-figures at a time!

I hate blisters. But the analogy certainly does work! I have had moments when waiting for FI feels like eternity. Though I’ll be ecstatic when we reach FI, I recently realized I’ve focused too much on the future and not enough on today. I’ve got a pretty amazing life right now. I try to remind myself regularly that life is short and you just never know…

This blister I have from working on my yard on my right middle fingers reminds me every few keystrokes of this analogy…

Patience is definitely a struggle with me. I tend to be a futuristic person and can’t wait to see results. Whether that be paying debt, seeing investments grow, or even my blog grow. The ability to keep going day in and out over time is a real grind. I make sure to take small victories.

I am waiting for that day when you finally start going downhill. When debt is paid and dividends accrue. There comes a point when it final starts to go downhill and things are much easier. It makes the work so much sweeter.

Thanks for posting!

I love the story! Thanks for sharing your background. It really helps show how long these progressions actually take.

I’m generally a pretty patient person, but I still struggle with seeing things that I want to do and knowing that it will have to wait years. It’s one thing to be patient, it’s a whole different thing to be patient on the scale of a decade or more!

I struggle with exact same stuff Ty! I probably check my PC way too often, as if there is going to be much of a change day-to-day. I think for me it’s just a daily reminder of my “mission.” Yes, it often feels PAINFULLY slow, but the alternative is not saving at all and that is NOT an option! NTGTFU! Can you figure out what that means? 🙂

Waiting has always been a struggle for me. Show me progress! As I’ve gotten older it has gotten easier though. Sooo with you on the blisters…or actually callouses in this case. I’m working on increasing the number of pull-ups I can do and man that’s a struggle! But I do know I’m increasing my strength and the callouses will go away but the physical and mental gains I’ll obtain won’t, as long as I stay focused and consistent. Thanks for sharing Ty!

That might be cause you still have kids in the house 🙂 Pull-ups, push-ups, pillow fight…whatever it takes 🙂

You have a lot to be proud of, Ty.
Hopefully success is more pleasant than a blister and lasts longer. Maybe more like your calluses?
It grows as you work harder, and it makes the work less painful. It makes you tougher and stronger and able to tolerate more hardship with less pain (emergency fund).

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