The Facade of Having It All Figured Out

From the outside, most of my friends and family probably view me as someone who has her life together. Someone who has it all figured out. It certainly appears that way: I have a good career that I’ve stuck with for the last 18 years, I’ve owned my home for 16 years, and I’m on the path towards financial independence/early retirement. But I can guarantee you that I definitely do not have life figured out.

On numerous occasions over the years I’ve said to my mom, “I always figured that by this age I’d know what I’m doing.” And my mom would reply, “I’m still trying to figure it out.” Do we ever reach a point where we finally get it, or does life evolve too quickly so there’s always something we’re trying to sort out?

I read a lot of personal finance blogs and I’m always wary of those that are overly confident in what they’re writing about. As a reader, it’s important for you to know that none of us are actually experts. We are talking about the methods that have worked for us. Mostly. The blogs that drive me crazy are those that say everyone should be doing “x” regardless of considering anyone’s personal situation and goals.

I feel like we’re doing a disservice to anyone reading, without providing multiple options based on various scenarios. As bloggers, shouldn’t we instead question the status quo and generic assumptions? Or at the very least, provide the math to illustrate our point?

It’s for this reason that I’m constantly reviewing my investments, running calculations (cash flow, specifically), and – most importantly – keeping an eye on the new administration’s plans for tax reform and healthcare. Circumstances are ever evolving so we need to evolve with them.

Although I may appear to have everything figured out, I can promise you 100% that it simply isn’t the case. And I doubt I ever will.

6 thoughts on “The Facade of Having It All Figured Out

  1. People think we have it “all figured out,” but I often struggle with impostor syndrome. There is always something new to learn and life is always changing. That’s why it’s so important to build flexibility into any long term plans. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what others think, so just keep focusing on your own goals and progress šŸ™‚
    Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope recently posted…Monday Medley: A Change In PaceMy Profile

    1. Excellent advice!

      I also suffer from imposter syndrome. I wonder if that ever really goes away…

  2. I don’t think it’s ever possible to have it all figured out. Everyone has their own problems, and those problems merely change as our station in life changes. Someone who is just leaving college will be preoccupied and busy with finding a job. Someone who’s a billionaire will be preoccupied with keeping his business ontop of the competition.
    Troy @ Market History recently posted…The U.S. economy is not on the verge of a recessionMy Profile

    1. I suppose it’s better to always have new things to work out otherwise it would mean that we’ve become stagnant. Growth is the much better alternative.

  3. “Circumstances are ever evolving so we need to evolve with them.”

    A lot of wisdom there, Kate. It’s funny, when I was in high school and college, I thought I had everything figured out. But as I progressed toward middle age, I came to the realization that I didn’t know squat. I guess the secret is to observe and absorb and try things. If things go as expected, keep doing what you’re doing. If things don’t go as expected, adjust or try something new. “All the world’s an experiment. And all the men and women merely scientists.” Thanks for the great post, Kate. It really made me think.

    1. Thanks Mr. Groovy!

      I have to admit that I miss the days of ignorance from my youth. I’m happy where I’m at but it sure made for an easy life, compared to how much I know now šŸ™‚

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