As I write my 92nd post, I am now fully in what many people refer to as the sophomore slump. I’ve written 92 posts over the course of the last 5 months, this post may publish out of order but suffice it to say I’ve been writing for a while now. When I first started posting it was easy, there was a never ending supply of ideas. In fact before I even started I wrote 10 posts. However, as I’ve covered more and more topics it becomes harder to pick out something new and unique to this blog.
My Sophomore Slump
The concept of a sophomore slump seems to originate with sports. Often times you will see a football player that played a hot hand in their rookie season have a mediocre year the next time around. Just like my blog it becomes harder after you’ve hit a certain level. Expectations are higher the second time around. You’ve already achieved some form of established readership for a blog or point production in the case of football. I have already hit 3000 page views a month, and yet things have slowed down on the track to 4000. A step back is perceived both externally and to your own self esteem as a failure. And yet your first year could have had a great streak of luck. In football, perhaps, you were surrounded by a fantastic team. In blogging, perhaps, you stumble on just the right subject matter for a few posts. Your initial performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, nor what you should judge it by. It also may not be indicative of where you are going.
The Sophomore Slump as Applicable to Finance
Now for those who read my blog often will realize I don’t just write state of the blog posts for the fun of it. I use these rare posts as a lead in to something applicable to your financial life. Well today’s post is obviously no different. Just like the blog or football, you can have a financial sophomore slump. Your financial turn around is divisible into phases. The first is debt removal, then you go to the accumulation phase. After that you go into FI and from there Early Retirement. The time in these phases can be measured in years, which presents the sophomore slump problem. In the first year you’re all gung ho to eliminate debt, to save, to prepare yourself for early retirement, and to actually be retired. However as you go to the second, third, or even twentieth year in any get phase it gets harder to keep going. You see, you saved 50% of your salary in year 1, but only 30 % in year three, and it can be really discouraging. And yet you will never succeed if you don’t push forward and keep at it. If you push through the slump itself your chances of success improve dramatically simply because you’re one of the few that will.
Solutions to the Sophomore Slump
There are a few things you can do to push through this period:
- The first and foremost is to seek like individuals out for encouragement. For the blog I recently searched out the rockstar finance forums for encouragement. The discussions about fellow bloggers trials and tribulations have helped me to keep going. Similarly, for financial items seek out those in similar phases to your own and talk with them. Visit their blogs and use it to continue to encourage you to keep going. So far I’ve found some good blogs on each phase: Debt: Centsibly Rich. Accumulation: Budgets Are Sexy. FI: I’d like to think you’re on it 😉 Early Retirement: Think Save Retire.
- Set mini goals that give you reason to celebrate in sizable chunks. In the case of the blog I’m still working towards some interim goals like guest posts and comments that will raise regardless of my page view/session growth. These help to keep me positive. In your financial world you could consider things like setting a spending holiday or covering a specific expense with a side hustle.
- Set a plan ahead of time on how to address the slump. Planning ahead and sticking to that plan will make it easier to deal with. This is especially true with your investments.
Ultimately, this blog won’t be going away anytime soon, nor will my financial progress. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that sometimes it is a struggle. I suspect I am not alone. Do you struggle with things after the initial wave of dedication rubs off? How do you handle the inevitable let down after the initial year?