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Empty Goal Syndrome: What To Do When Your Last Goal Leaves The Nest





I shouldn't be admitting this in public, but it's the truth. Hi, I am a staff writer for a personal finance blog, and I'm losing interest in personal finance.

I'm not leaving the blog, and I'm not going crazy with spending. But I need a little shot of espresso in my ho-hum financial life.

This is the first time in my life that I've felt my enthusiasm waning. After all, I've always had goals that required me to manage cash, but my problem is that I have completed most of the things I set out to do. And I'm bored.

To help meet my prior goals, I devoured books and blogs on frugality tips and saving money for years. If you talked to me long enough, money  always came up in the conversation. I couldn't help myself. Talking about money with other people gave me some great ideas and kept me focused.

Of course, when my husband and I had student loans, a car payment and two mortgages, I was also motivated to improve our financial picture, because living paycheck to paycheck stinks. And because I was motivated, applying what I had learned was easy… and fun.

But then more quickly than I thought possible,  we weren't broke anymore. We started saving for other things. We started a family. We saved for some home-improvement projects. My husband took a pay cut to start his dream job, and as of July 31, I will be taking an  indefinite break from full-time employment.

I still have some goals, like  learning how to invest, paying off our mortgage, and starting my own business. But I am running out of steam as we coast down to the  third stage of finance. All that's between us and being totally debt-free is a mortgage. And those goals I still have left? They're not exciting me at all.

Note: If you're where I was five years ago, and you hear me complaining to me about how boring it is to have all my consumer debt gone or how aimless I feel when there aren't many goals left, you may be frustrated and wish you had my problems. I am not trying to be thoughtless, especially if you're struggling. I am just trying to work out what these unfamiliar feelings actually mean - and how I can get back to my financially enthusiastic self.

When goals aren't good enough

Maybe the reason my remaining goals don't excite me is because they're not good goals. I may sound like Goldilocks, but paying off the mortgage goal is too big and learning to invest is too vague. With a little help, starting my own business could be just right.

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