This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

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.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $91.96 -1.40%
FB $119.05 1.10%
GOOG $708.36 0.99%
TSLA $215.14 1.70%
YHOO $37.12 0.49%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,672.15 +11.44 0.06%
S&P 500 2,049.57 -1.06 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,708.9850 -8.1090 -0.17%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs