How I embraced a countdown clock

Alex Ellie
4 min readMay 18

Since we started the site, we’ve had a countdown clock.

To be honest, I barely ever look at it. It’s just a little gimmick for new visitors to see how long we have to go if they bother to look through the top menu. I certainly don’t expect return visitors to sit there and look at it. (Let’s be honest, it’s no lava lamp.)

But a while ago I did install a countdown app on my phone when I heard that someone else we know did it for their FIRE journey.

Initially I set it to the moment we retire. But I found that a little dispiriting. It was a big number.

Instead, at the time we were hatching the idea of the early retirement carrot — our six-month pre-retirement sabbatical. It wasn’t set in stone just yet. But we were hoping we could pull it off. It was certainly a very admirable goal to work and plan towards.

So without telling my wife Ellie, I set up this little countdown clock widget on my mobile phone. I set it to count down until the final year of employment. I hoped it would act as added inspiration to achieve that ‘early retirement carrot’ goal.

And it certainly worked. I’ve loved that clock ever since, with its little tropical themed background.

At the time I started it, it had a tick over 1300 days to go until we hit that final year.

It’s now sitting comfortably under 300 days.

The countdown clock is always on the go, winding down in the background.

Seeing progress in real time

Ellie thinks I’m a little obsessed with the countdown clock.

I regularly provide updates on our progress.

Sometimes they’re noteworthy milestones. But admittedly they’re meaningless numbers most of the time.

For instance, I remember late last year telling her “Only 400 days to go!” until the final year. A week later, I said “393 days to go!”

The immediate implication wasn’t really obvious to her.

But those 7 days were almost 2% of the remaining time we’d had left just a week earlier. To me that feels like incredible progress…

Alex Ellie

We’re Alex & Ellie, a 30-something married couple who started HisHerMoneyGuide to highlight how you can join us and reach financial independence sooner.