What’s The Bigger Sacrifice: Living Below Your Means Or Working For Most Of Your Life?

workinghardI’ve often received emails and comments on this blog over the years relating to the sacrifice involved in aggressively pursuing financial independence. While often not criticizing in nature, I think people have this preconceived notion in their mind about what sacrifice really is.

See, I won’t lie to you and tell you I haven’t sacrificed over the years to get to where I’m at. You don’t build a portfolio well into the six figures in four years on an income under $60k (at times WELL under that mark) by accident. It’s been a long, hard journey. I’ve had to get up extra early in the morning to make sure I could catch the bus. I ate ramen noodles for a year straight for lunch at work. I got pelted with rocks and bugs in the face on days I rode my 49cc scooter. I’ve worked over 50 hours per week at my day job, and then come home only to spend countless hours writing about this lifestyle on this blog, as I’ve been absolutely committed to spreading the message and inspiring others all while documenting my own journey. I’ve also spent a ton of time managing my portfolio and researching investments over the years.

But is this sacrifice greater than the alternative? 

I could have easily went out and bought a bitchin’ pad by the water here in Southwest Florida. I’d also have to have a pool too for those long, hot summer days. If I’m going to work long hours I want to be able to come home and take a dip to cool off, right? I also could have easily bought a nice car – maybe a fully restored 1969 Camaro to get around town. It doesn’t matter that it gets 10 miles per gallon, or that I’m limited to 45 miles per hour on the roads around here – the car is just sweet. I could have also taken a few vacations in the meanwhile. Although I chose to live in a location that people come from around the world to vacation to, I could have easily jetted off to Thailand, Australia, Italy, or the Virgin Islands during my two weeks off from the grind every year – instead of spending it with family or at home concentrating on writing and enjoying being present.

But what this alternative lifestyle lacks in immediate sacrifice more than makes up for it in lifelong sacrifice. That sweet pad comes with an equally sweet mortgage, which would surely handcuff me to my draining job for the next few decades. That absolutely inefficient muscle car would siphon off any excess cash I have, and so instead of investing in high-quality companies and receiving rising income for the rest of my life, I’d be looking at zero passive income compounded by larger gas, insurance, and maintenance costs. Talk about a double whammy! Ouch. And don’t even get me started on the vacations.

Sacrifice is present in all decisions. Every action in life comes with a unique set of benefits and drawbacks, as every possible action competes with every other available action available to you. While I’ve certainly made sacrifices over the last few years, I feel these sacrifices pale in comparison to the alternative of living a typical American middle class life – complete with a big mortgage, nice car, and plenty of fancy meals out. And since every action competes with ever other possible action, every hour I’m spending at my job is an hour I’m not spending doing what I really want in life.

And there’s a huge difference here in the sacrifices I’ve made compared to the sacrifices everyone else out there living at or above their means is making: My sacrifice is temporary. Choosing a lifestyle that requires you to work for most of your life means your sacrifice continues for decades on end, as you trade your limited time here on Earth for a paycheck so that you can keep up with your bills. On the other hand, my sacrifice is likely only to be 10-12 years long. Once I exceed my expenses via passive dividend income, I will no longer be working full-time at a day job any longer. Imagine retiring at 40 years old. Whose sacrifice makes more sense now?

Moreover, I’d further argue that my lifestyle isn’t as much a sacrifice as it might be made it out to be. For instance, I enjoy managing my portfolio and researching stocks. I also really enjoy writing and inspiring others out there to chase after their dreams. In fact, if there was anything I cut could loose from my life right now it would be my job, not all the extracurricular activities I enjoy. And I’ve never particularly wanted a big house that I’d have to furnish with a bunch of stuff and pay to heat and cool. It’s just not in my personality. So you could probably make an argument that this is just a personality thing. I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where I’m at, but some of the perceived sacrifice has actually been at least slightly enjoyable on my part. Well, except for the ramen noodles. Those got kind of gross near the end!

But what if you’re not like me? What if you want the stuff and experiences that require the money to pay for them? For one, I would recommend a more balanced approach than what I’ve historically applied. You can save 20-30% of your net income if you make an average income and still enjoy a lifestyle that puts you in the top 1% or so in the world. Secondly, I recommend you really think long and hard about what you want out of your life. I decided long ago that I want more time; more time to spend with loved ones, pursue my passions (writing, reading, staying fit, eventually traveling), relax, and live with presence and purpose. It’s hard to live a passionate life when I’m spending most of my limited time running around at work, creating value for an employer in exchange for money.

Do you really want to work for most of your life? Is the shelter, car, travel, and mostly useless crap worth it? If you can answer with an unequivocal yes, then I say more power to you. I’ve never tried to insist that this lifestyle was somehow more noble than any other, or should be pursued by everyone. But if you want something different out of your life; if you feel like your time is more valuable then what you’re selling it off piece by piece for, then join the party. Open your eyes. The real sacrifice is in plugging away at the 9-5 till 65, only to realize that there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow itself is the gold, my friend. Life is time, and if you’re trading it away you’ll find yourself one day without time. And you won’t be able to trade in all that stuff and money for any more of it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

I’ve made sacrifices, sure. But in exchange for a decade or so of really, really hard work – and a good dash of luck – I’ll be able to live my life on my terms for a significant portion of the time I’ll have left. We’re all dying one day at a time here, but I want to be able to make the most out of the limited time I have left on this planet. I realized long ago that I was a sucker, and that the real sacrifice was exchanging my time away so cheaply and freely. Living below my means and aggressively pursuing financial independence isn’t the sacrifice; it’s the answer.

How about you? Do you view working hard at a job that leaves you little time to enjoy your life the real sacrifice?

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Edit: Corrected typo in last paragraph. 

Comments

      • says

        This is such a simple idea, yet so few manage to understand it. Thank you for putting your thoughts in a clear and concise matter.

        The ultimate sacrifice is not missing out on the new and expensive toys, but spending life energy and your time ( which you have a very very limited amount on this earth) in order to acquire items you do not need, in order to impress people who don’t matter. You will spend a few more years working hard, and then you will be able to retire. At that point, you will have the flexibility of either working at your job, or do something more meaningful with your life. I strongly doubt you will be a beach bum and do nothing after reaching FI..Anyway, I would recommend you watch a documentary called Happy.. It is on Netflix – shows research results that after your basic needs are met, you are not happier if you have more “stuff”. Who would have figured that out ;-)

        Cheers!

        DGI

        • says

          DGI,

          Thanks for stopping by!

          And I agree with you on what sacrifice really is. It’s a shame that more people don’t see it that way, but I suppose to each their own. I always say live and let live, and I simply try to provide inspiration and motivation to those that wish to seek freedom rather than things.

          And I watched that documentary. I think I referenced it in one of my old Weekend Reading posts a while back if I’m not mistaken. I found it refreshing. I look at it like a happiness pyramid where you have your basic needs on the bottom (housing, food, electricity) and then you run all the way to the top where you see stuff like Ferraris and vacation homes in Italy. The stuff at the bottom is the meat of your happiness, while the stuff up top is quite trivial. And the funny thing is that the stuff that brings you the most happiness is often the cheapest. It relates back to the hedonic treadmill. Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs you have to spend more and more to increase your happiness in incremental amounts. Eventually, spending all the money in the world won’t do anything for you, and will likely only lead to the opposite outcome. Such is the way of life, and I think those that realize this are the ones that are really the ones that are happy. The rest may look happy to outsiders, but it’s all just a show.

          Best regards!

  1. says

    DM,

    Great post; I think you and I will always be aligned and on the same page when it comes to early FI. Just like you, I could probably never own a sweet pad b/c you couldn’t get me to sign up for that LONG mortgage… I like houses and even own rental properties, but I don’t pay for any of the expenses… My tenants do, and I still get to pocket the remaining cash flow. If I ever want to own my own home, I’ll simply move in to a paid off unit, or use the combined cash flow to pay my own modest mortgage (no McMansions for me). Perhaps an even better idea is to just buy an apartment complex and save one of the units for myself to store my stuff while I vacation the world. That single unit would be my “personal residence”.

    Once I get to early FI, I do want to simplify life even more. I’ll probably sell off most of my possessions and even my car before I go travel the world. Why do I need to be encumbered with so much junk anyway? Like you, it’s the life experiences that I’m after.

    Temporary sacrifice for a lifetime of freedom… I’m on that same path!

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      I agree. I think we’re very much aligned in what life is all about, the point behind freedom, what sacrifice really is, and the purpose behind financial independence. Although we have different strategies, the important thing is that we both get to where we want to be and get the most out of our limited time on this planet.

      And your ideas there on travel sound really unique and awesome. I go back and forth on my vision of FI. Sometimes I can see myself totally traveling the world for the long haul, living in cheap, beautiful countries for years at a time. And other times I see myself spending a lot of time with my family and and the new generation that’s coming along now. The great thing is that I’ll actually have the choice to do one or the other or mix and match the two. It’s a choice between two awesome scenarios, and financial independence gives me that kind of choice and flexibility. It’s just wonderful to be walking this path. :)

      Thanks for following along. I’m confident you’re going to beat me, so you’ll have to tell me what the view looks like from the mountaintop!

      Best wishes.

  2. Josh says

    Great article DM! I too work at a normal 9 to 5 job, making an average sallary. I decided about 3 years ago that the rat race wasn’t for me, and started to invest in dividend paying stocks. I find it amazing when i see people making over 100,000 dollars a year buying 400,000 dollar houses because they work hard and “deserve” it, meanwhile having little to no savings, investments, or retirement saved. You should be proud of what you have done in the last 4 years. I would venture to say that most americans making 6 figures a year probably do not have a portfolio even close to yours. Instead their investments are in the form of depreciating assets like the latest Cadillac escalade, and the latest 70 inch flat screen they cannot afford. Keep on doing what you are doing! The blog is certainly an inspiration.

    • says

      Josh,

      I’m also amazed at the choices other people make, but I try not to get caught up in being judgmental about it. I understand that this lifestyle is rather unique and I appear quite strange to the minority. And just the same as I appreciate the support of others, I try to do my best to support those that don’t agree with my life decisions, as strange and confounding as those decisions may be at times.

      But the great thing is that we all have our own life. They key is to make that life the best it can possibly be based on our own views, beliefs, values, and passions. I’m glad that you found your passion and you’re pursuing it aggressively. That’s really what life is all about!

      Cheers.

      • Dean says

        DM,

        Your last paragraph above is the decoder key to life. No doubt everyone’s situation is unique. I lost my dad of heart attack when he was 49, and I was 15. My mom died of cancer when she was 63, I was 33. life is precious, only thing is none of us know how long we’ll be on this planet. My parents deaths taught me that We need to create as many memories as possible, as often as possible. I’m now 51 years old, married for 22 years and have 3 children. I’ve spent a considerable amount of money taking trips with my family with lots of video and pics to freeze those special events in time, and in our memories. That’s what’s important to me personally. Will I have to work a few more years as a result ..yes. But that’s a trade-off I agreed to make when I saw my first born come into this world.

        I wish you good health and success in all your endeavors.

        • says

          Dean,

          Thanks for adding that.

          There is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach to the journey to FI, just the same as there is no one way to live life. I’ve chosen a rather extreme strategy at times, and I have no regrets. However, I can also understand that others enjoy a more moderate approach. Nothing wrong with either way; one has to do what works best for them and their situation.

          And congrats to you for finding a method that works well for you and your family. Life is simply a collection of memories, and so it sounds like you’ve got a great collection over there! :)

          I wish you the best as well.

          Take care.

    • says

      Investing Pursuits,

      Better late than never. I wish I had started way earlier myself. But it was not to be. I suppose our mistakes make us stronger and wiser, and those mistakes put us in the position to reach for financial independence. So when I look at it that way I really have no regrets. The key is to not repeat the same mistakes, and instead learn from them so as to improve oneself.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care.

  3. says

    DM,

    Great perspective. When people ask me why I drive a ten year old car and live in the same house I bought when I was 25 years old (17 years ago and paid off) I simply tell them I would rather accumulate memories than stuff. Most people don’t get it, but some do if only for a few minutes. Keep the inspirational posts coming!

    MDP

    • says

      MDP,

      Man, that’s awesome! Having a paid-off house is fantastic. I currently rent, but if I ever buy a place it’ll definitely be much less than I could afford. It’s great that you realized how important it is to live below your means and stay in the same spot. Real estate can bite you in the ass if you’re moving all the time; the transaction fees are a killer.

      Thanks for all the support! Keep up the great work over there.

      Best wishes.

  4. says

    DM,
    Really enjoyed this post. Compelling question from the beginning. I have a lawyer friend who is always required to respond to emails, even while on vacation. He works 10-12 hour days and one day a weekend. Most days he doesn’t see his kids. Sweet house though, and country club and luxury SUV.

    My work is rather tame and mostly 40 hours a week. It’s the best way for me to earn a living while I save as much as I can. I surely make less than my friend. But I own more of my time and have a plan while he’ll need to keep working much longer than me to maintain that lifestyle.

    I hope he has a secret plan to retire early. But instead I think he’s caught up in the rat race.

    The rainbow is the gold. That is awesome.
    -RBD

    • says

      RBD,

      Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the line about the rainbow. I think anyone who’s expecting gold at the end of the rainbow is fooling themselves. But some people like to be fooled.

      It’s a sad tale there about your friend. However, if that’s what really makes him happy then I say more power to him. What’s normal to me is totally abnormal to many other people and vice versa. However, I think that if people could live two concurrent lives – one where they live frugally and reach FI at a decent age, and another life where they work nonstop to afford the best luxuries in life – they’d probably choose the path less taken.

      Best regards!

  5. Steve says

    Allow me to add my thoughts–Hear! Hear!

    You could add that the modern American Dream of a mega-lifestyle is getting even more difficult to achieve–even with the mounds of debt that people are willing to carry. I recently researched what it would cost to replace my 2007 Ford Expedition that has 95,000 miles on it. It is our family car and really doesn’t need replacing but I was just curious. Are you ready for this? $52,000. How does anyone afford things like this? I only bought mine because we needed a larger family vehicle and in late 2008 when the economy was falling apart, gas had hit $4 a gallon. The car lot couldn’t give their SUVs away. I got mine for $11,000 with 40,000 miles on it. Although a depreciating asset is never “a good deal” this is one of the better car purchases I have made in my life. I just can’t understand how people sleep at night carrying the debt load that they have. By next year I will have my house completely paid for and will be completely debt free. I can’t wait! The next step is replacing my income through DGI.

    Keep the posts coming. You’re a great encouragement to those of us working year in and year out to achieve FI.

    Steve

    • says

      Steve,

      I agree. I think the costs of new cars can be egregious. I work for a luxury car dealership. You should see what some of these new cars are running. We have people that stop in all day long and buy up cars running $70k and up. It’s totally mind-boggling to me. But it’s their life and not mine.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope to be able to inspire and encourage others for as long as I have fingers and an internet connection. :)

      Take care.

  6. says

    I truly share your opinion on that subject Jason.

    But I think people like us are just kind of different from the crowd. I think you have the mindset of an artist somehow. You are indeed a writer and writers are often dreamers as well. Plus you seem to be a very analytic guy. Most 9@5 jobs kill creativity and artists personality don’t fit well in that box. It’s like with my 9@5 office job. I simply need to perform the same tasks day after day and the objective is to obtain the same results day after day. No creativity is needed or even allowed in that kind of structure. Society prefers standardization. It’s easier to manage and apparently more efficient…

    And I think that many people in our society are just not creative at all anyways. It’s not part of their personality. I know a lot of people who prefer to buy a painting over making one, who prefer buying a new barbecue over learning how to repair it and do it by themselves… Many people simply don’t want to learn new things. They like to do only what they already know and that’s it.

    They find a 9@5 job reassuring because it fits their personality. It makes them feel safe. They just have to wake up, go, do what they have learned a while ago and that they master and come back. It’s easy. There is no risk involved. I guess if it fits your personality than it’s okay. But it don’t fit mine for sure.

    Safety always have a price. And the safety of a 9@5 job must be paid with your freedom and time… That’s the way it is.

    It’s funny to think that we live in a free democracy and that we all say we cherish freedom while most of the population trade that freedom and democracy to spend their life in a monarchy regime (9@5 job) where your boss is your King and where your only right is to take a 15 minutes break at 10h30, a 30 minutes lunch at 12 and 2 weeks of vacation per year if your king allows you… And you might not even decide on which dates… Now is that what freedom and democracy is???

    What kind of freedom is left after all those hours spent working? The freedom to buy Rice crispies instead of corn flakes?

    Safety has a price and time is a commodity that flies at the speed of light and you’ll never be able to get it back. When it’s gone, it’s gone!

    Reading a book for these people is painful. Don’t even talk about writing. They just like to hang out with other people. They like being with the crowd, hanging out with people just to be with people even if they don’t do anything at all. And when they are alone, they don’t know what to do and they feel that their life has no meaning… So they call a friend to chat… Okay I know I tend to exagerate a little but my mom is like that ahah!

    I know a lot of people who don’t even plan to retire because they pretend they love their job. I often wondered why people would love doing the same exact 5 or 10 things again and again and again for thirty or even forty years. I can’t love doing anything for that long. I need challenges… I need to learn new things…

    I don’t pretend that one lifestyle or way of seing things is superior to the other, but for me, freedom will always be superior to slavery. And, in a way, 9@5 job is modern slavery. You get just enough to be sure you’ll continue working forever unless you are able to do all the sacrifices you are doing and go against the crowd!

    It takes a good amount of courage to do it and you have to be proud of that… But I already know you are just by reading you!

    • says

      Allan,

      That’s a great comment there. Thanks for stopping by and adding that. I really appreciate that.

      And you couldn’t be more correct about security. Not only do many people underestimate the cost of security, but also simultaneously overestimate the actual security of their jobs and lives. I recently had my eyes opened at work after taking a massive pay cut. Your job and income is only as safe as the masters above you allow it to be. This is why it’s so important to diversify your income and maximize the passive income you can earn while you continue to earn a paycheck. And, of course, living far below your means allows you to make the most out of all of this income. It’s about being efficient and flexible. You never want to be caught in the rain without a paycheck and no way to pay your bills, because even someone who’s extremely frugal has to eat and have a roof over their head.

      And you’re absolutely right: Freedom actually isn’t freedom at all if you’re indebted to everyone around you, and that includes your employer.

      Thanks again. I really appreciate the thoughts!

      Cheers.

  7. says

    On a day like today, where I had to deal with a bunch of egos and personalities at work, I totally hear you. Besides, living below my means isn’t really that big an effort for me. In fact, living below my means is actually an enjoyable activity.

    I feel more motivated than ever to pull the plug in August. Man, has it been shitty at work lately! Nothing but a series of cluster fucks and unrealistic expectations. When we find ourselves making meals at home and getting by without cable, all I have to think about is how nice it is to be away from the cubicle and all its trappings.

    Keep spreading the word!

    • Zol says

      Everytime i have one of those days i go back to my computer and check my portfolio and ETA to retirement. I’m still a ways off but its comforting. I hope i can make it and not pull a Jerry Maguire :)

      • says

        Zol,

        Although, it would be fun to pull a Maguire, right? :)

        And I try not to check my portfolio or my progress too often, but on really rough days at work I definitely log in and check to see how things are going. Then I’m more motivated than ever to keep going.

        Best regards!

    • says

      Spoonman,

      Man, do I ever know what you’re going through. Sometimes I write these posts exactly when I’m feeling the most exasperated with my job. And that’s exactly why everything I’m doing outside of work isn’t the sacrifice at all; it’s the answer. It’s the answer to the tyranny and frustration I feel on a daily basis. All the stress, hierarchy, politics, games, long hours, paperwork, run-arounds, judgement…all of it will one day go away.

      I do feel you. Trust me. But just know you’re on the final stretch here. That has GOT to feel good! :)

      Best wishes.

  8. says

    short term sacrifice long term benefit I wouldn’t be enjoying such fabulous dividend today, it weren’t for a little discipline. I wouldn’t call it a sacrifice though because I am a natural born saver. Answer to your comment two days ago. I receive $1248.56 dividend monthly based on $153385.74 in funds. I receive exactly same amount of dividend every month, not a penny more or less all the way to the end of this year, and so many years after that. The funds that I invested don’t usually change dividend. Once in a blue moon, they change dividend amount just to raise it. Funds went up pretty significantly since I bought. it makes difficult for me to buy more. There are only 14 funds I like, 15 if I push, one fund is just for the fun. Ironically, I made most of my money from this crazy fund, but I got to sleep at night. so, I sold most of them. I didn’t fully take advantage of special dividend last year. I was a rooky. Now, I’m older and wiser. This year will be totally different. Wish me luck!

    • says

      Young,

      You’re in a great spot there, my friend. $1,248/month in dividends could probably come very close to allowing me to make a run at financial independence. I think I could cut a few expenses here and there and get to the level where that amount of passive income could free me. Keep up the fantastic work!

      And we definitely all have different perspectives on life and sacrifice. For me, the sacrifice isn’t really sacrifice at all. I view everyone else as actually sacrificing their lives away. Time is really all we’ve got!

      Take care.

  9. says

    Without a doubt…For our family, it would be working for most of your life. Since my wife is 10 years younger than I am, I value my time on this earth even more. So the sooner we can get out of the rat race, the more time I will have to spend with my wife in our so called Golden Years (except we’ll just be younger than normal).

    But to be clear…living below your means doesn’t have make you miserable and unhappy. It simply means that you just need to be more creative with your ideas for fun. Practice makes perfect as they say…and if done right, you can essentially have your cake and eat it too.

    • says

      AFFJ,

      That’s great that you have a clear vision for your freedom. For some people, I can imagine it’s tough to seek freedom if you don’t actually know what you’d do with it. It’s important to have purpose in life. I actually feel bad for people that feel no purpose outside of their job. What a horrible situation to be in!

      And I agree completely in regards to sacrifice. I’ve just never been the type of person who needs to go out on the town or buy a big house in order to feel happy. I really enjoy the smaller (and typically free) things in life, like spending time with family and friends, watching a good movie, exercising, taking a nice walk, writing, managing my portfolio, etc. That’s just me. Like I said in the article, perhaps it’s just a personality thing. I guess I’m lucky in that way, and it appears so are many that stop by here. :)

      Best regards.

  10. says

    For me it’s becoming a matter of time. Time is the ultimate sacrifice for me. Money is not worth more than time. I’d much rather live below my means in order to enjoy more time down the road. Likewise, I don’t want to overwork myself now, because our time here is finite.

    • says

      YI Blog,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      And you nailed it there. Time and money, for me, do not have a 1:1 ratio. Time is far more important than money. Money can always be made; time is something that cannot be purchased, manufactured, or replicated. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

      Cheers!

  11. says

    First off, amazing blog and excellent inspiration for us all. I have been a dividend investor for about 7 years now though having bought my first official dividend stock back in 1989 without even realizing what I own. I was still in H.S. In any case, I agree with you about the sacrifice now for gains in the future but I always believe that life should be lived in moderation. Forget the fancy cars, homes, clothes (material) and live a little in the intangible world such as travel. Every material item that you buy eventually falls out of the “moneymoon” phase. You know, the honeymoon feeling we all have with a new car, or home or clothes, etc. which no doubt fades away after a month or 2 or 6. The feeling you get from intangible spending such as travel, family visits, friends can create memories that last for many years if not decades. I still reminisce about my travels over the years and having been blessed to be able to visit the world while young enough to enjoy. Life is short as you say and fleeting and fragile. You need a balance. Enjoy now… and later. My grandmother always reminds me that your are young once and the future is not guaranteed. Saving for a dividend income future is awesome but remember not guaranteed.

    On a side note, I just started my own blog a few days ago and will chronicle my dividend journey as well. For now I just posted some of my portfolio listings and will start to populate the site this weekend. Again, great job and great inspiration! I am honored to join you and other fellow dividend/income bloggers online!

    -Keith
    DivHut

    • says

      Keith,

      You make some great points there. And I certainly value experiences over objects. Objects lose their luster quickly, and typically require ongoing costs like maintenance, repairs, etc. However, experiences last a lifetime and require no ongoing costs. And while tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, I’d rather be free than not free if it does indeed come.

      And congrats to you on starting your own blog! I wish you the best of luck with it. I’ve discovered profound joy out of writing, and it has allowed me to connect with thousands of people from all over the world. To be able to inspire other like-minded individuals to seek their own version of freedom is really a dream come true for me. I hope you find the success I’ve found! :)

      Best wishes!

    • margaret says

      Jason and Div Hut. Great article and inspiring. God, I wish I started earlier. As I mentioned before, I am 53. I do have a 401k, but am at a loss as to what to invest in b/c the market is so high. Jason, I did buy 50 shares of GE at 25.11. I could have bought more, but I was afraid. May I ask one question to you Jason and the community–what would someone invest in at these prices? I know that PG was mentioned. Would one wait until the market went down? If this is the wrong forum to ask–please let me know. I want to be respectful of rules. I hope one day to contribute to the knowledge and share my journey–which was very difficult. I believe if I was talented enough to write a book–people would not believe some stories. Finally, one other comment/question Jason. I really think you could write a book. When you make millions off of it, do you think you would want the nice cars, house, etc.?

      • says

        margaret,

        Nice job on buying GE there. Although it’s been on a run, I think it’s still attractively priced here. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be buying it myself. :)

        As far as where to invest now, I find the following securities as attractively priced: BP, PM, ARCP, O, TGT, and KMI. That’s just a start. And I think that list offers a nice blend of value, yield, and quality.

        And thanks so much for the kind words. I honestly do hope to be able to write a book one day. That would be a dream come true to put something really great together, and to be able to pay it forward since I learned so much from a number of books that came before me. However, while I don’t think I’ll be making anywhere near millions off of my writing, I wouldn’t want the material possessions that could be afforded with such wealth anyhow. But to be honest, there are a few things I’d like if I were extremely wealthy. I’d like to eat out more with friends and family. And that’s really because I enjoy the experience and I can’t/won’t cook. If I enjoyed cooking then I’d love to host dinner parties and stuff where I whipped up some great meals. But if I were wealthy then I’d invite friends and family out to dinner. And I would also like a small loft in a downtown setting where I could walk to these aforementioned restaurants. I’m from Michigan, and I always wanted a loft in downtown Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor. So if I had my dream come true, I would own a 1,200 sq. foot loft in one of these downtowns; a loft with exposed brick, concrete or wood floors, wood beams on the ceiling, big, open windows, and industrial features. But that’s about it. And that’s me being totally honest. That would be what I want if money were no object.

        Maybe I should write a post about this sometime? Take a break from the frugality and just daydream and see what people would own/buy/experience if money were no object.

        Thanks for stopping by and asking that. And don’t worry about the market being priced so high. Worry instead about what individual securities are priced at.

        Best wishes!

  12. says

    I want out badly… Putting away as much as possible. No debt except this stupid mortgage. I should downsize. I don’t need it, and I didn’t buy a mcmansion. Already living in a reasonably sized place for me. Thx.

    • says

      frankiesweep,

      It sounds like you need to check in with a local real estate agent and see if selling your place to move into a smaller pad is possible. :)

      And thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it.

      Take care.

  13. says

    Great article. It’s too bad most people don’t realize this when they’re young. It’s easy to start spending money and keep inflating your lifestyle. A lot of people enjoy their work when they’re young and they assume they will always do. That’s not the case, though. I think work become less enjoyable as you stay in the same job/career. It’s better to make some sacrifice now so you’ll have more choices later.

    • says

      Joe,

      Absolutely. I didn’t enjoy working at a car dealership when I was younger, but I certainly disliked it less than I do now. I was younger, more energetic, and happy to make the money. After seven or so years of doing this I’m burned out big time. And I agree with you that it’s easier to get burned out when you do the same thing for years on end. Perhaps a career switch is in order for me as I hit the second leg of my journey to financial independence. I think human beings are meant to do more than just one job their whole life. Variety is the spice of life, right?

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope all is well in Portland.

      Best regards.

  14. Moorea9 says

    I really began to think about it at 35. I retired at 52, with a big margin of safety as I am naturally anxious + a pension. Net worth around 2.5 M usd, but not so well invested, so I am correcting it. Also, in case things are too hard in the future, I want to help my daughter (without telling her in advance). Retirement is nice, and I spend a lot of time educating myself, right now about stocks. My only mission in the day : drive to get my 14 yo daughter at school !

    • Moorea9 says

      I just wanted to add : why do I read this blog ? because it keeps me motivated and inspired, specially by Jason. You can loose what you have if you don’t take care. Best advice by B.Graham : dont loose ! See, I am anxious haha…

      • says

        Moorea9,

        Thanks so much. I appreciate you continuing to stop by. :)

        And congrats to you on attaining a level of success that very few people ever see in their lifetime. And I can’t blame you for not wanting to lose any of it. I can imagine how hard it was to reach that kind of wealth. Best of luck with enjoying the rest of your early retirement. You earned it!

        Take care.

  15. Greg says

    Great story! The sum of all your choices has brought you to this point. Your fund is aptly named as it will give you a greater range of choices in the future. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • says

      Greg,

      I’m happy to inspire. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my journey. :)

      And our lives are just a collection of decisions and memories. My plan is to make the best decisions possible so that I can have the best memories. Hard to have memories when I’m busy all day working. All work and no play makes Jason a dull boy!

      Cheers.

  16. Dividend Investing Rookie says

    Another inspirational post, DM. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I am getting old but I really believe that life is short. And I wish I started dividend investing just a few years earlier but heck my life was completely different than how it is now, so it is why it is. I am glad that I’ve started recently but posts like this always encourage me to believe that I can reach the retirement sooner. Before I never thought about retirement. The only thought I had was that I wouldn’t necessarily want to retire if I loved what I do. But here’s a thing. I am really into hiking and backpacking, which I’ve been doing for the last three hers, and over the past weekend combined with some vacay days I went backpacking at Havasuapi Falls, Arizona. Two new friends I made during the trip were two female retirees in their early 70s. They both were amazing in that they even did backpacking in Himalayas. One of them is going back there in August. These two ladies are in great shape for their age (71 and 74 respectively) and have been hiking and backpacking seriously for the last ten years or so, probably since their typical retirement ages. They were hilarious and fun to be around, and yet two things that I was processing in my head, while enjoying their company on the trail. One – I never imagined that I would be able to do hiking and backpacking into my 70s but apparently I can and I will, which lead me to rethink about my future, or a new job prospect after retirement – hiking guide on an island. Maui, which I love, comes into mind. Two – I can sacrifice more now and retire early, or earlier than these two ladies did and enjoy more hiking and backpacking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and it is always inspiring.

    • says

      DIR,

      Sounds like you’ve had some amazing experiences there. Good for you! I hope to have some great experiences later down the line myself as I eventually travel to low-cost locales like Thailand and, possibly, Ecuador.

      And life is indeed short. I realized that when I first started this journey, and I was only 27 at the time!

      And, indeed, sacrificing a little now (if you want to call it sacrifice) will allow you the time to pursue your passions down the road with more vigor and time. Best of luck!

      Take care.

  17. says

    Hey DM,

    Great post again, and thanks for the thought provoking words!

    Even as far as last year, I was one of those people that saved 30-40% of their salary to invest. I had £200 per month allocated to ‘spending money’, which I could go to town on things like drugs, hookers and alcohol. :-)
    I thought I was doing brilliant, as I read in various books and articles that 10-30% saving will make you rich in the long run.
    It wasn’t until I stumbled came across the FI community that I found 30-40% was pretty average, and people were managing to save double that! I thought I was frugal prior to reading your blog and others like it. You managed to set a new standard that I wanted to achieve, and the FI blogs out there showed how they did that. In my first month of adapting my approach I managed to save 72% of my salary and I earn less than £30,000. I’m currently over 80% for April! It just goes to show what is possible when you put your mind to it. As strange as it sounds, I didn’t realise it was possible before reading about it.

    My next point is on the sacrifice to get there. You can compare the FI journey to many things, but I like to compare things to exercise, and I find the parallels very similar. Working out isn’t easy, someday’s I wake up and I feel like I can’t be bothered to do anything. I’m pleased to say that almost everyday I just get up and make myself do it and guess what…… It feels great! I have never ever regretted doing a training session before. Once completed you feel absolutely fantastic and it sets you up for the rest of the day. I can handle things effortlessly, I don’t get stressed, and I’m generally happy all day. I have (like many) succumb to not training on specific days because I feel a bit tired or I ‘deserve’ a rest. I make the call not to ‘sacrifice’ my body that day and how does that work out for me 99% of the time……… I don’t feel that great for it. Sure I can rest my body, but I feel unsatisfied, a bit guilty and lazy. It certainly doesn’t ruin my day, but it doesn’t set me up in the same way. I would say that I regret a non-training day 99 times out of 100 after making the decision.

    I’ve recently decided to sell my car and bike/walk to work, and I’ve also ditched Sky TV. These decisions aren’t easy to make INITIALLY, but they are followed by a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. I’m so pleased with both of these decisions and I have no intention of going back on them.

    I know not everyone wants to be in great physical shape, and I get that, but everyone should experience exercise because it offers so much more than that! I believe this crosses over to frugal living. People should consider it to get into better ‘financial shape’, but they’re going to experience so much more than that too. They just need to see what’s possible, and try it out.

    It’s through blogs like Dividend Mantra, Early Retirement Extreme, and Mr Money Mustache that have helped show thousands of people around the world what’s possible and how you can get there, and for that I’m hugely grateful.

    Keep up the great work!
    Huw

    • says

      Huw,

      Hey, thanks for the thoughts there. I really appreciate it! And being even mentioned in the same breath as ERE and MMM is quite the compliment! So thank you so much for that. :)

      And I couldn’t agree more with comparing this journey to exercise. I once wrote a post about how losing weight is a lot like saving money: You have to consume less than you take in, and while it’s easy on paper it’s quite hard in real life. Because both are difficult, people usually fail. But, YES, once you get a great work out in, or start buying equities regularly, you start to really see the benefits. AND YOU FEEL GREAT! And that success just builds on itself. Losing weight and building muscle means you’re going to get better and better at it as you feel better about yourself and the muscles themselves start to burn fat. Likewise, the equities start paying dividends making purchasing new equities even easier, and so on. Success begets success.

      I’m glad you see the light, my friend. You’ll escape the cave before you know it! :)

      Best wishes.

  18. Nick says

    That’s the kind of article I love to read Jason, and why I’ll keep returning to your site.. Those old posts about the scooter used to make me laugh, how many young guys would ride a 16 year old scooter?! Brilliant, just brilliant. Nice rainbow analogy too.

    • says

      Nick,

      Haha. I really miss my scooter. Although it’s nice to get in my Corolla and drive to where I need to go, there was something adventurous about the scooter. Made me feel alive. Although, the safety factor bugged me a bit.

      And thanks for your readership. Glad you still enjoy the writing. I hope to keep things interesting, inspiring, and engaging! :)

      Cheers.

  19. says

    Thank you for leaving space for others! As I sip wine in Thailand…! I love what I do and will probably work until the day I die, though my clients are my employer as I have had none other for over 20 years. The question always remains: Do I work because I work or because I must work to survive? I chose to align things so that even if work stops I can still survive, strength to strength!

    • says

      RAK,

      Haha. There’s room for everyone around here! :)

      And if you love your work I truly admire you. That’s great. And although I’d eventually love to find a 9-5 I love to do while I continue to march toward financial independence, I still value freedom and flexibility. So even if I was interested in working for the rest of my life I’d want to have a Plan B. You may love your employer, but the feelings may not be mutual.

      But good for you. I’m happy for you, man. :)

      Best wishes.

  20. says

    In general I agree with what you are saying but your sacrifice of eating ramen noodles is a health-related one and I am not sure I can accept such a justification.

    What’s the point of having all this money and time if your health sucks?

    • says

      save spend splurge,

      Hmm, I think I have a fundamentally different view on health. I believe people overestimate the importance of food choices and underestimate the importance of controlling calories, exercise, genetics, and stress. I agree with Warren Buffett in that it’s about living a happy life, controlling your caloric intake, and exercising. It’s not about eating vegetables even if you hate them just because your doctor said so. Having good genes doesn’t hurt either.

      And I’m not recommending people go out and eat shitty food all day long. I’m just saying that I think dietary choices are overrated. I think watching your calories, not going crazy with fats or salts, exercising regularly, avoiding stress, and living an otherwise healthy life is probably going to put you in a pretty good spot.

      Besides, if someone told me tomorrow that I would live one or two more years if I started eating asparagus and spinach I’d probably say that I’m okay with my life as it stands today.

      And I don’t eat ramen noodles anymore. I ate them until I physically couldn’t any longer. But I don’t regret that. Eating lunch for $2/week allowed me to really supercharge my savings in the beginning and get to where I’m at today. :)

      Cheers!

  21. Purewater says

    Wonderful article, so much wisdom…the only thing I’d add is you can still take nice vacations without them costing you much. The bonuses on credit cards are so high you could easily go anywhere in the world and stay in adequate to nice hotels for free or close to it(easily done for an annual vacation). I bet you can even find some Ramen Noodles overseas! :)

    • says

      Purewater,

      That’s a great point there. I actually use credit card rewards aggressively; although, not for travel. Rather, I accumulate them as fast as possible by using my credit cards for every possible purchase and paying them off at the end of the month. I then use those rewards for statement credits (as cash). These add up quite nicely over a year or so. And while I could chase after the vacations, I’d still incur costs if I were traveling. I’d rather crank up my travel bug full tilt until I’m able to travel extremely cheaply long-term. Just my take on it!

      Thanks for stopping by and adding that. Great stuff! :)

      Best wishes.

  22. says

    I’m on my way to finacial freedom but I have to admit I didn’t do as many sacrifices as Jason. I’ve been saving money for now 12 years and eventhough I am into a six figures portflolio as well I still found time to travel and also get a car. I made other mistakes but I’ve been lucky having a place to live (with my half-other) without having to get into a mortage. In fact, in Spain, where I live, getting into a mortage has been the worst choice many people made in the last few years. We have been through a housing bubble and prices have skyrocketed. So I escaped that trap, maybe by luck, but that alone helped me to go on saving and finally getting into dividend growth investing. I’m also trying to inspire others by means of http://www.dividendogma.com

    Jason, nice post!

    • Eric74310 says

      Nice for me to see you also choose to invest in Duro Felguera, my only Spanish stock.
      Do you plan to hold this stock for the long term, or it is a value investment you will sell after a nice gain ?

      • Markus says

        Eric, where do you live? I am from Austria, but I just CANNOT invest in spanish stocks, since those fools are charging me 40% tax for foreign investors which I would need to request back via a very bureaucratic way…which is too costy and too complex to make it worth…

        • Eric74310 says

          Hi Markus, I’m in France.
          I guess your 40% tax is about dividends ?
          With Spanish sotcks I deal with a 20% tax. Unfortunately, a lot more with Austrian stocks !
          I don’t understand why there is still this kind of tax today for the European citizens.

          • Markus says

            Yes, I’m tlaking about dividends. It’s so cruel – the Spanish guys charge me 20%, but of course Austria charges me the typicall 25% = 45% taxes. Same is true for Switzerland. US, Germany and Austria is fine for me. France is a no go as well, recently investigated into TOTAL, but you guys treat me the same as the Spaniards :)

    • says

      Dividend Dogma,

      Congrats on investing for 12 years now! That’s fantastic. I’ve only been at it for four years now, but I feel like I’ve made incredible strides thus far. And it continues to get better! :)

      Best of luck with your journey over there in Spain. I know it’s tough going over there right now with high unemployment and what not, but I’m glad to hear you’re not letting that hold you back. Good for you!

      Take care.

  23. Jan says

    Hi Jason,

    I enjoy your articles, some are really thought provoking like this one. While I have been frugal all of my life it is only in the last few years that I really started to manage my own portfolio and only the last couple of years that I have concentrated on dividend stocks. My first goal was to get enough in dividends to pay my house payment. That was accomplished last year and now I’m working on them paying the property tax and insurance as well. I expect to get there this year.

    I do have one quibble with your latest blog. I believe that while saving for your retirement, you shouldn’t completely forget about the present. NONE of us know how much time we have in this life. When I look back on my life, I really don’t regret the experiences and fun that I have had traveling and doing a hobby that I love. So no, I would not have wanted to sacrifice those things for a possible future. But when I look around my house and garage and see all of the STUFF that I have accumulated, I know that I would be in a much better financial situation if I had controlled unnecessary/impluse purchases better. Now many of these things are just clutter that I have a hard time getting rid of.

    My advice is if you decide to spend your money be sure that what you spend it on is worth it. Be sure to get the most use out of anything that you do purchase. You don’t have to have the latest, greatest cell phone if the one you have is working perfectly well.

    If you decide to go out to dinner with friends, don’t bemoan spending the money. That decision has already been made, enjoy the dinner and friendship.

    BTW, it helps a great deal to have a job that you like. I have had my own business for the last 16 years and really enjoyed going to work. Now, I am only working part-time and will probably quit altogether in a couple of years. That will give the dividends a chance to grow a couple of more years and in the meantime I will have more free time to do what I want.

    Jan

    • says

      Jan,

      I couldn’t agree more about living in the present. But that was exactly what I was trying to say: I’m not really sacrificing because not only am I buying myself freedom one day and stock at a time, but I really enjoy the process. Writing posts and communicating with you readers, for instance, brings me a lot of joy. Investing is something else that I derive a lot of happiness from. Same goes for exercising, and spending time with the people I care about. The only thing in my life right now that I feel is a “sacrifice” is the job itself. But that will change one day.

      And thank for reminding us to live in the present, and with purpose. That’s a motto of mine. Life can only be lived once, and we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. However, if tomorrow does come I want it to be even brighter and better than today. And I’m doing all I possibly can to make that happen. :)

      Congrats, by the way, on putting yourself in a great position there. Owning your own business is really wonderful. Hard to hate the boss when you’re the one doing the bossing!

      Best wishes.

  24. typeoh060882 says

    Totally agree. Sacrifice now, enjoy later.

    I think the other thing that needs to be touched upon is how much less stress you must have in your life knowing that if you lost your job things would be OK. You leave cheap enough that your standard of living wouldn’t change at all.

    To me, along with control of your time, thats the biggest reason to push for independence.

    That, plus no more conference calls. I hate pointless conference calls.

    Long Term Brian

    • says

      Long Term Brian,

      That’s a great point there. Personally, I know my stress level has gone way down since I first started. Knowing that I have six figures invested and that I’ll be okay if I were fired tomorrow is a tremendous weight off my shoulders. I plan on actually writing a post about that sometime soon, but I think Pete @ MMM actually beat me to it with his recent post about money itself buying happiness rather than exchanging the money for objects or experiences.

      And I hate conference calls too. That should be a bumper sticker: “No More Conference Calls”.

      Cheers!

  25. Sunny Shah says

    Excellent article!

    The debate of saving vs. spending, it depends on priorities & personal circumstance. I have a steady job with low risk of unemployment( practically none) I plan till working age 55 because that is the earliest I can retire without forfeiting some of my retirement package. Plus because of health issues I have, the longer I work the more money I can stock away. So I may work as long as I can. I bring this up because, I’m asked from time to time, what would I do if I didn’t have my health issues, would I save and invest for the future as aggressively as I do. My answer, I don’t know.

    I know plenty of people that have new & expensive things all the time ( full disclosure I myself buy fancy things from time to time) and they are not worried about retirement savings as much as I am but at the end of the day to each his own.

    Not sure what my original point was. But that’s my take on things I guess

    • says

      Sunny,

      Sorry to hear about the health issues and some of your limitations. However, good for you for overcoming that and still doing everything within your power to invest and better yourself. Good for you!

      While you’ll never know what your life could have looked like had it been different, the key is that you’re making the most of this one. Keep up the great work.

      Take care.

  26. Joe D. says

    I’ve wanted to comment this for awhile but this post really gets to it. Another reason to do this, your “sacrifice” will not only set you up and give you comfort, but there’s something beyond that. You’re setting your legacy, your kids, to be started off very strongly when you’re gone. In theory this should set THEM up well to be WAY beyond where you were when you started your journey.

    I’ve never understood why passing on the family farm went the way side, but it has and so has the thought of leaving the kids much more than the debt of your funeral (in general of course). I think that’s one of my BIGGEST drivers for doing this similar thing, though without the timescale to quit as I actually love my job.

    • says

      Joe D.,

      That’s a great point there. Although I personally plan on never having children, I can see being able to pass on wealth as a huge motivator to others. And that’s a great personality trait to have. While I agree with Warren Buffett in not passing on all of his wealth to his children, he’s still leaving them with plenty. And none of us will never have W.B. money anyhow.

      Thanks for adding that! :)

      Best regards.

  27. Eric74310 says

    Always nice to read your posts Jason and the comments, there is a nice community here.
    In my view, we are not making any sacrifice !
    A sacrifice should be to lose money, no ?
    Are we losing money ?
    With our savings we become owners of the best corporations in the world, and they pay us dividends for that !
    With every dollar we invest we become stronger, richer and freer. Is that a sacrifice ? Just the opposite !
    Wasting money today is to sacrifice tomorrow.
    When you understand the rules of money, you are shocked to have wasted so many years.
    If only I knew this when I was 18…

    • says

      Eric,

      Thanks so much. And I appreciate your perspective. I obviously agree that we’re really not sacrificing at all. If chasing the dream of freedom is a sacrifice, then I’m all for it. :)

      And understanding the power of compounding and how money really works is imperative to be successful and one day attain financial independence. Every dollar saved and invested is a little worker bee that will go out there and work for you for the rest of your life, multiplying itself over and over again. Who would you rather work – you or your money?

      Take care.

      • Eric74310 says

        Love your image with bee !
        Bees are hard workers and they are making honey, same as dividends for companies.
        But be careful, too much greediness for honey attracts bears ))

  28. Wade says

    Well said. I am 43 and nearing the point I would like to seriously down-shift and just live. My wife and 3 girls are not on board just yet.

    We are debt free and I guess in “accumulation” mode. I would like to “down-house” and shift to part time work. Possibly 1 work part time and 1 not at all.

    I think the “work hard and power save” method for 10-15 years should be a high school/college course.

    Delay most of your “stuff” and “experiences” until you can really enjoy them.

    Somehow I don’t think that will catch on for the majority. Probably best that way anyway.

    • says

      Wade,

      I wish they taught this stuff in high school. I personally could have used less biology and more finance. It’s a shame, because the former doesn’t really do much for you day to day, while the latter permeates one’s entire life.

      I wish you the best of luck in trying to slow things down a bit. I hope you are able to get your loved ones on board. Having that support is imperative.

      Best regards.

  29. Markus says

    Hey Jason,

    just found your blog on the blogroll of a german speaking dividend investor. I’m from Austria follow dividend blogs for the last 2 years, but just found your one now. I think it’s one of the best and for sure one with high quality posts, not quick-and-dirty 20 words updates…

    Why did I decide to comment here? Well, I think one is doing WELL when one is doing what he LIKES, or even better, what he’s passionate about. YOU for sure are passionate about the dividend portfolio. I like that. I am also very exicted about my own dividen portfolio, but I need to say one thing: i am also passionate about my day-job. Call me lucky or call me a freak, but I fucking LOVE my job in the consulting Business. And that’s not because it drops me a 140k USD/yr salary, but because I really love doing that stuff. So, to conclude – there is a way to NOT see your work as a sacrifice, but where passionate cost-cutting, portfolio-building and an active income that makes actual fun to earn it, go side-by-side. It’s just that you should do what you love.

    All the best for your journey, I will keep following it.
    Markus

    • says

      Markus,

      Thanks for the support and following along. I truly appreciate it. And thanks for the compliment on the quality. I would never write something I didn’t think was worth reading, and I take a lot of pride in this blog. :)

      And hey, I’m glad to hear you love your day job. Nothing wrong with that at all. If I could do something I love while still marching down the path to financial independence then that would be even better. Alas, it has not yet come to be, but I continue marching anyhow. However, I don’t know if it’s so much just the job or the personality. I, for one, don’t know if there’s any job out there that I would enjoy if I had to wake up early, commute to work, clock in, follow orders for 10 hours per day, take breaks when they tell me to, work on projects I’m told to work on, clock out, and then commute home. I guess I’m an entrepreneur at heart which may explain part of why I dislike my job and the hours, and why I love investing and writing.

      Thanks for the perspective. And congrats for being in such a great position where you not only love what you do, but also make a hell of a living at it! :)

      Best wishes.

  30. KeithX says

    Another excellent post. I couldn’t wait to get out of the cube today even though it’s raining and 40 degrees. I feel the same way, losing my life for a paycheck. I wanted to retire by age 50, but am going to miss by 8 years. Should still be young enough to enjoy a few years, though. Maybe you can get paid for your writing some day, even if it’s just a part time thing. You are very good at it.

    • says

      Keith, My mom just told me about the book she is reading. This book is about Nicolas Sparks life. The interesting thing is that he never studied writing professionally and just kept writing until he wrote his first published book “Notebook”. They offered him $1,000,000 and he still was working his daily job at that moment. Very inspiring.

    • says

      KeithX,

      Thanks! I do collect some income from this blog, which is really wonderful. I never would have thought I’d earn even a penny from my writing, so it’s all a surprise to me. I’m really grateful for it, however.

      And I hear you on being stuck in an office. I’m stuck at mine for over 50 hours per week, and it wears…me…down. But freedom is coming, my friend. Keep going. :)

      Cheers.

  31. says

    What would be a sacrifice for one person, isn’t a sacrifice for the next person. Everyone is different.

    I love your blog and you have guts for putting your real name and photo for ALL the world to see. It must not be easy writing about your life and having people judging you for it. I hope you stay encouraged and don’t let anyone discourage you.

    I read about this woman called Dianne Nahirny, she’s a Canadian and she wrote about achieving financial independence at 36. She actually wrote a book called “Stop Working…Start Living: How I Retired at 36 Without Winning the Lottery.” I actually bought that book on Amazon.

    Now the book was published in 2001 but I still read it and actually her net worth was around $300,000 when she retired if I remember correctly. She went to a university in Canada and didn’t like it, so her parents encouraged her to go to a college and get her two year degree. She didn’t like that either and quit without getting a degree. She decided to just go to work. She held a series of jobs and claims she never made more than $20,000.

    Anyway, in her books she talked how throughout her working years she was okay with temporary sacrifice for long-term satisfaction. She did do enjoyable things along the way though. One year she took a trip to France on the Concorde. She bought an antique locket, took other travel trips, a wardrobe, and a fur coat, etc.

    At one point in her book she writes, “I think it takes much more time and effort to be a taxed-to-death, money-grubbing, trend-following, meaningless-possession-hoarding, overly encumbered work slave, heeling to the commands of your masters, than it does to choose and follow your goal of freedom. Harsh? No. If you really want to be free, then you have to recognize the causes of your enslavement and make the effort to break the chains.”

    Keep in mind at the time of publishing she wasn’t married, was childless, and she lives in Canada which has socialized healthcare as I’m sure you would already know. She also “worked” one day a week at the library although she said it was for enjoyment. I don’t know what her situation is now as she doesn’t have a blog.

    Anyway this post reminded me of that book.

    • says

      Lila,

      Wow. Thanks for sharing that. I hadn’t heard of her before. I’ll have to look her up now and maybe check the book out. Good for her for getting out when she did, and she proves that you don’t need to be a millionaire in order to do so. She sounds like a more extreme version of Derek Foster since they both held a series of jobs and never made much money, while also finding time for travel, etc. Good stuff!

      It’s too bad she doesn’t have a blog. Maybe she’ll start one sometime. It would be good to know how she’s doing now all these years later. It’s one thing to take the plunge; it’s quite another to keep at it for more than a decade. Great stuff, though. :)

      And I like that quote there. Her realization that paid employment is really a form of slavery is wonderful. Furthermore, I wholly agree that it takes a lot more work to live like a typical middle-class consumer than it does to live the way I do and eventually break free of the chains. But that’s just my opinion.

      Thanks for adding that!

      Best wishes.

      • Lila says

        No problem. Although the kindle version had some typos. If you want I could lend you the book. If you want to do that just let me know.

        • says

          Lila,

          Thanks for the offer. Much appreciated! When I get some time to sit down and read something like that I’ll definitely let you know. It would be cool to see how she did it. Does she include all the math in her books on exactly what she made year by year and how she invested and everything else? I hope it’s not vague.

          Cheers!

          • Dividend Investing Rookie says

            As soon as I read this reply, I looked up her and her book on LA Public Library but they didn’t have any!!! Guess it wasn’t that popular somehow. Difficult to save pennies!!! LOL It’s not available on iBooks either. (I know it’s more expensive there usually.) Only on Amazon.com. Used paper books are from $0.99 plus shipping. Or Amazon Kindle. Anyway, like the questions you asked Jason, I wonder how she did it.

            Just reporting what I have found so far. Cheers.

            • says

              DIR,

              Thanks for the info there. I’ll definitely have to check this book out. $0.99 is a great deal if it’s a good read, but free would be even better. Maybe I’ll take up the offer on this one.

              Best regards!

              • Lila says

                Jason and Rookie,

                I used to read the “Single Mom Rich Mom” blog which is now gone. That’s how I heard of it. Not too many people in finance know of it in the pf world. So here’s a gist of what its about.

                Chapter 1: Get Rich Quick.

                This is the reader’s pep talk. She talks about how she got rich “quick” in her mid-30’s without mooching off anyone, she didn’t win the lottery, nor had an inheritance or anything like that. She basically had a good upbringing with kind parents. She also said she never had a high paying job.

                She also explains she’s not a back to the land kind of person, she’s very much a city person and enjoys the city life. She claims to live in a Tudor-style house. Over a 15 year period she has averaged a gross income of $20,000 a year.

                After Chapter 1, the book is then divided into two sections: The Plan & The Procedure.

                “The Plan” section includes chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

                Chapter 2: Children’s Programs: The Formative Years.

                She talks about her middle-class upbringing. She explains how her parents were never “work slaves” and chose the type and duration of work freely. They started out with nothing and worked to have a comfortable lifestyle. “They had control over income, spending, saving, and ultimately their destiny.” She basically learned her financial habits from them.

                At the end of the chapter she recalls a conversation she has with her dad about what her career is going to be. They talk about which classes she likes and doesn’t like. She wants to study the arts but Dad says no because they don’t make a lot of money. He suggests actuary or accounting and our author doesn’t like this.

                Ch 3. The student years.

                The author goes to college but before she goes, in her last years in h.s. she reads finance books around the house. She talks about a couple of jobs she holds during h.s. One of them is for a shop and when the owner’s niece arrives, Dianne is in charge of training her and then her own hours are reduced and she is cut out of a job.

                Then she finds a job at Bell Canada. I think this was when she goes to university.
                She had to leave a job when she got injured by another student and had to leave her job. So she had to go on disability and learns to plan for emergencies. She is frugal at uni and takes advantage of free campus events.

                She doesn’t find much in common with the other female students. Many of them are there to find husbands and the others want careers, she learns this from a conversation she has with the girls. She learns her goals aren’t the same as theirs.

                But she hates the classes and barely passes. So her father suggests she goes to college. She moves back home and attends college, but doesn’t care for it either and quits too. At this point she reads “How I found freedom in an Unfree world” by Harry Browne. Which is a book that I’ve also read before reading this book that was surprising to me.

                This is a libertarian book for those that don’t know. Don’t worry, she doesn’t try to push politics on you. Although I have to admit I do share some libertarian ideas but I don’t call myself a libertarian, I consider myself independent. Anyway, she does make some points on government but there is no message of libertarian agenda.

                At least I don’t think so. She said the book gave her encouragement about how to find freedom from imposed cultural identities, government and treadmill living. She also questions the degree and professional careers.

                “I questioned how further post-secondary courses would aid in achieving my life goals. The courses would have provided a degree for an eventual “professional” career, but was that how I wanted to spend my days? Years? Life? Would I be able to stop nodding off in class? Could I drag myself out of bed in the mornings to a job I didn’t want or like until I paid for early retirement?

                I was prepared to accept short-term pain to achieve my goals, but I thought that the necessary years of education and the years of work would be incapacitating.”

                Ch. 4: First Things First

                She talks about holding several jobs, some of which she found through a temp agency. Eventually she finds a job in collections that pay $16,000. In July 1982 she claims her net worth was about $20,000 which included Canada Savings Bonds, gold bullion, silver and antiques and personal savings of $11,000.

                How her savings were reserved for a down payment on a home and lawyers fees, since the bonds returns a 19% interest, she decides to keep a $1,000 aside for an emergency fund. Her father owned a real estate company in 1982, and helps her find a 3-bedroom condo for a sale price of $42,000.

                I looked up a Canadian inflation calculator and it spit out that in Canadian dollars $42 would be $97,973.83. I used this website.

                http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/

                So Dianne uses $10 grand for a down payment, and during this time Canada had a first-time buyers program which she qualified for a $3,000 grant. She assumes the existing mortgage of $12,000 at 9.5% interest, and the vendor agreed to take back a second mortgage of $8,000 at 12% interest.

                The remaining $9,000 was a third mortgage obtained from her parents, interest-free for 5 years, to be paid monthly. Total mortgage debt was about 45% of her disposable income.

                She keeps a close eye on her cash flow and she’s a homeowner at 22. Okay so I think at this point it helps to say she had a good middle-class upbringing and parents who gave her a loan to buy a house. But it was still a loan, she had to pay them back. She furnishes this condo from hand me down furniture from her parents and relatives. Other home furniture she buys at sales.

                Her mom encourages her to sew drapes which she does but they’re not perfect and she’s fine with that. Her mom gave her a sewing machine and she checks out books from the library about how to decorate on a budget. She purchases second hand appliances.

                There is a lot of information in this chapter. It’s impossible to put it all in. She also sees changes being made in the workplace where older workers are offered early retirement packages or made redundant. Her employer offers to send her to courses that would lead to promotions. She takes one course and hates it.

                She makes calculations one night if the promotion would be worth it and decides that it isn’t. She realizes her income would be higher but so would cost of living. She finishes the course and never takes another one.

                During the 1980’s even she is not immune to conspicuous consumption. She buys clothes, jewelry, a fur coat. She talks about taking a 3 week trip to France on the Concorde.

                Since she works in collections she understands very well what debt can do to people. Her industry participates in wage garnishments, asset seizing, and registering liens. It’s all very ugly and she doesn’t like it.

                Chapter 5. Onward and Upward

                An update on her assets in 1988. An update on her job for working at a city convention center. It was a cultural job but the people treated her and her employees as “lower forms of life.” At some point she decides to sell her condo.

                She wants to pay her real estate agent a selling commission, this real estate agent is nasty and says that she wants both commissions and if the author doesn’t agree, she will tell the couple who want it that there is something wrong with the condo.

                Eventually she sells it on her own and makes a better profit from it. She sells her home for $147,000 commission free. Throughout the book she offers up a snapshot of her cash flow. Literally this is one of the most detailed of “how I did it” PF books I have ever read.

                More updates on assets which I don’t have the energy to write about anymore.

                Ch. 6 Plunge Into Freedom.

                She talks about her net worth being $225,000 at retirement. Of this amount, the house is at $150,000. I guess I misread this portion and thought that her net worth was $300,000+. But I guess that is not what she meant. Anyway, she uses some retirement calculators and decides the experts are wrong.

                She considers different scenarios and bad things that could happen and concludes that the worst thing that would happen is she’d have to go back to work. She claims that she goes from a net worth of $225,000 in 1996 to total assets of about $300,000 by the summer of 2000.

                Claims that her house increased $20,000 from that amount. She claims that for the first two years of retirement she worked only as a favor to friends only covering for their absences. One time she worked during an election. Finally she gets her dream job which is at a local library where she works part-time and at the time of publishing claims to only work 3 hours a week.

                At this point work for her is whatever she wants it to be…working in the garden, at the piano, an art studio, etc. Any income at this point is just a bonus. So she considers herself retired at this point, doing whatever she wants.

                Eventually she goes on TV and tells people that anyone can do it, that it’s not how much one earns but how much they spend.

                Part 2 In this section she teaches you how to finally do it yourself.

                Chapter 7. A new attitude.

                She tries to get you to focus on having a new attitude. That means getting away from all the things that keep you into debt, in other words, spending too much. She says you’ll be amazed at all the cash you’ve spent over the years if you just add it up. She also tries to get you away from government biases.

                Earlier in the book she said that by all statistics, someone who makes an average of $20,000 should be living on the poor end of town, in debt, etc. In this chapter she writes.

                “Both governments and corporations stand to gain more revenue through advertising and entertainment. The media create cultural ideas to mesmerize individuals to dream of and supposedly attain through purchase.”

                “It is in these outside groups’ best financial interests to encourage your desire for higher income since it results not only in higher taxes and increased spending for consumer goods but also in a greater need for “expert” services.

                All levels of government; large corporations and small businesses, financial products, insurance, and real estate salespeople; lawyers and accountants- they all take a bigger chunk of your hard-earned income as a result of the “more is better” culture.

                They reap the rewards, but are you getting your money’s worth?”

                Basically through her book she makes comments on how you don’t need as much money as the experts recommend.

                Ch. 8 Finding Yourself.

                Gives you the basics of build wealth. Not new to anyone familiar with basic pf but she goes over it. Income, Expenses, Balance Sheet, assets, all that stuff is covered.

                Ch 9. An importance of tracking your money, more stuff on that.

                Ch. 10 Get Rich Now. More basic pf talk. Yeah I’m getting tired of writing at this point.

                Ch. 11 The Challenge: Basics

                Basic expenses cost. What yours are, reduce them, such as housing, heating, A/C, etc. She discusses what she did to cut hers.

                Ch. 12. Necessities like Food and groceries. Again she discusses what she did to cut hers.

                Ch. 13. Variables like furniture, gifts, clothes, hobbies.

                Again she talks about what she did to reduce these.

                Ch. 14 Unusual expenses that come up once in a blue moon. Once again discusses how she deals with those.

                Ch. 15 Full Speed Ahead encourages you to take what you need before you retire. Basically lining up your ducks in a row.

                So yes very detailed book of how she did it, honestly there’s tons more that she wrote. A lot of this is not news to people who have the basics of PF and have already read some PF books. I still find her book very encouraging though.

                Especially when she talks about her assets, even writes some of her cash flow in the book. I also like how she disagrees with expert advice and says you don’t need as much money to retire as they claim.

                • says

                  Lila,

                  Wow, incredible stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write all of that up.

                  And it’s great that she provided so much detail. At first, I was a bit skeptical on how she did it never making more than $20k. Of course, she did this back when $20k was worth more than it is today, and also had a little help along the way. In addition, she also was quite aggressive. If she retired on $225k, of which $150k was her house, that means she only had $75k of liquid assets providing her income? That’s even more aggressive than what I’m looking at. Very impressive. Good for her!

                  And it’s great that she didn’t fall for the status quo or what everyone else says is right. She chose her own path in life.

                  It’s also interesting that she did this as someone who loves living in the city. I find the idea of early retirement/FI more difficult if you want to live in the city only because real estate and many other expenses are higher than living in a rural environment. Of course, in the city you can probably get by without a car (as I did for a few years). Personally, I like the city as well. I’d like to actually live in even a bigger city than I currently live in. If I were to move back to Michigan (which is increasingly likely these days) I’d like to maybe move to Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor – both of which have over 100,000 people. They’re not exactly Chicago or anything, but they have nice downtowns and lots of stuff to do on the cheap. However, real estate can be expensive, especially near the city core.

                  At any rate, very interesting stuff. And her job at the library for three hours per week sounds incredible. It just goes to show you what’s possible when you have a lot of time on your hands. You can go out there and find the jobs that others aren’t looking for because they’re worried about the money and hours.

                  Thanks again for sharing. Very interesting story, and I see a lot of similarities between her and myself. :)

                  Best wishes.

                  • Lila says

                    No problem Jason. I hear Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor are nice places. Yes I wish she would really have a blog or revise her book. It kinda bugs me that she doesn’t have a blog or a revised edition. I’ve googled her several times but haven’t found anything. Anyway see you around. :D

  32. says

    I own a house in a good school district and a really nice neighborhood, but I have two kids. Owning a house at this moment is cheaper than to rent, but we live in Texas and our prices are way lower. :) Plus I got a good deal on this house and a good mortgage rate as well. I still live below my means even if I own a house, actually two ( another I turned into rental). When my youngest will go to college, I will turn this house into a rental as well and I might buy another house or condo. I strongly believe its better to own than to rent. I drive Mercedes diesel, but I bought it just because it was a really good deal plus my other family member wanted my car. So I had to talk myself into buying this car… Yes, I spent extra money, but I plan to drive this car for years and I need to drive a good car because I do consulting jobs and meet clients plus… surprisingly it just makes me feel good. I learned over the years of my frugal life style that sometimes adding some quality into my life actually inspires me to earn and save more. The law of attraction I guess… :) plus you never know if you find some kind of job you really like to do, you actually will want to keep working…

    • says

      Dina,

      Nothing wrong with owning a house. I think it’s more a lifestyle decision, as some people are happier owning and others are happier renting. I think both forms of living can be had on the cheap if you’re looking hard enough and you’re open-minded.

      As far as adding quality, I think that all depends on your perspective. For me, quality is in terms of time and passion, not things. But I can see how this differs for others. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best wishes.

      • says

        ohhh Jason! please do not talk about time and passion because as much as we all want to be immaterial we do not live on desert island. Why do you work so much, live frugal and save like crazy? Because one day you want to have freedom from your work to pursue your other interests… Your freedom=some amount of money. I could care less about lots of things in life but I have to for my kids. I have to be material girl, so they would be safe and healthy… but not very happy some days with their frugal mother, who doesn’t let them buy stuff even with their own money… :)

        • says

          Dina,

          Well, since you bring up your children, think of it this way – which would your children rather have:

          1. A Mercedes you drive them around in.
          2. More time with you, but they’d be driven around in, say, a 10 year-old Corolla

          I’m not saying I’m above spending money to buy things. What I am saying is that every dollar spent is less freedom to pursue my passions (or spend time with kids if I had any). Therefore, I think very carefully about every penny that goes out.

          Best wishes!

          • says

            haha, Justin, Mercedes was actually totally my son’s idea. He convinced his dad to buy a new car and sell this to me for a good price because he wants to have a ride in a good car… My mom wanted my old car… It took me months to agreed to this deal. it was too much of family pressure to say no… :)

            Timewise I didn’t have to change anything in my time schedule. I quitted my full time job in 2008 because back then my kids were little and struggling with me being away too much. I did my calculations and decided that I can do it. This is when I became super frugal and learn how to live way below my means. I identified my biggest spending areas and slowly improved it. Since then I do consulting accounting part time jobs, most of the time while my kids at school and twice a year I do two months of 50 hours weeks projects but this year I was even lucky to be able to do part of this project from home.

            Now days my kids are teens but they still like when I am around. All my friends think I spoil my kids with my time but I really enjoy being a mom first. One day when they both will be gone to college I might return working full time just for myself because I do like to work. Especially because by this time I will be free to travel and the work I want to work full time involve lots of travelling. But at this moment I want to live in present and thank God for everyone and everything I do, have and enjoy in this life.

            I am really grateful to find your blog because your example gave me better ideas for my investing strategies. Although for you I would recommend to look around and think about buying a small condo. If you such a hard worker, you must have a good credit, so you will get a good mortgage rate. If you find a really good deal on a condo, you might be able to resell it later and make some money on this as well or at least return your money you put in. Right now the money you are paying for rent just go no where. But when you pay for your mortgage, you investing. You can even buy some fixer-upper and slowly fix it by yourself. Or if you buy a bigger place, you might get a roommate and your roommate payment might even cover your mortgage. Just a thought.

            • says

              Dina,

              Congrats on being able to take a step back from work to focus more on your children. It’s exactly that kind of flexibility that frugality and passive income affords. That’s wonderful that you were able to take advantage of it. :)

              And I hear you on the condo. I may buy a place in the future, we’ll see. I don’t like the idea of being mercy to a structure or an HOA committee. I really enjoy my flexibility now, but that could change in the future if I want to stay put for a lengthy period of time. We’ll see. However, keep in mind that real estate typically doesn’t appreciate much over the rate of inflation over the long term. So if you’re able to rent cheaply and invest the difference into an asset class that outperforms real estate (like stocks) then you’ll probably do better. But a roommate could tilt the balance in favor of buying if you’re able to find the right roommate and the right situation.

              Best regards!

  33. Justin says

    “What good is money if you don’t spend it?”

    That’s the one I hear all the time. It’s very tiring. If I spend it, I have to go work and get more. If I invest it, it turns into more all by itself.

    • says

      Justin,

      You have realized the power of compounding. And it’s a powerful force indeed! :)

      I like to say money works 24/7, and never calls in sick Why would I want to get in the way of that?? Especially if it involves me working instead?

      I’d rather let my little worker bees multiply themselves over and over again, eventually telling me “Hey, Jason! We’ve got this.”

      Best regards.

  34. says

    Awesome post. I was just having this same conversation with a friend of mine. I have a below US-median income and support my family of three. However over the past year and a half, with some creativity, hard work, sweat and many hours spent working on homes, I’ve purchased three rental properties and am working on purchasing my fourth. After paying the mortgages, repair reserves, property management, etc, I cash flow about $700/month from the properties. Not enough to live on yet, but if I can increase my take home by $700 every 18 months, FI isn’t far off.

    Like you said above, I actually enjoy the rehab work I perform on the homes I purchase, and I’ve actually asked myself: What would you rather give up? and the answer is usually “the day job” so I can continue to install drywall, run wires, plumb and paint homes.

    I know some of my higher compensated coworkers wonder how it’s possible that I am able to purchase more than one home. I know they think I have some wealthy benefactor somewhere. They never really stop to ask me where I am on Friday nights til 10pm, or Sunday mornings at 8am. If they did, I’d tell them that I’m pulling out 2,000lbs of trash from a home so I can make it liveable for a family; or that I’m covered in drywall dust (after working 6 hours AFTER my 8hr day job). They’re content at home, sipping good beer/wine/whiskey, watching TV, because they ‘deserve’ the down time. Hopefully they feel that way when they’re 50 doing the same thing.

    (I’m not ranting)

    Thanks for the well written/thought out post.

    • says

      Liam,

      That’s great stuff there. Congrats to you on all of your success so far. You’re putting in some major hard work, but anything worth having in life is worth working for. And what’s worth more than your freedom?

      Keep it up, my friend. I’ll be asking you what financial independence looks like soon enough. :)

      Best wishes.

  35. says

    Thank you for my daily dose of inspiration. I hate having to worry about job stability and reminders like this always help so much. I’m finally on the right path. You’re doing amazing work. I soak up everything I read of yours and admire everything you’ve accomplished and made sacrifices for so far. Just a little while longer and you’ll be free!

    All my best,
    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan,

      Thanks so much, my friend. I really appreciate the kind words and all of the support. This community is really wonderful.

      I wish you all the best as well. I’m sure with your thoughtfulness that you’ll get exactly to where you want to be. And I hope to be reading all about your freedom a few years from now!

      Cheers.

  36. says

    Excellent post. Big fan of your blog, and I’ve been reading your work regularly for the last few months, along with Mr Money Mustache. I’m on a similar journey toward financial independence and reading stuff like this really supercharges my motivation.

    Keep up the good work DM :)

    • says

      senseichow,

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate your readership!

      And just to be mentioned in the same breath as MMM is a huge compliment to me, so thank you as well for that. I’m a big fan of Pete’s writing and philosophy.

      Appreciate you stopping by today. Hope all is well on your journey. :)

      Best wishes.

  37. Mathew Walker says

    Hello again DM,
    I just wanted to mention something about what my peers and friends/family have mentioned lately that relates to sacrifice and why it matters to be disciplined and save heavily.
    A few months ago I wrote and told you about how I was unhappy with my progress and was looking for a better position and had found one that effectively doubled my annual salary.
    Now a thing about that, before the move I was surrounded with people that were living paycheck to paycheck and at the time being financially uneducated [and financially unaware] I thought it was based on their level of income because I was a frugal n00b. After doubling my salary, I realized that even these people are living paycheck to paycheck. They still come to work at least once a week with somebody asking for a person loan to get their mortgage back on track with promises that they will pay back in a week or a month or /when they can/. Which I turn them down, simply it is a bad investment – It sounds really cold and I had to tell one of my coworkers flat out and honestly that it is simply income and expenses, that I am a cold calculated individual – I wont give them $2,000 dollars to pay off their debt, because if I do not – it gives me the ability to walk into the auction in a month with $35,000 and obtain a 100,000 dollar home which I can leverage against later on while it produces further income. That immediately made enemies, but it immediately also made allies and people willing to listen and learn. but a few people who had questions because , like most people they wanted shiny things and they wanted them cheap. Doubling my salary is not something that doubled my lifestyle, I still live like somebody without a great position, I go to events and spend life happily on experiences. I save currently about 90% of my salary, and to my perspective, living on a very small amount annually, I feel that psychologically I am not saving 90% but since doubling my salary I am really saving 190% of my income. I was trying to explain this to my coworker and have even directed a few of them to this site and a few others I follow closely for inspiration but most of them have ignored it. From what I have seen so far – not many people can take off the blinders and live in the reality that if they like it or not, the future IS COMING regardless. Some people will forever be the person who gets payed, and goes straight to Target for some shiny stuff. Like one of your comments has identified already -” I hope they still enjoy doing it when they are 50.”
    Just something a bit spammed out as I know you are constantly fixated on being stressed and worn down at work, there are better positions out there, that are easier, and pay even more. You just have to continue to look for them and beat the doors down – I did it within the same company just by moving a couple offices over, I am confident that with the automotive industry in America you have full potential to increase your salary by either going directly with your employer and formally asking what opportunities they have to increase your salary or to look outside. I see you have the being frugal part really well organized, now its just about increasing the bottom line so you can get to FI much faster than before. I am confident that if I keep pushing hard over the next five years I can at least double my salary three more times if I really work the system as hard as possible.

    • says

      Matthew,

      Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it!

      And I appreciate your thoughts in regards to my job. I would love to do something more enjoyable on my way to FI. In fact, I would say my job is the biggest sacrifice of all, not living frugally. Perhaps I’ll find something more enjoyable in the future that could be more of a lateral move, instead of trying to switch careers altogether. Not that I’m against switching careers, but I find such moves difficult if you don’t have the proper education or experience. And a lot of times it’t not what you know, but who you know.

      And I’m happy for you that you were able to really increase your pay like that. That’s fantastic. And good for you for sticking to your guns. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never actually had people ask me about this stuff at work. Not that I’m not really interested in spreading the word, but rather the audience and setting has to be correct. And for me, this platform is the best way to do that right now.

      Good luck as you continue to fight for freedom. And congrats on having a little more ammo now. :)

      Cheers.

  38. says

    “Once I exceed my expenses via passive dividend income, I will no longer be working full-time at a day job any longer. Imagine retiring at 40 years old. Whose sacrifice makes more sense now?”

    This one.

    This one is also much harder. Delaying gratification is tough work. I didn’t do a very good job at that in my 20s, if at all. My 30s was spent turning the boat around. My plan is to retire at 55. I figure I need a $1 M+ portfolio to do it and a paid off home.

    Kudos to you Jason for your high savings rate. This is what is putting you on the path to financial independence much faster than most.

    Mark

    • says

      Mark,

      Thanks so much. I agree that it’s my high savings rate that allows me to progress at such speed. Having a high savings rate allows one to make a lot of mistakes along the way and still come out alright.

      And it sounds like even though you’ve made some mistakes (haven’t we all?) you’re on track to retire early. That’s really fantastic. I’d say you’re in a great spot! Keep it up. :)

      Best regards.

  39. fiveoh says

    Great post! Most people don’t even realize they have a choice when it comes to working until 65. I probably fit more into the save 20-30% camp, but I choose to spend on things like travel and experiences. Thanks for the great blog.

    • says

      fiveoh,

      I agree. It’s sad, but I do think that most people just assume the status quo and march right along. I guess because it’s easier to do so. It’s a shame because the path less taken, while more difficult at first, has so many wonderful rewards.

      And nothing wrong with taking a less extreme and more scenic route to financial independence. You may get there a little slower, but if you’re having fun along the way and you don’t give up then you’re far better off for it. The extreme methods I’ve employed in the past don’t work for some because it forces them off track. I say do what works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to all of this.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care.

  40. says

    hY my name is Diego from Argentina. Im 40 and i apply some of your philosofy. At now i do the retire life men. I left two years ago my work and now i live in a new life with my little girl and my wife.

    Im a longer investor and i invest in real estate and in stocks with a big margin of safety. My history and pacience bring me a lot of money that i reinvet year by year

    there´s a good life if one person make a sacrifice and then enjoy the rest of the life, but, in other hand, it´s a tipical way of american life to spend more money than it´s enter in the pocket!!

    That´s the cancer of the USA in the future. The next bubble ahead in years, the USA debt and the family debt.

    Congratulations for your blog and stay in touch!
    sorry for my english!!!

    • says

      diego,

      Thanks for stopping by all the way from Argentina! I’m really proud to have readers from all over the world. :)

      Debt is indeed a cancer. And the worse part of all is that it’s all self-inflicted. I suppose people just have a difficult time controlling themselves.

      But congrats to you for realizing what you want out of life and avoiding that cancer. Your future self will be well off for it.

      Best wishes!

  41. says

    DM,

    Your plan makes much more sense then the working forever plan. Unfortunately for some people they choose that sacrifice as I just wrote a little about. Not only do I know your strategy works much better, but I see the results you have been sharing over the last 4 years and the confirms it.

    • says

      SWAN,

      I couldn’t imagine working a 9-5 until 65, but that’s just me. It’s a shame that more people don’t sit down and really thing about what their choices of today are costing their future selves. If you don’t save and invest your money, then every dollar spent must be then worked for. And so you end up earning to spend, and working to earn. It’s a vicious cycle and I think people get caught up in it before they even know what hit them. However, at the same time they’re not victims. With the amount of information around us these days it’s very easy to change your finances around. I know because I did it myself.

      But I’m just trying to pay it forward by writing and sharing. If those before me didn’t do it as well then I wouldn’t have ever started either.

      Best regards.

  42. says

    Great post, one of the things that has drawn me to becoming financially independent is the fact that it is only temporary right now. Sure I could spend a little bit more and wait until I’m 65 to fully retire, but that’s not something that appeals to me really. That seems like a much longer time and if you can cut that goal short with minimal sacrifice, why not go for it?

    I think the important thing is to find balance though, as you don’t want to miserable at any point in your life either. Spend on a few select things that you really enjoy and cut back on everything that isn’t so important to you. You should always be looking for ways to optimize!

    • says

      Debt Hater,

      I agree. Finding the right balance for you is really key to all of this. I’m quite comfortable with a rather spartan lifestyle; others are not.

      I guess I’m just really anxious to reach financial independence. :)

      Best of luck as you find your balance and march toward FI!

      Take care.

  43. Sasha says

    Interesting point about the number of people purchasing high end vehicles.

    In my city (Calgary) I see many, many of the budget end of the upper tier. ( Entry level BMW’s, Audis, Lexus’s ) They are still 40-60k and for the number of these vehicles I see, proportionately there just can’t be that many people earning high salaries. At least thats what I tell myself hahah.

    I think it would make for an interesting post on the insiders perspective on these high end vehicle buyers truly are.

    The people I personally know in real life that earn big dividends drive 8-10 year old Toyotas. Much like yourself !!! :)

    • says

      Sasha,

      Well, it might be a bit different down here in Sarasota. We have a lot of retirees and older people living here and buying these vehicles. In my experience, most of our buyers can afford our cars. However, that doesn’t necessarily justify the purchase or make it any less of a waste. But what people do with their money is really their choice, assuming they can afford their purchases. I just find driving a $70,000 automobile around town as a total waste of money and resources, but who am I to judge?

      But it might be different up there in Calgary. It’s unfortunate to see young buyers get caught up in the trap especially, as they’ll likely stay stuck for the rest of their lives.

      Best wishes!

  44. says

    Hi Jason, thanks for another thought-provoking article!

    I’m currently reading about this very subject in the book “Your Money or Your Life” which looks at the real cost of working 9-5 (not just your hourly rate, but factoring in time and money that you spend because of your work, e.g. the time & cost of the commute to your workplace, buying special work clothes etc.). It goes on to suggest that you can potentially earn “more” by working in a different place at a lower wage, which is essentially what retirement is. I faced that same decision last year in turning down a higher paid job and accepting a lower paid one when I took both commuting costs and job description into account.

    I haven’t finished the book yet but it’s certainly making me think about my relationship with money; it challenges you to think why you’re spending your life energy (time) on a particular purchase instead of money.

    My only comment about sacrifice (frugality) is to agree with you that the point of a sacrifice is to give something up in order to achieve something. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is misguided – it’s up to the individual to determine how much of a commitment to make and (say) a $3 coffee every morning is fine if they’re meeting their goals.

    There’s nothing wrong with working 9-5 though but the question that should be asked is: Is your job making you a living or a dying? Hopefully it’s the former!

    Thanks again and keep giving that dividend snowball extra pushes!

    • says

      Dividend Life,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the post. :)

      And “YMOYL” was fantastic book. That was the first book I read that really opened my eyes to a new way of living. It showed me that freedom was indeed possible. From there my whole life changed. :)

      And sacrifice is indeed not just to sacrifice one thing for another. It’s to hopefully sacrifice one thing for another even better thing. If what you’re sacrificing is on equal footing with what you’re sacrificing for then you’re no better off really, and the energy spent sacrificing is probably a waste. But what’s worth what is all up to the individual. I find sacrificing a nice car and a nice house for 20-30 years of total freedom worth it to me. Others will disagree.

      And I’m glad you found that book. I really, truly recommend it 100%!

      Cheers.

  45. says

    Wow, great piece. I think way too few people consider exactly the sorts of things you are exploring here. I agree with you that its better to live a bit more humbly without being chained to your job for your entire life. I think there are genuinely more important things to consider than just the awesome stuff you could have today. That moderate approach you mention I think is ideal. Select the awesome stuff you want, but consider what you are giving up in order to have it.

    • says

      thewalletdoctor,

      Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

      And living humbly is more than it’s cracked up to be. While it wasn’t exciting at first, I genuinely enjoy it now. And perhaps it’s just because I know what it’s eventually buying me (freedom), but I think it’s just a change in mindset more than anything. Having perspective is the key to enjoying a frugal life, and I luckily developed that perspective early on. But I generally agree that a more balanced approach to frugality and saving for the future is probably best for most people. It’s easy to swallow a pill of moderation than it is one of extreme frugality. In addition, living moderately could allow one to transition to even more frugality later on as the success starts to build. It’s not necessary to jump in feet first. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers.

  46. says

    Great post and I agree with you in sprit. However if you want to be financially independent before 62 in U.S you still have to pay for health insurance. It would be great if you can post your plan ( with your estimates on how much is needed to live independently ). You are an inspiration to many.. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  47. says

    Hugely inspiring. I’m new to your site and if this post is anything to go by I’ve just made a lucky find! Combining the day job with managing a portfolio, a blog etc is super-challenging sometimes – thanks for reminding us why we do it.

    • says

      Skint in the City,

      Thanks so much for the kind words! And I’m glad you found my little spot on the internet. :)

      And this is all quite challenging, but the rewards are well worth the effort. And what reward could be better than financial independence?

      Hope you stay in touch!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      freetopursue,

      Thanks. Glad you liked that line. I was hoping it wouldn’t come across as cheesy.

      And I just stopped by your blog. You retired in your mid-thirties? That’s fantastic. Congratulations to you!

      Best regards.

  48. says

    I simply love this post because it echoes the way that our family feels about our awesome goal of financial independence. Although some would argue that not maximizing our income by purchasing all kinds of fabulous things is “sacrifice,” to us it doesn’t seem that way at all! The ultimate sacrifice would be spending years and years working in jobs that burn us out and don’t fulfill us.

    • says

      Dee,

      It sounds like we’re definitely on the same page. What one person deems is sacrifice is a lifestyle upgrade to another.

      Whenever I look around me and see that I don’t have much in my life, I try to think of the people around the world that would absolutely love to be in my situation with a roof over my head, electricity, running water, and an internet connection in SW Florida where I don’t have to worry about disease or a bomb killing me. That perspective makes it a lot easier to continue doing what I’m doing. :)

      Take care!

  49. Laurie Pysczynski says

    Thank you for a dose of inspiration. Very well said, “the rainbow is the gold”! I am sending this to all my friends. The idea of trading all your time for money so you can have things that you don’t have TIME to enjoy is ridiculous. This idea was sold to our parents and didn’t seem too bad since they actually probably only worked 40 hours a week and got a gold watch and a PENSION after 30 years. Of course now, you have to work 60-70 hours a week, doing the work of 3 people due to downsizing, travel globally as the company needs you to and at the end…no such thing as a pension! The worst thing is feeling that they OWN you because they own your TIME! I like your idea much better!

    • says

      Laurie,

      Thanks for the support! And I appreciate you sending the post out and spreading the message. I hope your friends find some inspiration in it.

      And I totally agree. It was easier to sell the American Nightmare to the previous generation because there was at least the promise of a pension. Of course, we can now see how that promise wasn’t really based in reality. I just never bought into the 9-5 till 65. Life is so damn short. It just seems crazy to me to waste it away at a job somewhere when I have so many different interests and passions that could instead be consuming my time.

      One day…

      Cheers!

  50. says

    Great post and I agree working till you 70 is not a real life. Doing passionate things you enjoy is the real way I want to live. When I make it I will give back with time and $$, because I enjoy that as well. Great Post.

    • says

      RichUncle EL,

      Thanks for the support. Glad you enjoyed it.

      And I also hope to give back one day. If I could live like Warren Buffett where I’m able to spend most of my time investing and pursuing my passions while also being able to explore philanthropy later in life I’d be quite happy. I hope to have such an opportunity!

      Best wishes.

  51. says

    Most excellent article. My wife and I are raising 13 kids (12 still at home) on my one salary. Sure we do without some things but we still have fun and buy things. And we save anywhere from 25-35% of our income every year.

    Speaking of muscle cars, I bought a ’78 Trans Am, cheap. It runs great but needed interior and exterior help. Basically it provides a lot of fun with the kids fixing it up. We have re-done the entire interior. Thanks to eBay and junk yards etc….Paint is next. I can get away with this since i work from home. I do most of errands while running or cycling. This car cost about 1/10th of new middle of the road sedan. Plus we have the fun factor.

    And speaking of FL, my wife an I got back from there last night. Spent 5 days in Bradenton/Sarasota celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Awesome weather and awesome time.

    So people can still have fun while “sacrificing” and saving for the future. We are still 10-12 years from FI but kids will put a strain on that ;)

    • says

      Rob F,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing that. Really interesting story there.

      And 13 kids?! I have a lot of respect for you guys. That’s pretty incredible. I couldn’t imagine raising one child, let alone 13! :)

      And I couldn’t agree with you more. Sacrifice can be turned up or down depending on one’s circumstances and what exactly they’re after in life. For instance, it would be perfectly fine if someone told me they were saving 25% of their net income and interested in retiring at 50. That’s still quite early compared to when most Americans retire, and saving 25% of one’s net income is very respectable. We all have different means, situations, and goals. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to all of this. I’m a bit more extreme than most, but I’ve found people much more extreme than I am. I’ve found a nice balance, but if my situation changes then I would adapt with it and shift my strategy a bit. Life is a journey, and as such we must try to enjoy it and get the most out of it as possible. I would never recommend sacrificing happiness for financial independence. Rather, I argue that FI could provide much more happiness than what some people are giving it up for.

      Best regards!

  52. anne says

    You are SUCH an AMAZING inspiration!!! I can’t wait until I can read that all your sacrifice has paid off and you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Besides, just living in Florida is like a vacation, the beach is right around the corner from you. (Im in Florida too….its paradise every day!).

    Wonderful post! I hope thousands read it and take heed.

    • says

      anne,

      Thank you so much! It means the world to me to have an audience appreciate my work and find inspiration in what I do. Thank you. :)

      And we do indeed live in paradise down here. I was just in Naples this past weekend, and it’s absolutely gorgeous down that way. So much beauty down here. I just wish my family from back home in Michigan would move here so I wouldn’t miss them so much and contemplate moving back. Family is a killer sometimes!

      Hope you stay in touch.

      Best wishes.

  53. Kathy says

    Great article, but yikes, such lengthy comments. Don’t think I can get through them all! We established three priorities during our working lives. 1. Pay off mortgage. 2. Put son through college without student loan debt and 3. Retire at 55. You notice that it wasn’t a priority to have a mansion. Or go on vacation every six months. We didn’t go out to eat, to movies, or to the bars. We focused on our goals and met them. Now, 8 years into retirement, I can honestly say I’d do it the same all over again. I have never regretted our choices. And when I recall that some people I worked with said they’d never be able to retire, but had vacation time shares and a pool, I figure I got the last laugh.

    • says

      Kathy,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sounds like you guys did a wonderful job there. You had goals and met them, but not in a way that prevented you from living a good life in the meanwhile. And having no regrets, I think, is key. If you had lived like most people you wouldn’t have been retired for the last eight years. That’s eight years of freedom. It goes by fast, which just goes to show you how short life really is. Good for you guys for recognizing this fact, and making the most of your time. I think people tend to not value their time appropriately. I personally have high regard for my time because it’s slowly slipping away from me. Why sell any more of it than I have to? Especially for stuff that has no lasting effect on my happiness!

      And I think you definitely got the last laugh. Stay in touch. :)

      Best wishes.

  54. says

    I don’t know if some people just don’t know how to relax or do their own thing because the common question when you tell people about FI/ER is “what are you doing to do with all that time? won’t you be bored?” Maybe it’s me but I was bored to tears at my first job and as soon as I got to the office in the morning I did my best act busy for 9 hrs before I could head back home. I’ll gladly sacrifice for 5-10 years if it means that I can be free after that. A short term sacrifice for a lifetime of freedom is a tradeoff I’m willing to make. Although I won’t skip the travel it’s always so much fun getting to see new places. Thanks again for the continued inspiration. I’ll be passing this post along to a few people.

    • says

      JC,

      Thanks for the continued support. Much appreciated!

      And I’m totally with you. Although my job isn’t boring because I’m running around all day, it’s an incredible and unfortunate drain on my time. I’d much rather be writing, reading, following the companies I’m invested in, traveling, spending time with family, or sleeping during this time. One day these choices and many more will be completely available to me. Can’t wait! :)

      Best wishes.

  55. gary says

    I have been following dividend mantra on and off for a while now but wow this blog has really got me thinking. About time i seriously investing in dividend stocks here in the uk, thank you for opening my eyes

    • says

      gary,

      Thanks for following. I appreciate the readership!

      And I’m glad this post opened your eyes a bit. Life is too short to sacrifice in the wrong way.

      Best wishes.

  56. Kipp says

    Hi Jason,

    I have to say, this is probably the best post regarding why to choose financial independence that I have read. It sums up a lot of my thoughts on the topic in a way that I could not express.

    In a side note, if you do end up deciding the move to Grand Rapids, let me know! I am not too far away from there and could offer assistant in unloading crap :).

    • says

      Kipp,

      Thanks. I’m really glad you enjoyed this post.

      And sacrifice is all relative. I couldn’t imagine spending 40 years at the office, but others couldn’t imagine living in a small apartment and riding the bus for a few years. To each their own, but I definitely prefer my way. :)

      And I’ll definitely let you know about GR. I find it one of the nicest cities in Michigan – up there with Ann Arbor. However, if I do move back it will be with family over on the other side of the state, at least until I’m situated.

      Best regards!

  57. Ron L. says

    I am still developing my plan of FI action. Thanks Jason for so much food for thought.

    What you said in your last paragraph “I realized long ago that I was a sucker, and that the real sacrifice was exchanging my time away so cheaply and freely.” really struck home with me.

    I do manage to have a good percentage of my income go to my bottom line of my wealth.

    Here’s my basic monthly wealth additions.
    $675 a month principle payoff on a $1000 a month 15 year mortgage. I have about 13 years left.
    $275 a month into a Health Saving Account of which I can invest it in the stock market although the transaction fees are very high to invest in stocks ($29 each way). so I currently have it invested in Fidelity Four In One (FFNOX) which gets me very diversified and only $6 each way.
    $280 a month into a 401K which my employer matches a portion which can only be invested in about 10 American Funds..
    $125 a month I just started into 11 stocks at Loyal3 brokerage. 10 of them are dividend paying stock and the other is a closet dividend investment into BRK.B of which I felt I had to invest in to keep the Loyal3 account diversified since their stock offerings are slim.
    $500 a month credit card payoff with very low interest rates that is used to fund some alternative investment activity and keep liquidity in some accounts and back with real assets. I did not spend it frivolously on clothes or cars or such.

    So about $1855 in wealth additions on $3855 net income (net = Net + 401K + HSA)
    So about 48% in wealth additions per month.

    I have to finalize my plan to eliminate the credit card payment and turn that into the DGI funnel.

    • says

      Ron L,

      Sounds like you have things under pretty good control over there. It’ll be nice to get that $500/month cc payment out of the way as fast as possible. That will free up some major capital for you.

      And it’s great that you get a match at work for your 401(k). I wasn’t so fortunate, but that’s like free money. Glad to see you taking advantage of it!

      Once you get your credit card debt paid off you’ll be sitting pretty. Keep going!

      Best regards.

  58. says

    Jason-

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post, and would like your thoughts on the following, as it is a question that I am currently wrestling with:

    Job 1: Makes very good money (over $100K yr) with 6 weeks vacation. Hours are sometimes long (15 hr days), including nights, weekends and holidays. No benefits, straight 1099, which is ‘normal’ for me / this line of work.

    Job 2: Makes very good money (less than Job 1, approx $80K yr), however it is 26 weeks of work, some nights & weekends (26 of them) and holidays. No benefits, straight 1099, which is ‘normal’ for me / this line of work.

    If a quality life AND early retirement are at the forefront of your mind, would you feel compelled to remain in Job #1 with more money NOW to reach your goal(s) more quickly? Or do you take the lifestyle of Job #2 making less money, but having more of a balanced lifestyle.

    Consider no mortgage (currently), and no other consumer debt.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Todd

    • says

      Todd,

      I’d go with “Job 2″ 10 times out of 10.

      Making $80k/year is still way above average, and even with a moderate lifestyle you should be able to claim financial independence in a decade or so. You say you have no mortgage and no other consumer debt, so it might even be faster. The extra money isn’t necessary. If you can learn to appreciate frugality to a more extreme degree, then I suspect your timeline is shorter than you might think. $80k is far more than I ever earned, and look at the progress I made in a short period of time. I’m confident you could do even better.

      Plus, we’re not promised tomorrow. If you can still attain FI in a very short period of time while not being miserable in the present then you’re really set.

      I hope that advice helped. :)

      Cheers.

  59. Sofi says

    Hi there. Just found your blog. Very interesting.
    Just want to mention that it is so important to take care of your health. It is great that you exercise, but make sure you eat fresh, good food, no processed staff, like noodles form the box.
    Best Regards.

    • says

      Sofi,

      I actually don’t view processed food as all that bad, as long as one lives a balanced life. Too much of anything is bad. I think if one eats the food they generally like in controlled portions while staying active they’ll probably be far healthier than the average.

      Of course, I like to point to a guy like Warren Buffett who’s long been open about his “bad” diet and aversion to vegetables, even while he’s healthy well into his 80s. Stuff like pizza isn’t all that bad for you as long as you’re not downing six slices at a time and you’re not eating it every day. Controlling portions, staying active, and avoiding an overabundance of fat and cholesterol will probably lead to a long and fulfilling life.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers.

      • Sofi says

        I totally agree about controlling portions. For myself I am becoming more choosy about what I eat. I used to eat everything. Then I started doing Yoga and slowly became more aware of effects of the food I eat on my body and even my mind. I also believe that health is wealth and if I am planning to be wealthy, I need to also make sure I have best health possible to enjoy my wealth.
        Lately I started avoiding sugar, salt and fat. May be just a little bit is ok, but most people eat too much of this staff. By avoiding them my taste changes and I now prefer fresh fruits and vegetables to over-sweetened or over-salted tastes of the processed foods. I also do swimming, jogging and do Yoga.
        Yes Warren Buffet is a bad example for me of a healthy eating, I would never touch Coca-cola, unless it is a stock :)
        I was thinking at first that Warren Buffet is just advertising KO, by drinking it in front of people, but than I realized that no, he is just completely ignorant when it comes to food and drinks. If he is healthy eating junk, he would be even healthier avoiding putting chemicals (which are in the processed food) in his body.
        He is a great example for me as investor, but not when it comes to health. Of course eating a little bit of junk food is much better then overeating it, but I would not try to put horrible staff in my body just because it feels tasty. Of course everybody is free to chose what they want to eat.
        A small question Mantra: why would you never want to marry? You don’t like women? (feel free not to answer if it feels too personal).
        Cheers.

        • says

          Sofi,

          Those are great points there. If you love eating healthy and the effects it has on your body then that’s great. A body is like a machine. So if you’re constantly putting in a ton of crap then you can expect a pretty similar output.

          However, I don’t believe food is the end-all, be-all of health. There’s a lot more to it than what you eat. Activity levels, genes, and stress have A LOT to do with your overall health. You can eat great and exercise all day long, but if you have really bad genes or if you’re stressed out all of the time your health will probably not be optimal.

          And I think Buffett is a great example because he openly eats like crap and he’s still ticking away. Contrast that with Steve Jobs, another luminary, who ate great for a good chunk of his life and died very young due to cancer. Unfortunately, you just can’t predict life. The key is to have balance and enjoy yourself. I personally enjoy pizza and cheeseburgers on the weekend. I simply balance that with portion control, exercise, avoiding stress, and eating generally fairly healthy during the week. We all must find our balance.

          As far as marriage goes, I see no benefit to it and think it’s outdated. I love women, and was with a wonderful girlfriend for my entire five-year stretch in Florida. And we’re still wonderful friends and talk all the time. I believe in monogamy and lifelong relationships. I just don’t need the legal system telling me how to go about my relationship or when/if/how I can end it.

          Best wishes!

          • Sofi says

            Interesting, seems like you are a man of independent thinking and very strong convictions. I think it is great that people have different pints of view, as long as they understand each other. I used to have a boyfriend and he used to think similar to you about marriage. After I understood his feelings, I somehow lost my own feeling of commitment towards him. Then I met my husband and he was very serious about our relationship. We got married and somehow I feel that this marriage is very strong and committed. It is not because of the legal system I feel this way, but because marriage was like a strong base to build and develop our relationship on. If there are any issues, I am confident we will work it out. Again not because we went to City Hall, but because we are sure of each other as much as we can be. It kind of goes together – love and commitment. May be it is cultural thing, but I would not feel this way if he would be just a boyfriend. Boyfriend associate with me with temporarily, husband with permanent. If I trade stocks in and out (I do day trading sometimes in a separate account), I would never hold the stock if it goes against me. However if my core DGI position is dropping like a rock for a day, or a week or even a month, I would not think of selling it. I am a buy and hold investor. And trading I just do for fun, trying to follow my trading plan and play with very limited risk amount, just what I know I can easily lose.

  60. Dr. Hyun says

    Typo in last paragraph… missing a “be” :
    ” I’ll able to live my life on my terms for a significant portion of the time I’ll have left.”
    Really loses some punch w/ this little mistake.

  61. M.A.Rahim says

    this is too good! after being part of the work force for a while i can soo much relate to what your saying….infact i quit my job as a stock research analyst at a big brokerage house and went into teaching kids accounting. even though i love stocks i just hated the idea of putting in 50plus hours every week with not that great compensation. now i work less and make much more WHILE researching stocks at my own pace and time…..i totally get where ur coming from! keep up the good work…

    • says

      M.A. Rahim,

      That’s a fantastic story there. Congratulations for seeing the light and escaping the rat race to focus on what really matters. It’s hard to break free from the chains, but the rewards are immeasurable. More time with your kids is just a benefit that no HR department can sell you. :)

      I recently took the opportunity to write full-time and I haven’t looked back. This has been the BEST decision I’ve ever made. I make a lot less money but I have a lot more time. And that’s a trade-off I’ll make 100 times out of 100. I also get to research stocks in my spare time, although I write about stocks now so I get to mix my passion and my work. Meanwhile, I’m still pursuing financial independence so that anything and everything I do is fully optional. Nothing like being able to work for free to tell you what you really want to do in life!

      Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your newfound free time!!

      Cheers.

      • M.A.Rahim says

        Jason thanks for the quick reply! altough i came across your site just two days back im already hooked!! a quick tip i wanted to share with you and your readers.

        since im also part of the same band wagon (AKA retire early cause time is most valuable commodity) i found out that one can easily make a lot of money while TEACHING!!!! ok this might sound a little strange but theres one blog i follow and it had a great article which basicaly said that teachers make more money than TOM CRUISE!!!! its a very interesting article and those inteerested in the dynamics of how this happens , can find the article here:

        http://www.joshuakennon.com/the-average-school-teacher-is-paid-more-than-tom-cruise-a-basic-lesson-in-economics/

        my point? altough im not actually now making more than my job in absalote terms however on a per hour basis im making much more.money but that is cause im putting in much less time in teaching!! and i have the personality that is suited for a teacher. (u see i enjoy hearing my own voice a lot!! ;) ) OH and one more thing to make the same amount of money i was making at my research analyst job i now only have to put in 3 hours per week!!! i used to put in 50 plus hours at my job!!! tht is like the biggest relief ive found….. to give the figures (and this would vary from country to country) if you start teaching and if you can get 10 kids per class teaching 3 hours per WEEK!!! you would make somewhere from $420 to $560 per month…..i repeat for 3 hours per week……..want to put in more time and want to see how that works out……..you do the math!!

        cheers!

        • says

          M.A.,

          That’s a really interesting perspective.

          Although not the same point, one interesting exercise that “Your Money or Your Life” has readers perform is to back out all expenses from your job to figure out your “real” wage. So you add up your gas, commute time, money spent on lunches out with co-workers, wear and tear on your car, work clothing, and anything else you spend money on to go to work which you back out from your income to come up with a real realized rate of pay. The figures are sometimes shocking.

          I’m glad you’ve found something else to spend your time on where you have more free time, enjoy it more, and it works out economically for you. That’s what it’s all about!

          Take care.

  62. says

    This is great. You are so right. Every one is has reached a level of success particularly financial had to make sacrifices. Right now I am in the process of finding those people who want the same thing that I want, which will make the process more smooth. I would like to become a millionaire in 5 years, even if it means eating rice and beans everyday until I reach that status.

    • says

      James,

      I hear you there on rice and beans. Some people are willing to make those short-term sacrifices for the long-term greater good of freedom, and some just aren’t. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to go about it, but I’ve made my feelings known. :)

      Best of luck reaching your goal of becoming a millionaire in five years!!

      Cheers.

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