Feeling Down And Out In This Perfect World

Frowning French Bulldog On A LeashYou can’t deny how someone feels. They just do and you’ve got to accept it. Maybe the color blue looks different between two people. We’ll never know because we can only know ourselves.

I started this site as a way to deal with the agony of the financial meltdown in 2008-2009. I needed to find a way to let the pain escape in a healthy way. Drugs and booze were not an option although tempting they were.

This site has always been about introspection. To understand why we think the way we think. To understand our inconsistencies. To talk about issues that are on so many people’s minds but cannot be publicly discussed due to fear of persecution.

Since my very first post over four years ago I’ve been able to reconcile the stupidity of my multitude of financial mistakes. I’ve met many friends online who are also on uncertain paths to financial independence. We’ve shared victories and defeats, but I thought there would be more people like me who fear being alone, going broke, or being a failure to our family. Lately, I feel like I’m the only loser around.

THE PERFECT WORLD FULL OF PERFECT PEOPLE

It’s never easy to open up about mistakes and insecurities. Yet, that’s exactly what I’ve done in posts such as, “Real Estate Mistakes To Avoid,” “Dealing With The Fear Of Being Alone Forever,” and “How Amazing Is Your Fabulous Life?“. I thought I’d feel a little better about exposing some failures full on and I slightly do. But as I read and responded to the comments, I realized I was basically the only one who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate, who fears dying alone, and who has a case of FOMO.

Nobody commented in a particularly negative manner. Instead, it was more, “Thank goodness I didn’t buy a second property!” or “I’m so happy to come home to a loving wife,” or “FOMO? Really? That’s pretty ridiculous if you ask me.” Each comment reaffirmed that I was the only sucker to experience such things.

One of my goals for writing about my mistakes and worries is to let readers know there’s a real person behind the writing, not some financial wizard who never steps into a hole and twists his ankle. Personal finance is such an unpredictable journey that if you travel long enough, bad things will happen. I thought if I could share my bends and turns, you’d not only feel better about yourself but also become more encouraged with never giving up. Maybe it’s not working or maybe it’s working a little too well.

Failure to properly convey a message online is frustrating. I enjoy crafting stories around a topic so that maybe readers can better imagine a scenario that will promote dynamic discussion. My goal is to always try and put myself in someone else’s shoes so we can better understand their situation. To be told my ideals are “different,” with the insinuation they are inferior is disappointing. I need to constantly remind myself not everybody is as open minded or has seen the world or speaks another language.

I FEEL STUPID FOR CARING SO MUCH

Those who care the most are probably the weakest link. If I didn’t care so much about my company, I wouldn’t have stayed for 11 consecutive years. I would have hit one of many multiple bids from competing firms looking to hire me for more money instead. I also felt it a duty to train up my junior hire so that he could be self-sufficient in running the business before I left. The decision cost me around $300,000-$500,000 in lost income over two years. Lesson learned: Loyalty is overrated. Do what’s best for you.

In the blogging world, I’m probably the only blogger my size who actively comments on other sites because I remember the loneliness of first starting out and the joy of having someone leave a note. The positive comments are what kept me going in the very beginning. Now I’m thinking it’s probably best to conserve my energy to prevent burnout as things are getting unwieldy. I still have a habit of responding to the vast majority of comments on Financial Samurai, but I should probably learn to be more indifferent. Lesson learned: Write more boring, neutral posts which produce less commentary.

What a fool I am for spending hours writing posts on touchy topics that are specifically requested by readers who are too shy to ask friends or family for help. I do all the work and get all the flack while the inquirer gets to sit back and take in all the helpful information. No more. If you’ve got a particular problem that’s not mainstream, I want you to sit down in front of a computer, spend at least three hours crafting a structurally sound 1,500 word article and send me a copy. I’ll give you some editorial pointers and will publish your post. But you’ve got to do most of the work so you know how it feels. Lesson learned: Encourage readers to do the work if they want to hear answers to their concerns. This way, more readers will realize how difficult it is to write a post and receive criticism from people who don’t share their own story.

I write about relationships all the time because I want to be a better boyfriend, husband, son and father. By trying to write from different viewpoints I hope to better understand when conflict inevitably arises. I’m well aware about how hard it is to maintain a long-term harmonious relationship given the difficulties I see with close family and friends. Everybody knows someone who seemed to have the perfect marriage but decided to split. I’m optimistic that relationships can be improved through hard work, no matter how much flack I get from my writing. Lesson learned: Putting yourself out there hurts. I’ve got to better weigh the rewards of understanding others with the pain of getting stomped on.

Finally, just a couple weeks ago a buddy of mine was turning the big 3-0. I promised him a week before his birthday that I’d take him out for drinks to celebrate. He enthusiastically said yes. About three days before his birthday he started getting wishy washy about celebrating. I could sense he was going to flake so I made other plans. It turns out he made plans with some other friends and didn’t even mention it until the next day. Thanks a lot for agreeing to hang when you had no plans but pushing me aside once new plans were made. Lesson learned: Be more selfish with my time. Focus on friendships where there is reciprocity and dump the rest.

TIME FOR A CHANGE AND A BREAK

In a 50 minute podcast interview I did the other week about the reasons for starting this site and the trends of online publishing, I told Spencer the host I wanted to do more of the things that made me happy (write), and less of the things that no longer made me proud (working in finance) when I was deciding on engineering my layoff. I’ve decided to do the same thing with my writing by gradually taking away some personality and candor. Being open hurts. You just get constantly hammered by an unrelenting crowd who takes pleasure in mishap.

But I must say that often times I’m overfilled with joy by the internet world. The wonderful feedback from readers on my post, “My Fear Of Being A Father” makes everything worthwhile again. I also received several private e-mails from fathers who feel the same way and we were able to talk things out. Finally, there are people out there who have admitted to suffering financial hardship like reader JayCeezy who wrote, “How To Lose A Million Dollars And Live To See Another Day.” If only I could figure out a way to consistently write more such posts to engender such terrific responses and find more readers to open up about their imperfect lives.

The biggest personal finance blogs in the world  – some of which have sold for millions of dollars – are expertly neutral in their writing. They don’t delve into taboo or more controversial topics out of fear of offending anybody. The big guys deftly hire multiple writers who report the news, write plenty of products reviews and talk about subjects that belies their experience. And guess what? Readers love it otherwise how could they grow so large? Building a content business is all about plain vanilla.

All the biggest sites also focus on frugality instead of ways to make more money through investments and alternative means. The reason is because writing about making money is much harder than writing about saving. From a reader’s perspective, it’s also much easier to follow money saving instructions instead of doing research on real estate or stocks. It’s a match made in heaven which I’m being encouraged to pursue. One fellow blogger writes about a minimalist lifestyle living off less than $40,000 a year with a family while earning multiple six figures a year. The business model is brilliant.

It’s a little sad for me to change the style of my posts because it’s been so fun to read all the various responses. But I’m not stubborn. I’m a realist who is acting rationally. Vanilla is what is demanded of readers who feel slapped in the face by what I write. I also don’t want to feel bad about my writing any more so I plan to slowly remove myself out of the equation. For all of you who’ve been privately asking me difficult questions, I’m sorry but the public has spoken. We cannot talk about things such as finding a rich husband. As one commenter said, I lose credibility when I write about anything other than personal finance because I should have no other interests or concerns in life.

I’ve decided to take another 10 days off and won’t be back until the end of the month. I will think short and soft about the new direction I want to take with Financial Samurai. Maybe I’ll even cure some FOMO given there will be no wi-fi out at sea thank goodness. I will meditate on whether the vocal minority is striking and should be ignored or whether I need to drastically change directions to ensure the growth and survival of this site.

I’m looking forward to this potential new phase of Financial Samurai. Don’t worry, I’ve got at least 15 previously written posts and guest posts to go through before any significant changes take affect. Maybe by that time I’ll have regenerated my thick skin to take on the body blows once again. Or maybe new readers might change my mind. Here’s to feeling up and in again!

Related Posts:

There’s No Need To Worry About Other People’s Finances

How To Stop Haters From Hating You So Much

Photo: Sad Frenchie, FS, 2014.

Best,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Jakub says

    Sam, I believe you are one of the 0.01% that could not be called “looser”.
    I really enjoyed the podcast with Spencer.

    Please don’t remove yourself and keep here your personality as it is.
    Who cares about some anonymous assholes? There is no way you can be beloved by everybody. And hell, who would even want that? :-)

    Have a nice break, and see you soon in full power!
    Jakub

    • says

      Jakub, appreciate the support man. I flopped a Queen high flush on the cruise last night and had to call a guys all in on the river who flopped a Ace high flush! Ah, the pain felt so good.

      Just got to keep playing the percentages!

  2. says

    Sam, I’m a big fan of your “non-traditional” posts. One of my favorites is the one about going to business school to meet a rich significant other. If your writing takes a turn for the vanilla, that might maximize your blogging income, but it probably wouldn’t keep my attention (sorry). I love seeing the unique ways to boost your income and make better investments.
    As far as developing a thicker skin, I can’t really help you there. My site’s small enough that I don’t get nasty comments, but certainly that’s not a solution for you. Have a great vacation!

  3. says

    I’m sorry you feel this way Sam. I enjoy reading blogs that take a stand, even if I disagree with what they’re saying, as long as the stand is well-reasoned and is intended to promote a genuine opinion and isn’t just attempted to stir up the mud. I would personally be disappointed to see you take the opinion out of your writing, as I think that’s part of what makes it powerful.

    But I also think it comes back to what you said in the podcast, which is wanting to do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t. If putting your heart and soul into your content here doesn’t make you happy, then I think you’re spot on for trying to find something that does. But is that new thing really writing vanilla content just to placate certain readers? Just make sure that whatever decision you’re making is really for you, and not for the people who’ve reacted negatively to some of your past opinions.

  4. says

    Sam – really honest post. I’ve been an off and on reader for the last 3 years, I really enjoy your posts.They are often not what you read at some many other blogs. I don’t think you should change for the masses. You should continue to write about topics that are meaningful to you. After 4 years I would think that the thick skin would have developed by now, there are plenty of internet tough guys out there looking to hide behind comments but would never same the same to you in person. I would let them second guess yourself.

  5. says

    I for one read your site for because it’s NOT “plain vanilla”. The other sites appeal to the masses because the masses don’t want to do anything difficult, your site appeals to people who don’t want the same old “5 ways to save money on your cable bill” type stuff. Sure you might make more money with that kind of site, but I suspect that’s not your prime motivation. I say keep on doing what you have been.

  6. says

    Financial Samurai is one of my favorite blogs because it’s fun. I guess you would appeal to more readers if you tone it down a little, but is that really true? Mr. Money Mustache did very well by being himself. It’s always more fun to have a personality behind the articles.
    Anyway, enjoy your time away. I’m sure your thick skin will have regrown by the time you get back.
    Yeah, commenting takes a lot of time, but it’s also what I enjoy so I’ll keep at it.

  7. says

    Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Let me know when the pity party ends.

    First, kudos to you because you’re the king of blog interactions. I see you everywhere. That’s awesome. That might be why your posts get a million more comments than mine do.

    No need to be neutral. If you’re not hurting feelings and offending people, you’re not making a difference. It’s more important to attract the RIGHT kind of readers than it is to please everyone.

  8. Laura says

    Sam,

    I’m not used to seeing this “woe is me” attitude from you! Where is the Sam who wrote cheerfully and honestly about mistakes that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and still managed to end the post on a positive note?

    Yeah, people are gonna complain no matter what you write. Yeah, blogging (and life) involve putting yourself out there – most of the time it’s worth it, but once in a while it’s not. Write what you want to write, and if someone doesn’t like it, you can tell him or her that the door is that-a-way.

  9. Nathan says

    Sam, don’t let the critics change your writing style. That will most certainly make this blog fade into anonymity. The personal connection to your writings I have every morning even IF I am not having those problems at the moment, is such a charge to start the day, because your voice is present. On this site, people want your opinion. Vanilla is a popular flavor, but Vanilla sucks.

  10. says

    Do what you have to do, but know that many of the ‘big’ PF blogs have fallen off my radar simply because they lose the voice that gained them the foundation of their popularity in the first place. Maybe by the point you’re that big, the loss of a few readers is inconsequential compared to the massive amount of followers gained that will stick with the generic articles, but that’s up to each blogger to decide. Also, remember that blogging was created as a way for people to discuss things using their own…voice. So, if you made that change would you still be a PF blog or just a PF site? Is it important? Only you can answer. Either way, I’m sure you’ll still be putting out valuable content.

    • says

      Will be an interesting balance I’ll try and figure out for sure. Maybe I just post once a week from now on and have staff writers to create the business empire. MoneyNing does it extremely well and he hardly ever writes. He’s my hero!

  11. says

    I know there are ups and downs, but one of the successes in blogging (other than “great content”) is to simply fight through the tough times and stick with it. This too shall pass…

    • says

      FMF I’m thinking about adopting your style of copying and pasting a list from a larger media publication, reprinting and sharing my thoughts. Seems pretty straight forward and your readers like it yeah?

  12. B says

    I just started reading your blog a few months ago and it has quickly become my favorite because it covers serious and fun topics equally well and because you have a real and authentic voice. I hope you don’t make too many changes. There are plenty of neutral blogs already – yours is special.

    • says

      Thanks B. I’m a pretty silly guy and am always joking around. So it kinda stinks when other people can’t find the humor and bring me down. It’s one of the bains of always being happier than average. It’s much more likely I get brought down than I get brought up if you know what I’m saying.

  13. says

    Hey, Sam, take some time off if you need to. However, never forget that you are not simply a blogger; you are not even simply a good blogger. You are one of the pillars of the PF community and while it is hard to take ‘the hard’ there are so many people put there who have nothing but great admiration for you.

    • BSS says

      Yep, be who you are, never be who you aren`t Sam. coz desperate times mean desperate measure. I like your financial advice as much as your personal stories….. it makes me feel that I am not the only person that faced difficult situation. you lift 100 pound weight in my shoulder. Thank you Sam and sorry for the bad English.

  14. Jon says

    I agree with Money Beagle that you need to continue to write about topics you feel strongly about and that you think would be useful, rather than things that will make readers happy. I read blogs to see different perspectives on various topics, and I particularly enjoy the ones that actually “take sides.”

    I think writing blogs is somewhat similar to the situation faced with software design. Generally speaking, users (readers) don’t really know what they want until they see (read) it. They may not like it when they see it, but trying to build (write) to what they want won’t accomplish anything.

  15. Neil says

    Dude! Frugality is boring. Please continue with your style of posts and write what is on your mind.

    I agree that there needs to be more sites that talk about making money, but I figure the people that could do it are often busy making the money (or enjoying it).

  16. says

    Sam, don’t change just because you feel you need to, since you see yourself as going against the flow. Do what you think is best, but make sure that your decision will keep you happy. Good luck!

  17. Kristy says

    Sam, I just started reading your blog and I really enjoy it, mainly because it is not “vanilla”. Please take time for yourself and enjoy your break. I hope you come back and realize that most of us enjoy your blog as it is today, whether or not we agree or disagree with some of your posts.

  18. Ryan says

    Hey Sam,

    Try not to take the criticism personally. There are people in this world that are negative 100% of the time. You could give them 1,000,000 dollars and the would complain that they have to pay a bunch of taxes now. It’s your lack of vanilla that attracted me to your website in the first place. The other large finance blogs are boring and push out the same content over and over.
    Please reconsider and tune out those negative people.

    • says

      Ryan, you are right. Sometimes it’s just hard which is why I need a break. It’s tough being optimistic all the time in a public setting. You’ll inevitably get dragged down and normalized. Good for those who are pessimists, but not for optimists.

  19. says

    If you went vanilla, I wouldn’t probably follow like I do now. I guess it’s like being a politician who has to give up ideals to please the masses. I get it but hope your skin grows back. I didn’t particularly like the post about finding a rich husband, but it made me think more than any other one that I read that week.

    I think to many of us you are the rock star. You walked away from the man to do your own thing. You’re like the Pearl Jam of the blogging world. Lots of what you write makes me want I get my butt in gear and I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to write about all the mistakes I’ve made or how my family thinks I’m a nut. I hope you keep writing controversial posts. My brain needs them!

    • says

      Love Pearl Jam! That’s the thing. I don’t feel a lot of my posts are controversial, just truly topics people are passionately curious about. I keep forgetting the web is global and not just read by liberal San Franciscans who’ve seen and probably done everything.

      Looking forward to your controversial posts!

  20. Red says

    I’ve been reading your blog specifically because of the “touchy” subjects. You’ve given me some perspective on where I stand financially with other successful people, struggling later with my vacation home purchase and being a single guy living in an area surrounded by Amandas. If I lived in an urban area, it would be much easier to find people in the same socio-economic status, but in a small college town I’m on a bit more of an island. So thanks for sharing and giving a different perspective than what I’m used to…

  21. says

    I don’t know about developing a thick skin but I was enjoying your controversial posts. Getting a rich husband was amusing to me! Or men getting a sugar mama ;) It gives you something to think about. I really don’t need anymore articles on how to save. You can only save so much! Growing your income/profits is much more interesting to me.

    Have fun on your time off!

  22. says

    Sam, I know it is tough to honest when writing, but I have to tell you that they way you write your post with “honesty” is really the only way I want to read your stuff. I personally hope you continue to be direct and personal, after all you are the Financial Samurai and can take on all that attack.

    Regards,
    Joe

  23. Insourcelife says

    Sounds like blogger burnout is setting in spurred on by a few negative comments… Sucks, but some time off might change you perspective yet again.

  24. says

    Do what you want, and voice your opinion if you like. I have always found genuine writing that reveals the human side of things to be more interesting than cold facts and news. Maybe that defies the “build your blog into a mega-blog and ultimately monetize it by selling” business model.

    Don’t settle for being 2D. Live life in 3D and write about it!

  25. Jen says

    Sam,

    I hardly EVER make comments, but let me tell you, I appreciate you putting some personal perspective into your posts.. Please please continue to write the way you have. I only follow about 3 blogs regularly and would be sad to see yours change. The internet is a huge place, but I feel I “know” you , ya know??
    BTW, this post is coming from a 45 yr old SAHM in North Carolina. I am even considering starting my own blog soon, kinda scared to, and need people like you to continue to be good examples to me. Thanks!!

    Jen

    • says

      You will love starting a blog Jen! The first year will be some of the most exhilarating times you’ll ever know. I highly encourage SAHMs to blog. Check out Yakezie and good luck! Starting is the hardest.

  26. says

    Haters gonna hate, but that’s all they’ll do. I doubt you’ll get them to “contribute” or “produce” anything, as that’s probably not what they’re really interested in. So just work on what you can control, which hopefully is feeling good about what you write (whether it’s vulnerable or vanilla).

    I hear you on how difficult it is to see the criticism though. I’m fairly certain that that’s a byproduct of success online no matter what you write… I wish I could tell you how to feel better about it and what to do next, but I don’t know what’s best. Hopefully some time off will help you clear things up.

    Enjoy the trip!

    • says

      Hi Pat, getting critics to write awesome blog posts for me on their disposition will be my number one goal. I want to understand their background. I had one guy disagree with me completely on a retirement savings post, and it turns out he’s 33 with a 65k net worth. I was like dude, why are you being so argumentative and wasting my time?

  27. Jessica says

    I am a huge fan of this blog because I have made a lot of mistakes. And I bet that many of your biggest fans seldom leave comments because they, too, make mistakes more often than they care to admit. But there is beauty in the experience of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off–and that’s why I keep coming back to this blog.

    Don’t let the whiners and complainers get you down. If they are chirping so much it’s because you’ve probably ruffled a feather or two. Let them find validation elsewhere on the internetz.

  28. Brian says

    Don’t change the way you post. The way you post is the reason I come to your blog. If you didn’t have the personality and personal touch it would be like so many other personal finance blogs, that i don’t read anymore.

    BTW – first time commenter after probably 4 years of following you.

  29. says

    As my coach would say – suck it up, walk it off, rub some dirt on it. You’ll be fine.

    You’ll feel better after your vacation. But if you’re still feeling like you need to tone it down to grow larger, I’d recommend starting a completely different “vanilla” site and hiring the staff to run it, and keep this site your personal platform and just reduce the post frequency. You have the audience here to quickly grow a new website to self-sustaining proportions, and a reduced publishing schedule here would only make people read what you write more closely.

    Best of luck, whatever your decision.

  30. says

    I like reading your blog because it is different than the other big blogs. I don’t even read the big blogs for the most part anymore because they lack personality. That being said, do what makes you happy!

  31. K says

    This post makes me very sad. Sam, don’t do this, don’t lose your VOICE!

    Your opinions, your views, and your perspectives are what make this site unique and worth reading at all.

    You’re a writer. And trust me there is NOT ONE writer who exists or has ever existed whom all readers read the same way. I was a critical theorist and that was the WHOLE POINT of my college education!

    Just think of all of the people who you admire and who achieved great things. Did they ever tell their critics “Lesson learned! I’ll do what you say!”

    I hope your vacation re-invigorates you and you come back with a vengeance, not with vanilla.

    • says

      Thanks K. Yeah, it’s always tough to feel down but I can’t deny the feeling. It just is. I’m hopefully it will pass and I plan on doing things to not get to down again.

      Let me go get a margarita now … :)

  32. Elena says

    Hi Sam

    This post was enough to make me comment for the first time – I can see why you’re thinking this way and why it might make sense to go “plain” but, honestly, your blog is the best one out there for those of us trying to not only reduce spending but to also increase income! It’s the one I most look forward to BECAUSE of the views and personality you put into it.

    Please don’t give up on showing a bit of reality and humour!

    Elena

  33. JayCeezy says

    “If Jesus Christ returned to earth from the heavens tomorrow and it was reported in the paper, the first comment to the article would be “Jesus Christ is a douche!”” – Kid Rock

    “What’s a safe distance to talk shit to someone who could fuck you up? The Internet.” – Ice T

    “Hell is other people” – Jean Paul Sartre

    Sam, don’t be so quick to dismiss drugs and booze.

    OK, that was a joke. Hope your time off will bring you clarity. Keeping good thoughts for you. Two motivational pros that have helped me with similar feelings are… Roger Crawford /A> and Nick Arnette.

    • says

      Love it. One thing folks don’t know about me is that I’m stubborn and will never back down from a fight in person if provoked. I’ve been defending my honor since I was in 2nd grade and will continue to do so. Thank goodness for insurance and years of martial arts training!

      Pain is good. Makes me feel alive.

  34. says

    Well, most people won’t comment about financial mistakes they make because it’s not something most people are proud to admit. I mean, you said it yourself in this post “It’s never easy to open up about mistakes and insecurities.” I’ve made a lot of mistakes (financial and otherwise) but I just don’t feel the need to share with people I don’t really know.

    You can’t please everyone all the time so I think you should stick with what you want to write about. Unless to please yourself that means watching what you say and letting the commenters dictate how this site will be run.

    I must admit, I don’t always like your topics, sometimes they just don’t relate to me or I don’t care, but I have that feeling with a lot of sites I follow. But yours is obviously interesting enough to me to keep reading because I’m here commenting.

    Do what’s best for you and don’t spread yourself too thin. If that means picking more neutral topics to make this site still a good income source for you along with curbing the amount of backlash then that’s what you have to do. If that means possibly letting go of the reigns so that someone else can deal with all the backlash that you don’t want to deal with then maybe you can look into an option like that too.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

  35. Jason says

    Hi Sam

    I have to agree with the sentiment that losing your unique voice would be very sad. I know you’ve shared a lot over the years; I’ve gotten a lot out of your insights and there’s a lot of support from other members here too. But, to turn it into a frugality blog, I just don’t know… I can’t see you writing articles about re-using old dishtowels and paper plates to make a festive holiday centerpiece! LOL

    OTOH, it’s hard to tell someone to “just keep doing it”, when “it” is making them feel unhappy or unfulfilled. Ultimately, this is something that you have to decide to either do or not do.

    As an aside, I have to admit I’m a little surprised by this post and your feelings of being so alone. Everyone around here has their share of doubts and hardship; lord knows I’ve had mine. I’m not sure why these articles didn’t strike as much of a chord as you were expecting.

    But, I am all for your ideas of having more readers share their stories, both of success and of the hard times. When I posted my article here, both writing it and getting comments from everyone really helped me get my head together.

    Whatever you decide to do, Sam, I wish you the best.

      • Jason says

        I love that money-saving tip!

        I’m definitely tempted to write another article, but one that’s a little more up-beat than last time. I was in a really bad headspace back then and feeling at the end of my rope, energy-wise.

        Hmm, now I’m tempted to do a new article. I’d write something in the real-estate area for sure, maybe highlighting either my experiences with Sec8 or out-of-state investing.

        Preferences?

        • says

          I’m interested in the pros and cons of section 8 tenants and whether one can price higher than market to at least get the 80% guaranteed by the government just in case the tenants can’t pay the remaining 20%?

          An interesting dynamic to take advantage of the government and landlord folks who may have tighter financial budgets for sure.

          Thanks!

  36. says

    Sam, Sorry you’ve gotten in a bit of a funk. Perhaps the time you are taking off will help you recharge. You have helped a lot of people in the personal finance field. I hope you come back from you time off feeling better about the things you do. If changing your writing style and blog will help you to earn more, then more power to you.

  37. bob iver says

    Sam-

    I have been reading this site for about 2 years now, and almost exclusively for those more thought-inspiring posts. I’m a 21 year old Junior in college, who got at least 3-4 years left (I need 5 years for accounting and might take another year off to travel the world), and in all honesty credit scores and refinancing your house mean absolutely nothing to me. I’m delighted making 15 dollars an hour delivering pizzas; numbers you speak of in the hundreds of thousands are just fantasy to me. But the stuff that is real is your thought provoking posts on life, relationships, the use of your time, and work ethic. Those type of posts, those with soul in them, are the ones that can connect with anyone at any age level or financial position in life. I hope you don’t stop writing insightful posts like that just because some base of people got their panties up in a bunch, pretending to be delusional that we all don’t want more time or money, or that money doesn’t play a role in relationships, etc.

    Anyways, just my two cents. I really hope you stick to these thoughtful posts and just not manufacture out cookie-cutter articles on using coupons at the grocery store or something like that.

    • says

      Hi Bob,

      I’m excited for you and others of your generation. So much opportunity and potential. I’m also fearful of how difficult it is to “make it” today. Competition is brutal with globalization and the Internet. I plan to write more helpful posts for folks like you and new employees in the future.

      Stay tune!

  38. nbsdmp says

    Ha Ha…O.k. Sam you got us! Seriously though, your constant mixing up of posts and different opinions is what makes for really good reading…there is a hell of a lot more to life than money and I think you’ve got a unique take on things. I enjoy that we’ve both gotten to FI different routes and different philosophies, I envy your level of freedom yet love working for a living. Enjoy the time off then get back to work doing what you were doing…trust me, its good stuff.

  39. Stevo says

    I remember when “The dark side of early retirement” Post caused all sorts of uproar here and on some other early retirement blogs. Even though many posts on those other blogs had to do with peoples problems in early retirement people still complained that your post was somehow out of line. I for one like your blog. I like to look at things from all angles.

    The Financial Samurai blog fits me more than most others. Lets see…..there’s the live in a cardboard box and eat beans blog. The live in a van/car/RV blog. The blogs full of tips-give up Starbucks- make your own laundry detergent- etc. Simplify and minimalize blogs. You name it.

    I follow some advise espoused by all the blogs that I read. I save over 50% of my income, try to invest wisely, often, and within my risk tolerance. I try to find happiness outside of material wealth and consumerism. Even so, the name of the game is to have a retirement where I can fulfill my interests and passions. Your goal of having 200k annual passive income is great. Even so, some other bloggers profess that they would still be living in a box eating beans and getting around via foot power even if they had that kind of income. Good for them. I won’t be doing that.

    Oh and thanks for cranking out these articles on a pretty regular basis. (Dont know how you do it) Don’t change the content would be my advice. The Internet is full of snipers and subversives. Such types will lurk about no matter your message. I have seen your responses to some of them and they seem tactful and polite. What you are doing is helping a lot of people learn what school and life may have never taught them.

    Stevo

    Las Vegas

    • says

      Stevo,

      What a great comment. You’ve been around the site for a while now! The Dark Side Of Early Retirement was a fun write. Got upper cut good on that one! Little did anybody know at the time I wrote it to upper cut myself before doing something so crazy as leaving a big income job to be a starving writer.

      To living in a wooden box instead of cardboard!

      S

  40. D says

    Sam,

    I’ve followed your blogs for the past 3+ years but have never posted a response until now. Like so many others have said, PLEASE do not change who you are in order to satisfy other people. You are a unique and gifted person and your experiences with the ups and downs of life and personal finance are entertaining and informative.

    Because of you, I made the decision to try and unplug from the Matrix and retire at age 53. I was employed with the same law enforcement agency for 26 years (originally planned for 30) but your posts literally enlightened me about the need to appreciate what we have and to enjoy life. I’m still working on moving to Hawaii, but my wife has to find a job out there first because she’s a lot younger than me and actually wants to work for a few more years.

    JayCeezy’s quotes really hit home for me because during my career I was threatened and called some not so nice names, shot at, stabbed and even experienced a riot and saw parts of the city go up in flames. And all for trying to do my job, so I can empathize with how you feel right now.

    Hang in there Sam!!!

    • says

      D,

      That makes me super happy that you’ve decided to work towards and earlier retirement than planned! I can unequivocally tell you that it is so damn worth it. You don’t need as much money as you think to survive. I know it is scary as hell, but like decade birthday milestones, you feel no pain once you get there, only acceptance and gratitude.

      Good luck and hope you comment again within the next 3 years!

      Sam

  41. Ace says

    FYI: I drive a 17 year old car; I’m not giving up my Starbucks! LOL! At some level, what’s the point? I’m assuming that anyone following this blog is not dirt poor.

    Personal finance should be about improving your life over the long term. Skipping Starbucks (if it is important to you) is rather pointless. Life is short. On average, Americans are wealthy people. They should go out and have positive experiences. If that involves being a bit of a spendthrift, well, so be it.

    Being average is ok!

  42. Lyle says

    This post makes me sad. I hope that you feel better after your time off.

    In regards to:
    “But as I read and responded to the comments, I realized I was basically the only one who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate”

    My wife and I have made some major mistakes in real estate, that have cost us at least $30K. If that makes you feel any better.

  43. david M says

    I’ll be short and sweet – if you change I will leave.

    You are the only financial blog that I read – I don’t need to read crap that just makes the other person money.

    I want to think about what you have to say and see if I agree or disagree – that is why I read you blog.

    Don’t change!

      • david M says

        Just keep writing like you have been writing and me and all the rest of your faithful readers will stay.

        Going plain vanilla and writing stuff just for the money – I don’t think you would be happy with yourself or the product.

        As I said in my original post and MANY others said, don’t stop writing great posts, with thought, conviction, courage, opinion, edge, etc!

  44. says

    Frankly, I do not how to write a neutral post! All of my posts have a point of view. It is what makes it interesting for me. In fact, I particularly enjoy taking opposing or contrary points of view to stir things up from time to time. I like what I do and I think am pretty good at it. Why change? Perhaps the question applies to you too?

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