Why You Should Not Retire Early – Big Brother Won’t Likey

Double rainbow on Ipanema beach, Rio de JaneiroDespite all the benefits of financial independence and early retirement, it’s actually better that not everybody retires early. In every society there are rules to follow and protocols to obey. Retiring before the age of 60 is a violation of such protocols.

Some of you may think I’m doing society a service by helping people get into financial shape by writing all this free content. But there’s a growing minority who think I’m an anti-establishment heretic who is causing doom to our country one individual at a time.

How is this so with all the wealth building advice on real estate, wealth management, and alternative investments you might ask? It all starts with being financially responsible for your own well being. Once you are financially responsible you become less of a puppet to our masters.

DON’T RETIRE EARLY IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Over the years I’ve gotten to know several policy makers. Each one of them has a very vocal view on the tax system. Republicans think it’s ridiculous to have anything other than a 20% or lower flat tax rate. While Democrats think it’s ridiculous that rich Americans are getting away with paying so little. There’s one underlining theme both sides agree on, and that’s the need for tax revenue to keep our country great.

If you retire early two things will happen:

1) Lost government revenue. Let’s say you retire early at 35 years old. You no longer pay W2 related income tax. Let’s say you pay a healthy 30% total effective tax rate and average $250,000 a year until the age of 65. That’s $2,400,000 in federal and state income taxes you will no longer contribute to the system. Now take that number and multiply it by the hundreds of thousands of folks who make such an income and you can see why the government has a real big problem on their hands.

Without the billions in tax revenue from early retirees, defense budgets, healthcare, social security and welfare programs need to be cut. Federal and state jobs could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs as the government is forced to spend within their means. Our country could even become vulnerable to nuclear attacks by the Axis of Evil. Meanwhile, our honorable older citizens might be at risk of not living out their full lives in comfort.

2) Lost government power. Our tax code is the government’s greatest weapon to make citizens conform to their wishes. It makes perfect sense. If people do not pay their taxes, they get fined or go to jail. The number one strategy to retain power is for a politician to raise taxes on a minority and promise to redistribute their wealth to you the majority. The majority will always vote for more benefits if they do not have to pay.

Power is intoxicating as I found out through P2P lending. Think about how much corruption there is among the most powerful people in the country. There’s Nixon, Clinton, Spitzer, Weiner, Jackson Jr. and the list goes on and on. Power is like a juicy t-bone in the mouth of a rabid dog who hasn’t eaten for days. If you dare take it away, your hand will get bit off so beware. And just for safe measures, we’ve got the NSA free to track everything we say and do in private. Big brother doesn’t want you to leave the system.

PROPAGANDA TO KEEP YOU EMPLOYED

The government’s goal is to keep you in the system so they can retain their power and your money. The more you work, the more you work for them. I understand how this system might be hard to fault if you are in the system. But take it from me who escaped after 13 years to provide you candid assessment.

Some mainstream propaganda to think about:

* “You need lots of money to be happy in retirement.” -> No you don’t. I’m pleasantly surprised by how happy I am living off 50-70% less income. All my friends who are retired or unemployed happily make do with less as well. We find inexpensive ways to entertain ourselves. When you’ve got Obama and the Fed working for us, there’s really no need to work so hard. You could even survive on just a million if you have passive income.

* “Everyone needs to own a nice home. It’s the American dream.” -> A bigger house means more maintenance, more taxes, more headaches. Buy what you can afford, not what someone says you think you need. Overextending yourself on a mortgage ruined the economy in 2008-2009.

* “Trade in your perfectly fine used vehicle in our Clash For Clunkers program. You deserve to drive a $25,000 automobile.” -> Cars are so well made nowadays that they can easily last over 150,000 miles. This ain’t the 1980s anymore folks. You deserve to drive a $25,000 automobile if you can comfortably pay in cash or make over $250,000.

* “Convert or contribute to a ROTH IRA because you might pay higher taxes in the future.” -> Chances are slim you will be making more in retirement than while you are working. Hello. You are retired and don’t need to save for retirement. Fear mongering for higher tax rates for the middle class is overblown because politicians can’t retain power without the middle class vote. Please read why you shouldn’t contribute to a ROTH.

HELP KEEP OUR COUNTRY STRONG BY WORKING FOREVER

In an ideal world every single citizen finds a job they love to do until they die. Jobs provide purpose to people’s lives and vital tax revenue to bomb the hell out of our enemies. Taxes from half the population help pay for 100% of the population. We must strive to increase the taxation net so that more people pay to help our country.

Who is going to bail out large corporations who pay their executives millions despite horrendous profitability without a steady stream of tax revenue? Unfortunately, too many people work jobs they don’t like, pretending to be someone they are not. When work is the only means for survival, what choice do most people have?

As an early retiree, I selfishly want everyone to work until they die. If too many people start leaving the system, the government is going to start coming after early retirees to make up for lost revenue. Crazy ideas such as a wealth tax or robbing our 401(k)s and IRAs won’t sound so crazy anymore. I don’t want the government to start FOCKing me anymore. I’ve found a multitude of ways to legally pay less taxes as a retiree and I don’t want the tax codes to change again.

Although this site might seem large, it is but a spec in the internet universe. I truly do want every single loyal Financial Samurai reader to achieve financial independence and retire before their knees break and their memories fade. What I don’t want is for everybody in America or in the world for that matter to stop working before 60 years old. We need everybody else who is not part of our little community to keep paying their fair share of income taxes to keep our great nation strong. Let those who already paid their dues enjoy the good life.

Recommendation When It’s Time To Go:

* Negotiate A Severance Package: If you finally do want to retire, never quit your job, get laid off instead. Negotiating a severance enabled me to receive six years worth of living expenses from a company I dedicated 11 years of my life to. If I had quit, I wouldn’t get any severance, deferred compensation, medical benefits, job assistance training or unemployment benefits. I believe so strongly in never quitting that I spent a couple years to write a 100-page book entitled, “How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye.” I’m absolutely certain this book will help you recognize your rights as an employee and break free from the corporate grind to do something you truly want to do.

* Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best thing you can do to grow your net worth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where my spending is going. Their 401K Fee Analyzer tool is saving me over $1,000 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying. There is no better free platform out there that is helping me manage my money. The entire sign-up process takes less than a minute.

Photo: Double rainbow, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, FS.

Regards,

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. says

    Ha!

    I like working so I’ll probably be paying taxes for eternity. And that’s fine with me. I’m more concerned with financial independence than I am with actual “retirement.”

  2. Lucas says

    right on. A week ago i actually had a conversation with my wife about how much control the goverment asserts through the tax system and how not having to work would completely free us from that in many ways. I guess the truth is that I can live that way now though and it will actually have very little financial impact on my life at this point.

    • says

      There will be an inflection point where you will want to completely stop earning via a W2 if you really no longer need to work. But it’s hard to overcome the “one more year” syndrome.

  3. Jamie says

    I can’t imagine wanting to work until I’m 65 (or never wanting to retire). Of course, I haven’t held a job since I entered the workforce at 16 that I’ve truly enjoyed and thought, “I’d rather be here making money than at home doing something I don’t like so much!” I really wonder what it feels like to look forward to coming into work every day and truly like and want to do what I do.

  4. says

    True words though. Work is the basis for the wealth of all countries. The success and benefits of those working shared with all others makes the society the one we like to have around us. Anyway, it is wrong to think that only employment can keep the society in good shape. Just imagine all the people that had time to think about improvement just because they did not have to think about working for a living all day long! Just watch poor countries. Most of the people there work for food all day long. Their problem is not the employment, the problem is the responsibility for each other in a bigger view than just focussed on the own family. A strong government can make sure wealth is shared in a fair way.

  5. says

    “Jobs provide purpose to people’s lives and vital tax revenue to bomb the hell out of our enemies.”

    That gave me a good laugh. I think the important thing is to focus on your own personal situation and what’s best for you. It doesn’t make any sense to think about what would happen to society if everyone did the same thing as you. That just isn’t going to happen. If you like working, keep at it! If you want to retire early, go for it! There’s no obligation to contribute more to our “bomb enemies” fund.

    • says

      Ah, but if we strip our government of revenue, we become weaker in military and therefore a little more peaceful, a little less ominous, and a little more compromising. Key attributes to peace.

  6. says

    @Rico
    Rico, I really don’t get your comment on poor countries. In most poor countries, there is a small percentage of very rich people, and a large percentage of “poor” people struggling to live and feed themselves every day.

    • says

      Yes, that is what i am trying to say. Just because people work it does not mean it gives a good life and a good society. It is about what you make from your work (or from the time that you do not work). People that have to work for a living dont bother to think about society and anything for the community. They just wanna get food in their stomach first.

      In short: I dont think that “keep on working for the good society” is a good advice because the people building up the country are not the ones that are employed and work but those working for their vision!

  7. says

    You’re right the government wants to keep you working because you are a tax generator.There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.
    I know I don’t want to work for the man until I’m 60. I do want to have financial independence. But so many people I know in real life balk at the thought of retiring. Despite the fact they are a lot closer to retirement than me (people in their 50s!). I wonder why they can’t retire? These are professional who have been managers, directors, etc. Is it because they want to keep working or they can’t afford to retire? And what does afford mean?

  8. says

    Very compelling.

    There is an argument that overtime we would find equilibrium again, assuming a tectonic shift in how Joe and Jane Q. Public (have you met them?) approach work, savings, and retirement.

    Based on the lines for Apple products, I don’t think we’re in danger of that shift occurring anytime soon.

    But I will never agree with you on a Roth IRA. I just can’t get there.

    • says

      I think it is fantastic you think you will make more in retirement than you do at your day job, especially with interest rates at such low levels. All is good either way as you should still have money left even if they decide to change the law and tax your withdrawals.

  9. says

    I’ve read a lot recently about people wanting to reach financial independence so they can retire by 30 or 40. It’s a great goal but my question is “Then what?” Sit around all day doing nothing for 40+ years? I don’t plan to be one that retires early just so I can take life comfortable. And with the potential increases in health care costs, I’m sure I’ll need all the money I can get for my later years. I’m fairly concerned how that is going to play out in the future.

    • greg says

      I get asked that a lot, and my answer is “lots of things!”

      Without the need to work, one needs to understand what actually makes him/herself happy. Until I had to face the reality of reaching that point by 30 (possibly earlier), I really did not understand how intriguing and challenging the opportunities turned out to be. In part it got me exited about learning whatever I wanted without interruption for the mundane parts of a “real job” (books are cheap, and effort is free!). In part the scary realization of 50+ years of unstructured time made me want it even more than even my pretty fulfilling, cushy “job”.

      For health care, think high-deductible and using a low income (despite the wealth) to get the benefits paid for by the high-income (or even just high-spending) fellow citizens (obamacare rebates, anyone?). Also consider that the compounding before poor health still has 30 years to run its course.

      for the rest: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/29/frequently-complained-questions/

    • Chris says

      The correct answer to “what am I going to do the rest of life”, Brian, is simply-everything. Think outside the box.

  10. Terry Pratt says

    In predicting doom and gloom if Americans retire early, Sam inexplicably employs a static model of the economy.

    In reality, only early retirement of the self-employed is bad. For every employee who retires early, their job opening is filled by a new taxpayer, thereby keeping the government gravy train going, while reducing the ranks of the (U-6) unemployed by one.

    While the early retirees will mostly be replaced by employees earning lower wages, and generating not as much tax revenue, the lower wages translate to higher employer profits, potentially generating even higher tax revenue when those higher profits are taxed at rates higher than paid by employees.

    • says

      You sure “every employee is just replaced”? You do not see the hollowing out of America over the past several decades as our industries have been decimates by cheaper overseas labor and technology? Do you not notice the rise in the structural rate of unemployment?

      If not, party on! The government loves you.

  11. says

    I’m with Holly and Michelle on this as I’ll likely be working to some extent for many years. Since we run our own business, the government will be getting plenty of tax money from us. Does it suck…yeah, but it’s the cost of doing business in my opinion.

    • says

      One of the favorite sayings John! Its just the cost of doing business. I want to be financially independent but it doesn’t mean I will stop working or earning income. Yeah I may be in a situation where I get better tax break but I will still be paying. Not everyone who retires early will stay in retirement. A lot of people will get bored and go back to work, some will just see it not for them and other will not managed money right and will have to go back to work.

  12. says

    I’ve been thinking about this same thing. As I’m striving to reach FI and possibly retire early, my income won’t be lost in the vortex that is the government. But if 100,000 of us do, that can make a big dent. As a frugal person by nature and an investor in companies that are consumer oriented, I’m in a bit of a quandary. I want more people to take control of their finances and stop buying crap they don’t need; however, I want my investments to continue to do well. Any company that isn’t in the business of providing staples, think energy, food, water… would suffer if the majority of the population got their act together financially.

    • greg says

      “I want more people to take control of their finances and stop buying crap they don’t need”

      Why? They might even view that as a nasty, unwelcome imposition of undesirable views! Enjoy what you have and be happy ;-)

  13. says

    Reverse psychology? I never did like what the government did with my money, unfortunately there are other taxes I have no control over too. On a serious note, independence is a personal goal! When and how you achieve it is what a capitalist society is all about. It is one of the few things any of us have total control over.

  14. says

    I really didn’t feel the pain of payroll taxes each month until I became self employed abd had to start paying out the wazoo along with estimated taxes. Thinking about taxes gets me depressed! It will be crazy when the day comes that I don’t have to pay anymore payroll taxes.

  15. says

    I think it was attributed to Einstein would said that the only intellectual exercise with a definite payoff was minimizing your taxes, or something to that effect.

    The problem is that everyone wants the same (or more) services, but doesn’t want to pay for them. Sure, you could lower taxes a bunch, but then there would b ehungry mobs running around and your tax savings would go to personal security. You have to pay for your infrastructure to support your capitalism. There are plenty of countries in Africa with less regulation than the US, but they don’t produce nearly the wealth because they have little infrastructure in comparison.

  16. says

    Nice, thought-provoking article Sam. I’ve never really looked at early retirement from that perspective. Personally, I like the fair tax, which would not be affected by early retirement, only by lack of spending.

  17. Larry says

    I don’t know where some of you are apparently getting the idea that you won’t be paying taxes in retirement, or if you’re not getting income on a W-2. If you take social security, you may be taxed on part of those benefits. If you withdraw from a traditional IRA, it’s taxed as ordinary income. If you’re self-employed, you pay taxes on that income. Same with rental income, interest/dividends, and capital gains. Even if you withdraw from a Roth, you’ve already paid taxes on that money. As for “You need lots of money to be happy in retirement,” it’s not so much “being happy” as the possibility of having unreimbursed health-care costs and possibly long-term health care costs at traditional retirement age.

    • greg says

      1. look at the bend curve for social security, and it’s quickly a losing game to keep working

      2. with proper structuring of a portfolio and low spending, tax rates are low in the US (standard deduction, personal exemption …)

      3. if one wants to keep working, he/she can live modestly and also max out all sorts of tax-deferred accounts (401k, IRA, HSA, pre-tax transit) paying only a few k in taxes on 40k or so

      4. there are all sorts of things such as state-specific 529 plans that will guarantee you a return to match inflation on the backs of taxpayers (a group from which one can largely extract one’s self)

      • Larry says

        None of this speaks to my primary objection to the original article: that is, the apparent position that there is no taxation after retirement. Of course one can use various tax-planning strategies like a 529 plan at any time to reduce taxes within the limits of the law. This has nothing to do with retirement, early or not.

        But as someone put it elsewhere here, “The government could care less if you retire early.” There are no tax penalties for early retirement, unless of course you raid your retirement accounts before age 59.5. On the other hand, there are some incentives for continuing to work longer, such as the fact that SS is based on your 35 best years of earnings, and benefits increase the longer you wait through age 70.

        • says

          Glad you will be working until 70 for SS. And glad you think you will be getting more from SS than you put in *wink* *wink*. Just don’t forget to have a living spouse otherwise the government keeps all your contributions.

          Of course taxes will be paid in retirement. But at least you don’t have to work.

          I appreciate your support for our country. We need good men like you Larry!

        • Larry says

          Didn’t say I’d be working until 70. I’m close to 65 now and will probably work a year or two more. I don’t mind that. That means 1-2 years more of W-2 income and 1-2 years less I need to draw on my portfolio, while it continues to grow. But I would probably be all right if I stopped working on my 65th bday too.

          Didn’t say I’d start taking benefits immediately either. I could live off my portfolio for a couple of years and claim at age 68 or 69. Obviously there’s always the chance I might not survive until then. Some of my h.s. classmates died before 60. But if I died tomorrow, all the years I’ve put into savings are for nothing either.

  18. says

    If you guys all retire early and they steal my IRA money, I’m going to be mad!

    But seriously, I also think it’s unlikely for that many people to drop out of the system. And if it did happen, we’re smart people and we’d figure it out.

  19. B says

    Great post and very inspiring. It is so hard to break free of golden handcuffs, not because I need the money, but because I like the prestige. As an entrepreneur, I don’t know if you really get the same respect from your friends, peers and former classmates that you get from working in the C suite at a top firm. To me, that is the biggest barrier to breaking free. Right now people invite me to events and take me to lunches and dinners, and I feel like they wouldn’t do that if I were just another entrepreneur out hustling. Also, what if you have expensive hobbies that truly make life worth living (for me, skiing, diving, sailing and traveling)? I could totally make do on less, but would I be happy if I couldn’t pursue my hobbies?

  20. Deane Bong says

    It’s a good thing the government propaganda is working so well, then! As a Canadian, I’m not familiar with ROTH, but I don’t contribute to its Canadian equivalent (RRSP), too. It’s not the right type of account for everyone for reasons too many to list here. I feel like pulling my hair when I see people lining up like sheep at the bank come RRSP deadline time. Odds are, they haven’t thought much about their decisions and don’t know why they’re doing it. But hey, that means fewer people retiring early and the system thrives!

  21. says

    Less state income may lead to more state efficiency? Hum, not sure but dreaming is free. Also, if you are retired and living off income from real estate or stocks you still pay taxes, and income tax if you keep a side job so it is not all lost.

  22. says

    The government could care less if you retire early.

    If you’re job is actually needed, as soon as you leave you’ll be replaced. Either by a younger worker or an H1B visa holder. We have an unemployment rate of something like 7.5% right now, and a much higher U6 rate. There is no shortage of available talent.

    While the tax code is a source of government power, it’s nowhere near as powerful as the volumes of federal, state, and local regulations that control everything from the rates utilities can charge, the legal definition of chocolate, the prices of insurance, the mpg of your car, the size of your soda purchases…. and the list goes on. Early retirement doesn’t give you a get out of regulations free card.

    Retiring early doesn’t get you out of paying taxes either. Your investments are all taxed. Not to mention all of the taxes that are embedded in the products and services that you buy. And you still get to pay property tax.

    Finally, if we use the blogosphere as a cross-section of “early retirees,” none of them are retired. They’re all pulling in income from jobs ranging from general contracting to professional blogging, and even working standard 9-5 gigs in corporate America. Which means that they’re all paying taxes too.

    • greg says

      “There is no shortage of available talent.” – then how do you explain the massive amounts of efforts trying to hire in tech and all the depressingly-terrible interviews that ensue?

      “Which means that they’re all paying taxes too.”

      Orly? As if tax evasion wasn’t a problem? I mean, the US isn’t Italy, but still …

    • says

      Let me know when you get to that stage of retirement, financial independence, or entrepreneurship. Then reread my tax articles. It’s hard to fully understand when you’re not there yet, but they will be your most favorite and useful articles if you get there.

      Chin up! Early retirement is great.

      With love from Mallorca.

  23. Lyle Mason says

    Sam,

    I’m glad you have retired. Even though it means you’re not paying into the system, and therefore could indirectly be hurting me, I’m just glad that you and others have found ways to escape the control of big brother. I find it very refreshing. I hope to join you soon.

  24. says

    $250,000 or more? 137,484 households in the Inner Bay Area alone, my friend!

    I hope it never gets to the point where the Government turns the revenue spotlight on early retirees and financially independent folks – but I can see a future where that is the case. The Boomers need the younger generations to continue to work so Social Security and Medicare works out for them, the Generation X will follow with a smaller pie to divide.

    • geek says

      As an old millenial or a very young Gen x er I’m glad I won’t be contributing to this so called pie for too much longer. It feels like the table is surrounded by gluttons whose baking skills get worse every generation.

      Not sure if the analogy works :D

  25. says

    I’m curious though, if you’re earning passive income, wouldn’t you still be paying taxes, in the form of Capital Gains taxes? I guess if you’ve got a fabulous enough accountant, you can reduce your capital gains taxes owed through various measures but you would still pay something. Granted it’s significantly less than if you made that income via a 9-5 job but it’s still some income for the Fed.

    You are right though, the government would be hit hard if people stopped working. And sadly, they’d probably try to increase tax collection in some form or fashion to keep up with lost revenue.

    • says

      There is no complete escape, but at least I’m not working and paying taxes to the government anymore.

      I’ve got many ways to shield my income with a business. Take a look at the linked post in the article on how.

  26. says

    Random thought here; We have a significant number of college students that are not working here in the U.S., what about considering that when people retire early, they free up a job for the younger generation? We don’t have enough companies and positions to employ all these people… Maybe not retire, but create enough revenue to own a small business and even hire 1 person… free up one job, hire one person…

    I do agree with your points, just wanted to contribute a thought.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Steve

    • says

      Sure. The benefits of getting out of the work force is to let younger force try their hand. It must be frustrating that those at the top stay, limited the opportunities for younger workers.

  27. SD says

    Sam… Axis of Evil?? Really? You don’t believe the majority of personal finance and taxation propaganda from the government, but you readily believe in the Axis of Evil BS. Com’n man, you seem like a smart educated man. This is a digression from the personal finance topics, but I can’t help laugh at the how the American govt has its people brainwashed! Any govt, any powerful nation will always be in need for a perpetual enemy… It was the Nazis, then the Soviets, throw in some Vietnam Commis, and now anyone who is brown-skinned (and the countries they come from, Mexico included). Wake up Sam. OK Roth maynot be a good idea, but funding your Govt’s penchant for war with your hard earned money is the WORST thing a citizen can do. I don’t see you complaining about that wastage. And please don’t respond back by saying ‘them terrorists’ are out there to kill us and our ‘freedom’. The real terror to American citizens is the Wall St Government and their Wall St supporters (the Larry Summers, Greenspan, Bernake, Bush and Obama handshake). We are living in a intellectual and common sense bankrupt society that will endorse trillion $ wars but not in rebuilding the education system for their children.

    All said and done, to me giving my hard earned money to the govt now (roth) or later boils down to it going to the military industrial complex and Israel anyways. Makes no difference if it happens now or later.

    • says

      Your first assumption is that I’m smart. Bad assumption.

      Second, if funding the government for a penchant for war, then shouldn’t everybody strive to pay less taxes and retire early? That is the bottom line goal for this post whether you can read through the reverse psychology or not.

  28. SD says

    Oh and by the way… Judging from your site, you seem to like Switzerland. I am pretty sure you know what kind of taxes those people in Zurich and Bern pay. Sure their govt is more efficient in using those funds (they’d rather spend it on civic infrastructure than wars or hand outs to friendly democracies around the world). Germans, French and Swiss still believe is redistributing (yes I said that word) their wealth, so all people who live in these countries can enjoy the benefits EQUALLY. Even their system has issues, but its far better than the one professed by rich Americans (primarily the white republican base) who look for every damn reason not to contribute their fair share.

    My wife and I make upwards of $400k/annum (before you claim I am in the 99%) and we are HAPPY Obama is coming after the rich. If you want to live in a civilized nation where rich people pay loads (like France, UK, Germany, etc), be ready to pay up and accept redistribution of wealth so all can benefit. If you dont like it, move to Saudi A, Luxembourg or some Pacific atoll. This is the reality moving forward, accept it or quietly merge into the backdrop with your stash of millions… We will not bother you.

      • SD says

        Sam… Thanks. Please don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be on your insightful site if I did not agree with many of your thoughts. There are many things in common here. That said, you do fall into a unique mix of the American intelligentsia that is working hard to keep its money hidden from being shared or redistributed (or that seems be your primary focus on this site). We will become like Europe and we will have to (despite our best efforts) let it trickle down to the 99%. And I dare say, I agree with that ideology. What is disturbing though is that most of the people trolling your site and commenting don’t see that coming. Many of them hardly travel and never cared to be exposed to the REAL world outside filled with poverty and pain. As long as they are OK in their plush bedroom communities, its all good. A selfish perspective, you say? As a young nation with a VERY young culture and history, Americans do not understand the importance of shared wealth and a common platform for everyone… amongst many benefits, it allows for peace and stability. Their own peace and stability.

        I came from a lower middle class family in India living on a few hundred dollars/month to become the top 0.5% in America all within 10-15 years. You can call that real social mobility. There is no social mobility for Americans in America anymore. WHY?? What happened? Today sadly, the culture is all about greed and selfishness (albeit not just in America). Here it is OK for some to earn $100 million a year and fight tooth and nail so they don’t have to share a penny with the bum scraping the last tin can for some leftover, putrid beans. I have NEVER seen any government of any country allow the nation’s top strata of bankers/politicians collaborate to swindle the citizens of that nation of trillions of $$ as we saw in 2008-10.

        This is not a sustainable society… it cannot be. A society can grow, there can be social mobility and more people can feel safe ONLY if people are willing to share with others.

        Sam – I almost feel like I have totally digressed, however, you should perhaps talk more about finance in a philosophical way. Sure we ought to be careful with our savings and investments, BUT HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH TO BE HAPPY. We from the eastern cultures (India, China, etc…. not Japan) tend to understand this better. Our culture of saving, investing and reinvesting is only predates yours by a few thousand years. Does this ideology make me a communist? If so, you are welcome to call me anything. I call it common sense. Share and create sustainable stability!

        • says

          I guess the question is: What are you doing about it to make America better? Are you writing additional checks to the government given you make over $400k? Surely you feel a debt of gratitude to America given you made it in 10-15 years from India? Perhaps start a coalition of fellow successful Indian immigrants who were able to make tremendous amounts of money here to donate more money and time to the community? We definitely need more tax payers in America to support society.

          Thoughts?

  29. SD says

    That is a very important question and to be honest I have not done enough to contribute back to the system here as I should. Indians are by far the RICHEST minority in America. Yes, that includes religious minorities like the Jews. Despite our inherently rich financial common sense, I cannot find too many like minded Indians who would support me on higher taxes. I often find that my thinking is fairly unique even amongst my folks. People are the same everywhere, once they make a lot of money they imbibe the current Republican party’s position on taxes.

    My position is simple… If the US govt continues its bullying approach and spends money chasing down lower priority international threats using disproportionate force, I am not going to support more taxes. However, if we take on an improved European model (obamacare inclusive), I am all for higher taxes and will openly profess and defend it. That’s exactly the reason I look up to Warren Buffet.

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