Are There Really People Who Only Work 40 Hours A Week Or Less And Complain Why They Can’t Get Ahead?

There have been a number of data points recently that have caught me off guard. Apparently, there are people in this world who actually work 40 hours a week or less and complain why they can't get ahead!

I understand the complaining if you are a student, have a disability, doing heavy manual labor, or are under-employed. But, I've only heard about places like France where people work less than 40 hours a week and start going on strike if they have to work more.

Working 40 hours a week or less is fantastic if you are happy with your income and career. Working 40 hours a week or less is also great if you are not bored out of your mind and can get away with it. Don't let anybody else tell you to work harder. Practice quiet quitting if you want to.

Unfortunately, I am neither skilled enough to do what I want with that little amount of time. Nor do I have the courage to work so little for what I am being compensated for. Besides, when I was in my 20s and 30s, I had at least 50-60 hours a week of energy to work. Trust me, your energy will fade eventually and you will have wished you did more while you were younger.

One of the core principles of Financial Samurai is this: Never fail due to a lack of effort because effort requires no skill.

Folks Who Complain Why They Can't Get Ahead While Working So Little

Here are a number of data points from people who are complaining about needing to work 40 hours a week. If you're feeling frustrated about getting ahead, know that the work comes before the belief! Once you gain a little momentum, the belief starts happening that will propel you higher.

Data point #1 On Working 40 Hours A Week

Two women on the bus were chatting next to me and explaining what a long day at work they had. It was 6:30pm and one woman said, “Thank goodness the day is over! I got in an hour early at 8:30am and am absolutely exhausted!

She's exhausted for being in the office for nine hours and taking an hour long lunch break? Sign me up! In equities banking, we lowly analyst had to get in at 5:30 am to run errands and print out research for our traders, and then stay until at least 7:30 pm!

Data point #2 On Working 40 Hours A Week

For some reason, my article “How Much Do The Top Income Earners Make By Percentage?” continues to get random commenters (1,200+ now) who turn the simple question into a political and social debate about why the rich should be paying more taxes, and the lower 50% should be paying even less taxes.

One commenter says I'm out of touch with reality when I explain that anybody who really wants to be in the Top 50% of income earners ($33,000) can do so if they wanted to. All you have to do is work 63 hours a week at $10 to make $33,000 a year! He says that's ridiculous as he can't make that working 40 hours a week (no kidding).

Data point #3 On Working 40 Hours A Week

My friend in HR said her firm is implementing overtime compensation for certain level of workers who work more than 40 hours a week. I asked her why her firm was rewarding their workers for working hours they're supposed to anyway?

That's like rewarding the cable guy who comes within the allotted window! She giggled and shrugged. If I am the CEO, and you command overtime compensation for working more than 40 hours a week, I will do my best to refer you to my competitor to blow them up.

Data point #4 On Working 40 Hours A Week

A blogger who moved to a foreign country to experience location independence, swims for hours a day, “works” about 30 hours a week and says he's burned out. He's upset that he's not making more than $1,000-$2,000 a month with his info-products and online job opportunities. He's so burned out that he took a week off to re-charge his batteries. In other words, he took a vacation from his vacation.

You'd think as a full-time blogger working 3-5 hours a day that you'd probably post every day and never burn out. But, he only posts 2 to 3X a week and writes that he's frustrated nobody has given him a book deal. Come on now. $1,000-$2,000 ain't too shabby for kicking back!

The blogger is in his 40s now and had produced an award-winning podcast on living unconventional lives. He also got a book deal with the same publisher for my bestselling personal finance book. I’m actually blown away by his success and consistency for the past 10+ years!

I highly recommend everyone start their own website and brand themselves online. Get rich off yourself. Don't let Facebook and Twitter get rich off you!

Not a day goes by where I'm not glad I didn't start Financial Samurai in 2009. Partially due to having something to look forward to, I was able to negotiate a severance in 2012 to build this site. Financial Samurai now makes a healthy amount of supplemental retirement income along with my other passive income streams.

Data point #5 On Working 40 Hours A Week

There were four 20-something year olds just lounging in these recliners at Starbucks, surfing the web, and doing absolutely nothing but goof off for the entire 1.5 hours I was meeting up with a client. This was midday on a Wednesday.

One guy starts saying how his firm hired someone senior than him to do his job, and how angry he was for not being recognized more. Then this other guy who was listening to music off his laptop chimes in that he's been looking for a programming job for months.

This is San Francisco, where if you have programming skills, you are hired for $120,000 at 22 years old. Watching YouTube videos, surfing the web, and playing games on your laptop at a coffee shop during the middle of the day does not get you anywhere. Taking 1.25 hour coffee breaks in the afternoon if you are working doesn't not help you get promoted either.

Below is the average number of hours worked per week in the U.S. Talk about living the dream!

Average number of hours worked a week in the United States

Data point #6 On Working 40 Hours A Week Or Less

After publishing the post, Are You Too Proud to Be Rich?, a lot of people complained in the comments section they don't have the capacity to side hustle to make extra money. It's as if once the clock strikes 5 pm, no more work can be done.

Meanwhile, I just wrote that all these first generation immigrants side-hustling and making more than these private school graduate Uber employees! Why wouldn't you want to start your own website to try and leverage the internet to make more money? There are millions of people out there who are making extra money via the gig economy and online.

Data point #7 On Working 40 Hours A Week Or Less

In an open letter to her CEO, 24 year old Talia wrote, “I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department. A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food.

WTF. Since when was working an “entire year” so bad before getting a promotion?

Data point #8 On Working 40 Hours A Week Or Less

Bo, a Creative Writing/English major from University of Colorado said he and other people were crying at their desks constantly while working for Amazon, according to a New York Times article. Even the elites are on strike, despite having prestige, status, and power.

Bo lasted for 1 year, 10 months at his book marketing role so he could do something more special, like work at a startup called Yessler. He lasted for 1 year and 6  months before moving to Microsoft, where he's been there for 8 months. Will he ever be able to last for two years at one place? Or will things just be too hard on him?

Data point #8 On Working 40 Hours A Week Or Less

Finally, let me update this post and share my own example. When the pandemic started, I told myself that I might as well try and make more money online given we were locked down. As a result, I spent many more hours a week writing and doing business development on Financial Samurai.

However, I no longer want to work 40 hours a week trying to make money online. This pandemic has truly beaten me up mentally and physically as a father of two young children.

I would love to earn more money and work less than 40 hours a week so I can spend more time with my children. I'm considering going back to work since people are making more money and more people get to work from home.

However, since I've been used to total freedom since I left finance in 2012, I don't want to work for someone anymore. Instead, I'll just focus on building up more passive retirement income. Therefore, I've got to learn to be satisfied with what we've got.

Do People Really Work Less Than 40 Hours A Week And Complain?

Are there really people out there who only work 40 hours or less a week and complain why they can't get ahead or make enough money? That's like slacking off in school and expecting to go straight to the corner office. Ain't gonna happen.

I don't think I've ever worked less than 40 hours a week when I was still working a day job and healthy. Day job work is around 55-60 hours a week and online work is another 20 hours of side hustle work for a total of 75-80 hours.

Add on 35-42 hours a week for sleep, that still leaves 50 hours a week to spend with family, friends, and extracurricular activities.

It's not like the 75-80 hours a week spent on work is all work either. It's fun to interact online, go play golf with clients, get some lunch and earn some income in the process.

Perhaps society has manipulated people into believing that 40 hours a week is a normal time to spend on the job or on an endeavor.

Two Ways To Get Ahead

There are two ways to get ahead: 1) Work harder and smarter than everybody else and 2) Make everybody else work less and dumber. If you ask any super successful person how many hours a week they work I can guarantee you that it's way more than 40 hours a week.

Do you think the POTUS works only 40 hours a week? Hell no! They regularly work 60-70 hours a week and are on call 24-7. Do you think Fake News King Mark Zuckerberg works 40 hours a week? He worked around the clock to build Facebook to what it is today. Do you think doctors don't study night and day for their MCATs to then go on single digit work hour rounds? The answer is “no,” and you all know that.

Stop being so lazy and abolish welfare mentality! We've got an immigrant janitor here in San Francisco who makes $271,000 a year due to working tons of overtime. He's not alone either!

His elevator/escalator technician makes $284,000 a year due to working way more than 40 hours a week as well. He's not alone either! Managers at In N' Out Burger earn on average $160,000 a year without a college degree.

The list goes on and on about people who work more than 40 hours a week in regular jobs and make handsome six-figure salaries.

Working 40 Hours A Week Is A Walk In The Park

If you can work 40 hours a week and be satisfied with what you have, more power to you. However, if you are complaining about life and why you don't have enough money and only work 40 hours a week, you need to get your head checked.

We live in a very competitive society and anybody who wants to be better than average can't work 40 hours and expect to be more than they're not.

Many Countries Have Employees Working Much Longer Hours

Just look at this chart of the percent of workers working 60 or more hours per week at their main job in various countries. Notice how U.S. workers are in the bottom half of countries with workers working 60 or more hours per week in their main job.

percent of workers working 60 or more hours per week at their main job in various countries

I had originally wrote this post before I had retired. Now that I'm 10+ years into retirement, I finally see the joys of slacking off.

I've only been “working” ~20 hours a week on average since I left work in 2012. But I jacked up my work hours to 35-40 hours a week during the lockdowns because I figured I might as well make money.

Trust me, you won't regret the effort you put in when you were younger. Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful to be able to spend every day taking care of my family, instead of having to commute to an office and work at a job that I don't love.

With Joe Biden as President, more of us should be able to relax given taxes will be going up to pay for a bigger safety net. I'm ready to take it down a notch again after an exhausting couple years during the pandemic.

Maybe, soon, we really do deserve to get ahead while working 40 hours a week or less!

Negotiate A Severance And Leave If You're Miserable

In 2012, I negotiated a six-figure severance package worth six years of living expenses. It was my catalyst to break free from Corporate America for good. I didn't want to deal with a micromanager anymore. As an employee, you have more power than you think.

If you quit your job, you forfeit your right to a severance, to unemployment benefits, and to COBRA healthcare. Check out my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff. It will teach you how to leave your job with potentially money in your pocket.

It's the only book that teaches you how to negotiate a severance. In addition, it was recently updated and expanded thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies. The book has been extensively revised multiple times to incorporate more case studies and feedback.

Use the code “savefive” to save $5. Or, purchase six copies of my Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom, e-mail me proof of purchase at sales AT financialsamurai DOT com, and I'll send you How To Engineer Your Layoff For Free.

Invest In Real Estate For Passive Income If You Want To Work Less

If you're sick of working so many hours, then you should invest in real estate for passive income. Let real estate do the heavy lifting for you so you don't have to work as hard. Real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom because it is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income.

By the time I was 30, I had bought two properties in San Francisco and one property in Lake Tahoe. These properties generated enough income to help me escape work in 2012.

Then in 2016, I started diversifying into heartland real estate to take advantage of lower valuations and higher cap rates. I did so by investing $810,000 with real estate crowdfunding platforms. With interest rates down, the value of cash flow is up.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Opportunities

Take a look at these popular real estate crowdfunding platforms. Both are free to sign up and explore.

Fundrise: A way for all investors to diversify into real estate through private funds with just $10. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and manages over $3.3 billion for 400,000+ investors. 

The real estate platform invests primarily in residential and industrial properties in the Sunbelt, where valuations are cheaper and yields are higher. The spreading out of America is a long-term demographic trend. For most people, investing in a diversified fund is the way to go. 

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations and higher rental yields. These cities also have higher growth potential due to job growth and demographic trends. 

If you are a real estate enthusiast with more time, you can build your own diversified real estate portfolio with CrowdStreet. However, before investing in each deal, make sure to do extensive due diligence on each sponsor. Understanding each sponsor's track record and experience is vital.


I've invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding so far. My goal is to diversify my expensive SF real estate holdings and earn more 100% passive income. I plan to continue dollar-cost investing into private real estate for the next decade.

Start Your Own Business / Website 

If you feel you're not getting paid what you're worth and want to boost your income, start your own business online on the side! It used to cost a fortune and a lot of employees to start your business. Now you can start it for next to nothing.

Brand yourself online, connect with like-minded people, find new consulting gigs, and potentially make a good amount of income online one day by selling your product or recommending other great products.

Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009. Here's my step-by-step guide to for how to start your own website like mine in under 30 minutes.

Just know that at least in the beginning, running your own business will require way more than 40 hours a week to get ahead. The good thing is, you'll enjoy the work more because it's yours!

Blogging For A Living Income Example: $300,000+
A real income statement example from a blogger. Look at all the income possibilities. CLICK the graph to learn how to start your own site in under 15 minutes.

Manage Your Finances In One Place 

Finally, get a handle on your finances by signing up with Empower (formerly Personal Capital). It is a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place. The more you can track your finances, the better you can optimize.

Before Empower, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts to track my finances. Now, I can just log into the Empower Dashboard to see how my stock accounts are doing. I can also check how my net worth is progressing.

The best feature is their free 401K Fee Analyzer. It is now saving me over $1,700 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying! They also launched their amazing Retirement Planning Calculator. It uses your real data to give you great insights into your financial future.

Empower takes less than one minute to sign up and it's free.

Retirement Planner Empower
Is your retirement on track? Here are my personal results.

Read The Best Book On Becoming Rich, Happy, And Free

If you want to read the best book on achieving financial freedom sooner, check out Buy This, Not That: How to Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. BTNT is jam-packed with all my insights after spending 30 years working in, studying, and writing about personal finance. 

Building wealth is only a part of the equation. Consistently making optimal decisions on some of life's biggest dilemmas is the other. My book helps you minimize regret and live a more purposeful life as you build more passive income.

BTNT will be the best personal finance book you will ever read. You can buy a copy on Amazon today. The richest people in the world are always reading and always learning new things. Learn from those who are already where you want to go.

Buy This Not That Book Reviews

The funny thing about the pandemic is that some who've been able to work from home are able to work less and still get paid the same. Now that's working smarter! Just make sure your company doesn't catch you slacking off too much! Related post: In Search For The 2-Hour Work Day While Getting Paid Full Time

Subscribe To Financial Samurai

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

About The Author

645 thoughts on “Are There Really People Who Only Work 40 Hours A Week Or Less And Complain Why They Can’t Get Ahead?”

  1. For an attempt at satire, this is amusing. Your inability to empathize with the individuals you target and attempt to shame is underwhelming. You undercut yourself by making it very clear that you are thoroughly out of touch with the modern working world.

    I am glad your very unique and luck-driven situation worked out for you! You know, though, I’d love to hear more about the folks who are already working 80+ hours a week, branding themselves online, and for some silly reason still aren’t wealthy despite doing everything you mention and more. What gives, huh? I guess they’re all just lazy.

    You really should proofread your writing, by the way. Thanks for the chuckle!

    1. I appreciate the comment. Given English is my second language and I don’t have the luxury of an editor, I will endeavor to continue doing my best. I also welcome readers who can point out grammatical errors so I can easily fix them.

      Probably one of the reasons why I’m out of touch with the modern working world is because I haven’t had a day job since 2012. I left after negotiating a severance and deciding I no longer wanted to pursue the money. But my friends who do work seem to be having a lot more flexibility post pandemic.

      I don’t think people are lazy. I think some people are incongruent in desire and action. Nobody is going to save us. We must save ourselves. Feel free to share something about yourself.

      Related: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working A Minimum Wage Service Job As An Adult

  2. I’m a pro-capitalism, fiscally conservative, libertarian minded individual who firmly believes in hard work…. and this article made me cringe so hard. This sounds like bad advice aimed at people who think they can grind their youth away for an employer and become the next wolf of Wallstreet.

    First rule of working for a big employer: they absolutely do NOT care about you or what you do for them. If you want to grind your life away 70 hours a week for them they’ll let you and “reward” you with small raises until you get an offer elsewhere and force them to give you a real raise. If you want to work a reasonable 40-45 hours they probably won’t even notice, but will hold it against you for those tiny raises, which you can mitigate by leaving for a big ass raise from a different employer.

    Lastly, you mock the guy who’s swimming in France and then later mention that some of your “work” is golfing and lunching with clients like that’s real work. If my job (engineering) allowed me to play games and eat in restaurants on the clock I’d probably enjoy 60 hour weeks too.

    1. The point of this article is encourage congruency with desire and effort.

      If you want to make more money, you likely need to work harder and smarter.

      If you don’t want to make more money, then be happy with what you got and don’t complain.

      Personally, I quit the desire to earn maximum money in 2012. I gave up the money at age 34 for more freedom. Therefore, I’m not going to whine about not making more if I don’t put in the effort.

  3. I work 40 hours a week and it is killing me. I have a good job in IT and make 120k a year. I get paid hourly, and am told I can work up to 45 hours a week and get the overtime, but I don’t. I can do 50 hours of work in 40 and would much rather work harder for the 40 hours than waste more of my time stuck in the office. That being said, I often do not get 50 hours of work to complete each week. This leads to boredom at my desk twiddling my thumbs.

    Now that I have had a taste of working from home during the pandemic, I also do not want to work from home 100% of the time either. For the last few months, I had a perfect balance. Tuesday and Fridays working from home and Monday Wednesday and Thursday in the office.

    Unfortunately, we are now required to be in the office everyday (non negotiable) and I instantly hate my job again. I feel like I am spending so much of my youth grinding away for the dollar just to have a nest egg I may never get to use when I’m 70+

    My case is different than your initial assertion because I DO have a corner office and a good career, but feel like I could get just as much done in 35 hours than 40. This leads to boredom and a sense of frustration. To me, everyday of work feels like an 8 hour plane ride where I have access to the web and my work, but am trapped arbitrarily at my desk until I hit my 40 hour minimum.

    I am 30 and value my time

    1. Man, I never thought about working eight hours like being stuck on an eight hour plane ride. That is a pretty damn good analogy and I would hate my day today if that were truly the case.

      I’m glad you have the corner office at age 30. That is pretty rare. Therefore, it sounds like it’s time for you to take on some new challenges and do new things.

      Enjoy the YOLO Economy to the max! I certainly will.

      1. I appreciate the response!

        Yeah, I do believe that not being challenged definitely contributes to that trapped feeling. The main issue is that in my role and my particular workplace, I have very solid job security. I am lucky to have known the owners my whole life, and there is something to be said about the comfort the security brings.

        It is a balance between taking calculated risks vs. a “this is good enough” mentality. It is not a bad job by any means, just feel like I could be doing more with my time. The security and pay make it hard to entertain new offers, and that makes me feel like I have plateaued.

        Should I forgo the security to look elsewhere, or settle into the reality that this is what I should expect for the long haul?

        1. You’ve got to find what I call your X-Factor. Do something outside of work that gives you more joy and meaning.

          After 13 years in finance, I wanted out b/c I was bored and the job didn’t have much meaning anymore. My X-Factor was Financial Samurai, and it’s served me well since I started this site in 2009.

          It’s nice to have a steady job that pays the bills and provides benefits. It’s even nicer to go do something outside of work that gives you joy.

          I do think more people should take more risks while they are young. You never want to look back and wonder, “What if?”

  4. Justpassinthru

    Its not about the hours, but the value of your hours. If the value of your hour of work is $67, then one would only have to work 2 hours a day 5 days a week, to make $33k a year. Putting in more hours is the fools errand and the road to nowhersville. Better to put hours in getting education for a in demand trade or technical career. Rhe absolute best thing is detaching earned money from worked time, then the skys the limit.

    1. You mentioned 8 (actually 9) examples of “data” to support your overall assessment of how people work and their perception of work. This is laughable to anyone who works with big data. Noting a few personal experiences is not sufficient to make grand conclusions. Also, can we please stop thinking that humans are robots with endless amounts of concentration, health, productivity, and logic? We’re human, and we’re social creatures that depend on each other for survival. Anyone who thinks people just need to work “harder” and “smarter” are just parroting propaganda developed by wealthy people.

  5. Wow… so you’re an idiot. Congrats! you’re out of f8cking touch. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to work more than 40 hours a week. Look at the people in France and Spain. They do just fine working 35 hours a week and live a great life.

    Your reality doesn’t count. Mine does. I deserve to be rich. For you to point out that rich people work more than 40 hours a week and take more risks than others is infuriating!

    1. “I deserve to be rich.” – The last time I checked no one ‘deserves’ anything. That’s an entitled way of looking at the world. If you want to be rich in your field endeavor, work the hours needed to achieve it. But don’t expect doing the bare minimum is going to make it magically happen for you.

      I decided I didn’t want to just sit behind a PC fixing people’s problems anymore and wanted to lead others. So I worked harder and got the hard issues, handed coordination of important projects and ultimately promotions to where I am now. I hate to break it to you, but the higher you go in an organization, the more hours you’ll spend working, but the salary and additional benefits that come with it can make all the difference.

      When some friends I work with that stayed on my old track go on vacation, they go to the lake for a week. When I go on vacation, I go stay in an over the water bungalow on an island. It’s all about what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it.

    2. Is this sarcastic? It reads like satire.

      “Your reality doesn’t count. Mine does. I deserve to be rich.”

      This sounds like a satirical quote from the Babylon Bee or the Onion.

  6. Congratulations! You have bought into the propaganda funded by the rich capitalists and are willfully letting your boss exploit your labor while buying into the lie that “If I just work harder, I will be rich like them someday too!”

    Either you are a brainwashed tool of the upper classes… or you are a willing propaganda arm (tool) of the upper classes. Either way… this whole article is filled with bs that is not supported by empirical data or reality.

    To anyone who truly feels this way about working… wake up! Human beings are not made simply to work! There’s more to life than that and if you are American… odds are that your employer is paying you less than the value you put into your work… cause that is how capitalism works. You create a product and your boss sells it for more than they paid to make it so that they can pocket the profits. Those “profits” are value you put into making the product that your boss didn’t pay you for. The owner class doesn’t provide anything or work at all to create more value… the working class does all that and get paid less than the owner class for it. That’s Capitalism.

    1. God all the little boys living in their parents basements bringing up the fallacious argument that humans “were never meant to work that much” are seriously reaffirming the stereotype of the soy beaned pumped, electronics and couch orbiting gen Z low lifes who have lost touch with reality, both past and present.

      Labor is relative, and whether your labor is driven by the need to survive in a non industrial society (exponentially more demanding), or to thrive and be able to utilize all the benefits of a capitalist society (which means not living in less desirable places such as Spain or France so commonly brought up by the aforementioned soybean) your a$$ will still be working. Humans used to work 24/7. Their labour was motivated by needs of survival which when compared to modern life, is 1000× more work in both time and physically effort and never allowed for set times off like “vacation”.

      One slap on the back of the neck for the smoothbrains who used the words “capitalist propaganda” while living in a country founded on capitalism, surrounded by items driven by the capitalist nations and their conflicts, utilizing public services funded off of capitalist society etc.

      You guys want to be rich working 30 hours a week buying your over priced Starbucks coffee (product of capitalism) and it shows real bad. Absolute Roaches.

      1. Capitalism sucks. Ever heard of egalitarianism?

        Also, where do you get the notion that humans used to work 24 hours a day?

  7. You lead a sad life buddy. Nobody cares how much you work. Not even your employers. Hope you find something to actually live for in life.

    1. I know. And thank you for your encouragement. I left work at age 34 in 2012 b/c I was sick of the grind. But by 2014 I got back on the horse to do some part-time consulting.

      I’m trying to re-retire again under President Biden because I’m so tired of working hard during the pandemic to provide for my family. But I figured, if the government is going to lock us down, I might as well put in max effort until lockdowns end to build as much passive income as possible.

      I’m burned out and really want to return to living a more relaxing life as my two young children grow up. Time waits for no one!

      See: The Best Time To Retire May Be Under A Democratic President Like Joe Biden

      If you have any recommendations on a better work / life balance, I’d love to hear it. Or perhaps share your story and how you’re make it all happen. Thanks

      1. Dude major props for even giving these plebs the validation of a response. Some people aren’t capable of thinking on the generational scale.. only displaying selfish lazy traights oriented around the goal of in the moment luxury. Your kids are about to be debt free with that head start because of your sacrifice which is all that matters, and in 100 years when your families networth remains on the steady rise and theirs remains generationaly stagnant, you will have the last laugh. Been reading all the comments your post stirred up for the past hour and it is seriously saddening. Some people don’t live for growth, just comfort.

        1. Thanks. It’s all good. I understand there is a lot of frustration out there. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I felt the same way as many folks. But over time, I’ve seen what putting in consistent effort can do.

          At the end of the day, everything is rational. We must be satisfied with our results. If we are not, we will change.

  8. Your perception on life and reality is deluded. Congrats on working from 5:00am to 7:30pm but unfortunately, I see doing more with my life than that. It’s not a “person” person it’s a societal American problem- that we are taught that working for free (over 40 hours salaried) isn’t enough. That coming in early and staying late is expected to get ahead in this rat race. Work smarter, not harder. We are living beings, not made to work till we die.

    I deserve to be rich just like every other rich person. I should have to work harder than average here in America.

  9. I know being workers is fun and sometimes profitable might NOT know your work ethic is admirable thank you very much. However money for nothing and chicks for free that’s the way you do it YES more or less really there are and we are grateful that they are diligent and also happy with this generosity and concerned that some are blissfully unaware of lifestyle other than our own. Ever stop at a convienience store a Holiday station for example and one side says SELF SERVICE and the other says FULL SERVICE like oh well… see you on the other side.

  10. OP, do you know how many people who are happier than you with a lot less?

    Or how many people make more than you ever will for a fraction of the time and energy you put in?

    Hell, there’s a whole swath of FI/RE people who simply lived below their means for a decade to invest enough to never work again after 40 while still making money.

    You sweet summer child—You’ve convinced yourself that “hustle” equates to financial success, or that income defines success. People fill their lives with “hard work” and long hours for years just to end up with nothing, both economically and socially. You’re one accident, divorce, market crash, medical emergency, etc away from dying broke and alone. And good luck with keep that energy level up after 45ish—if you make it that long.

    1. Indeed. I’m planning to re-retire over the next year or so. It was a nice break for me from 2012 – 2019. Now, I’m tired of the grind and being locked down. Big government is providing more support and if I’ve got to pay even more taxes (already pay 6-figures a year in taxes) and $2,200+/month in unsubsidized healthcare, it no longer feels worth it.

      Got to enjoy life to the maximum post lock down! I am glad I utilized the pandemic to boost my wealth and passive income. Always got to make good out of suboptimal situations.

      I hope you make it past 45 as well. Let’s go!

      Related: Solving The Happiness Conundrum In 5 Moves Or Less

      1. Wow – if you ever need another passive income stream, consider teaching a class on how to respond politely to people on the internet. I don’t know how you manage to put up with all the crap you’re getting, but it’s like a Masterclass on diffusing angry commenters.

        1. After so many years of running Financial samurai and hundreds of thousands of comments, I recognize that a lot of the commenting is a reflection of one’s own situation. So I have empathy for those who are frustrated and angry, and especially those who wish harm on others.

          I have yet to meet a happy person who wishes bad on someone. Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. Hopefully, things improve over time.

  11. You are crazy, I work 40h/week and I am trying to find a way to work less.
    If you are working more than that I don’t know what the hell are you doing with your life.
    It’s a life that doesn’t worth to be lived, you just work!
    I would prefer to be homeless or dead

    1. There are 8760 hours in a year. Working 40 hours every week (if you’re not getting any vacation at all), is only 2080 hours a year. Less than a quarter of the total time you get in a year. But yet even 25% of your time dedicated to work is tooooo much.

  12. “My friend in HR said her firm is implementing overtime compensation for certain level of workers who work more than 40 hours a week. I asked her why her firm was rewarding their workers for working hours they’re supposed to anyway?”

    This attitude is fucking toxic. They are paid for a 40 hour work week. More than 40 hours is not “hours they’re supposed to work anyway”. Shit like this is one of the reasons mental health in this country is continuing to get worse. No one should be required to work ridiculous hours just to keep their jobs, there’s more to life than sitting in a cubicle all day. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. You are right. I was ashamed of working hard for 13 years after college. That’s why I negotiated a severance and retired in 2012 at the age of 34.

      Life has been so much better since retiring. It’s much better to kick back, enjoy the outdoors, and spend more time with family.

      With Biden in 2021, There’s no better time to retire and let the government take care of us!

      1. Jesus, you’re so out of touch it’s pathetic. That article bitching and moaning about an extra 2.6% in taxes on income over $400k reads like a parody. I’m so sorry for you that you have 3 dollars left at the end of the month after paying your mortgage and taxes on your 2 million dollar house, paying way more than necessary for food, saving a crazy amount for your kid’s college costs (over 18 years, you’re saving $162k per kid assuming your investment get zero return), going on a $7k vacation, paying for your kids to be in both a private preschool and daycare at the same time, etc.

        1. Can you share where all your anger is coming from? Some context would be nice.

          I am agreeing with you that it’s best to kick back and not work so much. Life is better when you pay less taxes, have less stress, and more leisure time.

          I think it’s great not to work as hard next year. The Biden article is a hypothetical budget of how a $400K family can run out of cash flow.

          Why can’t I join you in working less than 40 hours a week? And why is your reality more real than other peoples realities?

        2. Wow! Talk about being ignorant and complaining why life isn’t fair. Have you ever stopped question the reason why you aren’t getting ahead is because you have poor work ethic, I didn’t study hard in school, and didn’t take any risks in life?

          Stop being a loser and thinking the world has to adjust to you. That’s not how the world works sonny. Nobody’s gonna save your sorry ass from being a loser for the rest of your life. The only person who can save you as yourself.

          1. What makes you think his comment is about “getting ahead?” It’s quite possible you’ll look like a total loser in the end. Life doesn’t always agree with taking risks…but keep taking them and keep your attitude then reach back out in a decade. Life tends to temper those who think they know it all. Especially those people.

  13. “But, I’ve only heard about places like France where people work less than 40 hours a week and start going on strike if they have to work more.”

    If we look at the productivity per hour france is at $62, right behind USA ($65):

    Although they work way less than Americans. Hours worked has nothing to do with productivity. It’s also about your qualification and industry. Just working more is a low iq way to make more money.

    1. this is the dumbest comment I’ve ever read. I’m guessing if he retired in 2012 and He just had a newborn baby which means he’s still pretty young. He’s retired wealthy and doesn’t work unless he wants to, and you’re stuck working a 40 hour a week job.. I feel like his IQ is probably substantially higher than yours. Lol are you French? If so. My take on French people is that you are all incredibly stupid. Wow.

  14. What the F*** is this article? I came here because I hate having to work a strict 40 hours versus getting what needs done done so I can do things that actually matter in life.

    Seriously if you think you are so much better than everyone else because you have 60 hours a week in you.. you must love your job and everything you are doing in it. I have 60 hours of work in me for things that are passionate and move my life ahead. I can’t put another 8 hours in after a full day of working a miserable and life sucking job.

    1. If you hate working 40 hours a week and don’t care about getting ahead in your career or building more wealth, don’t!

      This article is about those who are working 40 hours a week or less but who want to get ahead and are frustrated why they can’t.

      1. I never realized how many hours I work a week. At my day job I work 35 hours/wk and earn more than I need. Then I have a second “job” where I “work” 5 hours, seven days a week. Until this moment I did not realize it is a second “job”
        I love the stock market. I read for 35 to 40 hours a week about the stock market, money and my investments. I just never thought of this as a job. I earn much more money at my second “job”
        They are right. If you do what you love, it is not work. But Sam is right. I am in the top 1% but I “work” at least 70 hours/wk. I just didn’t know it is work.

        1. P van Oeveren

          I don’t believe what I read as thought interplanetary elements are at work. It’s as the whole world is nuts, maybe it always was . 1 person can throw a fuck into the world. Good example the president of ‘supposedly the most bestest country in the world. His words on Larry King, if I ever ran for president I would run democratic as they ARE the stupidest people in the world. Quote’ This was A bet batwing rich con men. GOOD ONE. As it continues the rest of the world looks at the simpsons and sees real life implications. Maybe Matt Groening is a future reader. Maybe this is a plot or conspiracy, the rich have their own idea of how to control the masses. I am a boomer done every job, some I loved some I hated. Of course when you are young you have more ability and vigor, but not many get that as a life long gig. In this day of 2020 we are all us boomers looking at the past and seeing a repeat of history because of people like Hitler Trump and any others that put themselves above all things. With power comes corruption almost always and now is more than ever a time to stop and think. If the world keeps going in the same direction we will all be gone soon, I am of the sort that thinks about everything I do or say….. TRY! If the people in power situations don’t make a difference they should not be leaders, Obama the first black president, did he do anything…. NO. The people are stupid I am stupid as I don’t vote. I consider it a waste of time,there are no candidates. Why is it that we never have any body do any thing ever. WHY… the system has been folded and bent to suit the wealthy the 1% never to change,only will grow power makes money, money buys power/??????????? I am not a Jesus person but I believe that there is something beyond people. But we are so messed up dealing with other people’s lives we miss what makes this world keep spinning, completely. This is only my response to our world as it is today, FUKED. 1 more round of trump should do it! Obviously we live for today, some the 1% are more than rest as they can wave a stick and ,poof we have an issue, the world is lost, soon the rich will run the world openly’! Corporations with no need to pay tax, part of the game. When I was young and saw graffiti that said make the rich pay,I did not understand I do now. Some how we need to do something I have no trouble with rich people, mostly but it does not take any genius to know that people like amazon, work those people like slaves. Nobody knows the depth of power to those few that have far more money than any country. How is it that the richest man in the world has his guys peeing in a bottle to make quota and the world can’t say a thing. I sure hope somehow that just some of the 1% decides the world is more than a blob to scrape dig frac the world of its natural worth. All in the want for money, as in the bible “‘ the love of money is the root of all evil. In all of the secrets some are so unreal most people have no ideas that a secret society of the rich is the real leaders of the world. It goes on under our noses, But we don’t see, for them it’s a game to see who can have it all. The people are being told don’t vote it won’t count, it’s rigged it crooked, he is the worst leader America could ever have and he will stay. Will the stupid Democrats wake up or will they keep on doing nothing ! And anything and nothing is what’s going on. As a nobody speaking to the world of nobody’s it’s time that 1 person could take a stand, but in the world today even a man that has as much money as the entire world and pays no tax feels like god. So many buried secrets that new lies are created to keep the secret lies. Just like a herd of cattle, or a Petrie dish, we are also puppets on this FLAT EARTH. Or brown cows give chocolate milk, seems that school didn’t help us but the other countries took full advantage and sent people from all around the world to learn how to fuck the world and have done a better job than us whites. It is true that some boomers took as much as any dictator and more.Only now as our entertainment we watch the search for lost stolen treasure as some truth is revealed. It is time that we hav so I of voters Let’s get it right or try to do what was meant of leaders not gangsters

      2. That’s you seem to THINK that this article is about. But it’s not. It’s just a bunch of BS that buys into the screwed-up belief system that says that if you don’t work way more hours than what your job is *actually paying you to work*, then you’re not “vibrant,” “dynamic,” “enthusiastic,” “take-charge” team member (pick your BS business buzzword here). Modern society has reached the point where working 40 hours a week (7/10 of your life) is considered to be just the starting point — just a bare-minimum that actually doesn’t meet the expectations of corporate management. No, what corporate management expects, if you ever hope to “get ahead” (and really think about that definition of “getting ahead” and if it really, actually IS, in the larger terms of having a happy, fulfilled LIFE), is that you get up early every weekday, switch “on” like an automaton and perform all day, then work *more* hours after your workday is ostensibly supposed to end, and, oh…be available to take emails and calls on the weekend, too, if something “important” comes up.

        And if you don’t do that, if that stifles you and frustrates you, if you don’t define yourself in terms of how much time you spend working and not actually living, if you don’t buy into this ridiculous machine that we’ve created that says that everyone has to be so damned “productive” at all times — then apparently you’re just a lazy whiner who needs to get your head examined.

        That’s total rubbish. Your article is garbage. We humans are the masters of limitation. We set up these ludicrous structures for ourselves — and then we wonder why a huge percentage of people aren’t happy. We live on caffeine to keep awake, and antidepressants to try to maintain some semblance of happiness. And still, the majority of people don’t like their jobs. A lot of them HATE their jobs. And what else would you expect, from a society whose value system is so messed up that it thinks that people have incarnated into an Earth existence in order to produce widgets and make money 50+ hours per week. And if you don’t buy into that skewed value system, then, society says, YOU are the one who needs your head examined.

        Total BS article.

        1. Another entitled white man who is unhappy at life and thinks his way is the only way, despite being miserable. This is so awesome and entertaining. I love the comments so much!

          It is amazing that people say they don’t care write such angry comments.

          Hey Greg, the first step to becoming a winner is recognizing that you are a loser. If you’re unhappy with your life, change it. Calling people names and getting angry over the Internet is not gonna help you one bit. You’ll be a loser for the rest of your life.

          1. Oh shut the hell up, Derek. You say I called him names. I didn’t — not even once. Read my post. YOU, on the other hand, called me a loser, twice. Stop projecting.

            And when/where in my post did I ever say I don’t care? I did not.

            I 100% stand by what I said in my post. This article is a bunch of bull, and it is an embodiment of everything that is wrong with today’s corporate society. I am DESPERATELY taking steps to get out of my situation, and though I am not out of the ball-and-chain, working-for-someone-ELSE’S-dreams life yet, I’ve made some progress since I last posted here. So don’t give me any of your cheap two-bit armchair pseudo-psychoanalysis. Deal?

        2. I’m so glad someone said this. What a bunch of arrogant, ignorant misplaced confidence this person has. Love the example of while he’s listening to 2 young people that are looking for jobs in laptop and one is talking about a seasoned worker getting his position. Didn’t mean they aren’t doing anything productive to seek a successful future. He saw them in a stolen moment of their day and he was listening to their lives instead of having FJ cern for his own client. Sounds so successful

    2. He’s not saying work at your job more than 40 hours a week. He’s saying he work 40 hours a week at a job plus side hustles and online jobs. He didn’t waste time on YouTube or video games, he built a side hustle that turned into a lucrative business that made him wealthy and made investments to keep him wealthy. He was smart and not lazy. The point is, if you want to get ahead, go find a side hustle (DoorDash, Uber, online business or a business at home) and stop coming home after work and watching TV or playing call of duty.

  15. As a person who has never had much ambition I am completely fine with becoming homeless and picking up change in parking lots if Im not told to leave. This will be a very full time job for very little monetary reward.

  16. This website is based upon hunches and personal anecdotes, rather something that was invented a little bit ago called science. Science has shown that a 40 hour a week isn’t necessary. It has shown that a 40 hour week is optimal. That’s what’s stupid about this website.

    Read the story of Henry Ford and how he outputted cars at a rate 3x higher than his competitors. Why do you think they instituted the 9-5 work week? It was due to him. We found out that people output the most ABOUT 40 hours per week. The exact amount is different for every person.

    And, people who say they work 100 hours a week are lying. Like the guy who wrote this blog, he didn’t work the entire day. He had downtime which is typical in finance. I don’t know what type of analyst he was (sounds like trading) but you don’t work all day. There are so many breaks you take throughout the day in certain jobs. The 40 hours/week recommendation is based upon total hours worked. Yes, in many jobs, you can’t maintain a straight schedule but if you do this, don’t say you work all day. That’s just stupid.

    1. Your comment is an absolute joke. Surgeons and doctors regularly work 60-120 hour weeks, especially in Residency. A recent study in my specialty showed Neurosurgeons AVERAGE 70 hours a week. And then people like you complain we get paid too much. An absolute joke.

        1. I know a few people who are rich as hell and work 70 to 90hrs a week. They’re also miserable and have destroyed their relationships because of their work schedule. I also know that one of them had to stop because it was causing them health problems.

      1. Hey doc, I got news for you. Doctors are in high demand because people need to survive, you took that career knowing you would work long hours to meet that demand. This is not the case or remotely necessary for most other jobs. Profits don’t need to grow, there is an arbitrary desire to most times. People should not work longer hours to compensate for a lack of planning and management that create delays or financially-threatening situations to the company.

      2. Is all that time effective time where you are at maximum productivity? You are always on like a laser pointing to an object for 60-120 hours a week? Must be a neurotypical personality type with no attention deficits. That sounds so absurd. I wonder if in those 120 hour work weeks you sleep or exercise or eat healthy, otherwise as a medical professional you are being a massive hypocrite to patients.

  17. I work 35-40 hours per week and make $145,000 plus bonus plus stock options plus a 100% passive side income. All told, I am at around $300,000 per year. NEVER worked more than a 40 hour week in my life. And I don’t plan to. If I were given a choice to quit or work more than 40 hours, I’d quit any day. Because of smart investments (NOT working crazy hours all of my life), I am able to quit if I so choose. Work smart. Not hard.

    Life is short. Perhaps you have been fortunate enough not to have lost anyone you love. My brother, perfectly healthy, died unexpectedly of a freak heart attack (age 61). My cousin also died unexpectedly at age 45. (Again: a freak medical issue that he showed no symptoms of.) My mom died within four months of being diagnosed with a glioblastomo brain tumor. My dad died eight months after my mom. None of them were able to take their money with them in death. Unless you have figured a way to do that, then why the bloody h*!! are you advocating everyone kill themselves while alive?

    So if you think working those hours is “getting you ahead” in life, great. But how much life do you have left. What if, God forbid, you are like my cousin and literally drop dead at work on a Monday morning at age 45? He, again, was perfectly healthy and had just passed his annual physical the Thursday before with flying colors.

    There is more to life than work. What kind of meaning are you getting from life? What memorable life moments are you creating with and for those you love? What deep, lasting, memorable moments are you creating for YOU?! How will your loved ones remember you? What “treasured memories” will they have? “Being lazy” takes on many forms–not just financial. One can “be lazy” in how much time and attention one gives to friends, family, pets, etc.

    I know my comments are falling on deaf ears. You’re in a different place in your life and are incapable of true understanding because (again, thank God) you likely haven’t had the kind of soul-crushing, heart breaking loss that many others have experienced. (That is not a judgement; it’s just a statement of fact. Like you, before experiencing loss through death of loved ones, intellectually I could understand the comments about loss and living life to the fullest. But emotionally, I was incapable of undestanding.

    Post again in 10 or 15 years (hoping you are still alive). I’d be interested to see how your perspective changes.

    In the meantime, I truly hope you can get more of a life than just working and focusing on your financial statements.

    1. I agree. If you don’t want to get ahead, don’t work longer than 40 hours a week. If you do want to try to get ahead, it’s probably worth working longer hours as there are an endless number of things to learn and do.

      Everything is rational and I’m glad you have found your perfect balance.

      1. “If you don’t want to get ahead, don’t work longer than 40 hours a week,” is debatable. While “getting ahead” is relative, I would say Heather’s description of her life would certainly qualify.

        Keeping your work to 40 hours while being as efficient and intentional as possible, can produce better results than the average person working 60+ hours. It’s about the results you produce in your work week, not the number of hours you work to get them.

        I only work 40 hours a week on average. From 2015-2018 I doubled my income and received a promotion. Since 2018, I have increased my income by another 50%. I have recently been selected to be the director of our first satellite office in another city, which will be another promotion and increase in income. You can certainly get ahead while working 40 hours a week, but you need to bust your a** for those 40 hours.

        1. I mean like what the hell. “Getting ahead” – most people that work 40h a week make like 40-50k a year, if you can make 300k with 40h what more of getting ahead do you need? He ist still 6x better than your average dude. I don’t get that. And the biggest force in universe is compound interest anyway, but you cannot force it, only time can…

    2. In what position/field do you work if I may ask? I share your views, I’d rather quit than working more than 40, I very much prefer a good work-life balance over working my soul off and not enjoying life for more money which I will not be able to spend. But looking at jobs in finance hardly any of them are 40hours a week

  18. Non-Bootlicker

    Capitalist propaganda at its finest. I know people who work those types of hours, I also know many people who abuse various amphetamines to do so. Have you ever heard of a nervous breakdown? Wall Street blow-ups? Work yourself to death, become a cog. Die of stress knowing they’ll just replace you with someone better than you. That’s what capitalism wants. This article itself (despite the disclaimer) is completely ignorant of the fact that most people in our society age, possess ailments, mental health issues, have large families and are immigrants. So yes, I would much rather have time to spend with my family, working on my health, working on my personal growth. Where I work, you don’t get hundred dollar business lunches. You don’t get to play golf with your colleagues. You work all day on your feet until midnight. So tell me, where is the room for balance? How do you spend time with your children? I assume one day you’ll be Cats and the Cradling your own children. Pity. All so that they can run around in cute little brand name sneakers and tote the latest phones and go to upper echelon universities, right? Thanks to you your children will become cogs too. Working more doesn’t make you more valuable to society, it just means they’ve got you whipped.

  19. I’m actually super shocked by the shaming that is happening in this article. This is an extremely antiquated way of looking at ‘getting ahead in life.’ For once, people are looking for balance. Finally, people realize that you’re not promised tomorrow, let alone being able to be alive long enough to enjoy the retirement you’re saving for. You’re judging young professionals sitting in a coffee shop on a Wednesday for talking about their career challenges. Ever think their job let them out early that day? Or maybe they took an important mental health day? Or this was their/their friend’s special birthday so they chose friendship over work for just one day. And here you are judging. Shameful.

    I actually used to look at people who worked 60+ hours a week and think “yikes – good on you, but there’s other things in life to enjoy.”

    I finally started getting ahead in my career and life when I STOPPED putting in 40+ hours a week. It made me work smarter. I got ahead because of what I brought to the table, not because I sat at it 40+ hours every week. Here’s the bottom line – if you can’t get your job done in under 40 hours per week you’re either not working smart and efficient, taking on too much, or you’re doing the job of two people which, in my experience, rarely equates to moving up the ladder anymore – it just means the organization found a willing and able body to cut costs for them.

    It all depends on what you cherish most in this world. For some it’s work. For others it’s time with friend, family, animals, non profit work, taking an active role in the community whether it’s work or play. But no matter what you choose – you have the absolute right, as long as you’re doing your job well, to seek higher paying opportunities within a 40 hour work week.

    1. That’s the thing. Anybody can do anything they want. They just have to be CONGRUENT with their desire and their effort. I hope people understand this point.

      Everything is rational in the end. This is one of the reasons why America is so great.

      Best of luck to you!

    2. Dear Tracy – Its wonderful if you value other things in life, just do not expect someone to compensate you for the non-monetary rewards you are happy with. I think the author is simply pointing out the hypocisy of expecting both. And – there are many many professions which CANNOT be excelled at within a 40 hour week. Period.

      Enjoy life – and let us who also want to achieve intellectual and professional excellence enjoy that. If the things someone wants to do brings economic value in the marketplace, great. If they don’t – then the person should build that marketplace… and it will not happen in a 6 hour a day effort!

      Let’s just admit it, we have become soft, lazy and self indulgenct as a society… which is why your grandchildren will be speaking mandarin to their bosses – and should NOT expect their ‘right’ to be a fulfilled individual to be respected!

      1. You’ve fallen so deep into the trap of unfettered capitalism that you really believe someone needs to be spending more than a third of their time as a conscious, breathing person working.
        Laura, I really pity you and the mindset you’ve been tricked into adopting. We haven’t become soft and lazy… we’ve become aware of what should be healthy and sustainable working conditions, and we’re just waiting for the employers to catch up with that.
        I want you to really think about your comment that someone who doesn’t want to work 40 hours a week does not deserve to be a happy person. Think about that. Take thirty seconds of your time, if you aren’t more interested in filling it with needless work, and think about what you said there. Thanks.

        1. Oh yes, because working to better society for more than a third of your time is somehow bad. Talk about absolutely selfish nonsense. “Needless work”

  20. Would love some Input into my situation. I work 60 a week in manual labor job and it’s just breaking me. I’m in FULL BLOWN crisis mode to find a new career. Being number and word dyslectic has hurt me professionally, but I am determined like like a RAGING BULL to figure it out. When I was younger I wanted Ferrari’s and Lamborghinis and mansions. Now I just want a paid off small condo anywhere on Long Island. Not afraid of the hood, of all my flaws at least I’m tough as nails. I love the blog FINANCIAL SAMURAI but at my 60 hours I’m about to breakdown before my 30th birthday, I understand the hard work aspect but this cannot go on for me so your post strings a cord of mine (anger) because I feel as though I have no confidence that I will be successful in a different endeavor Me living on Long Island I have a few months of trying to make it in a new career before the safety funds run out. Any advice to the gig stuff I could do?

  21. The system is BROKEN

    No one should “have to work 60 hours or more” just to make ends meet, ffs. What dumb idiocy

    “Be a slave to your employer so you can HOPEFULLY, at some point, make enough money to pay the bills and PERHAPS enjoy life in what little free time you have left.”

    Yeah… no. F that :P

    Also… seizing the means of production, so that FAR MORE STAKEHOLDERS in big companies’ operations, profits, and the like, get a say, not just a handful of “corporate oligarchs” at the top, wouldn’t hurt, either. Like… a handful of greedy “a-holes” at the top of each big or medium-sized company SHOULD GET TO DECIDE so much, all on their own, as if they “know best for everyone”, esp. EVERY EMPLOYEE working there?? As if… the employees- let alone average consumers and residents in the area- “don’t know jack”… lol. This is a very short-sighted approach to “economy”, if you ask me!

    If the economy, more or less, is “run by” or “led by” only a HANDFUL OF PEOPLE, then… don’t be surprised when the economy, more or less, SERVES those same people, primarily, w/ the rest of us ‘getting the scraps’ of their various ‘innovations’, companies founded, jobs created, ‘growth’ produced, etc. etc.

    and yet… we’re supposed to believe this VERY-LIMITED economic system (modern capitalism) is somehow “super empowering”?? rofl
    What a JOKE

      1. Yes! I am entitled to having a rich life with everything and anything I want just like anybody else because I’m an American. Why should I have to work hard or work more than others to get ahead. I deserve the best.

        People like you or making it difficult for other people to have a good life.

          1. Hey Sam,

            I appreciate your articles. I negotiated a severance package because of an article of yours that I read, so thank you! My thing is that at my old company I was a very hard worker but had a bully for a boss that psychologically tortured me to the point that my performance went down. I couldn’t think clearly and got burnt out. I’m in the process of starting my own business now, but am terrified to go back to corporate if I need to. In your article “career killers” you said to know your place, but I just couldn’t take being bullied after being a star preformer so I stood up for myself and that’s when my performance went down because of my bosses ego. How do you navigate those political waters without losing it?

          2. taking financial advice from a obvious communist? real smart…
            sure, you do indeed work too much, you shouldnt work more than 38 hours for your long-term health, but this nutjob is a self-entitled brat who thinks the world owes “a gold medal” just cos he was born in a place. ppl like him are the reason most of the world hates america. he doesnt think he should have to work for any reward, it should just be handed to him, “cos entitlement”

  22. Pathetic article. You people really have nothing better to do in your life than work? I’m a freelance programmer and I work 20 hours a week or less. The rest of my time I do my hobbies, read, meet with my friends etc. I feel seriously sorry for people who are proud of themselves working a lot. That’s just so freakin’ sad.

    1. Not only that, but the dude admits in his first paragraph that the reason he has to work so much is because he has no skills and is committed to not learning any. Then he talks about how he’d be fired if he works less than 40. No shit, you aren’t valuable. People who work less than 40 and still have their job because they can do things you can’t do. How is that hard to understand? It’s the old American “I’m better than you because I constantly put my nose to the grindstone.” No. You constantly put your nose to the grindstone because you don’t have another option and are too dumb and lazy to create one.

  23. Idiot Savant

    I should add (to my previous comment) that working more than 40 hours to truly “get ahead” isn’t so bad, if we define “get ahead” by “becoming very wealthy”. But a job ought to just be a job, and ought te be done within 40 hours, management positions included. Ordinary or even slightly above average salaries simply are not worth the additional hours spent.

    As for me, I did work over 40 hours, for a while, as I was trying to “get ahead”. My day looked like so: 1 hour to get ready for work, 1.5 – 2 hour commute, 4 hours work, 30 mins break, 4 hours work, 1.5 – 2 hour commute home. The days were long. On top of that, frequently we had evening or over-the-weekend deploys (I’m a software developer) and I did not complain and did those, too. Sure, it helped: I got a promotion to team lead and a marginal raise, and the company said they envisioned Many Good Things for my future, and showed me the various trajectories to what I’d like to call Management Nirvana.

    But despite being cognitively able to cope just fine (I was not depressed or burnt out at all), I did notice I could feel my heart pounding, as I did experience stress and had a lack of sleep. I figured I’d be fine since I’m only in my twenties, and common knowledge teaches heart attacks only really happen when your at least in your forties, so I wasn’t too concerned.

    Then, around 1 year in, I noticed a bunch of bald patches on the top/back of my head. That’s right: hair loss caused by stress. I wasn’t too bothered, but upon closer inspection of myself, I’d additionally noticed: an increase in facial wrinkles, a higher resting heart rate, and a higher body fat %.

    I realised this is the trajectory to an early death, and decided to change course.

    For me, I’ve been wanting to start my own business, but with ongoing bills and demanding jobs, this, of course, isn’t easy to pull off. So, I did something in between: I went freelance, first. See, freelance hourly rates are a lot higher than ordinary wage slave hourly salaries. The main difficulties are that it takes a hell of a lot more organising: you need to make sure you have an ongoing feed of gigs, you can’t just spend all your money as it comes in but need to “spread it out” incase of harder times, you need to figure out what risks you are incurring as you are not insured for certain things, etc. But the payoff if you manage to do these things is significant.

    By going freelance, I was able to double my yearly net income. I then was VERY STRICT WITH MYSELF and did not increase my expenses (save a few smaller things that I’d been wanting for ages, like better clothes). Instead, I saved & saved & saved and am now living on my savings, self-funding by business that I’m trying to get going.

    If I can’t get things running before my savings run out (in about 6 months), I will simply rinse & repeat. Once you are able to only have to work 3 – 6 months a year in order to cover all required expenses, you’re already very close to retirement, but without the initial wait & hustle. I prefer this over investing in stocks etc, because it allows me to LIVE NOW (I’m 29) instead of having to delay my life.

    It’s not a massively rich life in terms of wealth, but I get by just fine! 3 months work as a freelance software engineer pays me about the same as an average salaried worker where I live, so I’ve got nothing to complain about. Besides, it was mostly about freedom for me anyways, not about buying a load of junk. I’m a lot more free now than I used to be.

    Easy for you to say, you might think, since I’m in software development. Do you realise that there are many, many professions with very decent hourly rates? Dieticians and accountants are just 2 examples that I happen to know to be earning just fine, too.

    If you do not have rich relatives which can fund your startup or give you leverage, then your best bet for getting out of your shitty job is to LEARN YOURSELF A SKILL THAT IS VALUABLE IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY and then, crucially, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK WHAT YOU’RE WORTH.

  24. Idiot Savant

    Doesn’t it strike you as odd that despite many women having joined the workforce these past decades AND productivity per individual worker steeply increasing, salaries haven’t kept up at all? We should be at least twice as rich, but we’re not. In fact, we became more poor.

    Clearly, salaries as well as prices will just adapt to what the majority of people accept (or tolerate). You in the U.S. should follow France’s example: fight for your freedoms (freedom from poverty, freedom to see your family, etc) and you’ll notice how “magically” salaries will increase compared to prices. The economy will just keep humming on, but now suddenly everybody will be able to get by on 40 hours just fine.

    By the by – are you saying you delayed having children until after your 40’s? Many men seem to do that, but obviously for women time is somewhat shorter, as their baby factories might not work anymore by that time.

    Also, men, I should inform you that even if you are still fertile over 40, recent research has shown that the chance of DNA defects in your newborn increases massively over age 40, so you might want to consider starting younger anyways…

    Search “Older fathers put health of partners, unborn children at risk” and you should be able to find the article.

    1. Some of us do. I’m a programmer. I work probably 35 a week on average. If I’m confronted about it, I get a new job. It’s really all about how easy you are to replace. Honestly I could do 5 hours of work per week and still probably be OK because nobody in this area can program.

  25. keshav bisht

    I sleep 8 hours each day. Commute 2 hours.
    Work 8 hours. Remaining 6 hour are for myself and my family. And taking care of ourselves, family and friends is most important for us. If we are already giving less time to what’s most important,how can we expect more work hours.i would vote for 6 hours day. These hours were defined by factory owners many decades ago, which should change now. We work to earn for living and if their is no time to live, what’s the point.

  26. Seriously? It’s not how much you work, it’s how you manage what you make. To me, 40 hours is more than enough, especially when you have a home and family.

    How long does it take you away from your home? Well, you have to get up and get ready, it takes time to drive there and drive home, and in the middle of the day you have a lunch break. I am 60 now and retired, but for me I was away from home for about 10 hours a day during the work week.

    1. If you’re not complaining about your financial situation, career, etc, then no worries! This post is not for you.

      I totally believe kicking back and relaxing is great. But not so much if you want to build wealth.

      1. Building wealth working 60 hrs week? You build wealth by having others work for you 60 hours a week.

      2. 40 hours a week is just fine for me. 80 hours means you must not have a life? Being a corporate slave is not high on my list. You baby boomers sure love to work all day and watch football. Talk about a lame lifestyle.

  27. I’m just really surprised at the comments. I can only speak to my experience. I worked fast food when I was kid. Then in college I worked production in manufacturing. In a building that used steam for processing operations and there was no air conditioning in the summer. It was usually over 90 deg inside in the summer. I made it through college paying for a good portion myself. Met my wife later who paid for most of college herself. We both had student loans to pay off.

    My first job I only made $36k as salary. But they also paid straight-time overtime which I didn’t quite understand as a salary employee. But I worked a fair amount of overtime. I went to work for another company and worked on an MBA at night. Company had tuition reimbursement so I only had to pay the tax on that reimbursement. At that point I was working about 40 hours a week and then doing another 20+ hours for an MBA. Plus commute time. With a new baby at home. Suffice it to say, it was difficult and I didn’t sleep enough and it was affecting my health but I knew it was temporary.

    I don’t feel like I learned a ton in the MBA, but it opened a door for a new job, still in manufacturing. I went to work there. About a year after that, my boss wanted to retire and I raised my hand and volunteered for the job. Nobody else wanted it so I got the job. Got a nice raise because I was low paid person in the department. The people who would now report to me were making more! I still work there, over 10 years now. We’ve helped grow the company 10 fold. There were some bonuses over the years. But the main factor is my salary is higher than average in this LCOL area. I can’t retire early (yet) or anything. But I should be able to pay for retirement and my kids college.

    I’m not bragging. And I was blessed to not start out from a single parent home in the inner city at the poverty level. But I went to public schools as a kid and had to work through college. You can get ahead. You have to work your ass off along the way. I’m mid-40’s now, still work roughly 8am to 6pm (sometimes 7pm) with usually a 10min lunch break in the work break room. Plus 1.5 to 2 hours of commute time per day. Plus keeping in touch by phone and email on weekends.

    I’m also trying to get better at stock market investing. I started with almost nothing here and am making my way to a good retirement. I’m also dabbling in real estate investing. I don’t have much extra time so I’ve contracted with a property manager who does the day-to-day operations.

    I’ve reached a point where when I get home at 7pm or later my brain is mush from the day job. I like to relax a bit with the family and maybe even turn on the TV. But that won’t help me get ahead. So instead of going to bed between 10:30 and 11:30, I’m trying to make sure I’m in bed by 10pm. Then get up at 5am and work on whatever needs done….investments, real estate, etc. It’s working….I’ve found another productive hour in the day that was previously lost being unproductive at the end of the day.

    Sorry for the long comment. But the point is, I’m not smarter than anyone else. In fact, I’d say all of the people that report to me are smarter than me. But none of them want my job because I “work too much.” All of the successful managers in my company work a lot. No worries if people only want to work 40 hours in my company. But you’ll never get promoted that way.

    My vision: Keep working my ass off. My kids will have college funded. (We may design some student loan debt for them for financial education purposes but that’s optional for us.) We should be able to retire early….but maybe won’t. Invest in some real estate. Create a situation where there is some passive income (real estate) as a backstop….safety net….for future generations. Don’t want the kids to live off a trust fund. But who knows what the future holds.

    Trying to make the future bright for my family and future generations that aren’t even born yet by grinding it out now and working harder than (almost) everyone else.

    1. I LOVE your attitude. You have the right money mindset to get ahead.

      After writing on Financial Samurai since 2009, one of the key attributes a person needs to have to gain wealth is to have the right attitude. “Why not me too?” when it comes to building wealth.

      The only people who recommend taking it easy are your competitors. If you don’t like your situation, make some changes.

      Related posts:

      The Secret To Your Success: 10 Years Of Unwavering Commitment

      Spoiled Or Clueless: Try Working A Minimum Wage Job As An Adult

      1. One other comment that occurred to me. You don’t have to go to college. You don’t have to become a manager. Skilled trades are in demand, at least around here. My company struggles to keep all their jobs filled. It’s a job seeker’s market around here….the midwest, low cost of living area. There are programs out there to learn the trades.

        Mike Rowe – The Dirty Jobs guy – has a foundation to encourage people to go into the trades. They have scholarships. Just need to apply. Get a scholarship, become a welder. In the rust belt here you should be able to make $50,000 to $60,000 as a skilled welder. Willing to work hard and put in overtime? You can possibly get to $100,000 per year. Those salaries go a long way in a LCOL area.

  28. I got news for you honey, you really are out of touch if you expect people to be working 60 plus hours a week just to make the minimum required in order to survive in today’s economy. A lot of the older Generations don’t have the particular pain points that today’s younger Generations have… increased cost of living with little-to-no increased compensatory rates to deal with that, increase cost of healthcare, Les housing market, Les housing market for your money, less ability to invest, higher costs of higher education, with less in the way of loans and federal assistance for those higher cost of Education, Etc.

    You also seem completely ignorant of the people who want to work 40 hours a week or more and are unable to. I myself I’m still a temp, and I work and an at-will state. I got sent home early Tuesday I got paid no holiday pay for Wednesday, and I have been sent home early today. It’s not because I don’t want to work… It’s because of the people who are working, I’m the lowest on the totem pole, which means I get booted out first, When there’s less for people to do, in order to give the people with higher seniority the ability to work the hours that they have been offered. you also seem completely ignorant of the people who want to work 40 hours a week or more and are unable to. I am myself I’m still attempt, and I work and at will state. I got sent home early Tuesday I got paid no holiday pay for Wednesday, and I have been sent home early today. It’s not because I don’t want to work… It’s because of the people who are working, I’m the lowest on the totem pole, which means I get booted out first, when there’s less for people to do, in order to give the people with higher seniority the ability to work the hours that they have been offered.

    You also should not be forced to work overtime just to barely make ends meet. Implying otherwise to me tells me that you come from an age or rather, a generation, where people were actually fairly compensated for their work, work ethic, company loyalty, Etc. Unfortunately things just aren’t that way today. You are completely out of touch with how actual employment versus income vs expense works today. Oh, and to speak to your rather snarky, supercilious comments about people who aren’t working in the middle of the day complaining? Not everybody works implying otherwise to me tells me that you come from an age or rather, a generation, ra people were actually fairly compensated for their work, work ethic, company loyalty, Etc. Unfortunately things just aren’t that way today. You are completely out of touch with how actual employment vs income vs expense works today. Oh, and to speak tear rather snarky, super silly is comments about people who aren’t working in the middle of the day complaining? Not everybody works Monday through Friday 9 to 5 or 9 to 6 or a similar work day, some people actually have to work weekends, which means they have to have a day off during the middle of the week. Or two. As the case may be. Some people also work graveyards, even people who are the Elite like lawyers Etc… Doesn’t mean they’re going to be working your average work day. Also with regards to the two women on the bus, how do you know that that woman didn’t have to get up at 4 in the morning to deal with a young child commute then go pick up young child and commute home? I am scheduled to work from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. some people also work graveyards, even people who are the elite like lawyers Etc… Doesn’t mean they’re going to be working your average work day. Also with regards to the two women on the bus, how do you know that that woman didn’t have to get up at 4 in the morning to deal with young child commute then go pick up young child and commute home? I am scheduled to work from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. I leave the house every morning by 6 a.m., because I have an hour-long commute to get my son to his child care, then I have to commute back to my work which is an additional 22 30 minutes depending on traffic, then go back to pick him up, then in additional our long or more commute home depending on traffic. So I spend from about 6 a.m. to sometimes as late as 8 p.m. out of the house every single day, away from my seven-month-old son. Do you really think that that’s not a long day, no matter how you twist or describe it?

    Just because I’m only scheduled eight or nine hours in a day doesn’t mean that’s all that I’m doing during the day and it doesn’t mean that that’s the only time that I spend away from my home and my family. And I can guarantee you that a lot of the people you’re implying or being lazy, or just aren’t working hard enough, are in the same kind of boats.

    So yes, I say again, your way the hell out of touch with reality, and as far as I’m concerned? You’re pretty out of line with your data points 2, which aren’t data points they’re your opinions, just by the way.

  29. The 40 hour work week is literally supposed to bring in enough to live on and half the people i know can’t even do that.

    Holy shit what planet do you live on

  30. Slightly daft advice. Maybe it works if you’re a trader, biglaw lawyer, or in IB where you make 150K++ for those extra hours. Maybe it works if you’re an hourly employee, and extra hours actually translate to extra income.

    Want to know the situation for most of us? We get in to work, work 40+, and are then paid for 40 hours or less, based on the same salary as 10+ years ago. I suppose I could sue my employer for mandated OT (i.e. to actually pay for the work I’m doing), but I don’t imagine my employment relationship afterwards would be excellent.

    Also, frankly, your view as to people who aren’t willing to work unpaid OT is about as myopic as can be. Yes, it’s true enough in IB and biglaw, where it’s not really unpaid OT because you’re being paid a truckload. It’s not true in most salaried positions. The manager making 150K ain’t making jack if he’s not being paid hourly.

    Also, though you won’t agree because it won’t fit your agenda, the reality is that golf, meetings with clients, company teambuilding retreats and such are not real work. It’s not to say they don’t add value, but if you’re comparing your lunchtime martini to a janitor literally wiping your shit off the toilet bowl….well you’re quite deluded.

    I agree that people should bitch less and work to improve their situations more. Working longer hours though won’t necessarily do that. I went from a 70-80h/w job to a 40-50h/w job which pays me more and requires less overhead (100% remote, etc). That leaves me more time to do things I love, and to focus on earning income in other ways.

  31. Yea Yea high horseman go on pushing that Propaganda to the sheep who might have lapped it up 40 years ago but this generation and the one under it don’t buy that B.S. any more then we believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Math tells the real truth to the story and forms the base of a really easy to understand equation…………#1 Over 40 hours is OT over time in the USA and if your single male or female the tax % rate for OT hours even at minimum wage pay rates is high and it makes it pointless to work more then 50 hours in any one work week or pay period week. Now if your married or have kids or both then you can get away from the Tax hike and Over time becomes slightly more practical for those people who also have a motivation for working 60-70 hours a week leaving only 50 hours for sleep and other activity or 60 depending.
    Moving on to the next series of complaints regarding company forced OT and working more then 40 hours per week……… and personal wealth or gain. People may find it really hard to enjoy those sports or hobbies during retirement age if they are to old and broke down to enjoy the fun. Yea a 65-70 year old man might be able to afford that new Mustang or Corvette but it’s not like that will win him any women other then the gold digger type and I promise that sounds better then the reality of it. Sex is not very fun when your partner is faking it 100% of the time or trying to get out of it 50% of the time. The only way to enjoy some of life’s gifts is when you have youth on your side and health. Health is a gamble at best based mostly on DNA which you and I do not control and it’s handed down to you. Sure you can cheat the reaper for a bit and exercise and eat right and say your night time prayers, take your vitamins, say three hail Marry’s and then go shut the fuck up when you get ball sack cancer at age 43 looking like Mr. Olympia. Life simply does not work the way many think that it does and it simply is not fair and that sucks a big one…………..simple fact of it is that some people have two parents that are either wealthy or close to wealthy and they provide not only a economic boost but a educational and environmental emotional boost for their offspring. The other people don’t enjoy that life so they fight harder and try other paths like the military or work or college after hours. Some go on to make wealth via ideas or via scams………mostly scams.
    I can go on all day and probably if I wanted to work hard for free…..provide %’s graphs, and even first person testimony as to why working more does not = more wealth or more happiness in life. Simple Steven says that American workers have figured out that they got sold under the bridge to Chinese slaves and are finally starting to open their glued shut eyes to the wrongs of the labor unions, companies, government, elite, and even in many cases local officials trying every day to scam more cash out of the hands of the people who earned it any way they could. I think the writer of this article actually needs a taste of ( Everything taken away and bank accounts put on hold for 10 years ) See if that motivates his or her thoughts on 40 hour work weeks. I can promise you that no matter how many hours per week you work if the hourly pay is low or minimum wage or for that matter under 20$ hourly it wont matter how many hours you put in weekly you will stay in a poor state of financial being due to the high cost of living and other problems associated with getting to work on time……..vehicle and forced insurance costs, forced medical insurance costs, high rental fees if you can’t find room mates or family to rent off of, repairs and vehicle maint. costs. Whoops forgot those college loan or educational costs, whoops forgot to add the costs of legal fees or divorce fees or lawyer fees, whoops what about ankle biter fees!!
    The only keys to saving or earning money I have found are basic #3 factors…………Don’t have kids or get married unless you make 50,000$ a year period and really that number needs to be 75,000$ a year for it to work out great. #2 Don’t over spend on shit like cars and things you don’t need all the time…..IE fancy dinners and eating out every week. #1 Make more money then you spend on living life………good luck with that I failed at it.

  32. Middle-Class Millennial

    This is just extremely awful advice. As the adage goes – work smarter, not harder. To say that those that disagree with you are simply complainers is also extremely short-sighted. Thankfully these newer generations (mine included) are valuing a work-life balance more than previous ones, more than likely due to seeing their parents shrivel away from the stress and burnout that your “work 60 hours a week” motto entails. Difference being you got to retire in your 30s – good for you – and the rest of our parents couldn’t until their 60s. I think if you hadn’t had the luck to retire early you wouldn’t be gleefully judging the rest of us from your high horse. Ditto if your job didn’t include constantly schmoozing with clients and such.

    Seriously – most financial gurus advise that the key is to gradually wean yourself off from having to work as many hours so you can gain financial freedom. If you can retire early, even better, but no true “fiancial guru” would advise working yourself to death to get to that point. This isn’t a race.

    There are a few people who *can* work like robots for 30+ years, such as the janitor you mentioned, or my neighbor who consistently works overtime at UPS. There are even stimulants that can help you become more robot-like. But from the majority of people I’ve met including the UPS worker, this is a miserable life done only from necessity (he had debts and a family to support) or from putting money over the people in your life (wife, parents, children, friends, etc).

  33. Thank God for the comments. Reading this makes me never want to talk to another human being if the majority of us think like this.

    1. 75-80 hours per week sounds unbelievable. How would you ever get anything done outside of work? Are your kids raising themselves? Didn’t finish homework ’til around 10pm ’til slacked off that shit and other stuff. Now, feeling bouts of faintness as if about to pass out and heartaches. Many comments are mentioning wives. Try by yourself with all sorts of other responsibilities like volunteering and working to make life better for others, as well. Schools complaining not spending enough time their needs when doing more than some others. Basically, the issue, maybe as it seems, is pushing individual values on others that may be harmful or against the purpose of life for some. Say, for instance, you prefer name brand and so you push for all people to prefer or purchase only name brand cause it’s your priority/ value. Same difference to me.

      It’s a breeze maybe when you’re young with no responsibilities. Even then, especially for women, we would be throwing away our prime years. Once we hit that 40; for regular women, it’s pretty much downhill from there. Tried making the right decisions and in terms of family and career. Best thing to ever happen to me was my kids, and life taking them away. Life pretty much over now. Superstars and the like throw themselves in the mix with comparisons, but they have a crew who take care of most things for them. Agents, assistants, nannies, cooks, personal trainers, favors, bodyguards, PR, pampering, etc. Just my opinion. Please do not beat me up. Of course, aware may be wrong. Just throwing in my 2 cents.

      Viewpoint was that we share this planet, and it provides for us all. Source of all my talents, abilities, ideas, blessings, ambition, and maybe fortitude stem from not the self. I didn’t create myself so how can I attribute all blessings to only myself. Those were my thoughts at one point. Reasons for my decisions and behavior. Now, I am neutral and try not to think too much just make it thru each day ’til my name is called for whatever awaits us after this life.

      Not complaining; just sharing a perspective cause aware nothing is promised in life. Feel blessed just fearful of vultures. However, I have always never really cared for life ’til had kids to care for. Now, can’t say oh that’s life anymore — not just affecting only me. Don’t want the glitz and glam anyway. Not a competitive person. Horrible at hustling and have given labor away for free at times. Just the nature of some people; I guess. Maybe, one would have to live many lives to understand life; or at least aware of not aware of all life. Not sure. I for sure wouldn’t pretend to have it all figured out. To me, life is so strange and confusing.

    2. Agreed! This article was written obviously by the older generation who only lived to serve mindlessly like drones.

      1. I wrote this article when I was 33 and I retired the following year. I haven’t worked a day job since 2012.

        Being financially independent and being able to retire early is worth the hustle.

        But everything is rational in the end. Feel free to do what you see fit.

  34. Apparently you have never worked 40 hours dragging air handlers out of a 20 inch crawl space! I make off a change out about 50 bucks while my boss makes 1500 bucks in his pocket!

    1. Imean it dosent help some jobs simply refuse to give you more hours, or are crap enough pay that it’s not worth it regardless

      It’s not as cut and dry as “oh hey btw just work moreit’s easy, dont complain” some of us physically cant/are unable to I would LOVE to get more hours at any job I work at, but that dosent happen in alot, especially with major chains (like walmart) who budget hours to these people so strictly that I’ve seen fights break out cause somone got bonus hours

    2. How did your boss become the boss? Did he or she get there working 40 hours a week or less?

      I’m genuinely curious.

    3. I’m in full blown crisis mode to get out of hvac ASAP. I can’t work more then 40 and need a new career ASAP. The chemicals, the dust, aspectos. All in life i pray for now is a decent job and a paid off condo.

  35. Your answer is right here. U said it yourself.
    ”It’s not like the 75-80 hours a week spent on work is all work either. It’s fun to interact online, go play golf with clients, get some lunch and earn some income in the process.”
    Not everyone works them cushy ass wanna be “tough” jobs. None of your data points are worth anything. Every job you spoke of was just little office work sissy’s. Like yourself.
    When them extra hours of actual work u claim isn’t shit. Your speaking about people, A. That don’t mind overtime an comfortable with their income or don’t need or care to have more. Or they find their personal Time way more valuable. Some people don’t have a lil bitch twat of a job. You know people that actually have to earn it. Not “playing golf” or going out to “company lunch” or “playing online” outside of the actual work.
    Though none of your data points I would ever even think of as “work”. Every data point job u spoke of, even your job sounds like an complete vacation. Hell I would of been steady pushing 100 a week if I had worked some lil twat like job like that myself.
    But from past experience.
    Some of us actually work like MEN. An don’t have these lil female office paper pushing jobs ect. I now work for myself but what about say like where I was. A steel maker. Basically did the chemistry of 80 ton batches of steel at 2,900° among so much more. Shifts are 12 hours an 15 minutes. Unless we were needed to work 16. Longest day I put in was 18.5 hours aside from that. Example my money was good enough I didn’t care to have overtime. Still done it ect. But most of the work was backbreaking in that place. Beyond extremely hot and deadly. Had many friends killed there.
    So 12 hours 15 minutes plus an hour drive to an from 60-84 hours a week. I would wake up at 3 am leave about 3:20am. Drive an hour. Have just enough spare time to maybe stop to grab a lunch or breakfast for work. Get there get suited up in all kinda special shit for a meeting and work to start at 5am after. Their wasn’t any “golfing”. It was work from getting there to leaving.
    Anyone call out get ready to be forced into 16 hours.
    But would work to 5pm. Mans work. Not that twat stuff you claim as work. So by time Ild get home 6pm. Dragging from heat exhaustion and back an joint pains 6:30 or so comes around finally showered. And can manage to sit for a few minutes just to get back on the feet to put anything together to eat. So any relaxing can take place. Because by that time theirs not really much can be done with kids ect that has school to dress up an go do anything at that time.
    Getting in the bed finally comes around 10pm or so.

    For what 4 hours of sleep just to do it all again. So maybe the lil way job you had allowed 50 of free fun an relaxful time with the family. I had a easy day if I had to work and just come home to eat.

    It’s a whole other story if I needed to wash uniforms ect. I would not let the wife do it because of the amount of lead dust ect I was taking home on me Ild have to undress before going in next to my vehicle in the garage. And if I needed to cut grass ect.

    Though that lil job u had which was so cushy I’m sure u had ample time for the lawn ect.

    Point is some people don’t want need or care to have overtime. Even if they need it. Sometimes shit just isn’t completely worth it. At times I could of used extra an others not so much. But when u have no worthy time with your family and your joints in your hands are clicking and snapping and back hurting at 30. Fuck the overtime. Far as I’m concerned you and anyone u spoke of in your lil data points are all pusses.
    None of y’all know what REAL work is.

    1. PatrickStar

      So much hatred on this comment. Sounds like you’re too stressed out of your job brother, because of the fact that you posted this at 2am.

      People need to adapt to the world we live in, there’s a lot of ways to make money in this world and one over another doesn’t make a man a man or a woman more of a woman. Currency is currency, however it’s earned. Don’t blame others about personal frustrations; people need not to complain nor play victims, they need to do their best to exit the rat race.
      Maybe you should spend this little time you have to learn a new skill to pacify your needs. Just a thought. Sending you some good vibes and I’m praying for you brother.

      1. Doing heavy, dangerous and exhausting work for 12-14hours a day will kill you, or the people around you. The pay is great, but useless when you’re dead. I work in logging on the west coast of Canada. Three people died this week here. Is waking up at 2:00am to get up a mountain to cut down old growth forests worth that $100,000/yr. Maybe. I feel the steel makers pain. When you work that much in a tough job, you tend to go crazy. Typically that gets exacerbated with alcohol or other substances. The 40 hour work week was implemented as a direct response to these types of jobs. I’m just guessing but I feel that as a result of our debt ridden culture, employers are more empowered to ask more from employees and there is percieved to be nothing the employee can do about it. Saving money is the way out, if you’ve got the focus. I’ve been killing myself for the last seven years with jobs like these, but I’ve put away a tidy little sum and with the help of blogs like these and other resources have learned to invest. Now I may just work as a bicycle mechanic.

        Brother, save your money and get out of that steel place. No job is worth dying for.

    2. People have the choice to work at which ever job they choose. Physical, labor intensive jobs are no joke. I’ve worked a couple of those jobs with long hours and to me, I realized that my own personal health, actually having the time to spend and enjoy the money I earned was more important to me than working in down in those tunnels.

      I now have one of those “cushy corporate/office jobs” and they’re stressful in a different way. Some people do complain too much and I agree that some people don’t know what it is to work jobs like the one you described but our world is changing. People are starting to choose to work to live rather than live to work.

  36. Rubbish, personal time is far more valuable than working 50 plus hours a week to be your corporate master’s bitch. Many studies have shown the negative effects of grinding out the hours week after week, especially on people who DO NOT enjoy being forced into overtime they do not want in order to have a job and live. We are sick of being told to suck it up, or that’s life. We should not be in a situation where we see our wives/kids an hour a day and are working/sleeping the rest. As more of us (the younger generations) value our personal time and space more than being somewhere we don’t want to be making someone we don’t even like rich, companies are going to have to adapt to more flexible working conditions or run the risk of not being able to find workers willing to put up with it. As the older workaholic generations die off they are going to find it harder and harder to treat employees like pack mules and be able to have anyone willing to work for them. No point in grinding out 70 hours a week for all of that money when you have no time to enjoy it.

    1. Kate Gordon

      Thank you for your voice of reason. This person who wrote the blog says he is enjoying “early retirement” and taking care of his 1 year old son. What woman can wait till they are that old to have their first child? He talks about other ridiculous ideas in his “data points” that may have worked for him in his singularly self absorbed “life”. Pure Rubbish is right!
      Kate Gordon

    2. I agree. This article is complete rubbish. Plus. $33,000.00 is NOT in the top 50% of top income earners! I almost cried laughing when I read that. $33,000.00 is considered working poor. You aren’t even above the Federal Poverty Level at that point. They can’t hardly even tax you as is at $33,000.00 what do you pay? A max of -30% of taxes after you receive your income tax return? I can tell you this out of my own personal experience. I was making $46,000.00 and was paying 12% in taxes. Which is roughly $5,000.00-$6,000.00 in taxes. With my children, I would receive child tax credits. These tax credits pushed me over and brought me back $8,000.00 – $9,000.00 in income tax returns. So $33,000.00 isn’t worth the time. If I were being paid $10.00 per hour, I would quit that job lickety split!

      1. Yes people work 49 hours a week they still exist. Honestly I couldn’t imagine working more working 4 10 hour days is absolutely plenty for me. All the naysayers who act like working 80-100 hours a week is great is absolutely ridiculous. Congratulations on all your money, but when exactly you gonna have time to spend it? Then again these workaholics brag they only need 3 hours of sleep which isn’t a good thing at all I would like to look like I’m 40 when I’m 40 not look 40 when I’m 25 because I get almost no sleep. That and I also enjoy life, that is not working. I work because I have to not because I want to, no money equals no fun so I do the minimum so I can have maximum amount of fun and spend time with my family. I make $37.75 an hour so 40 hours a weeks I beautiful.

      2. That’s bull shit . You get free money to have kids. And I have to pay my taxes to you .. I get $600
        Return . There’s the problem with our taxes.
        The kids are your responsibility. Not mine !

      1. Dude not every city or large town has your kinds of cushy jobs available. Some people actually have to WORK for a living and most places of employment don’t even hire full time employees, never the less do overtime.

        I could do an explanation about all the jobs that try to skirt overtime, and how few places actually have full time workers, because they don’t want to pay 18k per full time employee on benefits like healthcare…

        But here’s the deal… If we made the base wage higher so that you could get ahead with less work you know what that would do? That would get less money in the hands of CEOs who take the money and park it offshore, and MORE money in the hands of people who NEED it, and will SPEND it, and thus creates economic stimulus.

        If everyone is working 60 hours a week, that’ll hurt the economy. Do you know why? Of course you don’t. Because you get bored easily apparently and can’t handle it. You don’t know how to have proper hobbies, which means that you don’t understand that without people to watch t.v. shows, ratings will go down, and there will be less money available for t.v. shows. Same with Video Games, that bear statue, hand crafted wood furniture, fewer people will have time to go to resturaunts, they will suffer…

        Having people work more hours just means less hours for the economy to run effectively because you should get at least 50 hours of sleep a night, then you get 30-80 hours of work a week.

        There’s 168 hours in a week, so you have 118 non sleep hours, 30-90 non work hours, 10 of those hours are probably gone for commute to work, showering, shaving, and other pre-post work prep.

        So 20-80 non work non sleep related, to cook food, enjoy yourself, and if everyone ends up closer to the 30 hour mark the economy will crash. Not to mention that more kids will probably end up disfunctional.

        You don’t understand economics. You think you do but you’re trapped in a Neo-Liberal mindset that is basically false in every situation because humanity is far more complicated than standard logical analysis. If Neo-Liberal Economics was true, then Apple phones wouldn’t sell and they would go out of business because they are so expensive and not dramatically better than phones 50-75% of their price, but because people are relatively easily manipulated and want to pretend they are higher up on the socio economic ladder than others, they end up paying $1,600 on a $900 phone that they pay $50 a month on their bill for, plus another $7 cause you know they’re gonna break theirs.

        Meanwhile I pay $300 dollars for a year of phone service and paid $200 for my phone and it’s a pretty dang competent phone.

      2. generally when people say something is simple, there is an astonishingly high likelihood that it is not, such as “take out the lungs, put the 5 heart stents in, put the lungs back in, grab the kidney tumor, and sew him up. simple.”

      3. Cause/Effect

        “Look. I agree with this article. It’s simply a matter of direct proportion. The more you work the more you earn. Simple.”

        Actually that is the opposite of true. You might want to research ‘diminishing marginal returns’.

        also, if you get a tumor, ulcer, divorce, wreck your car from exhaustion from working too much, or your kid turns into a violent destructive piece of crap because you were never around to raise it, incurring $$$$$ in bills, did you ‘earn’ more in balance.

  37. Couldn’t disagree with this post more. I’m 54 and I’ve rarely worked more than 40 hours a week (only when there was a crisis that needed immediate attention). I have a master’s degree and am in the top 10% of wage earners in my geographical area of the country. Currently I’m in a senior-titled position and spend 40 hours a week in the office but only work around 30 of those hours (the rest I spend taking care of personal business, or writing responses to wrong-headed blog posts like this one).

    Anyone who believes working longer hours is the only way to “get ahead” is a sucker who’s “drank the corporate Kool-Aid”. Just ask the CEO of Basecamp:

    1. To clarify, you believe it is OK to complain about why someone is not getting ahead if they are working only 40 hours or less a week?

      People are welcome to work less than 40 hours a week, that’s certainly what I do. But I think it’s irrational to complain if you’re not giving it everything you’ve got.

      1. Your premise is flawed (Working 40+ hours per week = Getting ahead)

        This implies a number of things that simply aren’t true:

        1) If you work 40+ hours/week you WILL get ahead.
        2) If you don’t work 40+ hours/week you WON’T get ahead.
        3) Working 40+ hours/week is the ONLY way to get ahead.
        4) If you aren’t getting ahead, it’s due solely to the hours you’re working.

        Obviously there are lazy people out there who feel they are entitled to things without putting in the requisite effort (believe me, I’ve seen my fair share). My point is that just because someone complains about not getting ahead, blindly telling them to “work more hours!” is overly simplistic. It’s akin to a doctor telling any patient who complains that their symptoms aren’t getting better to “take more medicine!” Shouldn’t the symptoms be accurately and thoroughly diagnosed before a remedy is administered?

        Like the old saying goes: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.” Simply putting in more hours is rarely the only (or best) solution. Nothing “magical” happens when working hours 40 through 50 (or 60, or 70) that isn’t already happening when working hours 1 through 40.

        That’s all I’m saying.

        1. That was a beautiful and well educated reply, Roger. Plus the fact that we are all animals, not drones. We are not built to work as much as society would have us believe, as proven by the burnout and mental illnesses experienced by thousands of these workers, including myself. Look at Japan. They are very work oriented. So much so that they disregard human relationships, that would be built during off hours, as being important. The depression and suicide rates there are sky high. Building someone else’s dream and selling the precious hours of your life are not worth the meager wages they say you’re worth, friends.

          1. Precisely my point. You reach a level of diminishing returns after putting in a certain number of hours. People are not horses that should be run all-out until they literally drop dead. 40 hours per week seems to be roughly the reasonable limit of human potential, at least over extended time periods. Work smarter people, not harder or longer.

  38. You have a valid point Sam. Work more, earn more, of course, you have less time in the week for other things: friends, family, hobbies, etc. But if your goal is to make more money, sure that is one way to do it. Nothing new.

    The reason why most people don’t neccessarily buy into this logic is because there is a gross disproportionality in wages in this country.

    Let’s take your example, you worked in finance where your work probably received better than the average compensation: 50k and up. Try working 70+ hrs. As a farm laborer, construction worker, teacher, etc. There are a large number of jobs in the U.S. where your work is not compensated as well as other professions (<50k). My point, not everybody can work in finance or be a doctor or a lawyer and charge above average rates and earn above average incomes that would justify the extra hours of work or overtime put in every week.

    If I’m getting paid $50 an hr. Sure I have no problem working overtime. If I’m making $7.50 an hr at the local burger joint. No thank you, I’m going to spend what precious little time I have left with family and friends. I would say that the vast majority share my sentiment.

    Your article speaks only to a small segment of the working populace to whom more hours worked makes financial sense. You error in assumming that the majority of people can or would be willing to work more hours than they already do when financially it just doesn’t make much sense.

    Have you done any manual labor? How many hours would you be willing to work in a week cleaning the carpets at a top financial brokerage for $12/hr?

    As for the 6-figure salary janitor or elevator mechanic. That’s an anomoly, I wouldn’t assume that the vast majority of janitors have the opportunity to make those same amounts just working overtime. Some employers even cap hours in order to keep people from making overtime.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

      To answer your question, I have done a lot of low paying labor.

      The first was working for McDonald’s and stuffing envelop for $4/hour. See: Three Bad Jobs That Can Eventually Make You Rich And Happy

      The second was giving over 500 Uber rides in 2015 to see if I could make additional income. That was quite an experience. See: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working A Minimum Wage Job As An Adult

      The final lower paying job is me coaching high school tennis from 2017 until now for three season. The pay comes out to around $25/hour, which is not bad. But that’s more like $10/hour if you live in a non coastal city.

      But it’s really the reward of mentoring and teaching kids that keeps me going. See: When People Doubt You, Just Keep On Winning

      And maybe spending so much time doing arduous work throughout my life makes me less sympathetic for folks who complain about not getting ahead while working less than 40 hours a week. You can work less than 40 hours a week no problem. Just don’t complain. Complaining is an excuse b/c there are plenty of abled bodied people who are doing more.

      1. I am absolutely shocked that you consider $25 a “low wage job”. It has been an eye opening experience to read the perspective of someone so, so incredibly privileged. I do hope that you use your financial abundance and privilege to help others less fortunate than you. I mean this sincerely, I feel really sad for you and feel a lot of compassion for the person you are raising.

        1. I agree with April. Life isn’t so simple, we can’t all be wealthy Americans. Think beyond yourself and your human experience.

    2. Deanna Graham

      I lived through the nineties. Don’t drink the koolaid. The CEO and his buddies will slave-drive the salaried workers, then walk away with the fat stack after they gut or sell the company.
      For most people there isn’t a fat money reward, just the opportunity to work tomorrow for some more chicken-scratch. Go pet your dog and hug your kids.

  39. Playing golf, having lunch with clients shouldn’t be considered work. Try working a concrete labor job for 8 hours a day, or as a dairy loader in grocery, or any high intensity labor. Would send you and your golf buddies running for the hills. It’s all subjective, it’s all perspectives. Not everyone can get in to the position of leisure while working. That’s a luxury and a goal maybe to aspire to but you’re contradicting yourself by talking about people in france or these 20 somethings and saying they don’t work hard enough whenever you have a situation that in reality would be pretty impossible for EVERYONE to achieve. That’s not how capitalism works at least, it has never been that way!

  40. How is working a full 40 hour work week slacking off? This is utter rubbish. It is sad that you’ve bought into the idea that if you aren’t spending every waking moment at work then you’re slacking off. There’s more to life than work!

  41. There’s so much wrong with this I can’t even begin to start but I’ll take one little gem. Your adding on hours in the week is interesting. When I saw “35 to 42 hours a week for sleep” I though maybe you were only including 5 working days. That’s impossible though because you said work 75 to 80 hours a week and there are only 120 hours in 5 days. So you meant 7 days. Are you suggesting people sleep 5 to 6 hours a night? That would cause sleep deprivation because the recommendation is 7 to 9 hours a night. That’s not even the best part you said “that still leaves 50 hours a week to spend with family, friends, and extracurricular activities”. Did you forget about eating, bathing, brushing teeth, commuting, grocery shopping, managing finances, housework, picking up various the many things you need, going to the bathroom, getting your haircut every once in a while, appointments such doctor or dentist, cooking, getting gas or car maintenance, cushion time in case of emergencies, etc.? The various things one has to do throughout the week add up fast. I’ve had to manage my time down to the minute because of school. Those “extra” hours disappear fast. Talk to a doctor in residency that works 90 hours a week. By your calculations they should have lots of time but they don’t even have enough to get more than 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night and they never see their family. You couldn’t make it anymore obvious you’ve never tried to work that much yourself.

    1. I’m suggesting people spread some work into Saturday and Sunday to even the load. Saturday and Sunday are manufactured days of rest. They are arbitrary.

      I frequently work 2-3 hours on a Sunday so I don’t have to deal with a Monday rush. It’s much more relaxing.

      I also encourage folks to take naps after lunch to follow their body’s rhythm.

      The key to this post is “do people work 40 hours a week or less and COMPLAIN why they can’t get ahead.”

      If nobody is complaining, all good!

      Related: Be The Top 1% In Something, Anything For A Better Life

      1. That just how ignorant people can be. It’s really not a surprise at all… I work everyday an have for enough time to say I cant remember my last vacation. I’m working 3 jobs doesnt matter what day it is I’m at work. I have a degree but that’s just meaningless now that im out of school being 35 no company gives a shit about your degree it’s all about money and wages they dont have to pay an overqualified employee so I make due. That’s life right… well I cant wait for the day I crash my car into some ignorant politician that’s skating by in his $150k vehicle from sleep deprivation… in all my years of living my life theres not 1 thing in this world I hate more than money/credit in this failing economy. I work way more than any average you have yet I can barely sustain anything I own or even have food in my fridge, not to mention gas. I make too much for any type of assistance yet I dont make enough to take a loan out. How dafuq does that make sense. Now here I am stuck in traffic going to my 2nd job watching my car devoure the minuscule amount of money I make for wages in this economy. All I can say is “If you struggle and try hard enough and start from the bottom, Your bound to end up on the bottom”. As flawed as it sounds I’ve yet to see any end to my day to day lifes struggle to stay on top of anything financially related….

        1. If you’re working 3 jobs and can’t afford to have food in the fridge then you are spending money on unnecessary items or you are working very little hours for each job.

        2. Part time worker

          This is what makes this country a SICK place to live, NOBODY should be working 3 jobs to get by. That is being OVERWORKED what needs to happen is for wages to go up for everybody, including the ones that have worked at a place for 20, 30 40 years you name it. I am so sick of the companies or employers ripping off the worker every frickin day, week or year. We all need to let our voices be heard and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. A bill needs to be passed that all employers and companies to give out paid vacations, sick pay and holiday pay and it is mandatory for employees to use them. The work force in this country needs to CHANGE NOW

        3. Part time worker

          Nobody needs to be working 3 jobs what needs to happen is wages to be raised and less hours worked

    2. James Willmus

      Normally I love reading articles on Financial Samurai, there’s a lot to be learned when it comes to finance and I’m grateful for blogs such as this one because you typically offer good advice for free to readers. That being said, this post completely blows past the reality of labor in this country.

      For starters, you’re assuming that most people live an otherwise stable life and that we have reserves of energy left over each day to do more work. Well, this is not the case, people literally don’t have the energy, a lot of jobs require a hugh calorie output. Assuming a weight of 160lbs (average between men and women), working at a desk job will burn about 130 calories per hour. Laying around the house you burn 80-100 calories so a desk job is not very intensive physical work. That’s not so bad and it’s certainly reasonable to assume people can push themselves a bit more if they have the mental fortitude to push themselves, but the argument doesn’t hold up when the jobs are labor intensive.

      Jobs that require moderate activity like fast food work, police patroling, and janitorial work burn in the area of 200-250 calories in an hour. You could say these people are working 3x harder than if they were laying in bed.

      Now we can start talking about real physical work. Construction workers burn about 300 calories per hour. If you own a lanscaping and snow removal company you’re likely to burn about 400 calories per hour. If you are in mining or metal smealting you can be burning upwards of 500 calories per hour. The same goes for firefighters when actively fighting a blaze. And at the top of the list is logging. A lumberjack can burn 10 calories per minute, 600 per hour and 8,000 calories in a shift.

      The reason I use calories burned is because unlike money and education, calories burned is directly correlated with work intensity and duration. You have people putting in 60hrs a week in an office making 200k a year and you have construction workers doing the same and making 50k per year. So yes, for low intensity work it’s easy to tell people to work longer. But for people that have high intensity work or long duration work, telling those people to work more is insulting. You simply can’t eat enough food in a day to work like a logger, and you certainly can’t expect the majority of the workforce to put in more hours because then they’d be working themselves into an early grave. And it would be terriblje to tell that firefighter (many of whom are volunteers, BTW) to quit and start a side business online. There are a lot of people whose work is necessary.

      So why do some people work less than 40hrs a week and then complain? Because the job they are in does not pay well, doesn’t offer growth, and has few benefits. If you are in fast food, your job growth potential is next to zero. McDonald’s claims to have employed 1 in 8 American workers in it’s history, but currently they employ 400,000 workers. So only a small percentage of works ever managed to climb the ladder at McDonald’s, everyone else had to go elsewhere to make a living wage. These companies often resort to cruel tactics to keep people at their company.

      At Albertsons my schedule changed every week and I’d find out the schedule for the following week on Friday afternoons, so 36 hours advance notice. That was store policy because people couldn’t make plans ouside of work, so that kept everyone’s schedules free to cover shifts that didn’t get filled. Try going to college while working a full time job that has inconsistent schedules. The choice was to either quit (and not get employed because employers hate college student schedules) or suck it up and hope my boss is gracious enough to let me go to class (she was). And then there are unions. Did you know that there are unions for food workers? Through the union I got a $1 per hour wage increase, but I had to shell out $80 per month in union dues. The only benefit was a reduced rate on company health insurance.

      Speaking of insurance, a lot of places, including universities, fast food, and chain stores limit worker hours to lock people out of full time benefits. At Albertsons you had to maintain an average 30 hours or more per week every quarter to qualify for insurance. So basically I had to work full time while attending classes or else I wouldn’t have insurance.

      Then consider non-work related activities. People need to sleep and typically don’t get enough, people need to eat and typically don’t know what’s healthy and what’s not, and people typically have families to take care off. Childcare in particular is expensive and time consuming. A child will cost about 1 million dollars from the time of conception to college. Sure, you can cut corners here and there but there’s no way around kids being a big expense. Having one kid is not easy, but add one or two more and keeping them fed, clothed, sheltered, healthy, and happy is draining.

      Guys typically have no clue. If you replaced your wife with a nanny, there’s no way in hell most people could afford the expense, even if it was for a couple weeks so the wife could take a vacation or start a side hustle on the Internet. Oh yeah, and nannies (ie, substitute parents) don’t get paid enough anyways. Mothers work a physically, mentaily, and emotionally draining job that doesn’t pay a dime, offers no benefits, and very often there is no support from inside or outside the family.

      In contrast, golf is not work, it’s a hobby. The fact is most business deals are made in an office, not on a golf course. If you regularly make sales at a country club, your clientel is narrow and out of touch. I golf occasionally too, golf is 80% middle aged white men that are rich enough to afford menbership. The national demographic of workers, clients, and employers is far more diverse than what you find on the driving range.

      So to sum this all up, people physically working 8x harder than average, people who are purposefully cut out of full time employment and benefits, people who are underpaid, and people who have responsibilities outside work are all complaining that they can’t get ahead. And guess what? They have a right to complain. Most workers are underappreciated and abused by employers, customers, and our government. 70% of people don’t like their job, even though most of their positions are necessary and vital to the country. I’m sure 95% of people would like to spend more time with family and friends.

      Telling people to work harder is absolutely ridiculous when most people are already at their limit. The 40hr work week was established because 1) that’s the limit an assembly line worker can be on the job and give maximum productivity, and 2) workers in the 1920s unionized and demanded consistent moderate work weeks that paid a living wage. The weekends and evenings are supposed to be for personal projects and family, its a shame that our soceity demands 24/7 attention from everyone who works a service job.

      What is needed is a restructuring of our economy and society around new values, not demands to work harder and longer. People know how much money is enough to live a decent and comfortable life, we just need to find ways to change the national employment situation. I personally put family ahead of profit. If I’m lucky enough to have a wife and children, I’ll love them more than any paycheck. That also means I won’t throw my life away on an 80 hour work week for a few extra dollars. Elon Musk barely sees his family, if that’s what success looks like then we need to redifine success. I don’t look up to the ultra rich, I pity them. A fishing line and a good family brings more happiness than all the money in the world.

      But that doesn’t mean I or anyone else has to keep their mouths shut when all the jobs in the country pay 12 per hour or 120 per hour. The majority of job growth in this country since 2008 has been less than $15 per hour. That might be passable in a rural community, but 90% of the population lives in a city. The only saving grace has been the Internet which has allowed some people to make money, but the majority need and demand an actual, physical job that pays a living wage.

      So, if this post was intended for that 20-something taking a 1.5 hour coffee break, fine, those people can suck it up and work more. But speaking for the other 99% of the workforce that does their job and recieves very little in return, get bent. We work hard and what we ask is decent pay and benefits for our families. If employers are unwilling to do that, then they need to change, not the workers.

  42. I work 40 or less hours a week and make $100,000. All my work gets done and I’m on top of my projects. I work in IT.

    IMO if you stay completely organized and make your deliverables and then some then you’re doing your job. I never agreed with the notion that more hours = hard worker. I know people who work way more hours and waste so much time or simply arent competent. Why should I put in as much time as them when I can do their work in half the time?

    Bottom line: work smarter not harder.

  43. Logan Kennedy

    I went to college and got a Petroleum/Chemical Engineering degree at a large university. Got a bunch of student loans, and the job search for a job with decent pay after college was a wake up. I worked in the pipelines/well pads for awhile because job searching wasn’t going the best but the lifestyle in oil and gas wasn’t for me. 70+ hours a week away from family and out of town working in hotels for months. Oil and gas job was not engineering level because I lacked the 3-5 years experience for a engineer position in that field. Once my laborer crew/union got laid of I went to job searching again, which took forever and was very stressful. I was getting several interviews but always lacking experience and other qualifications. Finally got a job working on salary in a lab at a plant an hour away from where I grew up. I needed a dependable vehicle to get to plant where I work because old vehicle was up to 300k + miles. About a 1 hour commute and making 10k to 15k less than laborer in oil and gas, but the only real plus to new job is getting off weekends. I cannot afford to move out of my parents house yet, because of student loan, automobile, insurance, and medical debts from accident. After my two monthly pay checks I have about 500-700$ left over after bills; amount leftover depends on what gas costs, food, and other luxuries I spend money on that month. At this rate I will be stuck at my moms house till I am probably 30, and I am 24 now. Definitely want to move out of state later on, but can never save as much money as I want because of other expenses in life. Such as weddings, visiting family, maintenance, hobbies, vacation, etc.

    Health wise I try and go to gym or do some other forms of physical activity, busy as ever on weekends. Golfing, fishing, hunting, playing instruments, kayaking, concerts, weddings, etc.

    “I’m just another number in this big world, and a typical Millennial out here trying to make it”

  44. For all the people out there working in 40 hours a week I understand if you’re making good money. For all those working more than 40 hours a week I understand if you’re making that money. I personally work a hundred hours a week and make less than 30,000 a year it’s driving me insane and I can’t find any recourse. I’ve read it a couple of articles on his web page and everything suggested starts with an impossible amount of startup capital. Whether that capital is in the form of money for time neither which I have. I don’t understand how hundreds of hours of dedicated work just go completely unnoticed. This isn’t that early 2000s working hard to get ahead is a thing anymore. You work this hard and you make ends meet that’s all.

    1. that cant be right. you’d have to be making less than minium wage where i work cause anything over 40 hours is considered time and a half and making 7.25 an hour and working 40 hours a week gets you 290 a week plus your time and a half at 10.88 for 60 hours gets you around 660 a week.

      lets say you get paid weekly so you’d be making around 3,771 a month or 45,254 dollars a year.

      1. You forgot about taxes and not every minimum wage job gives time an a half or allows for over time

    2. Part time worker

      The workforce in this country is sick and disgusting. NOBODY should be working 40, 60 or 80 hours every week. That is being overworked and causes major health problems. What needs to happen is people work less hours while raising pay. Plus it needs to be mandatory all across the board that ALL business and employers give paid vacations and holidays to part time and full timers. I work part time and proud of it. I will never ever work full time ever

      1. Not “raising pay” but LOWERING COSTS! The government has to raise the value of our Buck therefore lowering costs!
        (I know that’s what you meant)


    3. I work at an ABA company. We only require a high school diploma to get an entry level position. We start at 12 dollars an hour which I know isn’t a lot but we’re trying to raise our starting wage and you are only making 6 dollars an hour in your current position. I recommend Center for Autism and Related Disorders. They have 230 offices in 33 states and they are always hiring.

  45. I work 40h/week my income is good. I would never accept a job where I have to work more. (Actually I will try to find something where I work less even if I get less money)
    I can not understand how you think differently. If you work more than that basically you live for working. What is the point of living like that? The only reason to work is to earn money you can spend the time you are not working. If you spend all your time working what is that work for? For me that life doesn’t worth it.

    1. Bingo. So long as you’re happy with your work and your finances, that’s all that matters.

      I retired in 2012 and have been spending about 25 hours a week on this site bc I love it. Work to live!

  46. Andrew Schmidt

    Nobody should have to work more than 40 hours a week to afford a decent standard of living. 40 hours a week should be able to comfortably pay for rent, food, clothing, etc., and allow people to save up for retirement at 65-70.

    If I want to work only 40 hours a week so I can spend the rest of my time with friends, family, hobbies, etc., like I saw my parents do growing up, I should be able to without being in danger of not having enough money to cover my basic needs. Having to work 60+ hours a week and sacrifice my life just to buy food and shelter, let alone luxuries? That ain’t gonna fly with me.

    Now, having extras and luxuries? Or choosing to retire early? THAT requires more than 40 hours a week, OR a better-paying 40 hour a week job. But then it’s a choice, and not about survival/basic needs.

    Basically, I shouldn’t have to resign myself to a mediocre, paycheck to paycheck quality of life just because I want to work less and enjoy my life instead of working my life away.

    1. So you think that you should be able to put in less time and get the same reward? If you want more money, you work more. What he’s suggesting isn’t a new idea. Ask Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, etcetera. How can you possibly say you want more if you’re not willing to work more? Now I’m not saying working more is for everyone, it’s not. But that’s what makes it valuable. I’ve broken 100 hours in a work week multiple times because I want the money and those paychecks are quite good for a job I’m only taking to pay classes. I decided I wanted to make more money so I took a job that has tough physical labor and as a result pays an extra dollar an hour. If you want to relax more, that’s cool, I get that; who doesn’t want to do what they want to do as often as possible? But if you want more money the easiest way to do that is working more, never stopping the grind.

  47. Good to know the solution to making a barely stable living is to be a wage slave. We do more than double the work of previous generations thanks to computational tech, yet get compensated the same or less. The rich don’t work more, they just have a monopoly on production, and use that monopoly to steal more from the working class (you know, the people who ACTUALLY work for a living).

    If you’re thinking “well I hustle more than everyone else, and that’s why I’m financially secure,” it’s not and you’re wrong. Even the highest caliber of experts can’t focus for more than 4 hours on a cognitively demanding job; that’s not a personal or moral failing, it’s a biological hard limit. Go read “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. Everything after 4 hours is low-value work, so I sincerely disbelieve any sentiment that claims financial security is strongly correlated with work ethic. The only way to get ahead is by owning things – either charging rent, or taking the excess value of your employees and compensating them with a fraction of that value.

      1. I lived in Europe the wages are much higher hourly sometimes 3 times higher for equivalent work back in the states and the cost of living in Europe overall is lower . Social benefits and safety nets such as paid sick leave , 60 paid days off a year , weekends off , child care benefits , nursing insurance , legal insurance, free college tuition , healthcare 100% coverage , co determination, worker cooperatives, unions , public funded elections , cooperative housing mixed with govt and private sector housing , etc,etc . It’s a joke to even compare the quality of life in Europe vs America unless your in the top 10% socioeconomically your quality of life is lower in the USA vs Europe even after the economic crisis still most of the framework is in tact in Europe and the American media keeps the mushrooms in the dark and fed shit . The USA is also the largest debtor nation and Europe the largest creditor so everything the American mushrooms have been fed really is dung

  48. dont worry about it

    i dont know why but ever since I started doing 6 – 7 day weeks on 4 – 7 hours of sleep maximum a night my lifes been changing around. I feel like my hard work is paying off. companies are contacting me after they find my resume on indeed even if im not applying directly. I only work in security. but the fact that I feel like the last several years of struggle is paying off and now moderately okay employers are seeking me out is an amazing feeling.

  49. MOST people, not some, MOST people work to pay their rent. They work to pay their bills, feed their children, and survive. That’s most people. So most people aren’t working to fulfill their financial dreams. They’re just simply not. That’s the world we live in today. That not getting anywhere is not complaints made of life treating them badly. It’s probably more attributed to the fact that they are too deep to get out of their situation.

  50. I work 40 hours per week. Sometimes as much as 41 hours per week. I have an IT job, work at home, and I make about $78,000 / year.

    To all the people who say they’re working 60+ hours, I don’t know what you’re doing but it really sounds like you’re just bending over for your employers. That kind of time spent on a normal basis is completely unreasonable.

    I’ve talked to someone who worked 60 hour weeks for several years. They said that looking back now it was a bad idea. Nobody actually appreciated their hard work enough and they regret every day of it.

    Yes, it is possible to earn a good living and not work horrendous amounts of unpaid overtime.

  51. I think it depends personally I think if you do too much your work level suffers. I had an ex boyfriend who would call me lazy because I was only working 40 hours a week and worrying about out relationship. I was working a rotational job that would looked good on my resume at my company. I got the rotation because I worked hard last job. In the harder job I found there was such thing as to much. He worked twice as much as me and only made six thousand more I am not sure who was the stupid one it wasn’t me.
    I actually am working on some educational stuff to me up. But honestly working 80 hours a week isn’t work to to me I want a family. I made 54k this year that’s not a bad salary and it’s great for family life.

    I do want to move up make some more and I am working towards that but not 80 hours not worth it.

  52. 40PerWeekIsAGoodStart

    40 hours is an average work week, in my opinion… Personally, I do not want to work less than 40 per week. I don’t want to miss out on actual life and health by being a workaholic either… And aside from the “day job” (a career that I really enjoyed when I was working), I do other creative work at times. It is not really a money maker at this point, but I enjoy the process and improving at it. I’ve tried to market that work and make it a little more profitable. Not my strength area, I must admit. It is harder to market ones own work for some reason. I’ve nearly almost worked full time (40 hours) and occasionally signed up for overtime. Once though, I worked in a mandatory OT place. That was not good. I was never alert, never felt healthy. That was 65 on an easy week, often more, for nearly a year, walking, lifting, etc. Even working at a desk, some days after 8 maybe 9 hours? You hit a wall and are not as productive. Though some days you really get involved in something and easily knock out 10 or more hours… or there’s a deadline to meet.

    Someone did mention kids. What about cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc? Is that not also work? It does consume time. I could see 40 hours plus a lot of housework being a reasonable limit. I’d prefer to work 40 on average in my daytime role- with willingness to put in extra time here and there when needed. I feel that if my workflows are efficient and I do not do redundant work? A normal day should be accomplishable in 8 hours, and occasionally a little extra required for events, and other as needed work.

    I am interested in how some of you are able to make the “internet business” work. Not long ago I had a great job that was aligned perfectly with my career goals, but the company was always short on funds. I was hired for a full time job, then my hours scaled back to 32 a week after only 3 months- meaning my health insurance cut and also income cut.. I tried to start a “side hustle” to make it through that time. The potential clients were willing to pay less than my materials cost. Within two months though, I was back to full time hours. Until another year or so. Then again, I was not. I was first offered to keep the position on a very part time basis (10-15 hours/week no benefits). That wouldn’t pay my bills, was simply not going to balance with a second full time role and I was up front about my intention to attempt to find a 30-35 hour position or flex time position, but that if I found a full time I’d have to take it. Came in expecting to start my part time schedule one day and? Position eliminated. AND- my attempt to start the side hustle was still online and known about, so I looked like a “flight risk” candidate who would work for maybe a year until I could go it alone. Not at all the case- but there were 50 other candidates WITHOUT a web site. I did find a very short term position. Then a role that was ok but not my ideal role, but was with a great group of people- the salary was just a liiitttle under my break even, and I took a second RELAVENT job for a bit. Which is a doozy to explain to those who are accustomed to full-time roles at more established companies where a second job is not feasible or even allowed. long story short that great group company was also tight on funding and I was downsized.

    THEN the unemployment. The UNSHAKABLE unemployment.

    I’d collected for 1-2 weeks before, during transitions. “I’ll find something soon” I thought. But maybe I’ll try alternate work as well- found some business leads online, took a stab at it, but the leads did not get results. The company/person offering them got secretive when one lead did get a spark of interest. I didn’t have more money to invest in advertising, dropped it, continued to search even harder for regular work…. I’d intended to maybe find a new job and maintain a very small side workload. Started to notice comments online about my “fictitious business” (not a success, but a genuine effort) and my job search was slower than any time before…. And? I’ve applied to nearly 500 positions in the past 8 months.

    I’ve been getting interviews, more recently than at first… about 40 of them. But no offer. All feedback is pretty positive, always “hard choice. we found that perfect fit. filled internally. underqualified. overqualified. good luck”. I’ve widened my commute range, widened my search to include other roles, and considered unrelated and temp work. I found a very short term project. That ended. Have done some volunteering. And keep trying. ugh. I HATE being in financial doldrums. And I LOATHE not working. I spend usually 7-10 hours a day sending out applications/interviewing. Never before has it taken me more than 3 or 4 interviews to land something. Interviews used to be “what are your skills, what can you do for us, how would you…”. But now, I’m getting almost 3 or 4 a week, and they are about “so why did you take that job, why did you leave that job, why would you want THIS job… ummmm we will let you know”

    Thank you for the motivation to take another stab at independent home based work. Any ideas? I don’t want to partner with any of these online “business opportunities”, just to figure out what I can provide with my own time, intellect, and skills and how to find the people who will pay for the service. I do NOT have funds to invest in a franchise or “coaching” or merchandise. I am hungry and I need to pay bills. Ideally would be something that I can maintain for a few hours a week on top of a 40 or so hour day job when I find one. This pecking away, then driving and meeting and waiting for zero income while spending on gas money is the pits!

  53. Jesse Brower

    If you want to work your life away go ahead. Not me. There are better ways my friend. I believe in work but I have discovered ways to earn an honest living in less time than the average American. I suggest you read the 4 hour work week by Tim Farris. God bless you.

  54. TheRevMaynard

    although Sam leaves out a TON of ways working more hours, hustling more, drive, ambition, asking for more responsibility, etc, still leads to jack squat for most people, i get his point.

    Here’s my life…i’ve only earned more than $45k a one-handful of years. most have been at about the $35k level. Why?…i’ve never given a damn about money, success, status, etc AND i’ve always been extremely cheap. Hell, i’ve probably spent more on shots at bars with my buddies than any stuff i’ve purchased. (and totally worth it! good stories to share with old friends when we get together).

    Yet at 43 yrs old, I’ve still managed to I have a house to myself, a mortgage of only $400, and ZERO other debts. Hell, i could get a roommate and pay for ALL of my housing cost.
    Could I have earned more in life? Sure. Have I avoided promotions and more responsibility at various jobs because i wasn’t interested in putting in the effort? Sure. Could I have side hustled at times to make more money? Sure. But I choose NOT to do these things. Unless you do something profoundly meaningful and special at your job (which, lets be honest, most don’t) work is stupid, pointless, and only serves to make someone else richer.

    I chose the lifestyle i wanted (easy going, low stress, inexpensive living) and that’s given me the freedom to walk away from any job any time i want and not lose a minutes sleep over it. Yet i still have very affordable housing, IRA, 401k, HSA, and other investments.

    My point is…i don’t complain because I chose the lifestyle i wanted and then found jobs that provide for it…not the max amt of money i could possibly make.

    1 major caveat to my story though…i don’t have kids….the single LARGEST drain on one’s income there is.

    1. You are so right. Jobs, especially today, are just making someone else rich off of receiving crap wages. Work for yourself, OR, invest in as many things as you can do when your 40, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

  55. Found this article after some disconnect with my sister- I work at a franchise my boyfriend owns. We work 60-70 hours a week and never ever have weekends off. She gets upset with me when I choose being with our staff on our busiest day over a party at her place 2 hours away. She hates that she works 40 hours a week now instead of 30 (she didn’t make enough working just 30) and doesnt understand how I like working hard. I was hoping to find a way to express to her that this is important to me and I like working but instead I just found others sharing in my frustration!

    ‘The only difference between successful people and those who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.’

  56. I am sure someone has already noted this, but working a higher number hours of week, especially over long periods of time, is associated with a wide variety of health conditions. You are significantly more likely to die past a certain number of hours. I imagine the financial benefits don’t pan out when you consider the brevity of your life, as well as the debt you’ll likely be in as a part of the health care system we have.

    Plus, beyond making a certain amount, working anymore Seriously retracts from your well-being. If you are not making enough to be anywhere close to that amount, you may find it actually costs you money to work more (babysitter, daycare), not even considering the emotional consequences of constantly having your children with sitters.

    I think this post is a bit short-sighted and definitely reflects American values such as the glorification of the pursuit of busyness and money, as well as thinking that everyone fending for themselves will result in greater success if they just try harder…. without considering the many other circumstances of their lives…

    This is not to say working extended hours short-term couldn’t be of benefit. Personally, I’ve found I’ve regretted the years i basically spent just working and sleeping. Didn’t get me anywhere in comparison to an overall shift in values and financial education.

  57. Kinda sucks not gunna say where I work but they try to keep everyone part time with everyone max of 35 hours I work at a grocery store not gunna say where but I needed extra time to get my truck done I’m a stocker so it would have benefited if were ever over by 5 minutes it’s a huge deal because of corporate it’s crazy and you want full time you have to works there for years like 20 plus and take all these tests to be full time and I work in a freaking grocery store nothing that serious a grocery store lol would love the extra hours but your just not allowed they put a sheet up with everyone’s name near the clock out saying how much there over I was over by 2 minutes 2! God forbid I worked two extra minutes for that 1 cent haha crazy but it is how it is

  58. Other side of the coin

    Keep up the good work!

    You can never get any time back. So, time is not money. Time is worth more than money.

    How much more?

  59. Every situation is unique so it does depend. However, when you got the time to work yet do nothing about it for 3 years making what equates to working 25 hours of work a week yet barely make ends meet you really need a wake up call. I know someone like that and it is baffling. But I can understand, it becomes a habit to want to sit around at home and relax but there are priorities in life that need to be met first.

    There was a video on Burgerville workers who talked about not getting by yet were working 26 hours a week ( Sure, if you are fine with the life you have, 26 hours can be great. But if you are struggling to get by, another avenue of income needs to taken or live with roommates or parents. As it stands, the only way you can get 30% of housing expenses is by living with another person. A single person would be spending at least 60% if not 70% if renting alone.

  60. Good luck trying to do that 80 hour workweek and keeping your family sane. One of the two of you is going to have to cut back working hours when you have kids. Or you’ll end up paying through the nose in alimony and child support when your wife kicks you out since she is doing a full time job plus taking care of everything for the kid(s) – daycare usually closes at 6 PM, and nannies cost nearly 3-5 times what daycare costs (we pay $300 / week, and that’s cheap for our area). If you already aren’t wealthy, you cannot afford the cost of a nanny, especially if you follow the law and pay payroll taxes. Your strategy of “just get a job where working longer hours pays more, and start a little website on the side” only works when you don’t have *responsibilities* above and beyond your only little selfish world. Taking risks is good, but guess what – your risk profile changes when there is an infant in the mix.

    Not to mention that after having kids comes major health problems as a result of pregnancy for *many* women. Some people are not blessed with perfect health. Good luck actually getting any assistance from either the private insurance company (who you PAID FOR YEARS IN CASE OF THIS EVENTUALITY) or the gov’t (who only cares about protected classes of people).

    Fundamentally your arguments lie on a neoliberal premise that the only reason you aren’t getting ahead is because you are ‘complaining’ and ‘not working enough’. Open your eyes – I’ve seen posts of yours before where you note that life isn’t fair. Saying “just work more hours” and ignoring any of the actual *reasons* people can’t is trying to have your cake and eat it too. Either life isn’t fair and these folks actually are struggling, or else life is fair and they should just ‘work longer’

    1. Good stuff!

      I think you’ll enjoy these two latest posts:

      Why You Must Make $300,000 A Year To Live A Middle Class Lifestyle Today

      A Day In The Life Of Two Stay At Home Parents Who Also Work

      It is hard, very hard to get ahead and raise a family in an expensive city today. It’s partially why so many people are leaving the coasts.

      But what is the alternative if you choose to stay? The only alternative is to increase productivity, take more risks, and work longer until you can’t take it anymore.

  61. New Hampshire Man

    My goal is to help people find ways to monetize the things they enjoy doing.

    Working 40 hours a week means you’re watching the clock.

    We need to focus our energy on the things that make us long for the clock to slow down so we could have more time to work.

    1. The 200 houre work week?

      No one watched the clock any more. It must be passe.

      When was the last time you counted how many people wear wristwatches?

  62. It’s true that sometimes you have to work harder and smarter but not nessesarily longer hours. I believe person should love what it does. If one find what he/she enjoys I believe it’s obvious that working extra time for your own business is very smart thing to do. Most people get jobs to pay bills, but not necessary like them. The people you have talked here about obviously found that they don’t enjoy their jobs, they probably not sure what they would like to do and still in the search. Working longer hours leads to exhaustion and burn out, especcially if one not sure that it’s the job he/she wants to do for life. Person can be more productive working fewer hours and having longer rests in fact. Also, everyone if different, not everyone has your energy to work 80 hours a week. So you shoudn’t judge everyone so subjectively or emply they others that don’t work as long are lazy. Most of the time, my hard work for someone else wasn’t seen and appreciated. In fact most companies just want to exploit and squizee every bit of juice out of you and give as little salary in return, maxiizing company’s profits. It’s esspecially true to starting jobs, they are brutal, discoraging and demorilizing. Perhaps if you grew to be a great specialist in your field and compaies wants you, you can pull your wait in discussing your schedule and salary, but it takes years to get there, no wonder so many people you mentioned feel the strugle with situations they are in. I agree that you should start somewhere but I don’t think you should be exploited and disrespected in the process. I have seen it a lot when companies are run by older old school managers. How many people like their bosses? How many people want to have a boss today? I preffer to be my own boss. It’s a new world now, and It’s time for a change. Making your hobby a job and income earner is a true luck and everyone should strive to find it. Therefore, putting extra work toward building your own business in the spare time would be smart thing to do, but not sitting longer hours in the corporate chair gets you places.
    I should add, that people live to enjoy their lives and not to work to the 7th sweat. So, they should spend more time to enjoy their lives than at work. I believe 40 hours of work is too much. Time with family, friends, loved ones and children is the most pressious, it’s a shame to waste it on corporations for a qestionable pay.
    Also having less than 8 hours of sleep (personally for me), or what ever is enough for each individual, leads to dementia among other disease. You recommend working yourself to the grave. For me, health is more important than wealth. It’s healthy physically or emotionally have good leisure-work balance.

  63. I remember back when I worked jobs that paid hourly, I would routinely pick up hours for people who didn’t want to work them.

    And then those same people would complain that their check was too small, or worse yet, that they weren’t getting any hours!

  64. This is a nice article, but it’s very much from an American point of view, where taxes are low and working harder pays off. In my country, The Netherlands, the marginal tax rate is so high, there is absolutely no point in working more or additional hours. For every additional Euro I earn, I have to pay close to 58% of taxes on it. I also have to pay 10% on additional pension premiums for that extra Euro. So my net gain for working longer / earning more is around a paltry 32 cents on the Euro. So there is no way I am going to work harder, take more responsibility or try to make a career, because there is no point. Others benefit the most from my additional work, so that’s not at all motivating for me. Instead, I work parttime and focus more on my trading / building up capital. Because despite of our high wage taxes, capital taxes here are very friendly. We only pay a small wealth tax of around 1,2% on our capital. We don’t have capital gain taxes or interest rate taxes. Dividends are taxed, but can be reclaimed for Dutch firms, so the effective rate is 0%. Taxes withheld on foreign investments can be subtracted from our wealth tax as well.

    I have concluded that working hard doesn’t make you rich at all. At least not in this country, where the lowest tax rate starts at 36%, which I believe is already highter than the top rate in the US. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that we have some of the lowest average working hours in the world. Also see

    Not trying to debunk your article, just wanted to share a point of view from a different perspective.

    1. Willem, I appreciate your point of view from a country with extremely high tax rates. I work overtime hours here in the US because I get paid generously to do so at my current job. I work about 44-52 hours a week and everyone says to me “Why work more, you will just be taxed more?” No, the tax is the same no matter what I work, so why not make more money? This year I will be thrown into the higher tax bracket cause I will make over 6 figures, but the higher tax bracket is only 3%, so no big deal. I would rather make over a 100K and take home over 70K than make 70K and only take home 45K. I also live in an area that is lower cost of living, so I can put money aside for travel and saving up for a house. I couldn’t imagine working in Europe with outrageous taxes and high cost of living.

  65. I think that how fulfilling a job is significantly impacts how hard/tiring it is to work. I’m by no means a slacker; in school I worked a part time job and took extra courses that I didn’t need to and achieved high grades (I know others do more but what I accomplished still isn’t nothing). I was tired but I definitely worked (including classwork as work) well over 40 hours a week and sometimes felt burned out but I could always push through it, because I was learning about things that interested me, that I thought I could apply in ways that would make life better for me and others, and I thought that my education would help me get a job that I’d find equally fulfilling.

    Now, as a college graduate working a 40-hour week job marketing a product that I feel has very little value, by creating very low-traffic marketing content, for a company that knows their marketing is mediocre at best (based on analytics, not just my opinion) but has no desire to try new approaches or change existing ones, I find that I’m exhausted even before the end of my 8-hour days. Now, of course I’m looking for work elsewhere, and I never would have accepted this job in the first place if I hadn’t been a recent graduate who needed experience-any experience-, but I did need experience and I did need a job so as much as I hate mine I feel I made the right choice to take it. I’m sure other people, especially those who, unlike me, have dependents, need to accept jobs that aren’t ideal sometimes. In those cases, someone may feel like the hours seem extraordinary even if they aren’t, not because they’re a slacker, but because they hate their job. And yes, if they really need the job they should do their best at it, but that doesn’t erase the fact that doing so is extremely tiring if the job is a poor fit.

    Especially if someone was a high achiever in school, not just in terms of grades because grades don’t always reflect effort, but in terms of effort, then not being able to find an employer who does meaningful work that wants to hire you can be genuinely depressing. I’ve been genuinely depressed for awhile now at this job, even when I’m not at work, because it depresses me that that the only company that saw my value has very little value to me. In school, you’re always working towards expanding your potential. Afterwards, if you work somewhere meaningless, it feels like “Where did my potential go?” “Was it ever there in the first place?”. Depressed people have no energy.

    Sorry if this post comes across as aggressive. I’m not mad at you, just my situation right now.

  66. anarchyanonononon

    working this 40 hour a week job as a cube rat is the reason i’ll end up blowing my head off

  67. I think this is very short sighted post.
    Ya’ll think 40 hours a week manuel labor isn’t hard? Maybe sitting at a desk isn’t hard. Which is why you can do it for 60+.
    The problem in this country is inflation and our crony politicians.
    Until these things change, I will complain it IS unfair. Companies don’t respect the employees.
    I don’t get govt. Assistance nor do I want to. Even if I need it. Their are people who need it more.

    It is a cycle they(the Rich, Elite) keep the poor in.
    Or do you really think the poor are happy where they are and stuck in their ways? I’m sure it is easier to believe that than actually finding out individuals problems.

    If you have a marketable skill that doesn’t always guarantee employment.

    1. Boy! I really Agree with You!
      The Feds have got to Raise the Value of a Buck & Lower the Cost Of Living!

      And I also agree that this guy talking about 90 hr weeks has Never Worked a Physical Job! I can’t see Carpenters or brick layers Laborers putting in 90 hrs, sleeping 5 hrs a night ( without even counting golf time & family shit) IT WOULD KILL THE GUY! The body wouldn’t endure the abuse in a laborers job! Not even in a Pizza Guys Job; much less working like a Mule in a Foundry!
      These kinds college guys don’t think of the Real Working guys when they talk about Extra Hrs!
      Thanks for Posting this!

      Kind Regards,

  68. Eduard Raducanu

    “We’ve got an immigrant janitor here in San Francisco who makes $271,000 a year due to working tons of overtime. He’s not alone either! His elevator/escalator technician makes $284,000 a year due to working way more than 40 hours a week as well.”

    OK,These guys are working double the normal amount. Instead of 8 hours per day, they are working 16 hours per day. They are earning far more than the normal amount. So, by this logic, it means that the immigrant janitor is paid more than 11,000 dollars per month for a normal 8 hours per day schedule? Meanwhile 50% of America lives with 3000 dollars top per month?

    Does anybody realise the lunacy of this post?

    1. Why is it lunacy to take advantage of opportunity while its there? Do you think he’s really working 16 hours non stop? There are peaks and valleys in terms of traffic periods throughout the day.

      1. Point is which company would pay janitors and elevator technician that much. If that janitor works 40 hours a week, they’d get paid $135,500 a year.

  69. Just wanna say I recently discovered your site and it is incredible! I feel that early financial freedom will be easy (I’m an undergrad now) just looking at the wealth of resources here.

    My thoughts on this: No one should be complaining about this article. It’s just common sense.
    The two prerequisites mentioned were (1) You work less than 40 hrs/week and (2) You are financially unhappy.
    Either you can just find a way to work more hours (and not just at your full-time job) or you can try to change the government or workplace system in your favor. If you live in the US, the government option is laughable, and it’s much easier to change things yourself than to rely heavily on others.

    Personally, I’m really excited to be doing ~80 hrs/week outside of class. It helps if you’re challenged and care about what you’re doing!

    1. The 200 hour work week?

      “No one should”, should is a generalization. You will find that generalizations often do not fit the real world. It is also considered a fallacy of logic.

      I found working 60-80 hours a week took a lot of interest away from something I loved and was good at. It was never the same afterwards.

  70. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and while I believe working hard is a good idea, I believe you are a workaholic.

    1. You could be right. Was there any catalyst for why you decided to read this post that serval years old now?

      But I don’t think I’m really that much of a workaholic anymore, or lease for the past five years. I average about 25 hours a week since I left corporate America.

  71. Sam, although I agree with you that people should not complain for not getting ahead while they do not want put in more time than others, working more than 40 hours a week is a mediocre, sometimes even bad strategy to get ahead.

    Productivity aside, people can put lots of hours in something mundane and repetitive, not learning any new skills, eventually their jobs got automated. These are not just truck driving or manufacturing jobs, most parts of your old colleagues’ jobs at Goldman will probably disappear very soon as well. Even executives in Wall street lose jobs for not being able to adapt to new technologies.

    For some people, the only way to get out of poverty is education, you can put many hours at a minimum wage job, impress your boss by hard work, get promoted, and make an extra 5 dollars an hour. Or you can spend time to attend community college or coding bootcamps, then make an extra 20 dollars/hour when switching to a new field. Sadly, many Americans don’t have the time of money to learn new skills once they are out of college. They are stuck in their demanding jobs day after day and are too tired to look at the big picture. Years later, they suddenly find their jobs are being taken away by robots.

    This entire idea of “american dream” need to change with the current advance of technology, “working hard” is not as important anymore. Learning in-demand skills is the new key factor of a high income. On a personal level, it means spending less time in your corporation job, and spending more time on learning. On a public policy level, you don’t want an entire country of hard-working but low-skilled workers who will soon become jobless because of automation.

    There’s another advantage of spending time on acquiring new skills: you can easily jump to a better work environment when you are not happy at your current role, making the time before financial independence much more tolerable, sometimes even enjoyable.

    Optimizing income/hour is far more efficient and happier than optimizing total income imo. The extra time you spend on work only benefits the employer, but the time you spent learning benefit both yourself and your employer in the long run.

  72. And it sounds like if I worked for you, that I’d be happy to leave for your competitor. If you’re that obsessed with success and money that it consumes your every waking thought, then that’s cool if that’s your thing. Other people have lives and are busy with shit that matters. If you want to label me a lazy sack of shit because I want to eat dinner with my family, play with my son, read him books at bedtime, and spend the evening with my wife, then I’ll happily wear that label. I’ve heard many times that the #1 regret of some people at the end of life is having worked too much.

    I understand that if people want to bitch about their circumstances then by all means they should get off their ass and do something about it. However from the tone of this post it sounds like you need to find other forms of happiness in life. I hope you find it.

    1. Not sure where you see that I’ve labeled you as a lazy sack of shit. Where do you see this, and why so much anger?

      I’m highlighting folks who want to get ahead, but who aren’t willing to do the work. If you’re happy with where you are, why does this bother you at all? I don’t get it.

      I retired at 34 in 2012 after putting in the grind and couldn’t be happier. Hard work is worth it, especially since it takes no skill.

      Overcoming The One More Year Syndrome To Do Something New
      The Fear Of Running Out Of Money In Retirement Is Overblown

  73. FinancePatriot

    Yes, there are. But I find complaining has only benefited me, when dome in the right manner. If you present your accomplishments and ask for more money, you might be able to get more even if you only work 40 hours per week. Most extra hours are of marginal productivity anyway, studies have shown. Any work I have done after 5pm usually looks like that of a drunken sailor, yet I was completely sober at the time.

  74. I hope this is satire. Otherwise, you seem like a good brainwashed American that thinks that we should get paid like shit while being more productive and making CEOs more money than 30 years ago…

    The US’s GDP is comparable to China’s, whose workforce is four times the size of ours and runs off of communist culture. That’s how insanely underpaid we are. China’s GDP should be greater than the US’s, yet the US government has consistently supported business priveledges to allow for increased income inequality and poverty.

    Get off the workhorse mentality, it’s not the 1940s. Join a union and demand higher pay, CEOs don’t need all of that money to not invest in the workforce or expand the company.

    1. It definitely is a little funny that there are people who complain why they can’t get ahead even though they work less than 40 hours a week. But in a land as easy, rich, and comfortable as ours, it’s understandable why many of us would rather just kick back. But that’s the opportunity given to those of us who are willing to try harder!

      We tend to get soft the richer we get, which is why you haven’t seen so much innovation out of Europe compared to the US. They got a head start, and I think the US will just turn into Europe over the next 50 years.

      See: Abolish Welfare Mentality: A Janitor Makes $271,000 A Year

    2. “The US’s GDP is comparable to China’s, whose workforce is four times the size of ours and runs off of communist culture. That’s how insanely underpaid we are. China’s GDP should be greater than the US’s, yet the US government has consistently supported business priveledges to allow for increased income inequality and poverty.”

      Using China as an example to highlight the plight of the American worker is absolutely hilarious. A clever satire of stereotypical American ignorance?

      Some quick facts:

      – China’s average annual wage was $8,655 in 2014.
      – 387 million rural workers (about half the working population) earn about $2,000 a year.
      – China doesn’t meet international labor law standards, so workers rights to join trade unions and collectively bargain are quite restricted.

      Sure American workers have their problems, but China is actually a great example of how great American workers have it compared to most of the world.

  75. Most people do not want to work over 40 hours as they would rather be out socializing or relaxing. I can work an additional 100 hours of overtime a month. Overtime at my office is available all of the time. Most people just choose not to do it. I have been working the additional hours and using the money to max out my 401K each year and contribute to a 529 plan. I also use it to pay for private school tuition for my two children. If you add up all of the overtime worked over the past years it is well over $400,000. There are people at work who never work overtime and live paycheck to paycheck. They do not have any savings, do not contribute to a 401K plan and do not own a house. I sit at my desk listening to them complain about how they cannot afford to take a trip to Italy this year or how their rent has increased. The extra overtime has helped us to put aside money to purchase a home with a 20% down payment. Our home has already appreciated by over 30%. It takes away from some family time and sleep, but it has made a difference in the way we are able to provide for our children. I do not intend to keep working so much overtime in the future, but just long enough to where he have a substantial amount saved for retirement.

  76. Shasta Jones

    You wrote that you had to get to work at 5:30 a.m. and you were expected to stay until at least 7:30 a.m. That’s only two hours. So why are you speaking against those who work only 40 hours a week. A person working 40 hours a week isn’t going to become rich and shouldn’t expect but he or she should not be in poverty. There are others ways to work where you don’t get a paycheck but it will save you money. I clean my house instead of hiring someone. I do my finances instead of hiring an accountant. I cook from scratch instead of going to a restaurant. I’ve grown vegetable gardens. I don’t do flower gardens–I only garden what I can eat. Other ways of working without a paycheck are making your own clothes or getting clothes at a thrift store and remodeling them. I have a 40-hour a week job and sometimes overtime and when OT is available I take advantage of it. I don’t whine and complain like many of my coworkers. I have never cared for working for someone, although I do. I have a lot of DIY projects because I like cooking and crafts. I’d rather do that then go to work to pay someone to do the work I enjoy doing.

  77. Wow, lots of suckers out there. If you want to work 80 hours a week, be my guest. If you think you need to work 80 hours a week to be successful, you are doing it wrong. You said you are a “lowly analyst”, obviously you are going to work long hours. That industry eats their babies. Avoid finance and you can have a good work/ life balance. I studied math and physics, obtained a masters in physics, and chose my job wisely. I work 40 hours/ week at most with plenty of skiing and mountain biking. But, you probably have a boring life, so enjoy being a boring person and working just so you can retire and continue to be boring.

    1. Greetings from 10 days in Lake Tahoe! The power is ridiculous now because we just got 8 feet of snow in the first week of January.

      It is great you have found balance in your life and work. You are one of the lucky minorities.

      But I will say that I don’t regret working 60-80 hours a week in my 20s and early 30s looking back on things now that I’m almost 40. In fact, I’m thankful I was able to work hard while I had the energy because it gets harder to sustain a good work ethic as you get older.

      Retiring from corporate America at age 34 to pursue your hobbies isn’t for everybody. But for me, not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for not having to commute to work, deal with a micromanager, or play office politics any more. Being free to do whatever you want because of your passive income streams is priceless!


      Financial Samurai 2016 Year In Review: Better Lucky Than Good
      Financial Samurai 2017 Goals And Outlook

      Go Tribe!

  78. This article made me feel like a lazy bum lol. There are several lessons I can take from this article, for now I am going to try to convince myself that working 55 hours per week is the minimum I should be working. Thank you!

  79. Bora Ozguven

    I lived in The US for 2 years and as an outsider I was really surprised to see how long middle-class Americans have to work to have a middle-class life.

    I can say that although The US is also considered a developed country, Western European Countries are way ahead of The US in terms of their level of development. It is not just how much money you make or how much wealth you produce as a society, but it is also about how you share the wealth created.

    It’s funny to see Americans have to work at 2 jobs to make ends meet while the Federal Government spends half of its disposable budget on the army creating more wars and misery for the world. It’s really sad to see students being have to work while attending college or seeing people being homeleaa because they could not handle their medicle bills. I think that there is more than enough wealth in the US, there is a problem with the way the wealth is shared.


    Not *live to work*, esp. to the bone

    Few people want to be in the office *all day*, ffs

    Also… you’re seriously arguing against OT? In 2016…? Jesus…

    Overtime is typically EXTRA HOURS, last I checked! Sure, some firm technically “require” employees to work “overtime”, but 40 is the established norm. 9 to 5 is well-enough. We need personal lives and leisure time, for god sake, too! If you sacrifice some of that extra time, you should be rewarded a bit more! Makes sense to me… but your robber-baron mindset can’t fathom that, for whatever reason.

    You sound just like the kind of goofy boss who would SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS at the cost of THOUSANDS OF EMPLOYEES’ FUTURE LIVELIHOODS just to save a few hundred-million in profits in the short run, even though it probably wouldn’t matter in the long run, tbh. All to satisfy some d-bag, rich/semi-rich shareholders who care more about their portfolios than actual people who are hurt by bad business decisions.

    1. Everything is rational. Your comment gives me confidence that everything is OK! I agree with you. If you don’t want to make more money, you don’t need to work as much. All about living a balanced and wonderful life.

      You should check out the post: The Fear Of Running Out Of Retirement Is Completely Overblown

      I retired from the workforce at age 34 in 2012 and could not be happier! Less taxes, less stress, more freedom, more happiness. Totally worth it!

      Also check out: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working A Minimum Wage Job As An Adult

  81. Perhaps I’ve misinterpreted everything, but I don’t think Sam was attacking people who DON’T work their every waking hour in this post, and I am kinda surprised at the hate he’s gotten (and the fact that seemingly no one’s picked up on this).

    It seems like he is targeting the people who work 40 hours per week (which is the STANDARD American work week, even if it is an obscenely large amount of hours to work), vocally complain about either not being rich or not making more money than they currently do, and do NOTHING to further their situation. No putting in extra hours at work to increase your productivity and earn a raise and a promotion, no side hustles to earn extra cash on the side, no courses or classes to further their education, no nothing. As if just complaining about not making more will suddenly cause your paycheck to increase.

    He isn’t complaining about the many people who ARE satisfied with their incomes; he’s talking about the people who expect to get rich by doing what unfortunately is the standard amount of work in this country (I do agree that 40 hours a week is a LOT if you are not absolutely in LOVE with what you do. I can barely survive 1 hour at my job). You don’t differentiate yourself by just doing the standard amount of work. That’s why I run a blog and a business on the side.

    Though honestly, Sam, I would have left out the part about “playing golf with clients”. Sort of something not applicable to the rest of us. For me, dealing with customers is just a matter of trying to survive each interaction with my job and emotional well being still intact. Playing golf with clients and treating them to fancy steakhouse dinners on the company card is not exactly in my itinerary.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  82. I’m not sure your estimate of 35-42 hours of sleep a week is healthy for everyone. It averages out to about 5-6 hours a night, but the average amount of sleep most people need varies from 7.5 – 9 hours. Everyone’s different, though, so some people need less – like you – and others need more. There’s a lot of research out there on how sleep deprivation impacts your immune system, your memory, and your ability to function day to day, especially when driving a vehicle. There have been a few studies saying that sleep deprivation can impair your ability to drive just as badly as having a few drinks. Just some food for thought.

    1. The 200 hour work week?

      I once was working serving a group of smart people. One of the group along with a request that was being fulfilled and later exceeded bragged to me, as follows.

      He said, “I work 200 hours a week.” Implying that I should too, especially on his thing. Rumor had it this person had a Ph.D. in a field that includes math.

      200 [hours] divided by 7 [days] is greater than 28.5 [hours/day].

  83. Wow you hate labor/women/the poor/pretty much everyone. A 40 hour work week is totally inhumane. If you know anything at all about labor history (which you don’t — neoliberal financial types like you never do) the 40 hour work week was intended to be reduced, drastically. And it will be — the capitalist battle to appropriate all of time into oppressive working hours was lost the moment workers decided they have dignity.

    Imagine a world where people like you no longer have control. People that hate people, whose gods are money and productivity. Your time is ending.

    1. What I’m saying is: higher pay, less hours, and if it’s at the expense of productivity or the millionaire class I could NOT care less.

    2. Daniel, I’ve joined the ranks of working less than 40 hours a week and paying less taxes and love it! No wonder why so many people complain about working more than 40 hours a week and not getting ahead.

      It’s much better to work less, pay less, earn less and live life more! Oh, and I’ve also got more time to help other people.

      I’m reformed! Hope you forgive me. But I will say, I don’t regret working more than 40 hours a week for 13 years in a row after college to be able to free. It was absolutely worth it. How about you?

      Check out:
      The Fear Of Running Out Of Money In Retirement Is Overblown
      How Much Of My Time And Money Should I Give To Charity?

  84. Shasta Jones

    Of course no one working 40 hours a week should expect to become a millionaire. At time I’ve really had to look hard and really push to even get 40 hours a week. some people want to be millionaires and if they do they need to work 100 hours a week. Professional athletes and other entertainers work more than 40 hours a week. There are other people who are not interested in being millionaires, they want to enjoy their families and enjoy life and not have to work all the time. They can’t expect to millionaires and they probably don’t want to. I ride the bus with someone whose hours were cut and she’s having a hard time. A couple of us have recommended she get another job with benefits but she won’t just complains. I believe that anyone who works 40 hours a week should not live in poverty. That person should be able to have the basic necessities of life.

  85. As noted not everyone accomplishes the same amount in 40 hours. The guy I share a cube with regularly stays late, and comes in on weeknds but doesn’t seem to be completing things. I get my desk cleared daily or weekly and feel fine working my 40. I keep my expenses low & save so I will have flexibility later. *shrug*

  86. Yeah the tone of this post is a bit odd…seeing as FS is an Asian with his parents immigrating and moving around I can understand his mentality, as I have the same background.
    It’s all hustle. Look at Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, work culture is deeply embedded and “losing face” because you don’t keep up with the boss and executives is real.

    Work life balance is much more prevalent in Europe and parts of USA. I’m just surprised that him living in San Fran and Hawaii didn’t give him a more chilled lifestyle. Go catch some waves or chill by the beach dude.

  87. I genuinely believe that the way you grew up has negatively affected the way you see the world. It’s quite unfortunate that you grew up in the conditions that are you did. I’m surprised none of the other commenters mentioned how your insecurities are projected through your writing.
    Perhaps consulting with a psychologist can help you with some of these issues.

  88. I find this article very bizarre in terms of the accusatory tone of the article itself and the responses that the author has to people commenting.

    If somebody chooses to work under 40 hours a week, that is their prerogative. If they wonder why they aren’t moving ahead, that is also their prerogative. To be honest, it’s not my business or anybody else’s.

    I recently had a glimpse of my potential future that has made me re-evaluate the relationship that I have with my work. I have always worked full-time and freelanced and did a bunch of self-learning stuff since finishing school. Does it mean I’m happy? Certainly not. I love my work – I truly do. The industry is fascinating to me and having team pow wows is invigorating and exciting to me. In fact, I have always worked my ass off and became successful in the ways that I measure success.

    But quite recently my partner’s mother has slipped into depression. This is a woman who worked her ass off her entire life. Harvard educated, founded her own micro-finance bank and became such a powerhouse that she’s been invited all around the world to lecture on microfinance. When she retired….all of the sudden she did not understand who she was anymore as she had always been defined by her work.

    I’m not saying that everybody would end up like this. But it’s a very easy path to take and I could see myself going down that path. When I realized that I hadn’t seen friends in months, that I was foregoing simple pleasures like working out or cooking a meal to work and sleeping 4 hours a night (which is actually dangerous for me as I have a disorder) and my relationship was beginning to be strained.

    Life isn’t about work. It’s great that you were able to retire early, but that’s not a reality for everybody and your post misses the whole concept of privilege. Poverty is cyclical and generational and while there will always be inspirational stories, those are the ones we hear and we don’t usually hear the stories of cyclical poverty because let’s face, they don’t make us feel good.

    Like you, I grew up in a middle income family. Education was very accessible to me and I graduated with 0 student debt. I am in a fairly well paid industry and it is not difficult for me to find work, either in a company or freelance. But my partner? He’s a chef and he was offered a sous chef position in our city’s fanciest restaurant where a meal will cost you at least $200. Starting rate of pay? $14/hr – the statistics for the living rate in my city to be able to have a unimpoverished standard of living is $20/hr. Another friend? He works in the exact same industry as me. He is a refugee from a poor family and he worked his ass off to get an education. Compare this to our friend who is a white male doing the exact same job? He comes from a wealthy family, education was totally accessible and he’s making more money and they do literally the exact same job. It’s not as black and white as you make it seem because life is not black and white and neither are humans.

    There are different reasons for everybody for why they work and what makes them happy. I used to judge people who working 40 hours, 8-5 for decades and just staying at the same job. To me, I thought it meant that they had no ambition. But then I saw how happy they are with their families and how I have no family where I am and I’ve lost many of my connections with my friends because I’m just working all the god damn time. Is it healthy? Am I happy? Will I be exactly like my partner’s mother when I retire? I don’t know. I’m glad that your relationship with your work works for you, but it doesn’t work for everybody else and that’s okay.

  89. It’s not the number of hours you work, but what you achieve during your work time. It is possible that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish “much” in 40 hours, but other people might, just as it is possible that, for whatever combination of reasons, other people don’t derive the same satisfaction out of their work that you seem to. This might surprise you, but not all lives and not all minds are the same. It might further stun you that there is in fact no definitive correct way and incorrect way when it comes to doing a good job.

    75-80 hours of work is not necessary for many jobs. In my experiences (as manager in both software and finance projects), precious few of the people who work so many hours are legit overachievers, but most put in a lot of fluff, but don’t want to look inferior on paper, so they compete in the hours game, just as they compete in the compensation game. I hope that you are in the former group, since the latter are sad sacks indeed. But try to be honest with yourself and others. 40-60 is fine for most people who *want* to have work/life separation. No one is fooling me with a barrage of impressive numbers. It is *always* what lies behind the numbers. If you don’t believe this now, just give it time and you will learn.

  90. This ridiculous article about people being wimps if they don’t work more than 50-70 hours per week is part of what’s wrong with America. And I totally agree with the people reminding the author of this “article” that many of us have children. Being a workaholic and having children is not a very good way of life for anyone. And even if a person doesn’t have the responsibility of parenting, a 70 hour/week will get you into the grave QUICKLY!

    Oh…and I love KDM’s post that points out that being a workaholic on a salaried job is just a dumb thing to do for so many reasons. There’s hard work, and then there’s just compulsion to over-work which is unhealthy.

    1. I think people are being very unrealistic about how a more financially egalitarian system works. It doesn’t result in everyone becoming richer and richer and having everything they want and everyone “getting ahead” so to speak. It tends to be a situation where people have their basic needs met and in general people have the security of knowing they are not going to have to worry about extreme poverty, but in return people in general accept that being particularly well off is not something that is likely to happen for very many people. In general, people do tend to work less if the system is working well, but overall wages are not overly high and the emphasis is on the collective well being of the group in general and not on the individual having a lot. Finland is, in my opinion a great example of this. They make it work. Hours of work are limited and they put the emphasis on quality of life, but their idea of quality of life doesn’t seem to be the same thing that a lot of people here are thinking of. People seem to think that this approach will lead to them pocketing all that rich people money and riding happily off into the sunset. What it really seems to lead to is an emphasis on quality of life being the lower working hours and just accepting a lower income and less material possessions in return. Rich people aren’t stealing your work from you if you don’t want to do the work. Less productivity does not lead to more money and you can’t expect someone else to do the extra work and then you get to pocket the money they have earned.

  91. Vistahermosa

    FS is 100% correct on his post. People can lie
    to others about y they r unsuccessful, but they shouldnt lie to themselves bc that only ensures continued failure. If u r unhappy with the amount of $ u make, u can change that. And if u decide not to, u have absolutely no one but urself to blame.

  92. LMAO! You use conversations you’ve overheard and comments people have left on your blog as “data points.” This shows how clearly ignorant and out of touch you are with reality while you drink martinis and play golf with your buddies and call that “work.” I shouldn’t validate this shlock with a response, but I feel it necessary for the misguided people who may come across this.
    Do you think people actually get paid to work extra hours in your typical salary job? Salary means you get paid for 40 hours regardless of how many hours you actually work. What type of delusional logic does one have to have to propose having people work extra hours for free? Especially given the fact that depending on the industry and region, many of these salary jobs are pay well below the market value and are packaged as “opportunities.” Basic math shows you that the more hours you work, the less money you are making. If a salaried employee makes $16 an hour for 40 hours, but actually works 50 they are actually making less than $12.80 an hour. If they work 60, as you suggest since you like to use hyperbole to make your points sound legitimate, they would make $10.67 an hour. At that rate you can just work for customer service instead and possibly even get paid more, no college degree and student loan debt required. If you factor that in, you’re losing even more money from debts you wouldn’t otherwise have and if you quantify the opportunity cost of time spent pursuing a degree. At one point I was working 60-70 hours working one full time and two part time jobs which didn’t require any special education. I actually got paid by the hour and it was worth my time. If I actually worked 40 hours in my salary job, all those extra hours I worked for free could have been invested in a part time job that actually paid me.
    Are you really naive enough to think that “hard work pays off” in this volatile economy? All it does is makes long, unpaid hours the norm… People working evenings or even coming in during the weekends, and eventually leads to burnout and health problems. People bust their ass trying to suck up and do the impossible and find themselves in the same position years later without any raise and being passed by promotion. But I’m sure you are an expert since you worked for McDonald’s once when you were a teen but got a six figure job straight out of college when you could actually do that since the economy was way different. Now you can stand on your pedestal in the clouds blaming economically-disadvantaged people for not working hard enough as a marketing technique to sell books because you happened to get lucky and make money when things were good, so that makes you an “expert” with your tips about being a “go getter” which are irrelevant in today’s society. Nice scam you have going on here.

      1. Fermi's Paradox

        It’s just easier for people to dismiss their situation by believing “the economy is rigged” or blame others, and of course spew vitriol at others to feel even better.

      2. Fermi's Paradox

        And as a reference to empirical evidence on how we are ALL better off in this generation (like every successive one) I like Brookings article that summarizes work done by the CBO on the matter. They are hardly right-leaning organizations and the article is very readable (I’ve done work in the field of economics, business, research, engineering).

        I’m sure you’ve seen it FS, it covers how we are ALL about 40% or more BETTER OFF in terms of real after-tax income than 30+ years ago. That means if we are no better off than our parents generation we have 40% more spending power. That does not consider how products and services, for the same real price, are across the board better and more functional (even food). The TV set example.

  93. The responses to this article have been…interesting. I understand the basic point you were trying to make Sam, but the tone-deaf way you tried to make it is why you’re getting hammered by so many commenters.

    Hey Sam. You share some really great stuff – I agree with a lot of what you post about financial strategies – but other times your inability to take a step back from your own life and perspective (an unmarried healthy male with no kids doing an information-based job who was able to save an incredible amount of his pay) and imagine things from a different perspective (a single parent with kids doing a manual labour job barely scraping by) really hurts your ability to communicate your message. People tune out.

    Life & finances may seem incredibly simple from your perspective, but not everyone is like you. Something to ponder before you write your next article like this one. :-)

    I *do* whole-heartedly support your desire to financially educate and help everyone you can!

    1. Here is some perspective:

      * Worked minimum wage jobs as a teenager.

      * Currently putting an extra 10 hours a week driving for Uber.

      * Faced plenty of racism growing up in the South, which has motivated me to become financial independent.

      * Faced a tsunami of failures recently, but I want to keep trying.

      * Grew up in developing countries for the first 13 years of my life (Zambia, Malaysia, Taiwan) and visited India and China multiple times for extended periods of time. I speak Mandarin, some Spanish, and English.

      * Parents were middle class government workers, where I lived in a town house and rode in a 10 year old car.

      Life is simple in America because I’ve seen the other side where it’s hard to get ahead based on hard work alone. For those who are clueless and spoiled, try working a minimum wage job as an adult like I’m currently doing. You will NO LONGER take for granted all the opportunities you have.

      Tell me Jason, why do you think I don’t have perspective? Do you really think I’m tone deaf? People are welcome to work 40 hours a week or less. Just don’t complain if they don’t feel like they are getting ahead.

      Please tell me about YOUR perspective.

      1. Thanks for sharing those links. I hadn’t read most of them, nor did I know the variety of places you grew up in. You certainly have more perspective on poverty and developing nations than I do.

        I particularly enjoyed your article on minimum wage jobs – I agree completely. I started out working at a local rec center selling slurpees and bags of chips when I was in my mid-teens, and my first “real” job was at age 18 working at Blockbuster video. Then I had an illustrious career at Office Depot making photocopies. I understand what it’s to work long hours for little pay. But I also come from a white, middle-class family that never had serious struggles – I never suffered. I understand that I was more fortunate than most in the world.

        I agree with what you wrote about opportunities, and the basic premise of “you have to work hard to get ahead; life will not hand you success”.

        But, again, based on the reactions you’re getting to this post, the *way* in which you tried to communicate your point was tone-deaf and that’s why this discussion is blowing up with angry posts. That was my only point.

        1. I’m always happy to learn from others. Can you point out specific examples of tone deafness?

          I’m still waiting to hear your perspective instead of just judging me for tone deafness. Thanks

          1. Hey Sam, this is your Web site, so you obviously write what you want and call the shots. If you want to write things like this and elicit comments like there are on this page – maybe you want to create controversy to get more page views for all I know – that’s your call. I’m just a visitor trying to learn about finance. :-)

            1. That wasn’t very helpful, why not just point out specific examples of tone deafness instead of getting hostile. It was a legitimate request. He made a point of saying if you are happy with your 40 hours, all is well, but if you aren’t then working harder is the answer. I think people are blowing up and upset because lots of people would rather not have to work harder to get ahead and they resent being told that that is the way to do it. Throwing in the single parent doing minimum wage is ridiculous, of course there are people who are struggling and in really difficult circumstances, but that isn’t who this article was aimed at, it was aimed at people who have more opportunity available to them, but would rather complain that they don’t want to work harder, but still want to be rewarded more. It just doesn’t work that way in most instances. If you are going to put in a mediocre effort, you are going to get a mediocre result. If you are going to choose to spend your time lounging, listening to music, slacking off, it is highly unlikely someone is going to pay you for that.

          2. Austolous Lopithicus

            Very late response, but I’ll take your challenge on the pointing out what seems “tone deaf”.

            There’s a difference between wanting to get ahead by working like crazy so you can retire early and simply wanting to be able to work a normal 40 hour work week and live a reasonable middle class life and be able to retire in one’s 60s. Most of your data points seem to be people wanting to do the latter, and it’s something many third or fourth generation American’s have been able to do without working more than the traditional 40.

            When you address that group, you seem to treat them like they’re trying to do the former, which requires an entirely different mindset; one which immigrants who moved here and are used to hustling a little more just to get by are probably better at. Immigrants are much more likely to start their own businesses than 3rd or 4th generation Americans. Most Americans are “fat and happy” and don’t believe citizens in a wealthy nation should have to work like crazy just to stay afloat.

            Combine this with statements like your data point 3 on overtime, and the animosity gets clearer. That statement is entirely unsympathetic and tone deaf, and unless the worker is exempt, illegal on the federal level. If a business expects one to work more than 40 hours a week, it can pay a premium for those extra hours – and it should. If the employee is exempt the theory is the salary is already at a premium. That does not always play out in practice. There are plenty of retail managers that make way less per hour than their hourly employees because of how many hours they are forced to work.

            Points 1 and 2 seem a bit off too. On point 1 most people have obligations outside of work which can contribute to that exhaustion. Some are merely “frivolous” social duties, some are charity work, some are family. On point 2, yes, it is entirely normal in a typical office style job to be mentally exhausted by the end of a regular work day. I’ve worked both relatively manual jobs and office jobs, and I’m often more exhausted by the “easy” office job. Relatively manual being janitorial, hay bailing, some house cleaning, a little construction and landscaping. Heavy manual jobs – oil rigs, deep sea fishing, many farming jobs where there are tight quotas on minimum harvested and maximum spoilage I have not done and can’t comment on.

            I think there’s also resentment on the amount of work one has to do to get by in many places going up. Much of that is because there are simply more people trying to live in relatively the same amount of space in and around successful urban areas, so property values and rents have sky rocketed.

            That said, America right after WWII and during the cold war experienced maybe the height of the middle class way of life. Work your 40, afford your home and decent car. The grandparents who had been through the great depression and went through true economic hardships seemed to be doing all right for themselves if they made it through the war. Certainly their children did. There grandchildren? I think they started to see the first contractions on America’s relative ease.

            Offshoring and mass layoffs being the first pass beyond the rising housing prices. Corporations seeking all the benefits of a global economy while doing their best to make sure the citizens couldn’t benefit in kind. (Move the jobs to where labor is cheap, but prevent one from purchasing where the products are cheap.)

            Certainly the widening gap between the minimum, or even average employee’s wage, and that of upper management and the executive class and share holders doesn’t help. Nor do multi-billion dollar companies and individual multi-millionaires and billionaires, who helped designed the tax laws, using tax loop holes like the double Irish to, legally, avoid paying their fair share of the taxes, moving the tax burden from the wealthy – who already are making a much greater percentage of a company’s profits than they traditionally had – onto the middle class who already seem to be getting squeezed by higher costs of living, offshoring, etc.

            Finally, I think people approach things from what they are used to or what they know. Many people don’t know how to hustle in the fashion you’ve outlined. They never had to, nor did their parents, and while their grandparents might have that was often prior to WWII. They’ve never been exposed to it. Americans were sold that one could get A job in a trade, or go to school and have a career with one employer and do well. After a few generations were able to do this, it’s a bit of a shock to many that this is less and less true.

            Finally, the typically risk adverse employee often makes a terrible entrepreneur.

            1. Thanks for your thoughts. At the end of the day, everything is rational and there is no point forcing beliefs on anybody. If you want to lose weight, you will eat less and exercise more. If you want more money, you will work longer hours, build multiple income streams, and invest etc.

              Despite growing up in third world countries, having middle class parents who drove 10 year old cars, and attending public school for HS and college, I’m probably more tone deaf than the average person b/c I’ve seen immense poverty growing up overseas for 14 years, and the things so many people have done to get themselves out of poverty. America is PARADISE in comparison. There is so much access and opportunity.

              I hope more Americans can speak a second language well and travel to see how good they have it.

              Check out: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working Minimum Wage Jobs As An Adult

              Living In An Expensive Country Can Make You Richer And More Empathetic

        2. Fermi's Pardox

          I think the discussion is “blowing up with angry posts” because those people responding with anger sound like they simply don’t want to hear the truth/reality. That is where we are today, perhaps part of why FS has this site, because people simply do not take responsibility for the outcomes in their life anymore. They attribute their dissatisfaction and shortcomings to externalities… my job, my boss, the company that won’t pay me what “I” think I’m worth, capitalism, society in general, etc., etc.

      2. Terry Pratt

        Jobs vary greatly in quality. It’s one thing to have a career which is challenging, fulfilling, and remunerative, and something else entirely to have a job which is menial, tedious, unfulfilling, and offers commensurate compensation.

        It is exasperating to see people with rewarding careers complain that people with menial jobs don’t work 60 hours a week. And NO, I have no desire to advance from burger flipper to manager of burger flippers. Can’t I have other options?

        1. Why yes you can, but you’ll have to make more of an effort to get there. The writer wasn’t complaining that people don’t work more, he was pointing out that people want more without making the connection between hard work and sacrifice and getting more. I’m sure there are many people who are choosing to do the extra work and put in the extra hours who would choose to work less and get more if they could, but they aren’t unrealistic enough to think that that is something that will magically happen, so they look at the reality of the situation and choose to take advantage of their opportunities and get ahead that way, even though they would prefer that a pretty little fairy come knocking on their door and give them big bags of money and pots of gold.

  94. abominablesnowman

    Here in the UK, the average is 35-45 hours per week. I currently work 37 hours (08:00 – 16:30, with an hour unpaid lunch) and I find this exhausting. Other than when buying my house where I worked 60 hours over two jobs, I have never had a full time job that expected me to work over my prescribed hours. All of my work has been in corporate IT departments, some as a consultant so results counted more than hours.

      1. Jonathan Ringer

        why do you need so much money? What’s with people’s obsession with money? You won’t own any of it in a few years. You’ll be worm food.

  95. Go ahead and be my guest – work yourself to death.

    There are ways to earn more money without having to work your ass off every day. And every job is different. Performing one job for 5 hours can be just as detrimental on the psyche as 10 hours would be on another.

    Also, someone already said that it’s about quality not quantity – this is true. It’s not important how many hours you’ve put into something. It’s about the end result. I think the world is going in a different direction, and a positive one, from the “grand” 8-hour system.
    You should be a part of these changes, as your way of thinking is extremely unhealthy and outdated imo.

    1. Why would I work myself to death? I put in extra hours b/c I wanted to get ahead. At the age of 34.5, I negotiated a severance package, and retired.

      It’s been 3.5 years now, and I’ve “worked” on my writing about 10 hours a week on average. It’s been great. Just got back from 4 weeks in Asia, and saw the DMZ near North Korea for the first time.

      If you want to get ahead, you have to put in the extra effort. If you are happy working 40 hours a week, and doing so for an extended period of time, fantastic! But I wanted to be free early.

      What Does Early Retirement Feel Like?

      How Does It Feel To Be Financially Independent?

    2. I don’t understand why people who don’t want to work harder get all uppity about people who want to work harder to get ahead. Do what you want to do. If you are satisfied with what you get for a forty hour week, good for you, it doesn’t make you superior to someone who wants to work more and it certainly doesn’t make you more realistic to think that you should work less and still flourish financially in the same way that someone who does choose to work longer and harder will. If you are satisfied with less, good for you. There are people, however, who do make the connection between hard work and sacrifice and success and their are even people who enjoy driving themselves. To each their own, make your choice and take the consequences. All the writer was saying is, don’t expect to sit around doing nothing and have the return be success. I’ve listened to enough unmotivated people lamenting how unappreciated they are while doing nothing to know that most of these people are not successful because they haven’t earned it, not because the world is being unfair to them.

  96. I don’t agree with this.

    The reason being: you’re only taking into account amount of time worked, not effectiveness of that work. If I’m extremely efficient, analytical and intelligent and put together a model that makes the company an extra million $ a year, all while working my contracted hours, of course I deserve, and will get a raise. Someone else might slave away 60 hours a week but not producing anything near the quality I am.

    It’s about the outcome, not merely grinding out hours.

    1. And if the outcome isn’t good enough, then what’s wrong with working harder to get there?

      If you’re getting ahead and working less than 40 hours, fantastic! And if you aren’t, then stop being delusional.

  97. Here is to all of you….This country is based on a 40 hour work week. I work 70 with no overtime pay. There should be some value to life and which is why 40 should be the standard. I work 70 because TODAY that is what we need to do with 2 parents working to live comfortably. BUT WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TOO. That’s the point. It’s not that one person wants it more. The 40 hour work week was made so you can work hard and still enjoy life instead of work for life.
    In the 50’s and 60’s one middle class adult could go to work for 40 hours and get paid well, come home and be able to support a family and still be in the middle class and pay their bills. Now we live in a society where 2 people have to work and work 70 hours a week. No one is their to help raise the kids and a vacation is now labeled for the weak. So when you hear someone that doesn’t work as much of you instead of looking down on them look down on yourself. You will die with a little bit more money then them but you will die working and the memories you have built and the memories your family will remember of you is that you were not there for them when they needed you. That is what this country has become.

      1. Fermi's Paradox

        FS: I just read your Data Points added to the original post. Very good. It’s amazing how people think things are worse now than in the past. There is so much data out there… we work shorter hours, we make more in real terms, the lowest among us have done considerably better in the last several decades (tax breaks, assistance programs, EITC, greater consumption, etc.)… and economic growth and innovation provides things the poorest among us would never have imagined (smart phones, HD flat screen TVs, amazing medical procedures, cars that do just about everything, amazing appliances, cheap food, cheap vacations, every form of entertainment at our fingertips, etc.). I will check out your newsletter, sure it’s very good.

      2. $100-200 an hour working for Uber? Maybe if you live in Manhattan or another major city…. Oh wait, many of us dont. That would be impossible where I live. Just goes to show that your assumptions on “getting ahead” are nowhere near as simple as you think for everyone. And you version of being “ahead” is just plain sad.

        I’m not even sure why I’m reading this article or how I found my way to it, but it’s interesting to see that people think this way. Why on earth would I want to work all these hours and get so little sleep and neglect my family? Why would ANYONE?

        I’m also 34. My husband and I are both high school teachers making $40,000. We love our careers. We go in at 6 and can leave by 2 if we want. That’s our 40 hours. Of course, there are many days when we stay much later than that just to stay caught up on grading, planning, etc. And during football/cheerleading season, we both work closer to 60 hours a week with the coaching duties we have (for only an extra $1500 each for the whole 5 month season). But on the days we do come home at 2, we have the entire afternoon/evening with our children, we take our boat out fishing until sunset, we go see movies, all in all we spend a lot of time together enjoying life. During our summers off, we used to travel to central and South American countries for a month of cheap traveling and trying to see the world. With the kids now though, we’ve gotten more into backpacking in the mountains, road trips, basically just showing our kids how to be happy and enjoy life – getting them out the house, away from the TV and computer, no phones, no video games, and most importantly, no daycare! Spring break is usually a week in the Florida keys and spending most days on the boat. What a way for our kids to grow up! Christmas break is 2.5 weeks off driving to see grandparents and doing whatever else we like. As far as hours go, teachers have the most flexibility of anyone. As far as pay, we’ll never make much more than we do now, no matter how many hours we put in or if we are the best teacher or coach in the entire district. So unless I want to quit a career that I love, none of your ideas apply to us. Or to many other people. Working harder does not always equal better pay and it’s ridiculous to think so.

        The best thing in life I ever did to “get ahead” was to convince my husband to become a teacher – to work LESS hours. And the amazing life – the experiences and the adventures that are only possible by our work schedule, is something very few families have. How more ‘ahead’ could I possibly get than this? And why anyone want the opposite? For more money?

        It’s really sad to see how backwards some people’s priorities are. Money, money, money. It really is what is wrong with America. If you’ve traveled around the world as much as you say you have, how have you not missed that?

        1. Hi Lacey,

          Did you actually read the Uber $100/hour article? It’s about leveraging your platform, technology, and the internet to make money for you so you don’t have to. I’m all about kicking back and working less too. That’s why I saved aggressively and built multiple income streams over the past 15 years so I didn’t have to work.

          My personal goal is to build $200,000 a year in passive income so I have the option of living anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, some of the most desirable places to live in the world are also the most expensive because everybody wants to live there.

          There are so many ways to make good money and be free. Check out Income Profiles Of Financially Free People to learn more. I retired at 34, and do not regret a moment of working hard the first 13 years out of college. It’s so worth it! Life is not about money, money, money at all. Life is all about living and being free.

          Can you imagine never having traveled around the world, not speaking a language, being restricted to do what you want because you haven’t saved enough or worked hard enough? Can you imagine working at a job you don’t like for the majority of life? I don’t want to just take 2.5 weeks off for Christmas break once a year. I want to take an infinite amount of time off. Don’t restrict yourself! If you’re happy making $40,000 that’s great. I wouldn’t judge someone just b/c they want to earn much more and be 100% free.

          But if you are unsatisfied with your life making only $40,000 a year and working only 40 hours a week as it seems, don’t project onto me, but do something about your situation. Know you can do more and be happier if you want to. Don’t settle!



  98. Shasta Jones

    Data Point #1. I wonder who cooks dinner when she gets home. I wonder who got the children off to school in the morning. I wonder who got them breakfast. I wonder who will help them with their homework that night. Who will drive them to Little League games and school plays–and watch the school plays. Oh, that’s right. She shouldn’t have children. She should be spending that time working–14 or 15 hours a day like in the good ‘ol days. While a person working 40 hours a week shouldn’t expect to get rich a person who works that much shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

      1. then i wonder who spends hours researching data points on our oppressed lives and writing blogs, books, and posts about them. i wonder who will spend the time THINKING about the predicaments we’re in, such as peak oil and the failing of various currencies, and male supremacy as it continues to massacre thousands on thousands of women and children (and some men as well). i wonder who will do all the things that those who are good little slaves don’t think about until it’s too late and we’ve “crashed” YET AGAIN.

        stop abusing and browbeating the workers of the world into putting in extra time. you don’t get more done in 8 hours than you do in 4. 4 is where productivity begins to noticeably wane.

        try science. review actual data. stop trying to sell people crap. wake up.

    1. I just work early shift and another job 2 days a week while my oldest goes to preschool part-time. My husband works about 70 hours/week as a head chef and I work 35/week combined. and get most of the housework done.

      1. Shasta Jones

        Yes, but you should be working 70 hours a week in addition to your duties as wife and mother.

        1. The writer wasn’t saying everyone must work more hours, she was saying if you want to make large amounts of money, you should be prepared to work harder and make sacrifices to do so and if you would rather put in shorter hours and you choose not to drive yourself, you should make that choice with the understanding that it is highly likely you aren’t going to be as financially successful as someone who does.

          I think everyone knows people who are, let’s face it, lazy and unmotivated and seem to spend large amounts of time and energy moaning and groaning about how unfair it is that the world isn’t dropping huge bags of money in their laps and rewarding them for doing nothing, or they complain about how put upon they are because they are expected to work hard to get ahead when they don’t want to. That sort of sense of entitlement to be rewarded without doing the work and making the sacrifices is unrealistic and ridiculous. If you want a more relaxed life and to go through the motions and go home, go ahead do that, different people want different things, just don’t expect to make the big bucks if you make that choice because it isn’t highly likely to happen.

    2. Come now, a 22 year old fresh grad already making babies, picking up kids and making dinner for the family? pish posh. Average female marriage age today is in the late 20s, having kids maybe late 20s early 30s if not later. You have a solid 6-12 years to make a killing. That way, by the time you get married you can start your own business and by being your own boss you can work your own hours/from home/whatever because you’ve built a solid reputation and client network and you can spend more time with family when you actually have a family.

    3. Both my parents used to work 70+ hours a week. They get up at 5 a.m., my mom would drop me off school at 7 am and my dad will pick me up around 6 pm and make supper. After I go to sleep at around 9 pm, my parents would either study or work for 2 more hours. On the weekend, we would have fun doing all sorts of activities, but they would still work in the morning and night. I was always the first kid to arrive at school and the last one to leave. I learned to use the public transportation and cook my own meal earlier than my peers. I never relied on parental help for homework, and I still get rewards every year as one of the top performing students in my school.

      Now I have my own children and I don’t plan to work for 40 hours or less. I am earning 6 figure salary as a young professional because my parents showed me first hand how working hard lead to a successful career. I want to be a role model for my kids too.

      1. And i want to be a role model for my kids by actually being present in their lives. My parents made the tough financial decision of having her stay home with me. They know things would have been easier with 2 incomes, but the time and memories she had can never be taken away from her.

        Theres a difference betwern steong work ethic and workaholism. I think people who struggle to get pregnant appreciate their time more than those who pop kids out and throw cash at someone else to take care of them while they live their busy, oh so important lives.

        I hope you find your reality check, and find it sooner than on your death bed wishing you worked less and spent more tiime with your kids.

  99. Pingback: Reflecting On Two Years Of Freedom From Work | Financial Samurai

  100. I remember the boss I had at a college job who told me i’d never get anywhere working 40 hours a week. I moved to a metropolis, earned a medical degree, and travel the world while she still slaves away in a call center

  101. Pingback: Some Things Money Can't Buy - How About A USTA 5.0 Tennis Rating And Win | Financial Samurai

  102. I work 3 jobs:two are part time and one is full time. I usually work 60 to 75 hours a week and can still barely afford food. I don’t buy anything luxury and I never eat out. I make about 1.3k a month because of minimum wage. That’s just some over 13k $/year. I have tried my ass off looking for higher paying jobs in ny but no luck. Cost of living and taxes is what kills in ny, and I’m not in NYC either! I want to move but need money and a job ready for me wherever I go. I have tried my whole life to get ahead. I’m not someone who buys clothes and asks where my money goes. If I need a new shirt for work and I get one for 2 dollars at the thrift store. I am sick of the hole I can’t climb out of and have considered giving up many times. I even went through a suicidal state. Can you blame me? I work like a dog and feel like I’m a slave when I have no money left even after 13 hour shifts. There are people on welfare that are better off than me but I don’t have a child lol, so just because I don’t pop one out for money and I have to suffer. People who are fair workers really are more fucked over than many welfare in my opinion. I’m trying to give myself one more year to find something better. If there is nothing and I officially can’t do it anymore.

  103. Pingback: Everything Is Rational - The Answer To All Things Irrational | Financial Samurai

  104. @Poster, great article! I have been working 90/hours a week each day since 98′. I am still not the multi-millionaire I hoped to be, but I am well off. I can buy what I want, when I want for the most part. Point is, I hope these young kids listen to you. Working harder does get you further. And for those of you who are wondering why I am a multi-millionaire with all the hours I have worked, the answer is my family background. I came from less than nothing. By the time I got through cleaning up my mother’s debt, my father’s debt, my sister’s debt, bailing my brother out of jail, my aunt’s medicine, ect, ect there wasn’t much for me, that is, until now! Everyone in my family is squared away and I was finally able to travel out of the country last year. This year I will do the same.

    Alot of you people are spoiled! You don’t appreciate the fact that you could work hard and that you don’t have any ball & chains attached to you from bum family members. Work hard, stop complaining and maybe we’ll run into each other on the next trip I take to France. Cheers!

  105. Pingback: Is It Better To Be A Full-time Employee Or Contractor (Freelancer)? | Financial Samurai

  106. Sorry, but I would not say you were mostly lucky! Maybe, the timing was right for you, but most people make their own luck. You are skilled and talented in the ways and means of finance! You DID work hard, and as you said, you got paid to learn to make more money and understand a system that is more difficult for the average person to understand…more than I think you realize. You deserve every cent you made. You did not rob widows and orphans, or sell drugs, or whatever. You EARNED it and you are letting others know it is certainly possible, and here are some ways. I get all that. I read your blog because it is one of many that opens my eyes to alternatives to the traditional working way of life. In one of them, I was pretty sure you said something like “I was surprised to find that very few jobs in (sic) programming pay $250,000 a year, where as in finance that is common pay” Some follow ups mentioned that Finance pays out more to their employees, at the cost of improving returns to shareholders” . It was inferred that you were successfully making $250k a year by the time you left. I apologize if that assumption was wrong.

    I was only pointing out that you may alienate some of your readership that would then miss many fine points you bring up. GenX and GenY all are trending to marry much later in life and postpone, sometimes, forever, having a family. Good or bad, that is not my place to say, but financially, if you don’t mind hard work, have confidence, and intelligence, and a degreed education, it greatly increases your chances of it being a winning philosophy. So looking at statistics, and drawing conclusions about the spendthrift of Americans (and don’t get me wrong, Americans, in general, are HORRIBLE planning for their financial future) is misleading, and loaded with caveats. Not everyone can be in the stock market trade, or live in NYC, or SanFran. If they did, then the opportunities would not be there either. When you are single and young, THAT is the time to take the chances that if they go wrong, will not affect your spouse, or children, and from which you have the time to recover.

    A small example: suppose your life was identical to what you describe, except you were hopelessly in love with a long term soulmate, got married, and had a kid in 2000? Would you be ABLE to put in those same hours, live like you did, and saved like you saved? Of course not. If you did, your may have had to get divorced, as your wife was no longer happy living as you wanted, and you’d STILL be paying a large child support and maybe alimony. Plus less time and opportunity to move for work, because now you don’t want to be too far from your only lovely child, etc, etc, etc.

    That’s what I meant by my previous comments. ONE decision can totally eliminate, or make hugely unlikely, an otherwise perfect financial plan. I KNOW you are only expressing your personal experience, passing valuable knowledge to others that they would have a hard time learning on their own, etc, etc. I commend you for it. But like the flak you took on saying “only buy a car that costs 10% of your income”, your musings will be far more accepted if you empathize with the far larger percentage of people that think its absurd to only buy a $15k car (and only ONE!, most people DON’T live in a city and aren’t single, need more than one) if you make 150K a year. Financially sound? Of course it is! But to many people, the whole point of having money is a balancing act of enjoyment now and later. It’s the balancing that is the hard part. $200k income for life? Love to have it! Don’t really need it, in my current life, but I’ll have close to 80% or better, when I decide to retire. It’ll happen almost in spite of myself, because I already followed many of your good points, before you were born.

    I am a successful, hardworking engineer. Tops in my field. My work (with the team that I direct, and work with) directly improves the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people in the state where I live, health wise and financially. My assets are low 7 figures. But I am also 58 years old, so for the exact same period in my life that you were starting out, the opportunities that you took advantage of did not exist. A few of my close college friends are already retired, with high 7 figure assets, and planned guaranteed incomes that exceed anything I will ever make. They all would also tell you, that none of them, even though they have engineering degrees, are engineers anymore. They all took the risk and leap of faith that an MBA, and the business side, often finance, were the smarter path, and are far more financially successful than I am as a result. They had a knack for that, that I do not.

  107. I’m leaving this comment as a general one for most of FSs bogs. I’m not trying to be insulting or condescending, as I find much of your factional information quite useful. But I have that annoying trait of wanting to put in my $.02 when I read things on blogs that bother me. It’s annoying, I know!
    1. Your constant reference to “working your butt off for 13 years 60-80hrs a week is not only annoying but a major deterrent to revisiting your site. You did it when you were (and in many readers minds, still) young and single and making $250K+ a year, with the single mindset of making as much money as possible to save as much as possible. For by far, most people, this is NOT an option! If you only have to answer to yourself, and CAN work those hours, and reap substantial rewards for the workload, then why wouldn’t you. Its a matter of opportunity and priority, that’s all. 13 years is not impressive at all, and IS insulting to many people who work many more years because they don’t have the opportunity or aptitude to do what you did. Additionally, as you’ve admitted, it was pure luck to land that job at GS at your age, with your lack of experience, again, not likely to happen to by far, to the majority. The VAST VAST majority of people graduating from college will NEVER have the opportunity handed to them to earn that kind of money, or even the future hope to earn that in a few years, nor do normal 21 year olds have a fascination and understanding of the stock market. You started in an industry that has the potential to earn huge money, if you are good, talented, lucky, and can work with that mindset. The vast majority will not, and can not live in a major city, be the kind of person to work in that type of finance job, not even KNOW that type of job is an option and that THAT kind of money was even possible, assuming they even have the knowledge, aptitude or discipline to even consider that job in the first place.

    2. You also mention many times how you saved more than 50% of your take home pay and invested wisely to get ahead. This is great advice, and a nice point, but again who WOULDN”T be able to do that if they were young and single and making that kind of money? Assuming a net total tax of 35%, then your take home would have been $162.5k year ( I realize you didn’t make this your first year, etc, etc), but bottom line is a young kid out of college can EASILY live on $81k take home a year, even in NYC. Do it making a decent $75k gross a year, and I’d be impressed. You say this to make a point, but it is a shallow, hollow one. Similar to your, “obviously you must max out your 401k…” where you assume that is even possible.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      1) There are over 1,000 articles on Financial Samurai. Yes, hard work is a constant theme, especially in this article. And it is true that some people don’t have as much option to work hard, but hard work requires no skill.

      2) I agree. My opportunity was handed to me, and most of my accomplishments were mostly due to luck. I did get into other firms besides GS, but those were lucky breaks too.

      3) My base salary was $40,000 living in Manhattan in 1999, and rose to $55,000 in 2000 as all 2nd year analysts got a big bump b/c year 2000 first year analysts were coming in at $50K. I lived in a studio with a HS buddy of mine and then a studio with windowless side room w/ a colleague. Not sure where you are getting $162,500 a year in income? That would be sweet! On my income, I did max out my 401k. Manhattan was still crazy expensive there.

      I wrote this post for you recently: Sweet Dreams Of Becoming A Millionaire Again.

      Your comment is what helps keep me going. So I thank you for reminding me that I’m mostly lucky, and that I shouldn’t take my luck for granted. Financial Samurai’s growth is also very fortuitous. I will continue to put in the hours today in 2015 and beyond, despite my other obligations.

  108. Pingback: A Massive Generational Wealth Transfer Is Why Everything Will Be OK | Financial Samurai

  109. I’m going to take this opportunity to brag.

    I have a 40 hour/week job that pays me around 3x my living expenses, net.

    I actually stay in the office 35-40 hours a week depending on how much work I have.

    I functionally work 30-35 hours.

    Furthermore, I’m one of my employer’s more profitable employees, because I have invested the time it takes in learning how to do my job effectively, and I’m always expanding my skillset.

    People just don’t think or plan enough. There are immense opportunities to add large amounts of value for only moderate amounts of work out there. You just have to acquaint yourself with them.

  110. Pingback: Median Salary By Age And Sex In America | Financial Samurai

  111. The US is known for being overworked as it is. It’s supposed to be one of the leading causes for heart problems, obesity, depression, and violence.

    Yet here you seem to think sleeping is a waste of another 8 possible work hours. Who needs eating? Let’s get fed intravenously so we don’t waste time that could be put to work. Stand over a portable toilet so you don’t have to waste precious seconds taking a dump.

    Anatomically-modern humans have been around for 200,000 years. Until agriculture, you didn’t need more than 4 hours of working per day to put food on the table. That means we have only been working this hard for 5% of our time on earth.

    People have families, kids, pets, friends, an actual existing -LIFE- outside of work. In the Netherlands, it is normal for men to work 4 10-hour days and have 3-day weekends for hobbies and kids, and these are the folks who INVENTED the stock market.

    The Germans have some of the most vacation days in the world. Are you one to call the Germans a bunch of lazy whiners?

    This article also flies in the face of workplace research. At Google, for instance, workers are required not to work on company projects on Fridays, but instead create their own projects. Some 80% of the company’s innovation comes from this single day of freedom. It has also been found that out of 8 hours of work, only a couple of those are really efficient, and efficiency plummits the more hours you tack on.

    People think their best and innovate their best when they can have a variety of experiences. This means *gasp* having parts of your life that you AREN’T working.

    You know who DOES work as long as you are implying? Chinese sweatshop workers. THERE is your “image of success”.

    Meanwhile, politicians work only about half the year and make six-figures base salary.

    1. Fermi's Paradox

      And you lost all credibility WEbx when you stated: “Until agriculture, you didn’t need more than 4 hours of working per day to put food on the table.”

      Where did you possibly conjure that up and how could have believed it!

      Until modern times most people throughout civilization devoted almost all waking moments trying to ensure their survival, even then they had short life spans by comparison.

      There is nothing new about FS’ propositions, people have been doing it forever. Time available for leisure for most of the modern world continues to grow. It is your choice what you do with your time.

      I’ve spent time in Holland, it’s not the utopia you make it out to be. To blame and criticize others for working hard to get ahead is ridiculous.

      1. Time available for leisure continues to grow? I’m going to have to disagree with that. Our “leisure time” is not really leisure time. In today’s age of smartphones and digital communication it means you are always connected to your work or your job. There really is no time to unplug. It’s not really leisure time if you are still sending emails and dealing with work communications just because you are not in the office.

        Personally I don’t mind working more than 40 hours a week. It’s not the hours. It’s having a clear separation between work and non work time.

        1. Fermi's Paradox

          Rama, it may not hold true for your occupation, but in general it does. You may want to change your occupation.

          But even your example, smartphones and communication devices enable people to go home and not have to stay at the office in order to get work done. Whether on balance that means people are putting in more hours or not is debatable and likely depends on your occupation. Hence the explosion of work-at-home, which is desired far more by employees than employers which suggests employers perceive they get more from employees if they stay at the office.

          The aspect of not being able to “unplug” is real. Whether that creates a net increase in stress or other discomfort is likely up for debate. Being trapped at the office (when we had no digital devices) was not fun and has it’s own stress.

  112. The best things in life aren’t things, so unless you really love your job, and do not have other interests that require long hours of practice, and have others do your home and car repairs, more than 40 hours will not give you much time for sleeping or eating.

    I guess it’s a matter of priorities, and although accumulating wealth can give one freedom, at this stage in my life I value time much more than “stuff.”
    Eight hours per day is quite a bit of time to spend even on the things I love to do. Some people really love day trading, business, or medical research, some love music, acting, or philosophy. Here’s a bit of inspiration for everyone:

  113. Pingback: From Welfare To Well-Off: My Journey To Financial Independence | Financial Samurai

  114. Yes, this article is very snobby and painful to read. Worst part is by the end, even if I were motivated to earn more money and work more hours, there is no direction or suggestion on what I should do. I have a good picture of my finances already and I do not get paid overtime at my job. So after the 40 hours at work, what am I supposed to do? There is no follow-up…

    1. Is it really snobby to question the logic of working longer and harder if you want to get farther?

      There are a lot of things one can do:

      1) Work on your X Factor before going to work or after work after putting in your 40 hours. My X Factor was starting this site, and spending 25-30 hours a week for 3 years before allowing me to negotiate a severance to do this full-time.

      2) Here are a list of sectors and jobs that pay six figures.

      3) Rethink your company loyalty. It cost me a fortune for not continuously looking for new opportunities.

      4) Spend an hour reading my Investments and Career categories.

      5) Track your net worth by leveraging the internet. Once you know where your money is going and coming in, you can better optimize your wealth. You’ll also have more confidence in taking calculated risks with your career.

      I hope these five action points will help you.


      1. I will do these. As I stated, I already have a picture of my net worth, depsite its poor state at 25. But I can work on the rest of these points. I do also work in a six-figure career but am still young, so I have not grown to that salary yet.

  115. Working much more than 40 hours a week can be much more difficult than implied if you are not single and fresh out of college. Some counterpoints:

    1) Having a working spouse: someone’s got to take care of the kiddos when they aren’t at school/daycare particularly taking time off when they’re ill. (which happens a lot!)
    2) Kids: just kids in general… some people can’t reconcile working beaucoup hours with “doing right by their kids.”
    3) Working nights: Sometimes you have no choice but to break up your sleep into multiple chunks in a day. Trust me this takes up more time than sleeping all at once. Too many times I lay restless trying to “force” myself to drink in some much needed sleep.
    4) Sleep: Am I the only one who gets sick way more frequently if I’m not getting enough? And by enough I only mean 6-7 hours per day.
    5) Irregular hours: I had big plans to work a second job when I was freshly beginning my job. But, I have a job where the hours vary on a day to day basis. Not sure when I will go in until less than six hours ahead of time. Sometimes unannounced I can be expected to stay 5 hours over. Also there’s days where I’ll be off 5 hours then working then off 5 hours then working all in the same day.
    6) Company has cut back on overtime: If you work late one day, you better cut hours later in the week or you’ll have a meeting with multiple mid-level manager in your future.
    7) Overtime exempt: Your company pays and treats you like an hourly employee for most intents and purposes–but guess what–you’re considered salary. This seems to be the ultimate trump card for big employers lately (unfortunately). So sure, go ahead and work an extra twenty hours, it’s not like your employer has to pay you for it.

    Also switching jobs with the sole intent of trying to work more than 40 hours per week to get ahead can be difficult to pull off for a professional currently employed in a high-paying job.

    1. A great list of reasons why working more than 40 hours is difficult.

      What about waking up early, like 5am to work a couple hours before others wake up? I know you said you need sleep, but we can sleep forever once we’re dead as someone once said.

      How about staying up after the kids go to bed to work on your passion project?

      Your excuses are fine, and there is no need to work 40 or more hours a week. But if you want to get ahead and limit your hours, then it doesn’t make sense.

      1. I like a lot of your points actually, and I agree that working more hours is undoubtedly one of the best ways to help a person get ahead. I just think unfortunately some people would actually have to take a pay cut in order to switch careers in a way that enabled more hours.

        Admittedly, one thing I could do is start my own part-time business if I want to work more hours and increase income. By doing so, I would only be beholden to myself for additional hours worked.

      2. From the future

        As someone whose never had reliable employment they are not excuses but the truth. I dont make enough money to quit my job. My hours also vary (which means its impossible to find a second job).
        Also I cant start a side hustle because of money going to other bills. Also my sleep pattern is also erratic because of the scheduling conflicts. This leads to serious issues. Also the universe (i.e. the natural world) doesnt work this way at all.

        Successful hard working people are forced to partake in unhealthy habits to get ahead or are extremely lucky and if one thing in their life didnt line up (enabling spouse/girlfriend/landlord/or just an enabling person, credit cards, employer turning a blind eye to their bad behavior, or straight blind luck or environment or others not viewing them as a threat so no sabotage or people giving then free shit or rides places) theyd never be successful.

        You are contributing success to the things you can control, but it often times (99.999%) comes from things you do not control. This is a bitter truth to swallow for most of the success bloggers. Theres actually cold hard science on this. Its probably also why the best and brightest of our species never amount to much (i.e. our modern society is anathema to true success). And successful people parroting platitudes and cliches are not our best and brightest.

  116. I make decent money, but I consistently work well over 50 hours a week very week, often 65+. I am required to work every other saturday (which means most weeks I work 6+ days). I take 20 minutes for lunch, and work at a frantic pace all day long. The problem with efficiency, is it requires the managers/owners to invest in staff and software. When 1 person has to handle all the bookkeeping, payroll, filing taxes and reports, and take dozens of random calls every day, it’s impossible to be efficient. Larger companies can specialize tasks, but not so with many smaller companies with limited staff. And I can’t create lean processes, because every 5 minutes I’m interrupted to handle another unrelated issue. Those who work 40 hours a week and go play golf with clients or take an hour or two to workout at lunch are plain lucky. You know in this economy, you take the job that is available when you need a job. This year, I’ve taken one lunch that was over 30 minutes long–and that was to meet with my CPA firm. It’s a luck of the draw whether you’ll get in with a great company…or get stuck with a company that is more than happy wringing you for all your worth.

      1. Fermi's Paradox

        It doesn’t sound like he’s over 65, but he sometimes has to work over 65 hours/week. I could be missing something.

    1. Fermi's Paradox

      Getting in with a great company that satisfies you and pays well is most definitely NOT the luck of the draw. That’s the whole point.

  117. You don’t believe in or would pay overtime and you tell people “…I explain that anybody who really wants to be in the Top 50% of income earners ($33,000) can do so if they wanted to. All you have to do is work 63 hours a week at $10 to make $33,000 a year!”

    You’re a compassionate guy, aren’t you? You’re probably in favor of everyone getting a “salary” so that you could work them like a horse and circumvent the country’s labor laws.

    You may as well tell your adherents, “Hey, pay them $3.78 per hour and tell them they can make $33K per year easy. Just work 8736 hours. That’s only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you wimp.” Bet you’d like that.

    1. Fermi's Paradox

      Gary, yours is just a nonsensical attack on FS. He is simply illustrating the even working in the lowest skill and pay jobs in our economy you can fairly easily break the 50% mark. Moreover, it is up to the individual to gain skills and pursue work in areas that are in demand and as a result, pay well. It’s not the role of the “economy” to fashion itself in a way to pay workers a set minimum wage for whatever they want to do. The economy will crater. Supply and demand is how the economy most effectively allocates resources to the most productive ends. Pay attention to what the economy demands (in terms of jobs), adjust to it and you will do well (unless of course you are otherwise mentally or physically handicapped).

  118. I think FS has a career that was based on results. It was competitive. I can see how it is with my friends in the banking industry, the more money they bring in the more money they make. It’s an industry where what you put into it has a dramatic affect on the rewards.

    Most industries are not like that of course. In a top law firm the highest paid lawyer may make 10x the lowest paid lawyer. I wish that were the case in my industry. I’m an engineer and the top engineer may make 2x the lowest paid engineers and how hard you work or how long you work doesn’t translate to getting ahead.

    You know what does, luck. You have to be lucky enough to have opportunity dropped in your lap, then be talented enough to come through.

    I work very hard just because it’s in my nature, it’s the way I’m wired. I’m now working in my third company and was lucky enough to have that opportunity put in front of me. I didn’t deserve it more than anyone else, just right place and right time. A couple people were in it before me but were not talented enough to get the job done, and I was. I got on the ground floor of a new flagship product that was successful and now I’m among the highest paid engineers in the company. Sadly I could complain that I’m not making millions but that’s not in my nature either. I’m doing what I was meant to do in life.

    But I do recognize that a more talented engineer in the company can work 24hrs a day 7 days a week and he still may not get ahead. Why, because being talented and working hard is not directly correlated to getting ahead. At least not in most industries. In the same way a super hardworking high school teacher does not have a path to billionaire status working hard at teaching. You could argue that he can do something else. But the statement that working hard/long will translate to financial success for everybody is going to fail the universality test.
    Because we wouldn’t have people doing the jobs that society requires for everybody to succeed.

    So I’m going to say as a person that’s about as successful as I could possibly get at what I do (mostly because I was lucky, my talent is useless without that rare opportunity), that I don’t blame people who complain that they can’t get ahead. Because for most, they can’t get ahead no matter what they do. Society simply doesn’t work that way. Their simply isn’t a path for everybody to get ahead. Anybody can, but everybody can’t no matter what. I understand what FS is saying, but I think some deserve a little complaining if they want in my opinion.

      1. thanks for the link, it does give me a different perspective. It’s so easy to hear what the entrepreneur makes and directly compare to my own earnings being an employee.
        A direct comparison isn’t a fair comparison and most worker bees don’t realize this.

  119. I understand what your saying about being productive but you mentioned in your article that you weren’t skilled enough to get your work done in 40 hours a week or less. The claim could be made that if you double your skill and efficiency that you could get done in 40 hours a week what used to take 80 hours.

    As to the woman on the bus complaining in the bus, you can’t make a straight hours to hours comparison. If her work is more physically demanding than yours than 40 hours of work might take more out of her than 80 hours in your field does.

    You say people complain that they can’t get ahead while they only work 40 hours or less a week. Fair enough but then I can say the same about people who complain they they don’t have time for dating, spending time with friends and family etc. while they work 80 hours a week ( I am not saying that you do but I have heard this as well)

  120. The society we live in has turned people into one of two things: miserable cogs in a machine, or viscous animals clawing their way into the machine’s control room.

    I choose to avoid the machine altogether. It doesn’t bring people happiness. Not really. To the cogs it brings a sense of security, and to the animals it brings a sense of carnal delight at having asserted themselves over their inferiors, but neither will ever be content. It is against the nature of the machine to be content.

  121. I must be spoiled, I work in IT, and have for the last 14 years, and I rarely work more than 40 hours a week. I make $96,000 / year. I am oncall one week a month (calls range from none to 3). I work hard while I am at work, but honestly I could do my job most weeks in 30 hours. I find it ridiculous that corporate america wants us to be here 40 hours, when, if you are efficient, most of us could get our jobs done in less hours.

    I know for me, I see wasted hours every day on the job. I see 1.5+ lunches, chatting constantly, meetings with much wasted time. All in the name of putting in the hours. I feel strongly in doing a good job and working hard. If it requires 50 or 60 hours then by all means. But I don’t agree that we should just be there to be there.

    I guess everyones personality is different, and everyone thrives in different settings, but me personally, I’d rather have my own personal time to decide when to work, as long as the work gets done.

    I would shoot myself if I had to work 60 hrs a week, unless someone paid me 200,000+ /year, no way I’d do it.

    1. If you are happy with making $96,000 a year, that is all that matters.

      I wanted to make $500,000 a year, and knew I had to work harder if I wanted to achieve that figure. The point is if I wanted $500k/year and wasnt Willing to work that much, then I would be totally stupid and irrational.

      1. I gotcha, I didn’t realize we were talking about that kind of monies :)

        It is my experience that most people that make that kind of money love working and aren’t looking to retire early. I assume you might be more in the minority, but I may be wrong.

        I have thought recently of taking on a job with more hours, more stress, but for much more money. But the only reason would be to bank as much as possible for as long as I could stand it. And then go do something more fun like financial advisor, or teacher, or something in which my salary didn’t matter as I have a ton of cash in the bank.

  122. Shasta Jones

    I work 40 hours a week. I spend 10 hours a week commuting. I suppose the work I do at home and don’t get a paycheck for is not work. At least by preparing my meals I don’t have to pay someone else to make my meals for me and I don’t get taxed on the money either. It’s also hard enough to find a job that will give me 40 hours a week.

  123. Why trade 5 days for 2, your whole life, then retire old and senile…
    Because that’s life?

    Pretty pessimistic crappy answer if you ask me.

    If we built this fast paced and rapidly expanding world, for anything at all… It’s not to drone away over half of our waking life, in some environment that’s not particularly enjoyable to exist in. It’s the exact opposite.

    We have a right, as conscious and inquisitive living things, to ask that question. Is it really worth it? Especially if our psyche isn’t necessarily any better off.

    When are we going to see a collective increase in happiness, coinciding with shorter working hours, not longer ones?

    Isn’t that what all this technological advancement is actually for?

    1. Fermi's Paradox

      Josh, it’s indeed very sad that you see life that way. Most who work hard see it as the opposite. They get a lot of reward (besides money) from their hard work and commitment, particularly a commitment to themselves and their families. But you are free to choose either way.

      And it is indeed scary that you somehow see “a collective increase in happiness” as apparently taking precedence over individuals seeking happiness on their own. E.g., some working longer hours if they like, others not so much. It sounds like you would sacrifice the rights of individuals to seek their own happiness on the alter of “collective” will.

  124. Andreea Pescar

    You know what I don’t understand, as a student still, waiting to enter the workforce: why on earth would I want to work more than 40 hours a week when life is so short and I want to do so many things (hobbies is one of them, time with family and friends)? I mean I would understand if it would be an important cause that would make humanity prosper in a great way. That would make sense to me. But waiting till your retired to do things you love: that’s actually sad to me. If the workload is so big, why don’t they hire more people and share responsability or take shifts ? I bet there are dozen who are looking for a job. I guess if you are money driven, then working 90 hours a week would benefit you. I, instead, think my time is more important, cause hey, we aren’t here forever and I plan to be happy, and I plan that my family would be happy too. I plan to have money enough to sustain me. I don’t want to be rich and have some huge baroque decorated house to show for or a brand new Ferrari. Maybe when children will come, my perspective will shift, and money-making will become more important to me. But overall, I think time is more important than money.

    1. Fermi's Paradox

      That’s great. Although it’s not really fair to characterize those who work many more than 40 hours in their career as “money driven.” I have know many, many people who work like FS describes, they do it because they love it, not because they are chasing the dollar. It’s a bit like saying professional athletes do it for the money. People I have met that don’t like their job or career can never seem to muster up the effort to work hard. And when you work more you do in fact benefit society as a whole, not the other way around. It is simple economics. Imagine what our economy would like if the “standard” wasn’t 40 hours, but something like 4 hours. We’d be back to living in caves.

      1. Andreea Pescar

        Yes, I get you. I guess that if you like what you do, working more hours isn’t such a big deal. I mean, some say that what they are doing are their life. I haven’t experienced that yet. Sorry for generalizing – some people are money driven, and that’s not such a bad thing if that’s what you want and plan to do something meaningfull with it.

        1. Fermi's Paradox

          Well, I guess “meaningful” is in the eyes of the beholder. If they wanted to take the money and burn it, it’s up to them, they earned it, it’s their property.