Financial Samurai Goals 2018: Back To Early Retirement Life!

Financial Samurai Goals For 2018

Financial Samurai Goals 2018 is my way of keeping the year focused and on track.

My biggest disappointment in 2017 was pushing my mind and my body past their limits. At the age of 40, I no longer have the energy to do what I've been used to doing all my life, yet I worked more than I ever had before. I was a stubborn mule who couldn't accept the fact that I had aged. As a result, I injured my ankle, back, elbow and quads.

I also had a breakdown one evening when I couldn't put my son to bed after the third try at around midnight. Hearing my baby cry is a heart-stinging experience. After an hour and a half of singing and cradling, I gave up on giving my wife the rest she needed and texted her to relieve me.

I felt like such a failure. I had spent years building a lifestyle business in order to be able to be a good father. Yet I lost it because I was working way too much on the business instead of storing up energy reserves for the late night shift.

It was at this moment I realized that going down the path of full-time caretaker with my wife while also keeping Financial Samurai going at a fervent pace wasn't going to work out. I was no longer my happy go lucky pleasant self. Here are some goals that will make life better in 2018!

Financial Samurai Goals 2018

1) Return to early retirement life.

As this site has grown more people are reaching out for help or contacting me with business opportunities. It's become overwhelming. No longer is Financial Samurai a casual, unknown site where I can say and do what I please.

I want to respond to everybody but I can't. Therefore, I created a massive out of office e-mail with answers to my most frequent requests. But it was ineffective. One business partner e-mailed me on Dec 22, then again on Dec 26, then again on Jan 2. It's good he's hustling, but what happened to boundaries, especially during the holidays?

In 2018 two of my goals are to publish only 100 articles (from 175) and to start having more fun with the topics without stressing about the quality of the content. While the business component of this site is exciting, it has become too much. Just like with day job income, after you make a certain amount of business income, there is no more additional happiness. Instead, misery often ensues due to increased demands for your time.

Early retirement life is all about being carefree and only doing what I enjoy.

2) For six days a week, provide an average six hours of JOYFUL assistance to my wife. 

For the seventh day, provide four hours of joyful assistance for a total of 40 hours a week. (this proved to be too much for me unfortunately).

As a stay at home dad, I provided around eight hours of support a day to my wife in 2017. For example, I would always relieve her for 2-3 hours in the morning, depending on how difficult the night was so she could shower, go to the bathroom, catch up on reading, and do her own thing. Then I'd provide care for 2-3 hours in the afternoon, and another 3-4 hours in the evening. Often times her breaks were not breaks, but pumping sessions or things she had to get done for the business or for our baby e.g. bolt the TV to the wall.

After a while, I realized that a lot of my assistance was not 100% done with a smile because I was always tired and sometimes frustrated after having already worked so many hours that same day on the business. As a result, tension sometimes ensued. Thankfully, she started doing the entire night after the third month and things got better. And now that my publishing goal is 35% less, things should get even better.

Providing six hours a day of happy care is better than eight hours a day of grumpy care. I know I'm not alone with regards to relationship tension during the first year of a baby's life. More than 80% of couples experience a huge drop (40% – 90%) in marital quality during the transition to parenthood. Research also says folks who are sleep deprived typically suffer a 91% loss in their ability to regulate strong emotions, while the decline in general cognitive skill is equally dramatic. Just think about how dangerous it is to drive drowsy.

3) Increase business productivity. 

In other words, find a way to do less and maximize my existing content to boost traffic and revenue. I will never spend more than four hours a day on the business in 2018. Further, I will cease responding to comment and e-mail questions whose answers are obviously discernible in the post and encourage readers to use the search box on my website for answers.

Financial Samurai on Quora
Not bad for 10 days of work over the holidays

With time freed up from not responding to obvious questions, I plan on building new readership by answering questions on Quora, a Q&A social platform. I've always known about the benefits of Quora, but never bothered to try until the Christmas holiday when a reader asked whether I was sleep deprived in my 2017 review post even though that's exactly what I wrote I was in my intro. Instead of answering his question, I responded to a question on Quora that ended up bringing new traffic.

I plan on building up my authority on everything San Francisco, Real Estate, and Investing related. Even though I've lived in San Francisco for 17 years, own SF real estate, worked in finance, consulted for startups, and have this site, very few people in the SF media have reached out. If I can become a go-to resource, then productivity should increase.

After 10 days of trying, Quora has ranked me as a “Most Viewed Writer” in Real Estate and San Francisco. The ranking only lasts for 30 days, but I'm sure with consistency, the results will grow.

4) Spend more time doing work in the hot tub

Through voice dictation, I’m actually writing this post in my hot tub right now. Yeah baby yeah! Not only am I utilizing my hot tub investment more, but I'm getting some stress relief while also producing work. Of course I'll still have to do all the editing on the laptop, but this is a good way to really focus on living the early retirement lifestyle. Whenever I can knock out two or three things in one activity, I get very happy.

5) Aggressively spend more money on help.

Until recently, we’ve always done all the lawn work, housecleaning, and childcare. There's something therapeutic about gardening and cleaning. But now that we are tired parents, we need to prioritize! I really need help at this stage because my lower back is still tender. It's kind of torturous to crawl around and chase a baby for a couple hours with a bad back.

6) Continue to help people of all types in different ways.

This means publish two times a week, produce at least 30 podcasts, see my foster child mentee at least 24 times, coach high school tennis, and participate in more fundraising events. Actively helping others by getting involved in their lives is one of the best benefits of early retirement.

7) Stop feeling so damn guilty for not doing more.

I have a tortured soul. Since I was 13, I’ve always had the belief that if I can, I must because a friend of mine died in a car accident and was never given the chance. But with this attitude, I feel a tremendous weight on my shoulders to be the financial provider and a caregiver for my son, even though my wife is a stay-at-home parent and we should have enough money.

I sought some advice about getting rid of guilt from a father who told me, “Raising a child is pretty easy if you can go away for 12 hours a day. Out of sight, out of mind.” In other words, he was suggesting that I find a day job like many fathers. But I don't want to go that route.

Whenever I feel bad for not doing enough, I will remind myself that being able to provide my wife and me the freedom to take care of our son during his crucial first five years of life should count for a lot. There are many parents who reluctantly have to go back to work after 1-3 months.

8) Get regular physical checkups.

One in three people will get cancer. And one in four people will die from cancer. The closest thing to curing cancer is early detection. However, most cancer is detected only after a patient feels symptoms. By stage three, only 8% of cancer patients live past five years. I bring up cancer because an old colleague of mine died of breast cancer at age 44. She leaves behind two children and a husband.

I cannot imagine the pain of leaving Earth before I see my son grow up to be a strong and independent man who finds someone who loves him as much as we do. I need to get back to the ideal body weight of 160 lbs for a man my height.

As much as I hate full physicals, I will get one. And I will ask my doctor to do more blood work tests to see if they can find any anomalies. If I feel pain, I won't be afraid to see the doctor. After all, I'm paying close to $700 a month for healthcare! Good thing I did some blood work in mid-2017 for my life insurance policy. After checking for 22 variables, the only anomaly was a slightly elevated cholesterol reading.

Health is always going to be one of the most important goals 2018.

9) Find a way to grow net worth by $2 million. 

Out of all the goals 2018, boosting net worth by $2 million is the hardest. What's a personal finance site without a concrete financial goal. With the estate tax threshold doubling to $22 million for couples, why not shoot for more wealth while taking things down a notch. The more you have, the more time and money you have to help other people. I assign only a 30% chance my investment returns plus savings will achieve this goal.

Therefore, the only way to get a $2 million boost is if I invent something that takes off, get some kind of huge JV offer for my company, build a new revenue channel, or get really lucky with an investment. As always, I'll be tracking my net worth closely to make sure my risk exposure is appropriate.

Excited About Early Retirement In 2018

One benefit about returning to the kick back early retirement lifestyle is that I'll be writing more about early retirement. It's really a wonderful stage that I think everybody should shoot for. It just didn't last longer than a year for me due to my strong desire to maximize Financial Samurai's potential.

2018 is the year I've been waiting for. My goals for 2018 are clear and achievable. To finally relax and be a present dad after spending so much time growing passive income and building a lifestyle business. Our little one is growing up so fast. We've got to cherish every moment. It's highly likely he'll be our only child given our advanced ages.

Here's to letting go in 2018! May your money work hard for you so you don't have to.

Update June 4, 2018: I've so far failed to let go. I continue to publish 3X a week on average and I've already produced over 30 podcasts. I'm checking in here to remind myself to take it easier during the summer and let my mind and body heal. It was rough going for about 5 weeks because our baby sitter, who provided about 15 hours of relief a week got sick/didn't want to work. 

Financial Samurai 2018 Goals Is A Financial Samurai original. Check out my Top Financial Products Page and subscribe to my free newsletter to help you achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.

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121 thoughts on “Financial Samurai Goals 2018: Back To Early Retirement Life!”

  1. Best of luck in fulfilling your parental obligations with joy. It sounds like you are all working hard on making it great for everyone to the extent it is within your power.

  2. Parenting at every stage is the most rewarding thing my wife and I have ever done. That being said, having a nanny that you can trust to stay overnight a week or two each year so you can get away from the kids is invaluable for your marriage.

  3. Sam,
    Not sure if it’d been said here already, have you thought about hiring a part time baby sitter? I am a dad of 2 year old twins and the first year was rough physically and mentally. Trying to be an all star at work, the gym, and home is hard, all the while my wife is finishing her bachelor’s degree. Luckily my inlaws provided a lot of help and support.if you had someone you know and trust to watch the little one a few hours a day so you and your if can sleep, clean, relax, and maybe go on a date everything should be better. It does get easier my friend once the babes can crawl, walk, and sleep through the night.

    Love the blog.

    1. Hi Nick, we’re experimenting with someone who can come three times a week to help us for three hours each time. And it’s been great so far. This is one of my goals for 2018: spend more money on help. The key is finding someone we can absolutely trust since our son is our most precious thing. Just takes time To find the one. The search itself can be exhausting as well. But once we find the one we are going to spend whatever we need to get help. Thanks!

  4. Hey Sam,

    You do you! While I love reading what you write about finance and investing, you put in the work to reach FiRe so you can do what you want. So do that! I’m sure your insights on FiRe will be interesting, and probably provide me motivation to continue to work towards my own FiRe status. And, hopefully, every now and then, you’ll still provide us with some excellent finance and investing content;)

    Now get some sleep!

  5. ” after you make a certain amount of business income, there is no more additional happiness. Instead, misery often ensues due to increased demands for your time.”

    So true. The best part of early retirement is being able to choose how to spend your time. And spending it with your family is great choice. Hope your knee gets better and you accomplish all your goals for 2018!

  6. Income Master

    Best of luck with the baby. I’m currently going through the first year period as well and it certainly is very challenging to juggle work, a business, sharing the load with the partner and getting in some sleep where possible.

  7. Sam, I love your blog and think you have incredible insight, but it terrifies me that you have that amount of your NW invested in crowdfunded real estate.

    As someone who has over 10 years of experience doing acquisitions for real estate PE funds (which is my current seat), I feel as though you are conflating the concept of owning real estate directly (such as the home run that you had in SF) with being effectively a limited partner in a complicated capital structure where you give away the ups, don’t control the operations, exit timing, capital budgeting, and have no rights if something goes bad, which in real estate, always does at some point.

    With crowdfunded real estate, it’s not at all similar to buying a duplex in SF; you’re part of a complicated deal where you are the “dumb money” because you don’t have substantial experience negotiating or evaluating these types of transactions (whereas your “partners” do this for a living), don’t know what could (and usually does) happen, and are in effect relying trusting the crowdfunder to present you a fair deal, even though they are not a fiduciary and they are trying to build a business/don’t have your best interests.

    A few of my assertions:

    – Equity or Pref Equity – you have equity downside but not true equity upside. i) economy does well/you have good timing, you expect to make 35% annualized returns (like your SF RE investment), but actually make high teens because of pref structure, or in common equity, the 40% promote that you pay to the sponsor. this is not exciting. Of course the sponsor makes 50%+ annualized with his fees and promote/carry. ii) bad timing, you lose all your money regardless of whether you’re equity or pref.

    – Real estate is a boom and bust business. the second something goes wrong, you wont know what you should do, have no control or ability to workout the deal, or get your money out. (google blackstone’s hilton deal, it blew up, they lost their initial investment, but put more money in and made a grand slam). crowdfunding is a repeat of the disastrous TIC syndication game where sales people (the original crowdfunders) put doctors and lawyers into real estate, took huge fees, and when the deals went sideways, the TICs/investors didn’t have a financial advisor, didn’t know what to do and weren’t able to all agree to put more money in at 30% returns a la blackstone, and instead pe firms like the one I work for, feasted on these from 2011-2015 (“distressed debt”). those returns should’ve gone to the TIC investor. Please ask any real estate lender or real estate acq guy that has been through even one cycle about this structure.

    – These sponsors/developers have no “skin in the game.” on paper they put in 10% (equity deals), but they raise most of that from friends and family, and then earn all that back through acquisition, disposition, and “asset management” fees. asset management fees is in quotes because it ridiculous that they want you to pay for their organization’s overhead, as this is in addition to the customary property management fee. Ask yourself, can the sponsor that you invest with change the business plan and make it a 10 year hold instead of a 3 year hold? What do you do if they’re not doing their job, for instance, they are underwater on your deal, and instead raise new money and focus on their new project? what if that competing project is across the street from your investment and they direct tenants from your apartment building to their new property that they bought for 50% off because of a downturn? What if you invest with a particular sponsor because you like their experience or track record and they “leave” or sell the company in a year (someone else takes control)?

    – Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security and feel as though the crowdfunding platform is “on your side.” they’re not negotiating these agreements on your behalf nor are their employees the “A” team. So you met with them and they charmed you. How long have these guys who run the marketplace been investing in real estate or putting these deals together? come on man. this is not directed at any specific crowdfunding platform, but rather all of them.

    – Read others’ experience on reddit and other blogs, there are many folks who have had multiple issues in small debt portfolios within a context of a bull market for real estate. that is a red flag.

    – Really shouldn’t have more than 5-10% of your NW into something like this. if you’re looking at a large re investment, i’m happy to take a quick look for you if you’re interested.

    1. Michael,

      These are all great points and sometimes I terrify myself. I’m definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed, which is why I like feedback from readers. Where was your advice during the first half of 2017? :)

      Some points:

      * How much do you think my net worth is? This will help me understand what type of perception I give off in order to write better. I’ve been trying to practice Stealth Wealth as much as possible while also trying to add transparency when discussion investments.

      * How much do you think I earn a year? The amount of risk should correspond to net worth and income.

      * I sold a house for $2.74M and reinvested $500,000 over the $1.8M in proceeds in real estate crowdfunding. The rest was invested in municipal bonds and stocks. How would you have reinvested the $1.8M in proceeds? And are you saying the risk of investing $500,000 in REC is GREATER than having $2.74M in exposure with $820,000 in mortgage debt in a single asset, when I’ve got two other SF properties? Related: Re-investment Ideas After Selling A House

      * Why not focus on absolute dollars instead of percentages? One of the consistent responses I get from readers is that they can’t get around this high dollar amounts e.g. “terrified you are investing $800,000 in real estate crowdfunding.” Should I just talk about percentages instead e.g. I invested 5% of my NW in REC? Would that help readers understand more? Or maybe I should give approximate percentages along w/ dollar amounts. This well help me reach a wider audience. Related: 5 Investment Lessons From A Surreal 2017

      * 5-10% of net worth is a reasonable percentage for exposure. I like having about 10% – 15% of my net worth in alternative investments like REC, venture debt, and private equity.

      * How much real estate exposure do you have as part of your net worth so I can understand you better. Please also let me know your age and rough net worth as well.



      1. It’s not really about allocation; i was just trying to be polite towards the crowdfunding business but what I really wanted to say was that these are terrible structures that have failed in multiple previous iterations. If people want to throw some small amount at it, as one would with something like crypto, then c’est la vie. One’s net worth and income aren’t relevant to merits of an investment. If the downside is equity like, but you’re giving away a big piece of the ups, the investment isn’t compelling.

        With SF residential, you have an asset that is a quasi-trophy, in an area is that exceptionally difficult to build, with cheap 30 year debt financing (ensuring that you’ll never lose the asset). It’s an area with one of the most dynamic economies in the world with increasing salaries and job growth leading to higher rents. the value is increasing. You also control this asset, the exit, financing, can fire the manager if they do a bad job, and can renovate for higher returns if the rents justify. importantly, you know there is no fraud, that you own the asset at the price you think you own it at, that it wasn’t transferred to you “marked up”, that there are no improprieties like affiliate companies providing services at above-market rates, etc. but yeah it’s a lot of work.

        I wouldn’t have traded that for a portfolio of minority positions with sponsors I don’t know, 65-70% levered with 2-4 years of loan term. If there’s a downturn and you can’t refi, you’ve just lost all your principal. Even if you knew how you should restructure (eg what sort of loan mod the lender should give you, or what the new terms for fresh equity should be), you can’t get all the other parties to fund prorata with you.

        Many of these REC investments also have marginal “value”- because they’re in markets where it is easier to build than SF, supply lowering the competitive positioning of your asset. In other words, the “16% target investor return” advertised looks good, until you realize the cash flows are ephemeral and the outcome highly variable. Not true with SF residential with a 30 year mortgage.

        I’m 35 and live in NYC. I worked in banking for 2 years out of school and then in real estate private equity since then. So I consider myself fortunate and I’ve also gotten to a point where I enjoy the work.

        I’m a LP in a real estate deal with a similar dynamics as crowdfunding but I’ve known the sponsor for over 10 years and partly wanted to repay him for getting me a job years ago and mentoring me.

        The deal is going very well but I wouldn’t do this again. This isn’t like a bond with regular coupons even if the cash flows are regular; it’s you writing a check, having no idea what your investment is really worth for years, getting random distributions here and there, hoping that you get a big check one day when they sell, and praying that the sponsor doesn’t do something really stupid to blow up your investment at any point during the investment period.

        Do your sponsors do regular reporting and how do you know what they tell you is true? Are the financial statements audited? If you talk to some 50+ year old super high net worth real estate investors, many would never invest in a private real estate deal with people they don’t know.

        1. Got it. Essentially you believe your way of investing in real estate is good, and my way of investing in real estate is bad. That’s fine, and I totally get it. We always want to believe we’ve made the right investments, otherwise we wouldn’t have made them.

          Are you long physical NYC real estate as a NYC resident? I see Manhattan real estate as a “quasi-trophy” just like SF real estate. If you are not long, why not? And if you are long, what are you long and what did you buy?

          Do you feel that part of the reason why you are so against real estate crowdfunding is because it is a direct threat to your own business just like robo-advisors are a threat to the traditional wealth management business? There has been a lot of angst in the wealth management business about the robo-advisors over the past five years, but they’ve grown assets quite rapidly. There’s also a lot of angst in cryptocurrencies and basically anything that’s relatively new.

          Finally, how much do you think I’m going to lose in my equity real estate crowdfunding investments (only three of 12 are preferred equity). Don’t worry about making me feel bad about my investments.

          I’m definitely open to your advice about how to better manage and grow my net worth. If you have any articles you’ve written about real estate and can share your net worth composition and returns that would be great. Owning Manhattan real estate is awesome, and I’d never sell.



          1. That would be funny if Michael isn’t even long NYC property at 35, and criticizing you for having a diversified real estate portfolio since 26 years old. But surely he wouldn’t be that clueless. Hope he responds!

            You make a good point about traditional industries showing the most amount of pushback towards new technology. We fear and hate anything new.

            1. NYC real estate owner

              Honestly, I would be pissed off and super bitter if I was 35 years old and worked in real estate in NYC but didn’t own New York City real estate over the past 10 years.

              Let’s see if Michael will answer the question. A lot of people say one thing and do another. It would be interesting to understand why he didn’t buy or what he ended up buying.

          2. Sam,

            Say you’re selling a house that’s something people actually want to buy, like a house in SF. You get a bunch offers. Are you going to take the one where the buyer can pay all cash and close within 30 days (the pe firm using a subscription line) or are you going with the RealtyShares offer where the buyer says “I don’t have the money now, I might be able to raise it, I’m not sure how long it’ll take if I can, and I can’t promise you that I can get this done.” Come on man.

            That dynamic really makes me wonder about the provenance and quality of these pref equity and common equity deals; are their sponsors only able to buy deals that no one else wanted, where the broker got no bids? Are the sponsors mostly buying off-market deals where they overpay because they aren’t effective in a standard marketing process? Or did the sponsor already acquire the deal and is selling it to you at a marked up basis? I don’t see the transaction background in any of their materials; although in a recent debt deal the “use” in the sources and uses table was to pay off a flipper’s existing loan which I inferred crowdfunded capital was being brought in as risky rescue capital, since if the original business plan worked out, the flipper would’ve sold and repaid his mortgage, not refinanced.

            Technology is exciting. The crowdfunding guys increase demand for real estate professionals as they build out their own team and I don’t have any misgivings working for them if they become the best opportunity. RS is currently in the market with a recruiter (“LE”) for two Director-level positions and the comp is not comparable to a pe fund. Or maybe if I start my own local developer, I’ll use their platform to raise equity with egregious fees as a couple of my friends have with their deals.

            Thinking about their below market comp made me wonder, how much cash are these crowdfunders burning? What happens to your investments if the VCs stop funding them? On a debt deal, who would process and check the draw requests if the crowdfunders shutdown?

            You wrote a couple of weeks ago: “love of money is the root of all evil, the less time you spend chasing money, the happier you will be” and “My life since leaving work has never been better, all because I decided to focus on maximizing freedom instead of maximizing net worth.”

            I have a lot of money. I enjoy what I do, feel blessed, and I’m not in a net worth competition with you. I hope these deals work out for you and look forward to more great content.


            1. Thanks Michael. They’ve created an operating company to manage the deals through completetion if RS goes under. Same with all REC companies. How do the private equity guys do it if you guys go under?

              Can you talk about your net worth composition and your real estate holdings? This is not a net worth amount competition, just curious how your net worth is allocated.

              I’m interested in how a real estate guy invests in real estate, especially in New York City and whether you hold NYC property as the market is slowing. I think this is a fair question because I’m forward looking and trying to get better, and all you’ve done is criticize my past investment which is already done. How are you investing money for the future? I still have money behind to invest and want some ideas.


            2. Michael, as a real estate guy, you don’t own real estate do you, hence why you keep ducking the question. Not sure how you have any credibility missing out on the biggest real estate boom of our lifetimes. I understand if you are 25 years old, but at 35 years old, the market really passed you by. Maybe try to take out your frustration on your bosses or parents for encouraging you to rent all these years Instead. That must be so frustrating seeing other people in your industry get rich.

              As for fees, are you the pot telling the kettle black?

              Private equity real estate firms charge a one-time 1.5% Fund Formation fee, an annual 1.5% Investment Management fee, and receive 20% of the profits above a 8-9% preferred return. This is consistent with institutional fund pricing.

              Again, you offer no value, and you reveal nothing about yourself because you are afraid people will criticize you as you were criticizing Sam. Happy renting in the most expensive city in America. You sure missed the boat.

        2. @Michael You clearly sound heated in your lengthy responses. As someone who works in the investment space though you should realize and respect that there is no right or wrong way to invest and that everyone’s situation is different. You can’t tell someone else that they are investing wrong or how they should spend their money.

        3. Michael – What are some solutions? All you’ve done is say what a mistake Sam made after he made an investment without providing anything solutions. Unless you just like to make people feel bad, where are you investing your money and what is your net worth?

          1. Getting criticized is definitely one of the drawbacks of putting yourself out there. I always hope readers can provide solutions and highlight their own investments to create an equal playing field of knowledge.

            But I’m used to getting criticized. It’s what keeps me balanced. If I ever feel bad, I’ll just log into my dashboard look at my net worth And remind myself there is great joy and not having to work for anybody else :-)

      2. Hey Sam, you’re wasting time with guys like Michael. He’s clearly biased bc he works at a PE real estate fund and he missed out on buying Manhattan property.

        Reminds me of this guy named Adam who missed out on buying SF real estate in early 2000’s. He started Socketsite to bash real estate. 15+ years later, he’s still bashing real estate and lost all credibility bc the SF market surged since then. His site could have been great and made him a lot of money. But his traffic is terrible due to lack of credibility.

        Remember, there are people who criticize and take no risks like Michael, and people who put their money where their mouth is. I’d say making over $1.2M in your one SF home isn’t too shabby.

        1. My dude, if you work for a private equity fund (real estate, VC, LBO, etc), part of your comp is a piece of the investments. Say it’s a medium-sized $1.5bn RE fund and you have 12-15 years of experience; you might get “2 points.”

          The fund achieves its goal and doubles its money over 4 to 7 years. The firm gets 20% of the the $1.5bn in profits or $300 million. You get 2% of the firm’s take, $6.0 million.

          The firms raises a new fund every three years. So you’re currently getting large distributions from the 2010 fund (got fewer points since you were more junior, but that fund tripled its money) and there is that 2013 fund which just started selling assets and is looking very juicy.

          Did I mention all your distributions are taxed at cap gains and not ordinary income?

          Additionally, your salary+bonus has grown from $100k (when you were a first year analyst), to $500k to $1mm, and every subsequent fund raised, you get more and more “points.”

          But yeah, you are still hung up on the $1.2 million condo that you were going to buy in Chelsea as a 29 year old now that nows sells for something like $1.8 million. Even though you have no desire to live in that neighborhood as someone in their mid 30s, all other asset prices (what you invested in instead of the condo) have gone straight up, and the would be tax-effected cost of home ownership has gone up 25%+ overnight because of the new tax bill.

          1. And yet you are still working and renting an overpriced apartment in NYC. Not too smart not buying real estate while working in real estate are you? In fact, it’s downright dumb to miss out on Manhattan real estate all these years.

            The smart RE PE guys not only make big money each year, but they also own solid real estate portfolios because they actually put their expertise to work.

            I’ve owned property in Manhattan since 2003. It’s been a great ride so far. Thank you for paying my rent.

            1. Judith Wilson

              Hi guys, i’m sort of loathed to comment on this thread, because i know people are just going to jump all over it, but i think it needs some balance. I am a high net worth Angel investor and my husband and I invest mainly in technology companies, after successfully selling out of 3 companies to date. Our investments include a lot of fintech. I think Michael is right to sound a note of caution here. My experience in these ‘new industries’ is that the legal structure is often not as solid as you’d want and i think he’s right to point out the lack of control you have. Having said that Sam I know you understand this kind of thing really well, having worked in the finance industry, and i was really interested in this investment, so a couple of posts on the investgations you did and how it’s all performing would be really helpful.

              1. Thoughts on where to invest going forward? Congrats on selling. What did you invest in and have your angel investments overall been net positive or net negative given your note of caution? I’d love to hear an example of a legal structure that didn’t pan out Well for you. I’m pretty hesitant on angel investing going forward, which is different from investing in a portfolio of different real estate investments around the country at lower valuations. Thx


          2. Judith Wilson

            Hi Sam,

            I know you’re hesitant about Angel investing, which I understand completely. It’s been incredibly positive for us, but it’s not for the faint-hearted – there’s a lot of companies that go under. There’s lots you can read about this, but mainly what you’ve got to do is use the same portfolio theory you’d use for the stock exchange – i.e. spread your investments across a good number of investments and I’d say it’s got to be 20+ companies. Also to some extent we know what we’re doing (ha ha) so we often get involved and help the company if we think it’s a good investment/good opportunity. We’re still very much on the learning curve with this one, and it’s very long term (10 plus years usually); but we’ve made a lot of money out of it. Companies are very good investments, as you know yourself from Financial Samurai – just think about spreading that across 20 companies with 20 great individuals! Having said all that, it’s not a passive investment vehicle, it takes more of our time than property!

            We’ve invested in whole range of stuff – all technology. The three we’ve exited were all in the mobile space. At the moment we have several fintech companies, Internet of things, marketing tech, things that are becoming important now and will take over in the future like AI and Machine Learning. My husband’s background is technology and mine is marketing so we tend to come at an investment from different angles. He’s very good at knowing what’s going to happen next technology-wise, I’m good at markets.

            The caution is around a company my Husband set up called Getitmade that was sort of like Kickstarter but for making things (before Kickstarter moved into this space – Kickstarter started in funding films/the arts!). What we realised as we dug into it more and more and he tried to sort out the legals on this company was that lots of the companies that had set up in this space and spaces like it just hadn’t bothered to do the legal side of things thoroughly (including Kickstarter!). To take an example, with a company like Kickstarter or Getitmade there is an issue when you make a pledge of money (which was how it worked at that time), what is the legal situation? Is it consumer legislation or something else? Does the consumer actually own the product that they have pledged money against? You may think that this isn’t that important, but if the project fails what is the legal status of the money the customer pledged? Does the company owe it back to them? is the platform they pledged it through responsible? What happens if the project fails part way through when a good proportion of the money has been spent? At that time Kickstarter was operating more like an investment vehicle than a way of buying a product that someone would then make with the money raised.

            That is the specific example that we experienced ourselves, but you can see this now with a lot with tech companies that are trying to disrupt markets in a new way; where it’s ‘we’ll just set this thing up and then let the legal structure of the country we’re in catch up with us’; or we’ll sort out what the legal implications are later. AirBNB and Uber are well-known cases, but they are just the tip of the iceberg and it goes much deeper than this like the example I gave above; where does the legal redress and the ownership sit? That’s why i’d be interested in the legals around what you’ve invested in, not that it’s necessarily a problem, just that it’s important to get your head around the implications and what they mean. After all, if you got in at the start, Uber and AirBNB have been stellar investments! :)

            Having said all that, the real reason for caution in a lot of these cases is because they are doing business in a new way and the legals have never been tested before (I’d probably put airBNB and Uber in this category); therefore it adds a risk and it needs to be factored in in any decision or return that you get.

            I’m not negative about it at all – I’m in much potentially higher risk investments myself where it’s often impossible to assess the risk. But I did think that Michael made some interesting and useful points that made me think a bit more about aggregated real estate investing and didn’t really deserve the bashing he got!

            I’m really impressed you put all your views and your investment online – very brave of you to put yourself out there like that.

            Hope that’s helpful comment anyway.


            1. Great feedback Judy! I totally hear you on the legal structure and regulation risk, more so for startups than older companies that have been tested tried and true. No risk, no reward as they say.

              For real estate crowdfunding, they are a marketplace, a conduit that connects developers and landlords with investors in a segment that has traditionally been reserved for only institutions or super high net worth individuals. The REC company vets the deals, arranges the financing, sends the K-1, etc. For clarification if others are not sure, I’m not investing in real estate crowdfunding companies as an angel or venture capitalist. I’m investing in the real estate deals that they’ve scrutinized to make it on their platform. My investment risk is therefore with the operator and the investments I choose. My hope is that by having a portfolio of 15 deals, my risk will be mitigated. We shall see!

              It is a bummer that more readers don’t share what they’ve invested in and their outlook. I guess there’s not much upside because everybody is afraid to be wrong. I’m just looking to learn from other people’s experiences. I will share my results good and bad.

              Actually, maybe there is some upside to sharing. Credibility!

              Related: Develop Your Sphere Of Influence To Achieve Financial Independence

  8. Hi Sam,

    I ran my own business in market research for 18 years retiring at 48. My husband also ran his own business until he sold it in 2005. We are FI and have property, shares and are Angel Investors. We have two kids, who are now 16 and 13. When the kids were born I went part-time and we had help for everything. The more help the better and I think it really saved our sanity. We had a part time nanny, people to wash the car, look after the garden, etc. etc. You name it, we had help for it. We had an assistant who came in all day Saturday to just sort stuff out: kids stuff, fixing the washing machine, paying bills, sorting out insurance, organising everything. This admin person made a huge difference. Because we both ran our own businesses and had two kids we kind of had to do this. However, we still do this now 7 years later, even though the kids are now teenagers (btw I think they need our time more now as it’s much more psychological support!) and we are effectively retired (ha ha). The effort goes from the day to day taking care of them to running them around, talking and advising and sporting activities! All this help changed my mindset completely – now my mindset is – how can I turn this into a system that someone else can implement for me?. We employ people part-time from the local university who are smart and want to fit a job around their university studies and they do all our admin work.

    The other thing to say is that having a nanny was great. I felt guilty getting someone else to look after my kids, but actually my husband and I and the kids gained so much from it. These people are trained professionals and in no other profession would you say that a person with no experience (a parent i.e. you) is better than a trained professional. I think you need to give your kids time and let them know they are loved, but by no means do you and your wife need to do it all 24/7. My husband and I learned loads from watching how our nannies looked after the kids, and they were so into what they did – they were lovely with the kids. We became much better parents learning from them. My daughter is amazingly good with children to this day (she’s 16) and she certainly didn’t learn that from us! :). The kids also remember these people with great fondness and talk frequently about how great they were and what a good time they had with them! I laugh at myself now for the fact I felt bad leaving them with a nanny, and I’m so glad I did it. The thing about other people looking after your kids is that the more people that look after them the more they gain because those people are different from you, good at different things from you and teach them different things.

    Good luck with it all. I loved this post. It made me think a lot about my goals for 2018. Your site is really great.


  9. Tony Beltran


    My name is Tony Beltran and I am a long time reader of Financial Samurai. I’m 30 years old, married with a six month old son, and am a professional athlete. I’ve been playing pro soccer for 10 years now in the MLS. In October of last year I suffered a potential career ending injury that will keep me sidelined for the majority of 2018. After two surgeries over the holiday season, I am actively rehabbing, and now with the absence of soccer am looking for a new creative outlet.

    Your advertisement for a part time freelancer who is down on their luck perked my attention. If you believe me to be a candidate then please feel free to contact me anytime so we can discuss the specifics further. I myself became a father in June of last year, so the shift in subject matter of your posts coincides with all my wife and I are currently dealing with in life. Either way, best of luck to you achieving your goals in 2018.

    Tony Beltran

    1. Hi Tony,

      I hope your knee gets heals to 100%! 10 years playing in MLS is incredible.

      In some ways, this time off could be a wonderful blessing to spend more time with your son. Congrats btw! To have a son at 30 is wonderful. I wish we tried earlier as well.

      Will need to sort things out before I reach out. But thanks for reading and get well!


  10. Question for the forum for 2018. My husband is a sky is falling type of guy when it comes to finances. He would like some of our cash to be in a foreign account if there is ever an EMP from North Korea or some other rogue element that we could access to in an emergency. (wag the dog event??) How do you go about doing this if you are a U.S. citizen? Thanks in advance and I wish everyone well in 2018!

  11. Also, just sent a long email regarding the position, that I thought was too long for a post. Sure you’re flooded w/ people. Very exciting opportunity!

  12. Sam, I’m actually happy to see and hear this for you. You gave me the confidence to step back when you pointed me to your post. “You probably need less than you think to retire.” Some of your new “limitations” are inevitable for everyone. That’s also why I changed the focus of my site to “Finance after 50”. My Father died of a heart attack when he was 64 too as did my wife’s Father. Those death’s were just the tip of the iceberg, but rather than focus on that, I’m happy to move forward and be an advocate for a different cohort. I’m happy that you can do this on your own terms because many people can’t. I think you’ll find you still have a lot of gas left in the tank for your 40’s but it’s nice that you don’t have to kill yourself and you can share in the growth of your son and family.


    Remember that your measurements are very different for your two goal categories. Money is obvious, as is number of posts, followers, growing your wealth. Easy to get frustrated measuring progress on harder to measure categories, like quality of family time, parenthood, lower stress, raising a child. A good start is 6 hours of cheerful help. How else can you quantify doing it right? Your relationship with Mrs FS is one of the ways. If you can figure out a way to measure “being present” or “being engaged” with a shorter results time line than your son’s adulthood, let us all know!


        As of last week, I am the mom of 4 adult children! (youngest just turned 21). Sounds like you are good at measuring success, you just need to figure out some ways to measure “success” that work for you on the long range project of caring for a small human to keep yourself encouraged and aware of your weaknesses and keep you going in the right direction. Part of that is enjoying them. Liking being with them. Being confident that they can handle the challenges they face as they grow by keeping them healthy and strong, teaching them to trust you and others, and teaching them to be kind and solve problems. Ok, so that sounds like a lot. But you have a new one, and they can’t do anything for themselves yet. But YOUR goal is for you and Mrs FS to be healthy and strong and to know your child well enough to know when they aren’t quite themselves or are struggling. Be trustworthy, and trust yourself. Be kind. Solve the problems that need to be solved. It’s a long term project you don’t ever want to be rid of. What works for you? A journal? A checklist? A review of the day (week month) before? Honest feedback from Mrs FS? Tailor what works for you in other areas (like money) as you face this enriching project. May you find joy and comfort that you’ve done a good job every (or most) days. That’s what we all should be looking for.

  14. Hy Sam,
    Congratulations for your work here at
    In the podcast,at point 7, you said you are interested in others “situation”. Me and my wife are expecting a baby in 2 months. Here in Romania, East europe, the mom can stay at home, with the baby, for 2 years with monthly income from the gouverment. 85% of the average income in previous 12 month before birth.
    Beside all the bads we have,i feel this is a very good one in our country.
    I wish you all, you 3 and your readers a beautiful and pleasant 2018.
    After our son is born maybe i will write you again with updates.
    All the best,
    Dan T.

    1. Two years is amazing! Maybe we will move there if we get pregnant with number two :-) but that means she needs to have a job first, which would kind of stink.

      I’d love for you to let me know how fatherhood is after the first three months. Best of luck! You must be patient and forgiving because there are a lot of emotional and physical changes and sleepless nights to deal with. As the father, you have to be the rock i’d love for you to let me know how fatherhood is after the first three months. Best of luck! You must be patient and forgiving because there are a lot of emotional and physical changes and sleepless nights to deal with. As the father, you have to be the rock.

  15. Hello Sam,
    Have you or any of your readers looked into “cannabis stocks” lately. I have made some pretty nice returns getting in the market early. There are some solid companies with the Canadian LP,s leading the charge. Just curious?

  16. It’s all about efficiency. I started my company with a product that I initially invented because I needed to find an effective way to train at home and on the go. Our kids were still infants and going to the gym 3-4 times a week wasn’t an option that would have sat well with my wife.

    It is similar with most other choices. Finding the efficient and elegant way to get things done is in art by itself and a lot of fun to pursue. What works against you is being caught up in day-to-day micro management. It keeps you from reflecting and puts you into serial problem-solving mode. This is costly in the long run and drains your battery – so kudos for taking a step back!


  17. Hi Sam,

    Nice New Years resolutions.

    I am at a similar point in my life. I’m a bit younger and am a single parent who works 60+ hours a week. My son is nearly two. Financially I’m nearly there.

    I am involved in a few grass roots committees and a charity also. Burnout is a real risk and looking after your (and your wife’s) mental health is paramount.

    I tell myself every morning, that “I am here to do my best today” – it helps drive achievement, gives me direction and a positive outlook.

    Good luck.

  18. I feel for you Sam. I guess age really has something to do with it and make sure you take care of your back. I’ve had back issues for three years now (pinched nerve) and things aren’t getting any better. Health is wealth. I was always on my desk working in front of my computer plus the fact that I’m a recreational golfer.None of which is good for the back. This year I will be working smarter. I will be getting more sleep and I’m pretty sure that my new discovery of the love of cooking and cooking more for my family will give that sense of gratification and keep my stress level in check.

    Enjoy life.

  19. Hey Sam
    I see everyone is commenting about child care. Can’t say I’d be any help with that but I would like to respond to resolution #5 :)

    I have been through a lot in the past 5 years or so. I have always been super active and was a high level softball player since the age of 7. I even played D1 at Villanova. I was in school to become a physical therapist after Villanova, and in my last semester in 2012 I was in a very bad car accident, a truck ran a red light and hit me. Since then I have been struggling with a lot of health issues and chronic pain after lots of surgeries, etc. Don’t want to get into it too much on here but I’d be happy to talk about it through email. I’m unable to work due to all of my health issues but have been considering starting some kind of softball-related online business. My husband is an avid reader of your website and when she showed me this I thought it sounded like a great opportunity. Feel free to email me if you’d like!

    1. Howdy Jillian, thanks for sharing. Love softball! I’m addicted to the game. Sorry to hear about the health issues. Will be in touch once I determine the right fit. I did check out as a equipment vendor when I was looking to buy a new glove. You should think about all the content/questions/products you can sell with softball and do so pro forma calculations.

  20. Hey Sam, really love to read your blog, so it’s kind of sad to see that you’re reducing the amount of blog posts.

    You provide – usually – a new point of view among different subjects that I like to read, but I understand. Health and family first.

    I will continue to be a reader. Thank god for the RSS readers! :))

  21. Hi Sam,

    I hope all is well.

    I am wondering if Student Loans should be considered when marrying somebody?

    I recently came across an interesting article:

    The article talked about how a 31-year-old engaged woman had student-loan-debt of $170,000 and after her fiancé found out exactly how high her student-loans were, he broke off there engagement.

    Here is an exact quote from the Article: “Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, but when Allison Brooke Eastman’s fiancé found out four months ago just how high her student loan debt was, he had a particularly strong reaction: he broke off the engagement within three days.

    Ms. Eastman said she had told him early on in their relationship that she had over $100,000 of debt. But, she said, even she didn’t know what the true balance was; like a car buyer who focuses on only the monthly payment, she wrote 12 checks a year for about $1,100 each, the minimum possible. She didn’t focus on the bottom line, she said, because it was so profoundly depressing.

    But as the couple got closer to their wedding day, she took out all the paperwork and it became clear that her total debt was actually about $170,000. “He accused me of lying,” said Ms. Eastman, 31, a San Francisco X-ray technician and part-time photographer who had run up much of the balance studying for a bachelor’s degree in photography. “But if I was lying, I was lying to myself, not to him. I didn’t really want to know the full amount.”

    That seems kinda harsh for a Man to break off his wedding and relationship with his fiancee over her student-loan debt.
    But at the same-time, a woman being 31-years-old with $170,000 in student-loan debt trying to pursue a career in photography does have very limited professional career options in her life.

    The average salary for Photographers is only $31,710 per year. (

    The article also mentions a 26 year-old female medical-student who has student-loan totals of $250,000.

    Here is an exact quote from the Article: “Kerrie Tidwell. A third-year student at the Medical College of Georgia and an aspiring emergency room doctor, she doesn’t worry so much about her ability to pay back her loans.

    Ms. Tidwell, 26, is involved in a serious relationship with Stefan Kogler, an architect who is a native of Austria and living in Vienna. To Europeans, who often pay little or nothing toward their university studies, the idea of going deeply into debt to get educated is, well, foreign.

    Ms. Tidwell feels no guilt about the $250,000 in debt she will probably run up, including some from a master’s degree program she completed in London, where she and Mr. Kogler met. “I didn’t acquire it because I go out and shop a lot,” she said. “It’s because I’m doing something that I’ll love for the rest of my life.”

    Still, if she and Mr. Kogler are going to move in together and get engaged, she wants their financial arrangements to be clear and fair. But how do you define fair when you’re bringing a quarter of a million dollars in debt to a relationship?”

    In this second-scenario, a graduate of medical-school with a student-loan total of $250,000 is really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things in life.

    The woman plans on pursuing a career as an Emergency Medicine Doctor. The average salary for an Emergency Medicine Doctor is $320,419.

    Also: Medical-Doctors in general tend to have very stable careers, and are often able to work well into there 60’s and even sometimes into there 70’s in age. Medical-Doctors in general do not typically get laid-off or fired.
    Making a salary of $320,419+ for thirty plus years after Residency makes a student-loan debt of a quarter of a million seem pretty trivial in the grand scheme things of life for a Medical-School graduate.

    With all this said: I am not sure if it is really fair for women to be dumped and discriminated against as potential spouses because of there student-loan debt.

    Many people in this world are lucky that they are born into well-off families where they don’t have to worry about student-loans.
    Also, many people in this planet are lucky enough to have there parents pay for there weddings, and many people in this planet even get to receive inheritances from there parents.

    Most College students are 18 years-old when they enter college, and are 22 years-old when they graduate college.
    Very, very, very few college students really know what they want to do with there lives.
    Heck, even many college graduates at 22 years-old really have no idea what they want to do with there lives.

    Many employers today are also forcing people to get College Degrees because employers are increasingly requiring a bachelor’s degree for positions that didn’t used to require baccalaureate education. A college degree, in other words, is becoming the new high school diploma: the minimum credential required to get even the most basic, entry-level jobs. (

    I guess in summary, it sucks for women if they get stuck with six-figure plus student loans with degrees that have limited career-prospects. And if the Woman is unable to find a Husband because of Student-Loans that she took as an 18-year-old teenager, that seems pretty harsh and rough.

    Woman have a biological-clock with having Kid(s), and after the age of 35 years-old, the chances and odds of being able to have kid(s) becomes less and less.
    After 40 years-old, Woman pretty much lose any chance of having Kid(s).

    Women also on average earn less money than men.

    You have written in your blog previously that: “Should MJ marry the resume and live a financially secure life with a lack of chemistry? Or, should MJ continue to wait things out until she finds the perfect man who turns her on and has the financial requirements she expects: $200,000 a year or greater income, the ability to buy a $1.5M or greater home in the San Francisco Bay Area, a good family background, a professional degree, physically fit, 5′ 10″ or taller, and can always give her the love and attention she needs?” (

    With that said: Should men have the same standards from Women?
    Should a Man avoid marrying a Woman who has High Student-Loans with a Degree and a Career-Field that pays very little and has very little career-prospects?

    How important should a Woman’s potential Career-Earnings be to a Man when he is thinking about marrying a woman?

    I never thought about all of this.
    I am currently 27.5 years-old, and I am recently single. I just got out of a long-term relationship.
    I don’t have any student-loans (I went to my local in-state college and I never got a Master’s degree), and none of my previous girlfriends have had student-loans either. Then again: I have only had only just a few serious girlfriends in my life.
    I haven’t really dated that many women in my life so far.

    I honestly in the past never really cared what my ex-girlfriends did for a living.
    I was more concerned about how physically attractive they were, and what there personalities were like.

    This is all interesting to think about as I get older, as I am currently a single heterosexual male.

    Your ‘Financial Samurai’ blog talks a lot about dating from a Woman’s prospective, but what about from the Man’s perspective.

    Should men have high-standards for there female spouse in terms of the Woman’s potential Career-Earnings, and what debt the Woman is bringing into there relationship?

    What if the woman wants to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom when she has Kid(s)?
    Does the woman need permission from her husband to become a stay-at-home-mom?

    The cost of day-care for Kid(s) can be pretty-expensive, especially in major-cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., etc.
    In certain scenarios and in certain situations, it maybe cheaper for the woman to be a stay-at-home-mom, instead of working a low-paying job like being a Photographer.

    I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I am interested to hear your opinion to the questions that I poised in this email.
    Maybe you could write a blog-post about some of the issues that I outlined in this email.

    Take Care,

    1. Yes! Equality is important. And remember, to build a relationship by staying on point and practicing active empathy. Listening is a HUGE part of building a great relationship, instead of talking about something else when your significant other is sharing something important.

  22. Damn Millennial

    You deserve to focus more on your family and yourself. Hopefully less will be more and the posts will all be huge hits!

    I will continue to be back for whatever you put out as long as you keep things going. Happy New Year.

  23. Hi Sam,

    On the baby, plan to get him under sleep training at 6 months- within a few short weeks it should help improve the quality of both of your nights. Like many other people commented, it really gets much easier after the first year.

    I think you have to know yourself. For me, I tend to get very passionate about different hobbies or activities that then wane after a few years. So I really focus to make as much hay in the present moment as long as the passion is there since I have no guarantees on how long it will last.

    I can say that my 40’s have been by far my best decade in life. I think the same should be true of you, Sam given how much you have accomplished and wisdom gained.

    A secret to conquer each day. Try and exercise first thing in the morning (you’ll have to work on an agreement on how to split that time with your wife). Then spend 5-10 minutes in meditation followed by gratitude. Those habits keep you happy. Read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrond. Finally make sure to tell your kid often to give you everything he has, and that you have the ability and patience and strength to take it. You will find out that he understands what you mean and feels more confident and calm with you, plus by telling yourself this as you say it out loud you reinforce the belief and behavior that this is manageable. A little brain hack for you.

    Thanks for doing all that you do.

    I got laid off from my job recently and am also in a scramble mode on next steps. But I have so much to be thankful for. I’m basically just at FI at age 44 and our daughter is 4 1/2 and a really lovely child. Our marriage is good and health is fine. I just need to channel the energy to make hay during this moment while I have the passion!


    1. Great tips regarding exercising, stretching, and meditation first thing in the morning.

      Sorry for the lay off Mike. Hope you got a decent severance? I know you were making some big bucks, but hopefully you’ve saved up and made a lot all these years as a reader and are spending more time with your lovely daughter.

      Best to you and your family!

  24. If you can reach your $2m goal, that would be impressive. I certainly won’t be able to do it by the end of 2018, but I will certainly try to do that by the end of 2019. Good luck with your goals!

  25. Dude, compared to me you are still a kid and I got fatigued just reading about your schedule. You as usual seem to have it figured out and I’m glad you are taking care of yourself better in 2018. An awful lot of us want you to stay around providing fun and cerebral information, and you are after all only human.

  26. Excellent list of goals! You worked like crazy in 2017 and I hope you will be less stressed this year and pain free. Time sure goes faster each year as we get older and with all the years and long nights you have done of working around the clock, it’s the right time to slow down and smell the roses more often. Happy New Year!!

  27. Ms. Conviviality

    I recall a story from one of your old posts where I think it was your grandma that said something along the lines of “You should always have fun in what you’re doing. If you’re not having fun anymore then it’s time to stop.” I agree with that statement. I don’t feel like I’m living up to my full potential because I’ve had people tell me for years that I should open up a bakery or a flower shop since I love making cakes (think Cake Boss type cakes) and floral arrangements. I truly love doing those things! However, I only love it because I get to decide whether I want to bake a certain cake someone has in mind or work with a certain bride. Since I’m not reliant on making a living off those activities I don’t have to accept any old customer that comes my way. One way for me to make good money would be on wedding cakes. However, it only took the stress from making and delivering one wedding cake to tell me that I should never agree to make another wedding cake again. The cake turned out exactly as the bride wanted but it was stressful getting the decorations just right and seeing the 3 tier cake jiggling in the rearview mirror during the delivery. I’m ok with not living to my full potential if it doesn’t make me happy. I think it’s good that you’re scaling back. You might not think that you’re living up to your true potential but your 1,300+ articles and severance book tell a different story. Even if just a small fraction of your 25 million readers took your advice you would still have impacted the lives of thousands of people!

    1. Now that sounds like a wonderful hobby! So fun.

      It’s hard to determine what potential is….. for me, I feel I reached it in 2017 b/c my body and mind broke. I couldn’t go on. It’s like what my track coach told me, “If you’re not bending over barfing after practice, you haven’t tired hard enough.”

      Well I was barfing in 2017 and I’m still in physical pain. But it’s getting better.

  28. I have 2 goals for 2018.
    1. Reduce mortgage debt. A combination of the change in the tax code and wanting zero debt before retirement makes this a huge priority.
    2. Staying in more consistent shape. At 49 I have struggled with nagging injuries/health issues the last couple of years. I want to exercise 5 days a week with limited pain or discomfort.

    Keep writing and I love your plan on writing more articles on early retirement. My wife and I are getting close to hanging it up in a couple of years and any insight is appreciated!

  29. I’ve been waiting for this post for awhile now. All the talk about living to your potential and feeling guilty about this or that frankly seems a little ridiculous. You have a son that needs you, a wife that loves you, kids that respect you, a successful business, and enough money to enjoy it all. You won, potential fulfilled!

    For myself, my goal in 2018 is to have more fun. Whether that be fishing, golfing, traveling, helping others, or making more money, my goal is to have fun, appreciate what I already have, and smile a lot.

    The best thing about my goal is that I can change it to anything I want as long as I’m having fun along the way!

    Congrats on your second early retirement! I look forward to hearing about it, albeit a little less frequently:)

    Thanks, Bill

    1. Bill, this is why psychologists exist and why people are so interesting. Why are we never 100% satisfied with what we have?

      I pointed out the death of a childhood friend as one of my main reasons for the fierce determination. My friend, who was a popular and good looking kid who died at 15, didn’t get the same opportunity after the car crash. I think about him every single time I don’t want to do something, and go ahead and do it to honor his memory.

  30. Kids are relentless m’fers. I’m typing this comment as I try to get my 1 year old boy to take a nap. Delinquent fool won’t stop tossing his paci out of the crib.

    There’s a reason a lot of “self-help gurus” either don’t have kids or stop working when they have young kids – they need to get help themselves!

    When my daughter was a toddler, I lost my sh$t on her one day for something stupid. Stress levels were off the charts. For me, it was meditation that got me balanced.

    Best of luck getting back to early retirement.

    1. Hah! Love it, and can totally empathize.

      Kids can bring about good things. LEo, from Zen Habits, a blog about minimalism started the successful blog after having SEVEN kids! Hell yeah I want to focus on minimalism if I had 7 kids!

  31. The first three months are so rough and marital quality really takes a nose dive. My husband works pretty much part time so he’s around a lot but I definitely don’t get 8 hours a day of alone time! That’s great that you plan to be around in the first five years- I think the most important is to be around for meal times. My 5 year old nephew drew a picture of his family and didn’t include his dad because he said he’s always at work. His dad spends lots of quality time with him after work but he doesn’t get home in time for the 5 pm meal times.

  32. I feel your pain about being up past midnight to console a crying baby. We have a little one and are experiencing the exact same thing. Hopefully, it will get easier and we’ll get the hang of things. But it’s true that energy needs to be conserved during the day to make for eventful nights :-)
    Thanks for the Quora idea by the way!

  33. Urg.. I know how it feels. The feeling of not producing 100%. Over the Christmas break, I struggled to relax and read (the only thing that calms me aside from drugs). I just felt that I should be doing something and budget my time like every second wasted is a dollar not earned. This was a good post because was kind of a wake up call to me.

    For whatever reason, my family always takes a backseat for my business endeavors. But the crazy thing is, I would rather lose my job and finances than my marriage. This post helped me prioritize my goals.

    I think we have similar personalities so I really appreciate your effort Sam. Thanks, and here’s to a fantastic 2018!

  34. After our son was born it became clear that we needed to use the business theory of management in our daily life and stop doing what we could delegate. Worth every dollar invested and surprisingly a few years in we have found this has provided us with great local business connections for either managing real estate investments or as a conversation starter because EVERYONE needs a plumber or landscape service, or home/business cleaning service at some point.

    You just survived the 4th trimester the unsung and hardest trimester of them all!

    1. Agree. We’ve actually survived the 6th trimester whoo whoo! But now it’s teething time, so sleep is regressing. We just tell ourselves to hold on for 5 years, and at least 2.5 years and things will get better.

      1. You have tasted the sweet relief of a full night sleep only for it to be snatched away by the teething monster, every parent is with you in solidarity!

  35. Ah cool, you have a foster child mentee? I didn’t know that was a thing, is it volunteer based or required to become a foster parent?

    You’re so sweet to your wife Sam!!! I love how you unconsciously used the word ‘devote’ and ‘assist.’ So many PF wives are lucky!

    I use voice dictation too when my hands are busy. But it doesn’t capture commas or periods so it’s a mess to sort out.

    Have a chillax 2018 Sam!

    1. It’s volunteer. I wanted to be a substitute teacher, but the requirements were rigorous and took too long, so I decided to coach HS tennis. But then I realized I wanted to help kids who did not have solid financial support. It’s been great to be a consistent advocate for this kid.

      Related: Misconceptions About Adopting Foster Kids

      After spending maybe 50 hours on various parent forums asking questions and trying to get insight from the mother’s perspective on how the male partner can do better, this is what I’ve come up with. Hope it works! The forums consisted of 99% women. One of the key insights was understanding the mother’s mental load in the comic, “You Should Have Asked.”

  36. Read the book ‘”Baby wise” and if u follow the book make sure to add extra love
    affection, holding, cudling, playing, attention, talking, reading etc during waking hours, I think the book is negligent in that area. We had multiple children a year apart, i should have
    read earlier, really helped with the sleeping eating scheduling and fulfilling baby needs.

    1. Heard of it. Might add to it, but I’ve already read 4 THICK books on parenthood, last of which was by John MEdina “Brain Rules for Babies.”

      We are providing MAX LOVE… I really mean this. Even though I’ve been grouchy and impatient, I’ve never shown this w/ my son. I surprise myself for being so calm and loving. I had serious fears I’d be that impatient parent.

  37. Hang in there on taking care of your child. I went through the same thing you did 13 yrs ago, we had two kids 20 months apart. It was overwhelming until you get into a rhythm.

    Mom is center of the universe at that age. It changes, and gets better and better each year. Try to use Humor and laugh if off, because kids do things you can not predict.

    1. We did the division like you did. My wife “stay at home mom” allowed me to get a full nights sleep because I was the card carrying software sales guy at the time, who was the only source of income. It really helped.

      And by all means, farm out as much work as possible, yard guys, house cleaners, handy man, baby sitters….if you have the money use it. We had all of them. It will alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy your reflection into the future:) Goodluck

  38. My husband is an anesthesiologist and we had our first child when he was a resident working 120 hours a week! Our first child never slept- talk about a sleep deprived family! My 3 rd was colicky- another nightmare . Once we could afford to we hired help for a few hours a week- so worth it. This to shall pass-

  39. I can relate to this more than you will ever know. I’m working full time and trying to build my blog/business on the side. Blogging takes up way more time than I ever realized and it’s hurt my family time. That’s not the goal at all. Finding balance is very hard. It’s my number one goal in 2018 and the only one that I’ll be disappointed about if I miss.

    Good luck finding the balance in 2018. I’m also very interested in hearing the progress on your $2M net worth improvement. That would be a big win!

    In case you’re interested, here are the rest of my goals (in URL).

  40. Wow your goals are so aggressive. Good luck with them all.
    Being a dad is really tough the first year because of the adjustment. It should get easier. Although, it really depends on your kid. Some kids are more trouble than others. It gets much easier once they go to school. Have you guys look at preschool? Probably needs to wail until he’s 2 for preschool. Just a few hours in preschool really helped me when our kid was 2.
    Quara sounds interesting. Maybe I should try that too.

    Good luck! And relax. You can take it easy for a couple of years until the kid is a bit older.

    1. I agree with Joe! First year was the toughest! It gets easier with time as they become more independent (e.g. sleeping more through the night. Crawling, walking, potty trained etc..) . Before being parents my wife and I rarely argued. Once our first child arrived things changed quickly. We both were always stressed. A big part of it was the fear of not providing the perfect care for our son. But in hindsight its hard to be perfect when you have three variables to deal with (you, your wife and your newborn). I also second the suggestion of early learning preschool. We put on eldest in preschool at age 2. I believe we put our youngest son in same preschool (La Petite Academy) around 2 months – it was surprising as my wife suggested it so early as it took years of me suggesting it with our first son., my wife was ready to go back work although she had two months left of full pay maternity leave (her employer provides 4 months of full pay maternity leave). She was less stressed, and dare I say, hormonal on our second go.

      Hang in there!
      Sent via mobile phone

      1. Thanks for the perspective JT. Yes, hormones, moods and all that can be tough to control. Just gotta be patient, which is something I literally pray for every day.

        My motto is: service with a smile, just like back when I was working at McDonald’s. Grin and bear it! The time as a baby/toddler isn’t forever.

  41. I feel your pain.

    Just wait till baby number two, or three, arrives. It will make one look like a walk in the park!

    My wife is staying home with our 1 yo and 3 yo. Typically, I take over from when I get home until I go back to work, which means I do nights, all night, every night. Most father’s wouldn’t do this, but my wife has been struggling with post partum depression, and bottom line I’m more capable sleep deprived than she is. I averaged 4 hours sleep the first year or both my son’s lives.

    Since I was laid off almost a year ago. I’ve extended my care to start at lunchtime, so job search every morning, baby care the rest of the day, barring interviews or networking.

    Count yourself blessed that your wife is able to care for your child. If you’re planning more, figure out now how you can run your business on much less time than you have now. It will get easier once they’re older but if you can’t handle the guilt now, you’re going to be hamstrung with more kids. Trust me.

    But Iin the meantime, enjoy them! I love every minute with my boys, even the impossible ones.

    1. Don’t think #2+ is gonna come since we’re older now. But yah never know.

      Yes, post partum depression is real. So it is up to use to be the rocks, to be patient, to be kinda, and to suck it up. However, stay at home dads have limits too, and we need some support as well.

      Glad your time off is being put to good use!

  42. I’m happy to hear you’re making some adjustments. Raising a child at this stage is more important than your potential because you’re nurturing someone else’s instead. It’s like you have another 40 years of prime potential that you can influence. I struggle with the same issues. Everytime I think about takings things to another level professionally I remind myself that the consequences are too steep despite the potential extra millions. If reaching financial freedom doesn’t equate to doing only what you want and what’s best for your family then what’s the point. Good luck with the new year, sounds like you’re off to a great start!

  43. Glad to know my sleep comment inspired part of the post. I can only chock up missing it in your opener to my own lack of sleep.

    As for hours of help, my poor wife is largely on her own with the kids during the day. I usually only see them awake for a few hours a day during the week. I do spend my weekends with them and after they go to sleep I do most of the cleaning. Then again I also travel a lot so even that’s not all the time.

    The above is the downside… but… on the flip side when I wasn’t traveling I use to work 60hours a week or more every week in the office. These days when I’m not traveling I work from home a lot more and usually my hours are 40 or at least under 48. If things aren’t super busy at work and school is cancelled I’m also working from home to occasionally help out (as is today without snow). I’ve backed off my executive track a bit at work, So in some ways I’m better then I use to be at balancing work and family. It’s all relative of course.

    1. Yes, definitely was inspired to increase productivity by you not reading my post! :) I’m usually OK with readers asking questions that are directly answered in my posts since they are long. But my title of my post was “Most DIFFICULT Best Year Yet,” and the difficulty was due to overwork, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion. So that was my ah ha moment to spend less time responding to comments here, and more time answering questions on a new platform.

      1. FullTimeFinance

        Yes I got the exhausted and overworked part but my mind glossed right over sleep… makes me wonder if I’m projecting somehow lol.

  44. FS, you are being pretty hard on yourself, but deep down you must know that you and Mrs. FS are doing great. Quick thoughts to share on this post, which I really enjoyed.
    1) the physical infirmities – the back issue is inflammation. The ankle, back, elbow and quads are also inflammation-related, and the elbow/ankle are tendonitis. The quads are a wide-muscle tear. There is no way to ‘play through the pain’ and expect healing. You won’t like to read this, but you have to stop playing NOW, and treat the inflammation. If you try to ‘play through’, your mechanics will change and the stress will go to knee/hip, and wrist/shoulder. You already know this, but just don’t want to stop for three months. Think of your son.:-)

    Spend the money and see a sports-medicine specialist; a pro will be well worth your time and money. Ibuprofen won’t get it done. Just think how you would feel one year from now if you still have these infirmities. Exactly.

    2) sleep – download a ‘binaural beat’ .mp3, (Isochronic, for Deep Sleep) and listen when you close your eyes and lie down to sleep. $10 tops for an 8-hour beat. You will be grateful.

    1. Question for you: how bad do you think the twist in hitting a softball is for the lower back? I’m addicted to softball, but after each game, my back gets so sore b/c I swing hard and can hit the ball 280-310 on the fly. I do not know how to hit soft. Perhaps I should just skip this weekend.. or just play first base and not hit.

      I spent money on a nice chair massage yesterday if that counts :)

      I’m good on sleep now 100% thanks to my lovely wife.

      1. FS, that is literally, and figuratively, a “softball question.”

        You already know the answer. There is no such thing as a ‘minor’ ankle or knee injury, and those happen to guys over 30 on the softball field. You sit on the bench for half the game, the weather gets cold, it is dark, you stand up and trot out to position, and then… wait. That double-quad injury should tell you something, too. That is your body, right now, today, telling you what you need to know. Answer this hypothetical: if you knew you might badly sprain a weak ankle or tear an ACL, or postpone a full back recovery by putting torque on your trunk, would you continue to play? Mate, you know.

        P.S. – an e-mail in your inbox with some details you may find of interest. HNY and Mahalo!

      2. FS, do you ever try Yoga? I don’t know what the specifics of your back pain are, but I have a ton of sciatic nerve pain in my lower right back/right hip caused by over-work injury (likely dead lifts) and a career where I sit in front of a computer screen in a chair for 8 hours a day. I went to the Dr. and they gave me meloxicam (a powerful NSAID like Ibuprofen) which helps, but didn’t remove any of the causes of the pain.

        But when I started doing yoga, just a half hour a couple days a week, I noticed a strong reduction of my pain symptoms and an increased ability to bend over and twist and turn. Just a suggestion.


          1. Cat-Cow pose is good for whatever is ailing my lower spine, for reasons I don’t fully understand. )

            Pavanamuktasana and then moving into Supta Matsyendrasana is good for me too.(

            I think those 4 poses and moving between them help my back the most for sure. But if you haven’t done anything for two years, I would definitely start with a guided YouTube video. Yoga with Adrienne is where I started, and these two videos really made a positive change for me. ( and

            I hope these help you out! Definitely don’t over-do it though. That is probably the worst you can do for already sore/torn muscles and tendons.


  45. Being a new dad with a sleep deprived household is tough and definitely changes relationship s. You have to be conscious of the changes and make time from you and your spouse too, not just you as individuals.

    Great goals Sam. Keep up the good work. I am actually gonna go down to 1 post a week because of some of the same reasons. Too much on my plate and would rather produce quality to quantity.

    1. 1 post a week would be sweet! But I think for FS, that would be too little. I always have at least 3 topics in mind I want to publish, so I might go nuts if I couldn’t get them out.

      Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do w/ the insurance money.

  46. Haha! Welcome to parenthood — the great humbler of us all.

    It will get better.

    Every age is AWESOME — enjoy it.

    You have so many great years ahead.

    Don’t worry about taking your foot off the gas a bit. So you “only” make $200k here. What’s the issue.

    Wish someone had told me all these things when my kids were young…

    1. $200K? How do I survive off that in SF?! J/k. Yeah, after about $300K in SF, there really is NO more happiness. It’s really the desire to produce everything that’s in my mind before it’s gone.

      You’re gonna have a great 2018! Excited to see how things pan out for you w/ RSF.

  47. Sounds like an awesome, less stressful 2018 is ahead of you. I’m curious to see how the Quora stuff impacts your traffic and just your life overall.

    The best thing, I’d imagine, about being retired is you don’t NEED to do a damn thing unless you WANT to. If you want to only work 4 hours a day on your business endeavors, great – but if you don’t, no reason you actually need to.

    That sort of flexibility would be awesome, but you’ve gotta tackle #7 I think to really be content with it.

    1. Indeed. Through a series of posts, I’ve learned how folks are OK with inaction, and it’s really helped me put things in perspective. Why do today what you can do tomorrow right? I used to feel so guilty for not getting something done, or maximizing a strategy until it is exhausted.

      Now, I’m slowly pulling back and just relaxing. It’s been great so far, but the year is still young.

  48. These are great goals! You are not alone in feeling the tension in your marriage after having a baby. Our son is turning 3 in a few months, but hubby and I still argue about parenting every once in a while. I remember being super cranky after our son was born. I was sleep deprived and exhausted, and so was Mr. FAF. We tried not to, but we fought.

    Taking a bit of time off from the business and enjoying family time is a great way to relieve stress. Wishing you the best in 2018!

    1. Yes, it’s definitely inevitable when both parents are tired. Work in progress, hence my goal #2.

      I’ve noticed that I’ve often had the internal dialogue of, “STFU and stop complaining and keep on helping,” whenever I’m tired or grouchy simply b/c I didn’t carry our son for 9 months, and I no longer do the nights. Just sometimes, the damn will break.

  49. I like goal #4. A hot tub can do wonders. You should also hold your beverage of choice for casual sips in between speaking points when recording.

    Overall, Sam, it’s good slow down a little as you’re planning to do.

    Finding your balance is key – and it’s never ending.

  50. Sam, spot on for your 2018 targets!! I’m 6 months from FIRE, and I’ve also been thinking of how I can cut back on my blogging at that time to allow more time to enjoy the early retirement lifestyle. I applaud your decision to increased the quality time with family. Now, all you’ve got to do is make it happen! Happy New Year.

    1. Man, hurry up already Fritz! It seems like forever now haha. You will probably find yourself with more time than you know what to do with in the beginning. Therefore, I predict your blogging out put will INCREASE!

  51. I am early retired with a 4 year old at home. I was wondering how you were able to manage working so much at home while caring for a baby. I kind of assumed your wife must have been doing the heavy lifting. I hardly have time to even go to the gym much less all the activities you are involved with.

      1. Tennis is wonderful, and if you want to give more TLC to your back, there are a lot of great exercises in the gym or pool that will help. I recommend start doing some lifting.

        Also thank you providing so much great insights on your blog. I had a question when reading your 2017 year-in-review… did you do a 1031 exchange after selling your property?

  52. Mr. Freaky Frugal

    Sam – As a parent of two adult children, I can attest that you are at the hardest stage of child rearing and marital satisfaction. It should all get gradually easier and better from here on unless you have another child. :)

    “How are you able to let go and not maximize your potential?”

    It all depends on how you define potential. I define potential as overall satisfaction with life rather than just wealth. Part of overall satisfaction is having time and space to smell the proverbial roses.

    1. Good to hear.

      And I like your definition of potential.

      The thing for me is, I’m not focused on maximizing my financial wealth b/c I already decided in 2012 that what I have was enough, hence why I left work.

      I’m talking about this basic drive of: if I can, I must. I know I can write 4 hours a day forever and publish at least 3 posts a week, forever. So I felt I must. But finally, injury and my boy slowed me down. Now I must focus on family.

  53. Sounds like an excellent plan, Sam! The first year of baby’s life is incredibly overwhelming for parents and while you were physically home, it can be even more overwhelming if you are trying to effectively work-from-home full-time while caring for an infant. Taking advantage of your financial freedom to step back a bit should help your health and stress!

    Your $2M net worth growth goal is inspiring! My financial goals for this year are focused on using the time my severance provides to build my business. It is going to be really busy with an almost 2-year-old and newborn (due any day now!), but at least my husband is home full-time to help out. Here’s to hoping the newborn stage is a little easier to handle the second time around!

    Good luck slowing down a bit! Enjoy 2018 :)

    1. First year? Try all the years. I’ve found it’s all about trading one challenge for the next.

    2. Hi Sam: It’s the first I read about having a foster child mentee. I’m childless myself but would be grateful to have a positive vet impact on a child’s life. Would you mind sharing the name of the organization you’re doing this through? Thanks!

    3. Best of luck with #2! And good to hear both you guys are stay at home parents.

      Hooray for severance payments and not having to give up precious time with the little ones for money!

      The $2M net worth increase goal while doing less work FORCES me to use my brain to improve productivity. That’s a fun and worthwhile challenge b/c I know my mind will one day go.

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