The Sacrifices We Make To Achieve Financial Independence

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is whether I had to make sacrifices in my pursuit of FIRE (financial independence and retire early). When they refer to sacrifices, what they really mean is whether I missed out on the typical fun experiences of a young adult. These aren’t serious sacrifices like risking your life for your country or anything.

My response is consistent – yes, I made some sacrifices. I worked an average of 60+ hours a week from age 22 until 34. This demanding schedule left me with limited time and energy for partying or extravagant spending. Instead, my focus was directed towards saving and investing as much as possible to break free from the corporate grind by age 40.

The Sacrifice Was Rational

Working long hours during my younger years was tolerable because I didn't have any money. Every dollar saved and invested made a big difference to my net worth. Consequently, the joy and fulfillment derived from accumulating wealth outweighed the allure of spending money on bars, events, and trips. This mindset fueled my commitment to continue working hard.

Of course, I didn't just only work for thirteen years after college until I negotiated a severance package. I also went out plenty enough with clients and colleagues, sometimes to the point of feeling overwhelmed. For example, I traveled to Asia for business twice a year. Each trip I was responsible for food and entertainment every night for my clients. I would loved to have stayed in many nights due to jet lag.

Saving 50% – 75% of my after-tax paycheck for 13 years may sound abnormal, however, it was worth it to me because I longed for freedom from a tiring career. And after experiencing sweet freedom from 2012-2024, I say the sacrifice was well worth it.

Sacrificing Again As A Middle-Aged Man Looking For Freedom Once More

Since slashing my passive income in October 2023 to purchase a forever home, my primary focus has shifted back to aggressive saving and investing. The overarching objective is to reattain financial independence by January 1, 2029. This phase of my financial journey mirrors the mindset I had in my 20s and early 30s.

I've adopted a lifestyle akin to living paycheck to paycheck, marked by stringent cost-cutting measures and a planned reentry into active income through consulting. Furthermore, I've curtailed my participation in social gatherings to bolster my savings.

Skipping Dad’s Night Out To Save

A recent example is a Dads' Night out for dads in my son's grade. While I attended every previous event, I opted out of the latest one. The gathering involved a steak dinner, followed by a Golden State Warriors game.

Although I appreciate a good steak and am a big fan of the Warriors, the estimated cost of around $150 for dinner (inclusive of tax, tip, and drinks) and $300 for a ticket felt excessive in my current frugal mode. Adding a $50 roundtrip Uber cost, the total expenditure would have been around $500.

Additionally, my responsibility for picking up my son from school around 5 pm would have left me insufficient time to arrive for the 5:30 pm dinner. The early dinner was planned to accommodate the 7 pm start of the game. Attending would also have required my wife to spend ~40 minutes to pick up our son, further influencing my decision to skip the event.

Celebrated In A Cheap Way Instead

Rather than splurging $150 on steak, I opted for an $18 Vietnamese pho delivery, enjoying dinner with my family. After kissing my son goodnight at 7:45 pm and my daughter goodnight at 8:30 pm, I settled in to watch the game on TV for free.

While I couldn't physically join the guys, living vicariously through their pictures and text commentary provided some entertainment. The added bonus? I relished the satisfaction of saving $500!

I'll have plenty of opportunities to reconnect with the dads at a future birthday party or a school function. Nevertheless, I must admit that skipping this particular event serves as additional motivation for me to further build passive income.

My aim is to reach a stage where spending $500 on a weeknight outing is no longer a cause for hesitation. But knowing my frugal ways, I'm not sure I'll ever get there. At the moment, my limit is probably around $150 – $200.

Reinvested The Savings

In line with my financial independence mission by 2029, I decided to redirect the money I would have spent into purchasing two shares of Apple stock. Treating all my investments as carefully considered expenses, this allocation brought a sense of joy. I've been a shareholder since 2011.

Apple has underperformed in 2024 due to weak China demand for its iPhone and a pending anti-monopoly lawsuit against Google, which pays Apple billions to be its default browser. But I'm a fan of the Vision Pro and I expect some interesting things at its artificial intelligence launch this summer.

I then spent the remaining $260 out of $500 saved and invested in the Innovation Fund to gain more private company AI exposure. Being able to dollar-cost average in an open-ended venture capital fund when I have the liquidity is a nice feature.

Maybe The Desire To FIRE Is A State Of Mind

The next time a journalist inquires about the sacrifices I made for financial freedom, I'll cite the example of forgoing Dad's Night Out to save $500. While socializing with fellow dads would have been enjoyable, my current priority is achieving financial freedom as soon as possible.

I recognize that some might view my decision as overly frugal, especially considering I have the means to spend the money. However, my mindset is firmly rooted in the FIRE philosophy of saving and investing as much as possible. Few things can now persuade me to spend money on experiences or things that I don’t truly love.

For me, it's not sufficient to merely like something; I must genuinely love it to justify spending money. If my parents were visiting and expressed a desire to have a steak dinner and attend a Warriors game, I would spend the money in a heartbeat. Every moment I spend with them is priceless since I don't see them often.

Resisting the temptation to spend money on non-essential activities is akin to window shopping without making a purchase or enduring a 10-minute ice bath – satisfying. I’m not too proud to do whatever it takes to take care of my family I actually find it weird when people make fun of others for trying to save.

How Much Do You Want To Be Free?

Unless your yearning for freedom surpasses your impulse for immediate gratification, achieving financial independence where your passive income covers your basic living expenses may prove challenging. The silver lining, however, is that every decision becomes rational in the end.

Our current expenditures are a result of deeming them worthwhile. If we didn't believe an expense justified the sacrifice of future wealth, we wouldn't incur it.

It's perfectly acceptable if your desire for financial independence isn't as fervent as others. You might have a great job with great pay that provides a lot of purpose. If so, hold onto that job for as long as possible while spending your money responsibly.

My Why Of FI Today

In my case, the urgency to attain financial independence stems from the fact that by 2029, my son will be 12, and my daughter will be 10. Even if their focus shifts to friends over spending time with me, I aim to be fully available during their remaining 6-8 years at home before they embark on college. I know I will miss them dearly when they are gone.

Always remain cognizant of your reasons for working, saving, and investing. Clarifying your “why” or your ikigai will facilitate the journey toward your financial goals. Best of luck!

Ikigai - your reason for being and the sacrifices you're willing to make to achieve financial independence and be able to retire early

Other Sacrifices We Make For Financial Independence

In addition to foregoing social functions, here are some other sacrifices we might make on the path to achieving financial independence earlier:

  1. Neglecting the Pursuit of a Life Partner: Due to an overwhelming focus on work, some individuals might neglect actively seeking love.
  2. Opting Out of Parenthood: The high cost associated with raising children may lead to the decision to forego having kids altogether.
  3. Delaying Parenthood: Some individuals may choose to have children later in life when they believe they can better afford the associated expenses.
  4. Choosing Substandard Living Conditions: To cut costs, individuals might opt to live in run-down apartments or in areas with safety concerns.
  5. Driving Unreliable Vehicles: In an effort to save money, some may choose to drive cars with poor safety ratings or those known for their unreliability.
  6. Compromising Nutritional Choices: Opting for highly processed, cheaper foods can be detrimental to long-term health but is sometimes chosen to cut immediate expenses.
  7. Foregoing Travel Opportunities: Due to both the financial cost and time away from work, some may miss out on the experience of exploring different parts of the world.
  8. Prolonged Co-residence with Parents: To save money, adults might choose to live with their parents at the expense of their social lives.
  9. Extending Spouse's Work Duration: Some may require their spouse to continue working longer than desired for the sake of additional financial security.
  10. Putting Up With Chronic Physical Pain: To be a top performer, some workers might be willing to endure chronic physical and mental pain, which may cut your lifespan short. To me, the health benefits of early retirement and greater happiness from retirement are priceless.

The pursuit of financial independence often involves trade-offs, and individuals must carefully consider these decisions in the context of their overall goals and well-being. But I promise you, if you get to financial independence, all the sacrifice will have been worth it!

Reader Questions And Suggestions

What type of sacrifices are you making to achieve FIRE? Are they really considered sacrifices if the reward is complete freedom? Is there a monetary limit to how much you'd be willing to spend on a regular weeknight out?

When it's time to retire early thanks to all your hard work and sacrifice, you should try and negotiate a severance package. There is no downside if you planned on quitting anyway. Check out my bestselling book, How To Engineer Your Layoff, to learn how to negotiate your own severance package. A severance was my #1 catalyst to retire early and live life on my terms. Use the code “saveten” to save $10 at checkout.

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54 thoughts on “The Sacrifices We Make To Achieve Financial Independence”

  1. I wouldn’t classify the decision to forego a luxury (a $500 guy’s night out) as a sacrifice. You weighed your options and decided you would rather spend the money on something else. We all have limited resources and unlimited wants so saving a dollar always means drawing the line somewhere. On some level it’s semantics I suppose but I would distinguish between a sacrifice and a routine allocation. I like boats but I am not sacrificing anything by saving extra for retirement instead of buying one. I am just prioritizing.

    1. It could be just semantics.

      What would several examples of more appropriate sacrifice be then?

      In finance we often talk about delaying instant gratification as a sacrifice.

      1. I usually expect there to be some meaningful loss or suffering involved in a sacrifice. They hurt. I didn’t detect that in your account.

        Classifying every dollar ever saved as a personal sacrifice is coherent in an abstract sense but not very useful in my opinion. I find a positive, affirming view of saving and investing to be much more practical. Foregoing most or all social interaction or entertainment in order to chase a financial goal would be a sacrifice. I think that sitting out one optional event because it cost more than you wanted to spend is just an adult choice you made though.

        1. What are some of the sacrifices you’ve made? Do none of the 10 other examples in the post count as sacrifices?

          I’d also love to know what the standard is for sacrifice you think we should follow. Sharing your own sacrifices for financial independence would sure help.

    2. “Foregoing most or all social interaction or entertainment in order to chase a financial goal would be a sacrifice.”

      I gave you two examples.

  2. I loved reading your article.
    May I ask do you provide any guidance or advise in achieving financial freedom

  3. Long time reader here, 12 plus years, but not much of a poster, only a few times.

    I’ve decided to try to take the next few years off work, with your blog being in the back of my mind. It was one of my several influences.

    My family is blessed to achieved financial freedom by pretty much any measure. I founded a company and sold it to PE a few years ago. We are blessed to be in the top brackets in a lot of your charts.

    My wife is 35 and I am 37, we just had our first child a year ago. Our plan is for more children in the future. I want to spend time chilling for the next year and figure out what I want to do next. I worked 80 plus hour weeks for years.

    I just started my “retirement” phase this week. I have a ton of anxiety with the transition. I don’t have a solid plan on what I plan do just some thoughts, but I am sure I will figure it out. I can’t ever imagine myself not working again…

    Thanks for sharing your journey and insights. I enjoy reading it.

  4. Can I ask – what were your average annual returns (or what was your cumulative return) from the 22-34 years old period you were saving aggressively?

    50-75% savings is next level, but amassing the wealth you did must have required the perfect storm of savings rate + high income + market performance.

    So I wonder what percentile was market performance in the 12-ish years you hunkered down, and given the same savings rate and income, how much longer would you have had to work in different market scenarios… i.e., does market performance make your feat even more (or even less) impressive?

    Not trying to take anything away from your experience – just curious how the math panned out for you.

    I’ve heard its better to be lucky than good, but I imagine its even better to be both.

    1. It’s a good question that I have actually not calculated before. Maybe it’s because it’s too hard to figure out? I do believe that above average wealth is mostly due to luck, hence the importance of staying humble.

      One of my big investments was investing $3000 in a Chinese Internet company and selling it for about $150,000 within six months. And then everything started falling apart in 2000 as bubble crushed.

      But by then, I was just holding mostly cash in my taxable brokerage account and wanted to convert some of that funny money into a real asset. So I bought a condo in San Francisco for $580,000 in 2003 with 20% down. That turned out to be a good investment until the pandemic hit.

      I’m going to guess that my investments compounded annually by about 15%-20% a year on average, partly thanks to leverage in real estate. Today, I’m shooting for 5 to 10% and low volatility.

      It’s really the saving and investing amounts that we can mostly control. How about you?

      Related: Net Worth Growth Targets To Shoot For

      1. I’m 33 now, I think I’ve earned roughly the market return since 2011, we don’t own real estate other than our primary residence (mortgage, expensive coastal city dwellers), and we’ve been maxing out our tax-advantages accounts (401k, HSA, not 529 though) over the last 5 years or so. That is to say, we are fairly ordinary, though perhaps above-average in earned income and discipline.

        I think you’re right – control what you can: savings rate, expenses, and as much as possible, income. Some people out there may have the skill to outperform the market over the long term, or who are inordinately lucky, but I have no reason to believe I am one of them, so I take the low cost, broad diversification approach and try to maintain an allocation matching my risk appetite (I am, for better or worse, extremely risk averse, but I also have little FOMO, so lagging the frothy/speculative parts of the market doesn’t hurt me much).

        We’ll probably retire marginally earlier than normal FRA, but savings goals are pretty much on track assuming slightly below average long-term market performance and slightly above average long-run inflation (meaning to say, we are forced to sock away quite a bit).

        On a side note, in the past 2-3 years, we’ve seen a number of family and friends die unexpectedly or due to illness on the precipice of their retirement, which has caused us to recalibrate our plans a bit, i.e., we are comfortable spending some of that money now on the life experiences (mainly travel) we would have otherwise waited to do in retirement. The plus side of it being we get to take our kids with us, which we likely wouldn’t get to do in retirement. So while we were definitely interested in early retirement and FIRE in our late 20s, we’ve sort of reduced the FIRE goals to a slow burn to bring forward some of our consumption (at the cost of independence).

        Impossible to say how it will pan out, but the balanced approach, for now at least, doesn’t give me too much regret or keep me up at night.

        1. I hear you on Investing FOMO, it’s one of the hardest types of FOMO to overcome.

          FOMO is why I’m investing in AI through venture capital funds like Kleiner Perkins and the Fundrise Innovation Fund, an open-ended fund with only a $10 minimum. In 20 years, I don’t want my kids asking me why I didn’t invest in AI near the beginning!

          I’m actually meeting Ben Miller, the CEO of Fundrise next week for a beer. It should be interesting.

    2. I can offer my perspective here following a similar path as the author. In my 20s to 30s my returns were pathetic. We’re talking single digits because I was just stumbling along. Then the dot com crash came and took 80% of my savings used. It was depressing. But that was my first lesson in the resilience of the market and how I made a ton in the 2 years after the banking crisis. Of my 35 years of investing the last 12 was the most amazing. I didn’t need to rely on that one stock. Instead just a broad number of stocks in the right sector each year. That last 12 years my returns were almost always above 40%, 2 blip years where one was 9% and one was -20%. But then i started getting covid happened and after the initial plunge I poured money in and my return in 2020 was 108%, 2021 was 85%. 2022 -35%, 2024 27%. I track my own portfolio performance and have done so since my 20s. I’m in my early 50s now.

  5. You are happy giving up your life for money? You’re never going to make more time to be alive and be with you’re family, but you seem to be happy not making memories with you’re children to save $500. It’s money, who cares, but experience with your children and friends should always come first. I know you will never know the true extent of how you are ruining your life just to have money until your death bed, and you have my sympathies for that. I hope your children are able to make memories with your money when you die, cause it seems like they can’t make them with you while you’re “alive”, or really just there.

    1. It’s a trade-off. Have you been a stay at home parent as well all this time? If so, at what age did you start? And how are you able to manage to provide for your family without having to work?

      Believe it or not, some people simply cannot afford to pay $500 for a weeknight out with their young kids, including me. Just playing with them at home for free gives them a lot of joy.

      Would you have suggested I take my son to dad’s night out? He would have been the only one and I would feel bad.

      If you’re feeling guilty about not earning enough or not having enough wealth to take care of your family, taking it out on me is not gonna help. You’ve got to look within yourself and do whatever it takes to provide for your family.

      And if you’re feeling guilty about not spending more time with your children, then you’ve got to sacrifice some of your career to spend more time with them before they are adults. Supposedly, between 80 to 90% of the time we will ever spend with our children is over once they are 19 years old.

      Take action, otherwise, your regret will linger forever.

    2. Michael, how is it that Sam saving $500 by not going to dad’s night out and spending time with his son at home, is not align with your recommendation to spend more time with our children and create memories?

      If you’re feeling bad about not spending time with your children, go spend more time with them! Don’t take it out on the internet like an idiot.

    3. Michael, seems like you may have misunderstood some things in Sam’s post. I’m a father of two (currently 21 and 18), and I agree that quality time with them has been a priority for me their whole lives. It’s all about balance though. If I wasn’t willing to work hard to advance, could I afford to save enough to buy a family house or fund their college educations? Further, could I save enough so that I could give them one of the best gifts, which is not having to support my wife and I financially in our elderly years? I’d say finding that balance was one of the hardest journeys as a parent. My wife worked as a stay-home mom during the first 12 years of their youth, and there was extra pressure on me to earn enough to accomplish the above goals while also having enough family time to make memories. I made big and small decisions along the way to find that balance, and I would describe the journey as a rigorous uphill climb most of the time. My final point is one of simplicity. After my first son was born, a wise dad told me “the best gift you can give your kids is your time.” He was right in that it wasn’t about splurges, gifts, or expensive experiences. Sure those are nice, but so is a day in the local park, board games at home, art projects on the kitchen table, and being home for dinner every night. I feel like I found that balance.

    4. But aren’t you making the same assumption. You’re assuming he would make amazing memories if he spent that $500 instead of saving. Many many low income families don’t have that $500.are you saying they are unhappy and unable to make great memories. My parents were dirt poor and I remembered plenty of great memories. And now with fire I dan fly them anywhere and I can tell you they very much enjoy the memories of business class. Isn’t that worth a $1m in their old age. They know their time is limited but it’s so happy with where I am cbs what I can provide. It sounds more to me you’re an anti saver and “memories” is a good excuse to continue that.

  6. Achieving financial independence requires a lot of perseverance in multiple aspects of life. I would add that only very determined people can reach FIRE. In my case, when building FIRE I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything as reaching FIRE was an obsessive goal. It took my wife and I 13 years to reach FIRE, living in Switzerland – one of the most expensive countries in the world, having 2 children, a nice house, travelling and going to restaurants without really counting expenses for activities that give you experience. We’ve always asked ourselves: If we died tomorrow, would we be happy with our lives? And the answer was Yes. We always liked to work, and the closer we got to financial independence, the more demotivated we became from difficulties in work which in my point of view is not good. Financial independence is a great feeling, because it gives you a sense of freedom. In my opinion, this feeling can be achieved without having attained financial independence. Knowing that money is a relative concept and that there’s never enough of it, maybe the answer lies in having a simple life with a job you love without ever having the feeling to sacrifice?

    1. Congrats. Can you share some financial details such as your expenses, net worth, passive income, and saving rate for 13 years?

      The details can help others formulate their own game plan and better understand where you’re coming from.


  7. Excellent post as always! I am a high income earning early 40’s profession who owns a veterinary practice. I definitely can attest to the sacrifices that I have made to try to reach financial independence at a younger age. I guess my issues is two fold. Once you hit your “financial” milestone what do you do, continue to grind and push the goal post or do you slowdown? I do enjoy my work but it seems like as another reader put it fall behind when I worked so hard to make it to the top? Thanks again Sam!

    1. The answer is to slowdown, decumulate, and enjoy life more once your financial milestone is hit.

      Most personal finance enthusiasts I think will die with way too much money, which means wasting time, energy, and happiness.

      When you need more money, then you spend time making more money for a period of time. But the trend should be to spend more money, spend less time grinding and enjoy life more.

      Related: how to overcome the one more year syndrome

  8. Mark Pearson

    I am retired and have a net worth of 5 million. My home is paid for. I have 4 rental homes, 1 has no mortgage and 3 do. Should I consider paying off one of the houses with a whole life insurance policy (90k ) that I don’t feel I need?

    1. Hello Mark, I am a financial planner and I run into questions like this all the time.

      You should consider if your whole life policy has reached the point where it is past charging you a surrender charge. If it is past that point your dollar for dollar return will be higher by paying off your house. After inflation, returns on your whole life policy will be 1% a year if you’re lucky. On your home, you will enjoy increased cash flow, continued tax benefits, and reduce your cost due to holding that mortgage. Keeping that money in a whole life policy would only maybe cover your interest cost on the mortgage.

      The good side of whole life however, is the death benefit is paid out tax free, so if the face value is enough to cover your remaining mortgage amounts, this might help your heirs inherit more money.

      To summarize, if you want to play the defensive route, keep the whole life policy.
      If you want more income now and the rest of your life, pay off the mortgage using your whole life policy.

      Hope this helps.

        1. The whole life policy will be subject to estate tax if it is above the estate tax threshold of 13.6 million. If the inheritance is going to a married couple luckily the estate tax threshold doubles. That is something to keep in mind.

          The death benefit can also be taxable if there is no TOD, Transfer on Death, listed on the policy.

          1. To clarify, what if the receiver of the death benefit is a married couple with a net worth of over the estate tax threshold, sat $40 mil? Do the receivers pay the 40% estate tax bill or the estate that owns the life insurance policy?

            Let’s say the death benefit is $1 million, but the estate that owns the life insurance policy has an estate value of only $5 million. Does the receiver of the death benefit, with a $50 million net worth still pay the 40% death tax since the owner of the life insurance policy is below the threshold?


            1. Evan Brandsma

              Estate tax just deals with the transfer of wealth from one estate to the next. The transferee does not need to be worried about.

              The amount of money one can pass on from an estate without tax is the factor used for the calculation of estate tax.

                1. Got it. So, so long as the receiver of the death benefit has an estate worth less than $13.6 million per person, no taxes on the death benefit will be paid.

                  However, how can the IRS really know your net worth is over the estate tax threshold upon receiving the death benefit? Seems like it would be easy to miss, unless the receive of the death benefit has to fill out an elaborate tax form under oath about all their assets before receiving the benefit? Thx

                  * if you can’t respond to this comment due to technical issue, then pls respond to my previous comment

  9. I achieved fire 2 years ago at 50. It could have been in my early 40s if someone good with money investmenting skills were there for me. I had great savings skill but later I realized I was wasting my time saving and not growing enough of that money.

    My big sacrifice was NOT buying a home which caused surprisingly to me a whole lot of arguments with friends and family who didn’t just disagreed with me but was outright angry about MY money. I proved them wrong as my investments grew to millions.

    I too saved over 50% of my income and always invested bonus checks. Still enjoy life and travel but was frugal. Now I am retired the not having that work stress by itself is an amazing health benefit.

    Now I travel ALOT and now I splurge. No more economy flights and the hotels are generally very nice. Not always Waldorf nice but very comfortable. Knowing that I can do this the rest of my life while I am still healthy and active is worth all the frugality of my 20s-40s.

    1. Good stuff! “outright angry about MY money” I get this all the time. It’s fascinating why some people get upset at how other people spend their money.

      I’m assuming your friends were just upset that your way countered their way. Have you calculated how much more or less your net worth would have been had you bought your primary residence?

      Do you have kiddos? I find that it’s hard to get your partner to agree to continue renting if kids are in the equation.

      1. That’s the thing about a home. I won’t disparage anyone if they need a home for their family. For me, I have no children so beyond satisfying my ego of owning a home it made no sense to me. I actually have a very complex spreadsheet that I have had for 30 years (it started as lotus 123) where I would do simulations with the current market to get an idea how much money I would have had or not had. While I have a background in data analyst I found that it was nearly impossible to figure out how much a house would have cost me because of all the upkeep, unexpected bills and desire to buy nice things for the house. But I’m pretty sure I would have at least 70% less in my portfolio if I bought a house. But that’s also because later stages of my work life I was much smarter at investing. For example most people lost their shirts during the banking crisis while I ended up the year up 0.7%. So there is a lot. I think a lot of friends were unhappy with my choice because I went against the conventional wisdom that nobody seems to want to question. It’s like you should walk 10,000 steps every day. Well, who decided that? Turns out a company trying to sell health products.

        1. Buddhist Slacker

          Super fascinating thank you for sharing. How did you navigate the financial crisis and end up .7 percent up?

          1. Well as it turns out I used to work at the federal reserve Bank. Right before everything hit the fan, I remember the fed announcing that they would consider leman a bank in order to provide them with an emergency loan. I know the fed. That is something they would never do or would debate it for months first. So when they did that I said oh man we are screwed. So I immediately sold off 85% of my portfolio and kept it in cash. 9 months Iater aggressively went back into the market. The following 2 years built the foundation of my portfolio and covid market was like the rocket that took off.

  10. Buddhist Slacker

    Thank you so much for the Ikigai diagram! I have never heard of this and I love it! It actually explains a lot as I look back on my career and it gives me ideas for my future self.

    Also what a fantastic idea to buy two shares of Apple with your savings! It reminds me of the idea of locking in the funny money. So you locked in your savings! I love it I’m going to do the same thing except probably BIDU. But I’ll analyze the financials on AAPL too thanks for the idea.

    Alas it’s too late for me for FIRE but I am in hyper-saving mode nonetheless. I don’t consider saving as a sacrifice because I have a glorious retirement planned just a few years away. I’m currently focused on improving my health and I do expect to live 30 more very active years even though I’m currently 61. I’m currently focusing on improving the consistency and quality of my sleep which currently sucks. Therefore, I consider every night out detrimental to my physical and financial well-being. So to me, spending money and going out at night would actually be the sacrifice that I would make for the sake of a loved one.

  11. We budget for a specific dollar amount for “entertainment” and then within that, whatever the person wants to do is fine. And we’re budgeting for it in advance and reducing spend in some other areas keeps us on track. For example if I’m spending $500 this month on an activity, maybe this check isn’t the one for extra grocery or making a long drive so we can offset the extra expense.

  12. I would humbly suggest more focus on FI and less focus on RE. At some point the two intersect. For me, that was at age 57 but what that meant was that I could afford to leave the corporate world behind and start a new passion of entrepreneurship with a startup. I worked part time for another 4 years to help get the company off the ground and then exited when they joined 2 other startups and formed a new company. They are doing great with tremendous growth over the last 4 years and I am hoping a liquidity event is in the near future to compensate me for my sweat equity earned during my time there.

    I’m glad I put in the extra years for all kinds of reasons and don’t feel I missed out on all that much by not retiring sooner. One size does not fit all and to each his own, but I can’t say if I had it to do over again, I would do anything different. My wife continues to work and is about to turn 63. She is seriously considering joining me in retirement and we are financially well positioned whenever she decides to pull that trigger.

  13. Speaking for myself, I think the sacrifices made before and after reaching FIRE run much deeper than purely financial. While many FIRE bloggers write about poor relationships or health due to work, it may have just been their particular workplace. My workplace had its share of people that were hard to get along with, but most of them were good people that I got along well with. We also played basketball almost daily together, so work was a benefit rather than a detriment to health.
    Once FIREd there is no longer an active mostly reliable income stream to rely on. Instead we rely on passive streams that are not reliable. Staying ahead of inflation means having a large portion of your assets in risky investments where past performance does not guarantee future returns, often with expenses that are increasing over time. So sometimes you are sacrificing security and peace of mind. Logically your assets aren’t growing as fast as someone still working, so your financial (and in some ways social) status is declining relative to non-FIREes. One must be prepared to accept this possibility.

    And last but not least, I think many if not most people get some satisfaction from their work especially if it benefits society as a whole. If work wasn’t satisfying, maybe it was just the wrong job for them. A FIREe may end up missing work many years down the road when it would be impossible to go back.

    1. Then why in the world do you strife for these so called FIRE? I really, really dont get it. Its like its just another fad to follow.

      Why not save and invest which will give You the ability to work on whatever you like and still bring a paycheck?

      I read some of this blog’s posts and see nothing but guilt and despair from the author. And he is anything but retired. its like, dude, why dont you just get a job or set up a consultancy firm, samurai investments or something.

  14. Mary McCutchen

    “Although I appreciate a good steak and am a big fan of the Warriors, the estimated cost of around $150 for dinner (inclusive of tax, tip, and drinks) and $300 for a ticket felt excessive in my current frugal mode. Adding a $50 roundtrip Uber cost, the total expenditure would have been around $500.” And your son is seven years of age?

    This scenario explains a lot. I do realize that you are only family among many, and it is uncomfortable to reply with what may seem like a personal attack. Still, I must wonder how your children’s adult lifestyle will exceed the luxury of their childhood? All of this has been accomplished on my back, my labor and life energy; with that hard-won profit extracted from my family and funneled to others within a severely toxic capitalism. If, as I recall, you worked for Goldman Sachs, then the basis for your wealth is fundamentally tainted.

    There is no justification. One small example: what is the life quality of those who rent from you and your partners in the mid-West states, supplying a portion of your ‘passive’ income streams and asset accumulation? Those rents are not passive for those families.

    How obnoxious all together, and on so many levels. Perhaps you shared this story for reasons I could never comprehend. My reaction has nothing to do with a debt-free, stringent savings ethic which we share. It takes so very many of us to fund comparable life experience/enhancements for relatively few families.

    This article only illustrates fundamental problems and issues which have fractured our country and relationships. Individuals and families break under the strain of supporting these lifestyle/asset tiers.
    Communities are devastated. An easily traced association, sometimes indirectly yet often quite directly.

    When does the economic structure break? When should it? I hope that unions regain their strength, numbers and effectiveness. Better that than riots and social breakdown on a twenty-year cycle, spiraling ever downward given so few adopted longterm solutions for the many.

    1. Hi Mary – I love your feedback and criticism of my story. Thank you. Please keep it coming as I endeavor to do better and make more optimal decisions.

      Maybe you missed it, but I didn’t go. I decided to stay home, put my kids to bed, order some pho, and watch the game on TV. It was also a dad’s night out. Kids do not attend dad’s night out.

      Despite not going, I don’t judge my fellow dad’s for wanting to have fun and get together maybe once every quarter or every six months. It’s hard work being a working parent, which almost all of them are. After being a stay-at-home dad for almost 7 years, it’s been the toughest job in the world.

      “This article only illustrates fundamental problems and issues which have fractured our country and relationships. Individuals and families break under the strain of supporting these lifestyle/asset tiers.Communities are devastated. An easily traced association, sometimes indirectly yet often quite directly.”

      This is a powerful comment. Did something happen to your family due to money straining relationships? What about the power of just saying “no” and doing your own thing? How is your relationship with your children and did they turn out OK? Sharing might help relieve some of the angst you may be feeling.

      I’d love to know your occupation and what is it that you are doing to help make the world a better place. We can all learn from good people like you who are doing more than people like me to help.

      1. My apologies. I must bow out and do regret responding at all. I experienced a technology loss this morning and must focus on fully recovering from this.

        I will share with you that, while I am glad for you and your family [truly], the evening you described for the first-grade(?) fathers’ night out would have been out-of-reach for me without an extreme long term sacrifice. It is simply the present reality of the wealth divide which we allowed or created. I simply do not see how these expenditure levels are sustainable, especially across time and generations.

        That said, as a snapshot in time, I wish you well in all ways, and send congratulations for the security and powerful options which you achieved for your family.

        At age 67, I simply continue on with the methods which work for me now. Essentially returning to personal labor (and creativity) common in my grandparents’ time . . . and for me/us in my twenties and for ensuing decades [educated, white collar, several cutting-edge enduring projects]. I work to accomplish the majority of tasks/projects inside and outside my mortgage-free home, with few paid services for as long as possible.

        Be well, and happy in your days, Mary

    2. Is the community where you live suffering? It sounds like you are going through a painful period in your life and surroundings. Sam is shedding light on a lot of positives in this article, so I’m very confused why you felt it was “obnoxious.” He didn’t want to spend $500 on a particular social event and was very happy with how he spent his time and money toward investing instead. Those who did spend the money for a special occasion were happy to, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone either.

      Personal finance has a lot of core themes on saving, choosing how to spend your money wisely, and investing. The article is in line with all of that. Personal finance is also very personal and it looks different for everyone and everyone’s circumstances are different.

      If you want some advice – embrace more happiness, acceptance, and respect for those around you and yourself. The world would be a much better place if everyone acted more courteously and respectful to one another and each other’s differences.

      1. Sad – people are just haters. No one wants joy or success. Why even respond to people like this. “Tainted” lol, her perspective is obviously the only one that is righteous.

  15. I don’t subscribe to FIRE. I follow the Financial Samurai D(I)RE method (minus the inheritance). I really got off the FIRE bandwagon when I realized that I had more in retirement savings than in taxable, and I never saved enough money for a down payment on a home and missed out on a huge bull run in housing. However I also just moved cross country which cost me a huge amount of money, so I am having to rebuild my down payment fund again.

  16. The best a frugal person can hope for is to slowly raise the limit on expenditures. As an example my younger self would often choose one of the least expensive hotels I could find while now I do spend quite a bit more for hotels with something special like a view or location.

  17. Ron Brummeyer

    What you describe is that the journey and your relationship with money never ends rather the boundaries and what is important does. All (or at least financially sensible) have a money equation that we all are managing throughout our lives. The parameters, the urge for more at what cost and the “competition” within your environment will all dictate a reaction and acceptance of what is enough and what is important — most of us have two stories that have achieved financial independence one whereby it comes across as the American dream and another when looking at the sacrifices, what it took to get there and the effort required to get what achieved have some look at as “oh I am so sorry that happened” — the point is while possible it is rarely accidental where at and it comes down to choices made, efforts exerted and risks taken whereby a risk to one person is not a risk at all towards another that is trying to achieve something of importance to ones self.

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