Taking Money For Granted: What To Do If The Money Runs Out?

Taking money for granted is easy to do when times are good. After a global pandemic, perhaps we are much more appreciated of money!

I considered my paycheck to be “endless money.” Every other week I got paid for a service that I provided a company. Given I saved the majority of it, I began to treat money as if it were an endless supply. I devalued money because I only used a minority of it.

It's hard NOT to take money for granted when it's come to you for so long. For example, how many of us are truly thankful for the food we get to eat everyday?  If I was, I wouldn't have seen a 10-12 pound weight increase since college.  How many of us reflect on the fact we have hot water everyday?  If I did, I'd probably take an occasional cold shower just to be thankful.

A sabbatical is a great time to reflect on what we want to do in life and how much money is enough to be happy.  I've highlighted from previous posts that anywhere from $3,000-$15,000 a month is enough, depending on the size of my family.  Now I'm curious to discover whether this range is truly the case.

Stop Taking Money For Granted

I was planning on dumping my entire free liquidity into the structured notes I wrote about earlier until I realized one thing. There's a very good chance that I won't have this type of liquidity next year. I never really had to budget my budget. So instead of investing the entire sum, I invested 80% of it and kept the rest in a money market account just to be safe.

Occupy Protesting Love - Taking Money For Granted: What To Do If The Money Runs Out?

If the money well finally runs dry I plan to:

* Withdraw all future and accumulated CD interest income.  All CD interest income is yours to use without penalty.  I've just been reinvesting the proceeds for the past decade.

* Utilize rental income for living.  After almost 10 years, rental property income is highly positive thanks to inflation and mortgage refinances.

* Work harder.  I know I can always work harder because I'm hardly ever stressed out anymore.  I remember studying for five hours a night after class.  I remember working 50 hours a week and spending another 25 hours a week for my MBA.  Now it's just typing some thoughts online  How easy is that?  My body is relaxed and no longer has tennis elbow or lower back pain.

* Get a job, any job.  If it comes down to survival, I'm not too proud to take any job.  When your first real job is making egg McMuffins at McDonald's for $3.25 an hour, there is no job beneath you.

Underestimating The Amount Of Time Worked

My father asked me one day, “Sam, are you sure you aren't underestimating the amount of time you work online?”  He was concerned, because despite telling him I was on vacation for a week, article after article kept appearing on Financial Samurai and Yakezie.com.

I told him, “Perhaps, but it's hard to tell because I don't mind the work.”  I recalled how many hours I spent a day on vacation “working”, and the total came out to be roughly 2 hours a day.  About 1.5 hours from 6:30am to 8am before breakfast, and 30 minutes in the evening checking up on things.

Working harder is a privilege, since at some point, my mental capacity will fade and I will no longer be able to communicate in a coherent manner.  Everything disappears over time, and it's up to us to make the most of what we have.

Change Is A Stressful Feeling

When you've budgeted so long by operating freely in the confines of your budget, it's strange to change.  Although my savings and investing schedule was automatic, I got to do whatever I wanted with the remaining 30% of after tax income every month. I felt entirely free to do as I pleased.

With a large drop in income, I've got to re-strategize.  Plenty of people make due with less, so I'm not complaining. I just need to mentally overcome the fact that I will no longer be saving or earning as much anymore.

Does increased freedom truly make up for a drastic drop in income?  I'm not so sure, because I felt pretty free when I worked. Nobody told me what to do really and I could take vacation pretty much whenever. So in a way, the people who appreciate not working the most perhaps are the ones who were the most miserable during work.

Don't take money for granted, because it may eventually run out!

Update 9/18/2017: Money has miraculously not run out for me. FinancialSamurai.com has grown to over 1 million pageviews a month and is generating a healthy income five years after I left my job. I've been able to build a strong brand online, develop good business partnerships, and take advantage of the internet. I suggest everyone start their own site today to at least brand themselves online. 

Update 4/4/201: FinancialSamurai.com continues to hum along at around 1.25 million organic page views a month. The site brings in a healthy income. Further, our passive income has grown to about $300,000 a year. I've been diligently reinvesting 50% – 80% of my after-tax online income every year.


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The best feature is their 401K Fee Analyzer which is saving me over $1,000+ a year in portfolio fees I didn’t know I was paying. The future is never going to be certain. But at the very least, we can stay on top of our money so we’re prepared for whatever comes at us. Personal Capital only takes a minute to sign up and it’s free. No other tool has helped me reach financial independence more than Personal Capital

Negotiate A Severance Package. Never quit your job, get laid off instead if you want to move on. Negotiating a severance package provided me with six years worth of living expenses to help me focus on my online media business. Check out my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Good-bye. The book is in its 5th edition and provides solid strategies for how you too, can escape a job you hate with money in your pocket.

36 thoughts on “Taking Money For Granted: What To Do If The Money Runs Out?”

  1. I have long said that I will retire once I reach $3,000/month in passive income. Right now, I am close to $2,000/month. But I could even live on that (if I wanted to move to a more rural place where I grow my own vegetables, chickens, etc.).

    However, at the moment I live in NYC, work for a sales-type job where I have to look the part (read: suits, shirts, shoes, haircuts, and central residence), and also do things to support emotional balance (vacations, acupuncture, organic food, dinners with friends, single life romance). I am spending WAY more than $3,000/month!

    However, the job is growing me as a person, paying me more than I spend, and actually enjoyable to go to from day to day. The way I figure, every month I spend there, 1) my skills are increasing, 2) my net worth/passive income is increasing, and 3) my network is increasing.

    It’s not a bad deal. And, if I decide I want to shift…I could do so today. That thought, that reminder, brings me a lot of confidence.

    ps – BTW Sam, I am watching you… to see if you put your money (no pun intended) where your mouth is. Can you limit your expenditures?

  2. I’m just starting to really acquire wealth now. I have the tools, but not the mass lol

    I always live like I’m struggling though, even when I have a decent amount in investments…

  3. My income sources have been created by me and are ever-changing so I’ve never taken my income for granted. I just keep on hustling and maybe one day I’ll be able to sit on my laurels and relax – but that’s many years from now.

  4. I haven’t had a budget for my budget recently. I live pretty simply now and don’t spend much money on material things. What I do spend a lot on is travel, so when money gets tight for me, I just cut back on trips or the types of trips I take. I do save a lot too though and diversify for a safety net in case I ever get in a pinch and lose my primary income stream.

  5. I can live a happy life with 30K a year without mortgage obligation. I think the key is to live as if you were making 50K when in fact you are making 150K. If everyone saves over 50% for the first 10 years, and invests wisely then money may not become a major source of stress or worries.So, really size of your lifestyle dictates the size of your income — slimmer the better. :)

  6. The constant in life is change. As long as you’re flexible and willing to adapt, then obstacles are just opportunities. Have you invested in the p2p sector? I’ve had some nice returns with Prosper.

    1. I’ve been waiting for Prosper to get back to me for 2 months. I’m willing to invest $25,000-$50,000 to start and create a long term partnership. Alas, they are very slow moving.

  7. Ah, the pain of a $540 car payment! Were u rolling in doh then? What did you buy?

    I can’t stomach more than $250 a month. I just no longer have a desire to drive a fancy ride anymore. Grew out of it around the age of 30.

  8. I remember my mother worrying about having enough money. She had more than enough and lived to 3 weeks short of 99 years old. It is a good motivation for savings and investing to have more than enough money. The hard part is predicting how long you will live. I had a physical yesterday and my doctor confirmed that I am physically a 35 year old except for my back! So I better plan to live to at least a hundred and may be more. Independence is more important than money to me. John Wooden lived well into his 90s with only a live in companion to look after him. My LTC insurance will pay for that and I hope to have a hot Swedish girl take take of me in my declining years. Be kind, don’t destroy the fantasy!

      1. The fantasy keeps me going or maybe it is something else? I prefer to think happiness and positive thinking that keeps me going. I let you know when I hit 100! :)

  9. We have about 6 months of expenses in our Emergency Fund and my wife works full-time. So if the money did run out on my end, we could still make it work for a while. We just wouldn’t be able to accelerate prepaying our mortgage like we are today. We have structured our finances in such a way that we could weather almost any storm. It has taken many years and a lot of patience to get to this point.

  10. AmericanDebt Project

    I forgot to add that I am impressed you only work 2 hours a day when it comes to online stuff. I find myself sucked into reading tweets, posts, responding to emails and writing comments all over the place and before I know it, 4 hours have passed and I haven’t even written a post! I think you are very disciplined and focused with your blogging, which I could definitely benefit from :)

  11. I want to learn not to take my income for granted but also work really hard to increase income from multiple sources. Back in October, I built a few small sources of income but I worked really hard to find those and make it work. I took a chance. And now I am just kind of comfortable with getting my extra money and not looking for new ways to make more money. So I need to go back to that hungry feeling like “What can I do to make more? Who should I be talking to?” This post was motivating, I need to get serious about more income because my job is just one source of income and it could be reduced or eliminated.

    1. It’a easy to just take our income for granted isn’t it?

      It’s part of the reason why I spent an hour at the Unemployment Office and hours with several unemployed friends, and write/accept posts to understand more about their situation and process.

  12. I certainly take our income for granted even though it is a very small income. If my husband lost his job we would have a year to both search for a new one before all the money was gone. I would work anywhere as long it kept my children sheltered and fed

  13. I think people surely take advantage of it when things run dry. when I was out of grad school and didnt have a job, it was tough because I was used to not having much money, but that’s way different than having NO Money. I just had to basically stop spending for a month, and then hurry up and find a job quick!
    Hopefully, my money well will never run dry!

    1. Well, everything is rational right? You needed money so you got a job. It’s the main reason why I’m so optimistic for everybody. We do things overtime that help our well being.

  14. It’s hard for me to use those passive income too. We have been reinvesting for years now and it’s a good habit to have. If it come down to survival, I’ll find another job. I think we should be ok though. We’ll see what happens in 5 years or so.
    I was quite miserable at my old job and the freedom is worth the drop in income for me. If we didn’t save over 50% for a long time, I wouldn’t have the option to quit my job.

    1. Your misery is a blessing. It makes you appreciate your freedom so much more!

      I wasn’t miserable at all. I was just getting bored and didn’t like my idustry’s outlook where performance and pay became disconnected.

  15. I’m always paranoid that I won’t have enough money. I found when I was a practicing advisor that my wealthiest clients were largely paranoid they wouldn’t have enough. Yet others with far too little didn’t come close to being concerned. I always wanted to be in the former camp.

    1. I talked to a very wealth friend about this as well, and he says he CONSTANTLY worries about not having enough b/c of his “obligations.” This is from a guy who earns 8 figures a year.

      Perhaps it is better to be unconcerned and have far too little, b/c we really don’t need a lot to be happy as discussed in the previous post?

      1. I think that the reason your friend is worries is because he’s keeping up with the
        Jonses. Instead of having a 5.5 mil home, why not scale down to a 2.3 or something.
        Live below your means. It always amazes me how the “elite” worry so much about their money, and the average middle class take it as it comes. I don’t worry about money, it’s a controllable substance – you, me or who ever controls how much comes in, and equally control how much goes out. Use the KISS method and worry more about your health, time, and living life the fullest.

    2. I am a bit paranoid as well but I feel like I have planned well for my future. I plan on increasing my contributions once we have my girlfriend’s student loans paid off but even if I didn’t I’d still be fine I believe. I’ve always planned for the worst and hoped for the best :)

  16. I work in a very secure profession, so yes, I think I take my income for granted. Even as other industries lay off workers, downsize, and outsource, we are busier than more profitable than ever.

    Although I still have a 9-5 job, I feel pretty free as well. I take vacation when I want and have plenty of perks and holidays.

    When the well runs dry? I plan on never letting that happen!!!

  17. “Perhaps, but it’s hard to tell because I don’t mind the work.”

    Perhaps that’s the key line. In the end, as long as you can make ends meet, that’s what will see you through:

    (a) You will find yourself smiling more and generally being happier
    (b) Because you do it so much, you’ll end up being better at it than anyone else
    (c) Once you get a lot better, it will pay more

    and then you get the positive reinforcement cycle going.

    We are fortunate in that we went through this thought process during the previous (2002) recession.

    We realized recessions can seriously dislocate your income. I studied the whole issue, and realized recessions are not only inevitable, but fairly predictable… and the perfect time to make serious money. We did that and it worked very, very well. Now I blog about it to all who are interested in reaping the same benefit.

    Good article!

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