Why I’m No Longer Willing To Drive For Uber

Surging Everywhere But Where I Am Uber

Over a two-year period, I gave over 500 rides driving for Uber. It was an eye-opening experience that helped me also build up my Solo 401(k) balance. Let me share why I'm no longer willing to drive for Uber.

In part one of this two part series, we discussed seven reasons why everybody should work a minimum wage job at least twice in their lives – once during school, and again after they've made a comfortable sum of money.

The reasons cited are:
* Develop a stronger work ethic
* Develop better social skills
* Be a kinder, more empathetic person
* Get out of a bubble
* Make extra money and become a more disciplined spender
* Become more business savvy and entrepreneurial
* Get accustomed to life not being fair

After seven months since first testing out the platform, I've decided to no longer drive for Uber except to occasionally pick up someone along the way. The 10% – 20% fare cuts in January 2016 have made driving not worth it beyond the initial sign up bonus period (e.g. $300 after 20 rides in SF).

I've learned everything there is to know about the existing technology and I've already benefitted from all the additional non-monetary benefits I'll be highlighting in this post. 


The main reason why everybody should never expect a $1M inheritance, never start off with a luxury car until they've gone through junkers, never manipulate their parents for more money if they are already adults, and never expect to go straight to the corner office without paying their dues is because you will grow this WARPED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT.

Only when you see the other side will you truly appreciate what you have. Only when you struggle and suffer over time will you truly enjoy your achievements. Pity the person who was born with everything.

The following are my final takeaways from driving for Uber. It's good to go through new experiences and then move on once your learnings are exhausted. I've got better things to do with my time now.

1) You learn to keep on going. I firmly believe at least half the reason why people are successful is because they never give up. In startup land, successful founders keep on pitching until someone says yes. In blogging, successful bloggers keep on writing even if they make no money for years. In tennis, winning players run down every single damn ball until their opponent's spirits are broken.

Driving for Uber has a funny way of making you excited about your next trip and depressed at the same time. There are still a lot of kinks in the app that make driving frustrating. For example, in the featured image above, notice how I'm in a dead zone where there is no demand, even though I'm in downtown San Francisco. Meanwhile, there is surge pricing everywhere else! How frustrating! But given you can see there is demand elsewhere, you keep on going out of sheer will.

2) You learn how to eat some good ‘ol humble pie. Growing up in Asia for the first 14 years of my life taught me the importance of humility. Unfortunately, when I came to the U.S. for high school, I began to grow a pretty big ego to the point where I was probably perceived as a pompous jackass by a number of folks. Joining a prestigious private firm in Manhattan only served to inflate my ego further. It was only after 9/11 that I decided to make a conscious effort to start being more humble. I took up Stealth Wealth and pretended not to know a lot of things in order to not come across as a know-it-all.

There is something extremely humbling about having the financial means to leave Corporate America for good, yet be treated as someone who may be struggling to just get by. I picked up a couple of tipsy 24-year-olds who were renting an apartment not too far from where I currently live. They thanked me for being someone who helped save them from a DUI. It felt nice helping an elderly woman with her luggage. After I helped her get out of Rhino, she handed me my first ever cash tip of five $1 bills! It was a proud moment, yet incredibly humbling at the same time.

3) You'll learn how to better control your emotions. Anybody who's ever driven has experienced some degree of road rage at one point in time. I know I've shouted at someone for cutting me off and felt a tremendous amount of annoyance when a Porsche 911 drives 10mph below the speed limit in the left lane! Some people get so pissed on the road that the'll hunt you down and hurt you if you don't apologize profusely. Some might even try and kill you.

There will inevitably be times when you're working and some driver will do something that will tick you off. But since you have passengers in your car, and don't want a poor rating, you learn how to control your emotions by staying calm. You learn to let things go in a monk-like manner.

4) You'll learn to accept and LAUGH at your misfortune. Half the battle in succeeding at anything is to just survive long enough. I see so many people quit before momentum really begins: at their jobs, learning a new song, blogging, trying to get better at a sport, selling too soon, etc. If only more people just persevered, they'd see greater rewards.

Long Uber Ride
Long Uber ride to Vallejo from SF starting at 10:30pm when all I wanted to do was go home

For example, it was 10:30pm and I had just finished driving for 1.5 hours after a fintech meetup downtown that went from 6pm – 9:00pm. I was tired, but not too tired to drive! I was on the east side of the city, hoping to catch a fare to make money going west back home. There was an 80% chance that such a ride would occur based on my analysis of my previous 100 trips.

When I went to pick up what I thought would be my final passenger, I saw a middle age woman with a piece of luggage. Oh great, we're going to the airport, I thought to myself. The airport is 16 miles south of San Francisco and not my home's direction. Usually I wouldn't mind a $32-$36 fare, but it was late. Well, instead of going to the airport, the lady put in the city of Vallejo, 35 miles north and across the bay! Holy crap! With no traffic, it still takes 35 minutes to get there. The real bummer is that there would unlikely be any fare back. My “last passenger” ended up making me work another 1.5 hours until midnight because I did end up finding a couple passengers out in the boondocks. Luckily, the Vallejo trip was a 1.4X surge price that came out to $80.66.

Yes, driving for Uber will test your endurance. It's dangerous to drive too tired, so definitely don't do that. But my experience driving has given me added energy to work longer online and endure longer on the tennis court. Thankfully, Uber developed a new feature where drivers can input the destination they want to go for their final ride to potentially pick up a rider going your same desired direction.

5) You'll learn how to deal with difficult situations. Although you can make roughly 15% more picking up UberPool passengers, the rides are usually less fun because you converse less, and there's a bigger chance for something to go wrong. One evening I picked up one woman at her pricey Pacific Heights apartment. As I began going a different way from her route in order to pick up the other passenger she said frustratingly, “What are you doing? My destination is the other way.

Then I asked her, “Sorry, but I'm just going to pick up another UberPool passenger. You did request an UberPool didn't you?

She said she did, and kept quiet unhappily. I was annoyed that she was annoyed at me picking someone else up. If she didn't want to share the car, then she should have requested UberX and paid up! It's not that much more expensive.

When I got to the other passenger's destination, the woman wasn't there. I waited there for a couple minutes out of courtesy until my Pacific Heights passenger said, “You know, we are wasting time sitting here. You can call her you know?

Yes, I know I can call, but calling people can also annoy the receiver. After another minute, I did call the missing passenger and it went straight to voice mail. All this time I'm thinking, great, my current passenger is unhappy and she'll be giving me less than a 5-star rating.

My current passenger then said, “It's been several minutes now. You should cancel.” Given I dislike people who are late, I acquiesced and cancelled.

As I was pulling away from the second passenger's apartment, I saw her finally run out and wave me down. I stopped, and apologized that since I had cancelled, I could not take her. Then she got pissed and told me “This is terrible customer service.” Then I told her a simple solution is to just request another UberPool and we can get going.

She fumbled around and told me she couldn't figure out how to do it. I wasn't about to get out of the car, teach her how to use the app, and make my existing passenger even madder. I apologized, told her I'm sure another car will arrive shortly, and drove away.

What I really wanted to tell her was, You idiot. First you come out five minutes late after already getting a four minute heads up that I was coming after requesting a UberPool ride. Why are you so inconsiderate to me and your fellow passenger? Then you don't know how to press the UberPool request button on your app that you just requested? Then you lie to me and tell me you've been standing there in the lobby waiting for minutes already when I was clearly right outside your lobby. Hope you never get another ride!

But of course, I kept my cool, apologized and wished her the best of luck.

Lesson learned: Cheaper customers can cause more trouble. It's weird how they complain much more than UberX customers. I'd much rather focus on higher end customer who better appreciate the service and product. This is one of the reasons that compelled me to raise the price of my freedom book on severance negotiations by 50%+ after I added 50 more pages of insights. So far, there's been an increase in demand.

Taxis Hate Uber
The Taxi driver who spit on Rhino

6) You may understand what it's like to be hated on. As a minority, getting hated on is a pretty normal occurrence in America. You just kind of learn to live with the insults or slights. But until you are in someone else's shoes, you'll never know what it's truly like.

After dropping off a passenger in congested Union Square, I got stuck in traffic on the way back. As I was inching my way forward, a Yellow Cab driver suddenly tried to jut right in. But given traffic wasn't moving, I was stuck, and he got pissed off that I didn't make way. As his lane started opening up, he drove by Rhino and spat on his hood!

Yes, taxi drivers hate Uber drivers even though they can drive for Uber if they want. You're seeing riots in France against Uber drivers for example. There are plenty of other areas of the country and world where the anti-Uber sentiment is real. If you have never experienced hate and discrimination, being an Uber driver can help you gain a tremendous amount of perspective.

7) You'll see through all the sales and marketing voodoo. Uber upgrades its app a couple times a month. With a recent upgrade, they've implemented FOMO messaging to get you to try and drive more. For example, one says, “You're only $9 away from making $20! Keep driving” Another message says, “There's so much money out there to be made!” That is some smart marketing by the folks at HQ.

Fake 4.5X surge pricing to convince you to keep driving. Bullshit!
Fake 4.5X surge pricing to convince you to keep driving. Bullshit!

But here's my favorite sales bullshit message I got that is clearly NOT TRUE. Now, whenever you click “Go Offline” the app will often tell you there's a huge surge pricing going on, even though there's no surge in your location. They'll choose a location that's 30 miles away and make you believe you can get that surge price, even though the surge will likely disappear if you ever are not savvy enough to chase the surge! Never chase the surge.

A lot of money is lost by buying things you don't understand or need. Being able to see through misleading sales and marketing is a skill that may protect your fortune. You will not become one of those poor older folks getting scammed by nefarious con artists! And if you want to learn how to make more money, you might as well follow the marketing tips of the most funded startup in history.

8) You'll motivate others to work hard. Motivation is something I always seek because life is pretty easy in America compared to many other countries. We've got good public infrastructure, abundant water, cheap food, and government programs to help us out when we're down and out. As a result, I think many of us, including myself, take our comfortable lives for granted. We get out of shape, learn to speak only one language, and don't take advantage of all our opportunities.

One personal finance client I've been coaching for the past three years told me his teenage son is completely ungrateful. He doesn't do any chores, nor does he take on any summer jobs to make extra money. He doesn't do any volunteer work either, and would rather spend his time on the computer or hanging out with friends.  Of course, he expects to go to private university on his parent's dime because that's what all his graduating classmates are doing. My client is worth several million dollars.

No matter how hard the father tried to encourage his son to do some work after school, he would not. If dad's not working hard after work, then why should I? was his attitude. At age 50, my client has a right to relax at home after 10 hours in the office since he's providing a good life for his family. But because this father cared so much about not spoiling his son, we came up with a plan for the father to sign up for Uber and make at least 20 trips to collect the sign up bonus in order to inspire the son to do more.

Where are you going dad?” asked the son at 9pm one evening.

I'm off to do some driving in order to make enough to pay for groceries this month son,” replied my client.

After my client got back around midnight, he found his son waiting for him in the living room. They had a nice long talk about the importance of work ethic. The very next day, the son decided to get a minimum wage job helping teach kids how to swim. It was a start!


If you can build strong character, I'm confident money will eventually come. Strong character means being thankful for what you have and never failing due to a lack of effort. The feeling of entitlement goes out the window once you know what it's like to work hard for little money for an extended period of time. You will never forget where you came from, and as a result, you will go on to lead a much more gratifying life.

Driving for Uber is hard because it requires mental focus and physical activity. With further rate cuts, staying motivated to drive has become impossibly difficult. Uber says that rate cuts will spur demand. Uber has even offered minimum guaranteed hourly incomes if you promise to pick up X amount of riders for Y amount of hours. The subsidies are unfortunately not enough because they are temporary band-aides that try and stop the structural decline in fares completely controlled by headquarters.

When drivers see their paychecks decline, yet hear Uber raise another round of funding at a new record high valuation of $69B, that's not OK. It's not OK because none of that windfall goes to the very drivers that make Uber so valuable. Further, the company has some corporate cultural issues with the treatment of women. Travis Kalanick, the CEO finally stepped down in June 2017 due to all the problems within the firm.

When you add up the cost of your time, gas, maintenance, and insurance (goodness forbid you ever get in an accident), driving for Uber long term is probably not the best use of your time. To be fully protected, you need ridesharing insurance coverage that may cost anywhere from $150-$350 a month extra, further eating into your profits, and further making driving not worth it for the casual driver after the sign up bonus.

Why I'm No Longer Willing To Drive For Uber is a FS original post. Never be too proud to hustle and earn! Driving for Uber helped me build a minimum investment portfolio amount where I started feeling more free.

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78 thoughts on “Why I’m No Longer Willing To Drive For Uber”

  1. I drove for Uber for a year while I was in between jobs. It taught me perserverance but more importantly it made me question the consumerist corporate controlled system we all live in. We freely give away our rights and lives over to these corporations that hold us hostage. People earning less money as they take more of it from our pockets.

  2. I have jumped through every Uber hoop only to get in more tangles. Wanted to add the airport in Seattle. Paid for the upgrades, got a city business license and everything else required. This resulted in my account being suspended so they could treat me as a brand new applicant and I had to go through the background check again. I lost a week of driving. Within 24 hours of being activated, I was deactivated again without warning. Why? Because they want me to say that I want to drive in New York (where the hell did that request come from?!) and that I needed to be willing to deactivate for 2 more weeks. BTW, I live in Washington. And of course, you can’t speak to a human. Uber’s technology has made us as efficient as 1950. I am almost done with them.

  3. I work five part-time jobs and I am sick of it. This”hard work will pay off” attitude is a myth. Americans kill themselves through work, while the rest of the world laughs.

  4. Hello FS ,

    I was interested in driving for Uber and signed up , unfortunately it was before I knew about Financial Samurai.
    I found a lot of great advice on your site and while I am not making $100 hr with Uber or even $25 hr. I’m making more money then I would sitting at home and watching TV !
    I drive before work after work and on my days off and I also drive for Lyft. Having a goal of earning $250k a year is not realistic for me , I have set a goal of $50k while that may not seem like much to a millionaire, for me 1k a week would put me in a much better place and driving is a good resource for this at this time.
    I live in Rhode Island and Uber and Lyft are still a little new to this state and because it’s such a small state the fares are very low , but I can hustle the referrals .
    Passive income and not working 40 hours a week have been major motivation for me .
    I’ve been trying to take your words and put them to work . I can’t use everything that you suggest, but the things that I can use , I’m putting them to work , my short term goal is to get out of debt.
    I feel that your blog is going to help me greatly!
    Thank You for give me a new out look and being able to see that all is not loss.
    By the way , I’m 47 , and while I feel at times to old to do anything about my financial situation , I also feel that I have the good fortune of hindsight!!

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for commenting. Keep hustling and don’t give up! Uber’s rate cuts have been difficult, but they are rolling out occasional guaranteed rates per hour, so look out for that. The way to make more money is to really start a website and leverage your platform for passive referral income. A website is always on, so you can make money while you sleep.

      Fight on!


      1. Thank you for reminding me there are other places to work beside uber, I thought it was me not understanding there app and feeling stupid because of it. I just started postmates with VERY little problems with app and feeling hope to join apps that are realistic and real. I am desperate for quick work I’ve been very sick and could not work so my financials are very low.- desperate. I’m 63 and have great friends that have been helpful to keep me going forward. I am finding out that I’m getting older and not as strong as I used to be so I thought I could drive and deliver . Uber is not working for me WAY to many problems and to much ego to start over for them any way I’m glad to know is not just me. I’m going to also try other diliverys that dont wast my time life is way to short to alow people that dont care.

  5. Soaring Eagle

    Great Article posted by the Ridehare Guy. I have been driving Uber/Lyft in metro Detroit for nearly 2 years now. Since starting UberX I have seen the per mile rate drop from $1.40 to $.30, the lowest in the country. I am a retired businessman who started to drive for something to do. Since day one I have kept meticulous records. At first I drove 50 hours per week and made good $ most days although rides were sparse outside of airport professional and student fares. Now rides are abundant nearly everywhere. As rates declined I had to keep tweaking my airport centric model. I now generate about $600+ after gas weekly in 25 hours of very selective driving. This turns out to be basically tax free income in my LLC and covers lots of cost I already absorb. It helps to have XL and Select in my vehicle assortment. Yes there is car devaluation to consider, but the emotional rewards more than offset. It works for me but my regular scheduled rides on Square make it all come together. Uber price/value ratio is causing pain and pax dissatisfaction due to service declines, but Hope remains that Rationality returns. Ubering On!

  6. Nice post. I feel humbled too as an occasional Uber driver with a master’s degree and a “real” job. How do you access the ”
    feature where drivers can input the destination they want to go for their final ride to potentially pick up a rider going your same desired direction”?

    Thanks in advance,

  7. I’ve been waiting for Uber to become legal in my city(Calgary, Alberta) for a long while now. I don’t plan on driving much but I wouldn’t mind picking up fares on the way to somewhere I was planning on going anyway.

  8. Like Mark, I don’t see that option in the Uber Partner app here in Austin, TX. Am I overlooking something? Or this something that’s only available in SF?

    1. Maybe it is only in SF and larger cities for now. It was introduced maybe 3 months ago. It is the most useful feature for when you want to go home or go somewhere specific and not get looped to somewhere inconvenient. I’ll post a picture of it.

      1. Rachel D Young

        I, as a small Asian woman, just started driving for Lyft out of curiosity…I dumped every single penny into real estate between 2009-11 and was capable of leaving corporate America before the age 40 so i can relate to your story so much…as I, too, worked in Carl’s jr. Downtown sf at age 16 just one week after immigrated to the US from mainland China….I went on and got a BS in Chemical engineering from UC Berkeley then an MBA while working for Motorola in the 90s b/c I told myself to never ever have to work at a fast food restaurant again…I held on to corporate America after about a two year break from 2015-17 simply because I was bored…currently I work from home for a research firm in the hi tech industry and supplementing my work life with f2f human interactons with driving for Lyft in the Sacramento area…after 6.5 days, I’ve done 58 rides and gained tremendous knowledge but have not ever been able to pick up any passenger with destination mode…I’m wondering if Lyft wants to milk drivers because me too, thinking about quitting as soon as I reach 130 rides @$1300 guarantee sign up bonus and then use destination mode only…they also set a daily limit of 6 destination mode…so you need to be careful…
        P.s. I do carry a stun gun. Pepper spray and try to only drive between 8-5pm weekdays while the husband is at work..its called risk management…still I gotta quit driving soon as hubby is not happy about this…

      2. I occasionally, drive Uber in Minnesota and this destination option has been available for long time.

  9. Sidecar had that option, but it is now owned by GM. Maybe it will be available again when GM starts their TNC and gives Uber some stiff competition.

  10. “4) Consider only driving when you’re actually going somewhere relatively far. Uber has this good function now where you can enter the address of your destination so that you can pick up fares also heading in your direction. I’ve done this multiple times before as a great way to earn extra gas money. The longest detour I’ve had is about 10 minutes.”

    I’ve contacted the TNC’s regarding needing this option myself. We need to be able to try and collect same-direction fares after a long trip from home-base or as we plan to head home for the last ride of the evening. Where do you have this option? I guess it’s not in San Diego yet…

  11. Thanks for sharing, Sam.

    I’ve noticed a rise in Uber drivers that are either retirees or just do it in their spare time for some stories, extra cash or curiosity, not unlike your wealth client. It does still seem to be mostly male drivers, in my experience in several different cities, and I always wondered if I would’ve been comfortable enough to sign up (especially for late night drives) as a small woman. Alas, I don’t have a car so it’s a non-issue.

    I’m curious, do you ever tell people about your site or what you do/did for a living? I usually like to ask my Uber drivers about their passion projects or other side hustles. It usually turns into some really great stories.

    1. Yep, all the time. I have my business card taped to my center council so FS is visible and I have a bumper sticker :)

      Growing a site is all about one new reader at a time! I really enjoy doing multiple things at once. In this case it was:

      1 Learning about uber tech
      2 listening to stories from passengers to write this article and several more
      3 earning some spare change
      4 spreading the word about FS

      I LOVE to search for interesting stories that I can share with others. I’m always looking for inspiration to write.

  12. RE: “Pity the person who was born with everything”

    Made me think of another quote by Germanicus. He was a fierce Roman General who led a few successful campaigns against the northern (Germanic) barbarians. Upon seeing how they lived so simply and fought so effectively against Roman Legions in comparison to the gluttony of Rome, he said

    “Silver and Gold the Gods have denied them. Whether in mercy or wrath I am unable to determine.”

  13. I tried Uber part time four months ago. Postmates last month. I actually don’t mind it now, since I developed my own “system.” It is definitely a learning experience and the fact that you can do it whenever you want is definitely a plus.

    About the surge pricing, the trick is to open the rider app first. If it is surging where you are, then go online asap. And Sam is right, never chase the surge areas. It will be over by the time you get there.

    Now I just need to launch that website.

  14. Driving for Uber sounds interesting for the experience. It is too bad that you don’t want to drive anymore. I liked hearing about your experiences and about the passengers.

    I have a bunch of kids, the oldest is 15, and we have been trying to figure out how to teach them the value of hard work etc. They have a pretty comfortable life with a nice house and good food. I agree that it actually takes hard work to teach kids to work hard. It would be much easier to give them all the things they need and not have to follow up on their chores, etc. But we feel that our kids need to learn this stuff. So we have decided not to give them everything, especially money, but to make them work for it. We have daily and weekly chores and they get an allowance based on behavior and how well they complete the chores. My wife is better at this. She came from a poorer upbringing. She and her brothers would get hired out for all kinds of work (running flyers, sealcoating, construction cleanup, etc) from a young age and all had to hustle to have money for clothes and activities. But now they are all hardworking, successful people with good character.

    We even bought a fixer upper preforclosure in our neighborhood a few months back for the purpose of having the kids work with me on remodeling. I had the oldest two out there helping me patch the roof on Saturday. It would have been easier to hire it out, but I think the experience is good for them.

    1. Very cool you bought a fixer! That project could be GOLDEN for teaching your kids about hard work, stress, organization, and all sorts of good stuff. They might even get so interested that they start a career in real estate! B/c of my dad’s guidance as a 14 year old, I got into the stock market.

      Parental encouragement and guidance is so important. Well done!

  15. There’s a service called Super Shuttle and they take you from your home to the airport, and then to the airport and back to your home on your return trip. They are really strict. They tell you when you book to be ready for your pickup time. And as they pull up to your home they give you a quick phone call and that’s it. Working minimum wage jobs was enough to motivate me to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

  16. The ‘pearl’ in this blog oyster is in the comments, FS! I could never figure out why you would drive for Uber in the first place, until now. Control!

    Impacting your partner’s ‘behavior’ is your motivation! (Come on!:-) learn humility? learn empathy and that “life is not fair?”) What, exactly, would you like her do to so that you will have the successful outcome of your own actions of driving for Uber? Get another job? Start a blog? Drive for Uber? Work at Jamba Juice? Seriously, she engineered her own layoff so she could have freedom to do what she wants, when she wants, just like you. Money isn’t the issue. Work ethic isn’t the issue. Status isn’t the issue. Hmmmm.

    1. Bingo!

      It really is about motivating the people I most care about to not fall through the rabbit hole. In any business or relationship, it’s important to feel like all parties are contributing equally or doing the best they can.

      The rabbit hole is to wake up late, don’t exercise, don’t work, and just do nothing. Maybe nothing is accompanied by going on $10,000 vacations. There needs to be balance.

      1. All makes sense, now. Seventh month of Uber-driving couldn’t possibly be “richer” than the first month, and working a minimum-wage job isn’t an example anyone will follow. Would you really have respected your father if he worked alongside you at Mickey D’s in Virginia? Not being ‘Retirement Police’ here, but no matter how you paint things, you have got yourself another job with your blog. Asking her to “contribute” means her getting another job/volunteer/duty, and holding $10,000 vacations over her head is not incentive. She is out of the ‘rat race’, and you ‘voluntarily’ are back in. What, EXACTLY, change would like to see? A general ‘don’t fall down the rabbit hole’ is an insult to her. Two thoughts to share (this isn’t ‘advice’): 1) one car is a problem; the person at home is landlocked. If you doubt it, give her the keys for one week and take Uber to play tennis, etc. The car is a symbol. One week. Try it. 2) Nobody responds well to attempts at “Control” and it is always transparent. It breeds resentment. If you are concerned, just talk with your (obviously) very smart partner. Don’t go driving at 3:30am, that is just being hostile and passive-aggressive.

        Here’s a little of your own material back at you…”the people who try to control you have the least control over their own lives.” Good luck in your talk. I’ll bet it will be a relief for you both. You are lucky to have each other, and when the sh*t really goes down there is nobody else who will have your backs, and I agree with you…….”Winter is Coming!”:-)

        1. This is great relationship advice. Do you have any thoughts on what I should get her for Valentines and her birthday? I’m trying to mix things up and do something more special.

          1. lol, I know you are making fun of me, but if you make ‘her behavior’ about ‘you’ then things will never be satisfactory.

            Serious answer to your question, write her a letter/note. Write about the first time you saw her, and how you felt before you even spoke with her. What you thought when your first date was over. Tell her that life with her is even better than you imagined when you got married. Tell her what you wish for the future. Thank her. After all that…ask her what she wants in her life with you. What you can do to improve as her husband. What she imagines for the future with you. Ask her opinion on something important, and then respect her opinion. Write this on the computer, hone it over a couple of days and remove all the extra words, then handwrite it in a card. Give her one awesome longstem yellow rose, and a longstem red rose. Give her a dozen roses some other time when it is unexpected, and half the price.

            Make her a nice dinner. Then take her out for a great restaurant dinner the day before, or the day after because she will respect both your effort, and your Financial Acumen.

  17. No Nonsense Landlord

    I have heard about the wage cut. It is too bad that they cannot provide a round trip fare, as it makes for long fares not worth while.

    I thought about doing Uber after I retire, just in some down times for a quick buck. With the lower wages, it’s not worthwhile.

  18. Whoa, spit on Rhino? That’s intense. I always wanted a concealed paintball gun installed into my car for those special kind of moments… hehe. Or, when people wash their windshields right in front of you on the highway.

      1. re: Neighbor’s dog barking – take two pieces of scrap 2×4 wood (from your construction) and clap them together twice (you can clap your hands, but it might take awhile and you need your hands for tennis and typing; besides, the wood is louder). The *clap, clap* sound distracts the dog for a moment and it stops barking. It may start up again, and then *clap, clap* again.

        This is what the neighbors should be doing for their own dog, btw. The dog is just being a dog. This really works in practice. I learned it from “Uncle Matty” on the radio, .

  19. Hi Sam

    I must say this is one of your best written blogs.

    Among the odds I’ve worked, I worked as a “gopher” in a printing company where the bosses were tyrants. Oddly enough I count my university studies as part of the gruesome experiences I’ve ever had. It was a nightmare and I never, ever want to see that place again.

    Onto happier topics. You have convinced me to get my side hustle on. I don’t know what it is and I really hope there will be no tax implications but I really want FIRE. I have the distinct feeling I’m being worked out of my job.

    1. Thanks for the kudos.

      University studies as a gruesome experience? Where did you go? I had a BLAST in college. I WISH I could have stayed one more year. One of the best times of my life.

      It’s all about side hustle!

      1. quantakiran

        It was problems at home (family and financial) that led to me just losing interest in schoolwork and being a depressed teen.

        I really regret that I allowed these problems to overcome me but I’ve forgiven myself. I was after all a teen who really didn’t have the maturity to be anywhere near a university. I really wish there had been an adult in my life who would’ve stood by me and would’ve been there. I was just so alone.

        Now on to the bad news, lol, to open a business I have to register with the taxman. *sigh* but never fear, I will persevere!

  20. One of my “retired” parents still works more or less full time. The other has started to take it easier and only seems to work 2-3 days a week (with house reno and volunteering on the side). I do like the idea of making earning a family venture. Although as was mentioned in the comments there is a risk in doing that if things go south. You don’t want to lose your money and family.

      1. It is something I have floated with my partner (running their own business). Thanks for another great post – I have gained a number of good ideas (good as in have actually implemented or changed my way of thinking) from your blog. e.g. car prices. I have always liked the idea of a second hand car, but your 10% of income challenged me (we were aiming for under 20% and probably around 15%). In the end we hit 9.7% and managed to get a good car – winning!

  21. 62B? my lord, seems like just yesterday when billionares were practically unheard of. now it’s not too out there

  22. Working as an uber driver is difficult, kudos to you for trying it out for so long and writing about it. I don’t have the patience and mental strength to do it.

    As for building work ethic, I agree growing up seeing my parents and everyone else around me be productive/working helps…it seems normal to be like that. Also helps to try out some dirty jobs to know that your life is pretty easy peasy: Working as a dishwasher, my brother working as a nursing aid helper (cleaning up poo from the bedroom ceiling) and my sister also changing elderly diapers!

  23. It’s good that you went and did a low paying service job. I think everybody should have a customer service job for a year or two in their lives. It teaches you how to treat others. I’m ALWAYS nice to the employees of any place I go to because I know what it’s like.

    I think everybody should also work multiple jobs at once at some point in their lives. It doesn’t really matter what the second job is. But it teaches you the value of time management and how much money your time is worth. When you have a full time salaried position, you kind of accept that what you make is what you make and that’s the way the universe works. But taking that second job teaches you the value of your time and what it can produce for you. You may also get addicted to that second income and be unwilling to see it go, thus motivating you to work harder.

    Are you ever going to try your hand at working at McDonald’s again, Sam? Or was once in your life enough? I can’t say I’d ever be particularly interested in ringing up groceries again.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. Once at McDonald’s was enough for me. The routine hasn’t changed.

      I was thinking of trying my hand as a fitness instructor or so more tennis teaching as I need motivation to get in shape. I just finished a nice 1 HR 45min match at the club!

  24. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a driver. It sounds like so much hassle. At this point, I just want to simplify my life. I haven’t tried riding with Uber yet either…
    Great story with dad and son, though. I’m trying to teach our kid to value money and work, but he’s a bit too young. He likes putting money in his piggy bank. I might need to work a bit more when he’s older to show the value of hard work.

  25. Fascinating take on driving for Uber. I’ve thought about giving it a try at some point but our 15 year old cars were too old to qualify for Uber vehicles last time I checked. Maybe when we upgrade I’ll give it a shot. Although it sounds like the days of making a decent buck are gone.

    I’ve never even taken an Uber trip, but I’ve almost done so a few times until a friend came through to get me or I figured out the bus/train. I was shocked at just how cheap it was. I checked a trip in Charleston South Carolina when we were down there on a cruise last week. $9-10 for a 20 minute trip through traffic for example. I paid $20 for a taxi trip of roughly the same length 8 years ago! 8 years of inflation and I can now pay half the price. That’s probably why Uber is/was valued at $62 billion. And why taxi drivers are royally pissed!

    1. Yeah, I think your car needs to be under 10 years old to drive. Who knew that buying Rhino, my 2015 Honda Fit in 2014 was the PERFECT rideshare car. You need four doors, and you want as economical a car for gas and maintenance costs as possible.

      We are currently SERIOUSLY facing DEFLATION potential now. And that is going to be a disaster for the economy as a whole.

      Save your money folks!

      1. The Fit is a good ridesharing car for sure. I use a Chevy Volt and use about half electric (for which I pay a flat $20 per month and half gas at about 36 mpg.) I don’t know how people who drive gas guzzlers make any money.

        As for deflation, is saving money the right way to go? Doesn’t it make it the right time to buy re-sellable things as they are cheaper now and will be worth more when the economy bounces back and inflation arises?

  26. Thanks for the insight into the fun and frustrations of being an Uber driver.

    I’ve done a lot of interesting work in my earlier years. Most unusual? Salmon butcher. Went up to Alaska to work the salmon season and got shut down by the Exxon Valdez spill. Scrambled and found the salmon butcher job until I was able to get onto the Valdez cleanup crew at Veco. One of the toughest jobs I’ve done – hands frozen from the frozen fish, wielding a razor sharp filleting knife, on a conveyor belt up to you elbows in fish innards. Unpleasant, to say the least. But the people were great, and it gave me a deep appreciation for the hard work many people do, day in, day out. Very Dirty Jobs-worthy (it’s a shame they canceled that show…)

    1. Wow, AWESOME! I went to Alaska once too, but to stay in a couple cabins and fish on a lake in the middle of nowhere. It was magical!

      Mike Rowe came into a couple open houses I was looking at in SF 5-6 years ago. It was kinda funny. We kept on running into each other at the SAME open houses!

  27. I signed up with your referral but when I contacted my local team it was a $50 bonus, so I’m going to pass. I love your advice on building a website, certainly doing that, if not anything, it is very enjoyable.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn’t be pumped about a $50 bonus. That’s what Lyft is paying now too I think. Maybe we should all go to Lyft since they raised BIG BUCKS from GM recently.

      Building a website is really a no brainer. It’s easy, cheap, and makes you findable for potentially great new opportunities that you won’t see coming.

      1. Any thoughts on a relatively simple way to get a website started – a website building product, service, something free even? Things keep changing so fast I can’t keep up with it all. I have wanted to for some time, but I struggle with information overload in tech. Thanks for any input

  28. Sounds like being an Uber driver is full of frustration…something I don’t need.

    Maybe if I was getting rich driving then it would be worth it (there is a price/frustration ratio, after all), but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth the effort to me.

  29. Interesting. I have been toying with the idea of driving for Uber recently (mostly for the experience) so the rate cuts aren’t too important to me. Despite the somewhat cautionary headline, this may be the motivation I need to jump in give it a try. I wasn’t aware of either the sign up bonus or the referral income (was already planning to make it into an article, so it’s perfect!). I will have to look into both once I get going.

    Thanks for the info!

    1. No problem. There’s almost always a sign up bonus if you give a certain number of fares. It just depends on what city you are in. You can only get the referral income if you sign up to be a driver, so that at least serves as a gate check. Good luck!

  30. That’s a really touching anecdote with the father getting his son to work a minimum wage job! If I have kids and end up retiring early, how am I going to convince my children to develop a strong work ethic? I guess that’s a good problem to have.

    1. Got work a minimum wage service job flipping burgers, making coffee, or in this case, drive until the bonus and see what the real world is like if you are unlucky, or don’t study, or don’t bust your ass in school.

  31. Hi Sam,

    I am sorry that you get hated on daily because you are a minority. The minimum wage job resonates with me. Both of my sons will have minimum wage jobs once they get old enough to work.

    Do you feel that the lower fares received by drivers will result in an overall reduction in UBER’s product quality?

    1. Hi Aaron, no worries. It’s just the way the world is, and I’ve come to accept it a long time ago. It’s not so bad here in San Francisco compared to when I lived in Virginia for 8 years.

      I think driver quality will absolutely decline with a decline in wages. There will also be a lot more inexperience as drivers simply sign up for the sign up bonus, and then quit after reaching the required number of rides. Less experienced drivers usually means less quality b/c they don’t know where they are going usually.

      So far as a passenger, I’ve had nothing but great drivers.

      1. What has being a “minority” ever stopped you from doing? As a black woman, I attended college in VA(Norfolk/VA Beach) and spent another ten years living there after graduation. I never experienced any racism or negative issues based on being a minority. We often get out of life what we tend to expect, in my experience.

        The Democrats instill a victimhood mentality into minorities and immigrants that actually holds many of them back for years. Sorry, to make it political, but I’ve heard and seen it first hand while working at different organizations.

        Anyway, minimum wage jobs exist as entry level positions for high school and college age kids. Hopefully, after that age, one will have been wise enough to learn higher skills and advance beyond minimum wage positions.

        1. It’s great you’ve never experienced discrimination or racism! Just b/c you haven’t experienced discrimination doesn’t mean other minorities haven’t. I know many who have.

          I’m not sure if there is victimhood propaganda here. Look at all the companies that have been founded over the past 10 years. Around half are from minorities and first generation immigrants.

          I’ve always focused on trying harder, no matter what. Being able to leave corporate america in 2012 at the age of 34 was a dream come true. And as an online entrepreneur, I’m much more in control of my own destiny. How about you?

  32. I think an important reason that you don’t see listed anywhere in here is the gap in insurance coverage that most people are unaware they are in. Most insurance policies specifically state in them that they are only covered while the vehicle is being used for “personal use.” This is fancy talk insurance language for “non-commercial” which driving for Uber falls under. (Note: Following information is from my research a year ago, but as far as I am aware nothing has changed in my speaking with drivers / people that would be familiar with this.) Uber and Lyft both have stated that they have insurance that covers drivers up to one million dollars. This sounds great right? However you must read exactly what the policy states. The policy they provide is an umbrella coverage, not listing you as an insured party to Uber. This is an important difference. If you were listed as an insured party under Uber, you and your vehicle would be completely covered by their policy, and you wouldn’t need to contact your own insurance for any reason whatsoever. However, due to Uber / Lyft providing an umbrella policy, this puts you liable to your own insurance first, and if they don’t cover all cost of an incident, THEN their policy covers any remaining gap up to $1 million dollars.

    Of the 15 or so drivers I have asked about this, only one was aware of it and had purchased an additional insured / commercial rider for her policy at $200 a month!! In my opinion, it is a lot of personal liability assumed for the small return on investment. I own a Fusion Hybrid that is a leftover from my long commuter days, and have looked high and low for a reason to justify keeping it as I do like it, but now it sits in my garage 98% of the time due to moving closer to work now. I have looked at Uber / Lyft more than once to try and see if it could be an alternative income, but I just can’t see it as worth it with all the risk.

    1. You are correct about not everybody knowing the insurance requirements. To have complete peace of mind, you will want to get that extra rider insurance coverage. However, most do not b/c most don’t believe they will get into an accident, and most are just temporary drivers, so the extra cost is not worth it. For those who want to do FT driving, the extra insurance is a must, and more economically sensible.

      1. Rachel D Young

        If you have an umbrella insurance with your current home/auto…does it cover the insufficiency?

    2. The insurance issues are complicated but this is not true. Drivers are covered by a $1 million liability policy as soon as they have accepted a ride and are en route to pick up their passenger. They also get collision with a $1k deductible.

      The gap occurs during period 1 when the app is on but they’re waiting (or driving around looking) for a request. During this time, drivers have lower liability limits ($50k/$100k/$50k) and NO collision coverage.

      But in some states, there is a simple solution: rideshare friendly insurance policies. CA for example has 5 carriers that offer this option and cost is very comparable to personal insurance: therideshareguy.com/rideshare-insurance-options-for-drivers/

      1. I got a quote from Farmer’s this week which just announced a new policy here in Texas. It’s only a few dollars more per month than my current standard policy with Geico. (Geicos’s quote for rideshare was significantly higher than the standard policy).

  33. What an incredible experiment. Your experience shows that getting ahead isn’t always easy and that even the simplest of jobs (driving an Uber) is filled with its own challenges. You really hit it on the nail when you say “Strong character means being thankful for what you have and never failing due to a lack of effort.” So few people are willing to persevere through hardship, that the rewards of going the extra mile really payoff. I announced my early retirement this past week (@ age 49) and would credit my success to being willing to work harder (and save more) than the average bear.

    1. I saw a lot of journalists experiment driving and then writing a story after one day of driving. They might have picked up 10-20 passengers at most. I wanted to stick with driving in some way for six months and pick up at least 250 to be able to write a more richer experience. So far, I’ve done 415 rides, which so happens to be the SF area code.

      I feel bad for any driver who is heavily relying on driving income to support a family or just get by. The fare cuts have been continuous, and the fare guarantees are only during rush hour times, which TAKES AWAY from one of the main purposes of driving, to drive during your own time with more flexibility.

      1. Randall koller

        Yeah I don’t know where I came across this article butjust been deactivated by uber and in a town where there is hardly any Lyft customers so now I have no choice butwork 14 hour days andbarely making it grandchild on the way wadoing great 4.90 with 2300 rides 1370 5 statrips ia

  34. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    I worked in a convenience store when I was in college and the first few months after I graduated. Having to deal with people getting upset with you over the smallest things that didn’t matter (What do you mean you are out of Mountain Dew!) pushed me that much harder to get a career that I had at least a little more control over and paid me more. Money isn’t everything, but it definitely makes doing certain tasks more worth it.

    1. Gotta love it. Low wage service jobs are the best at making people realize work sucks, and people often are rude and don’t give a damn. Everybody i know who’ve experienced working such jobs EARLY ends up doing everything possible to no longer have to do these jobs again.

  35. John C @ Action Economics

    I LOVE the story about the Dad doing an extra hustle, not because he needed the money, but to show his son the importance of work. I might take a step from that playbook myself. I worked in fast food for 3 years in a poor community. I dealt with an amazing array of different bosses, co-workers, and customers. The job I had at KFC taught me how to deal with people, especially irrational and aggravated people. It also gave me a very healthy respect for money, since the money I earned wasn’t much and I needed to stretch it to support myself.

    1. Pretty cool right? The best way to teach is to do, not to tell. I also drove to help motivate my own early retired partner to not take the good life for granted. She had successfully engineered her layoff and no longer had to work either, so she didn’t. For example, in the beginning, I’d wake up at 5am to drive for 3 hours while she slept. And when she finally awoke, b/c she knew I had worked for 3 hours, she would get motivated to work.

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