When is it enough?

Professionals may have a lot of wealth, perhaps millions in profit each year. But I’m starting to ask myself – are they happy and fulfilled?

After a certain income point, more income does not make someone happier. Per my studies that amount is ~$75,000 per year. I personally think this income level could increase to the low six-figure range, from experience. Alas, the motivation to earn more and more isn’t the answer to ongoing happiness and peace.

I’m not saying money is everything in life. Living in a state of poverty sucks, insanely stressful – a debilitating experience. I’ve been there.

The FIRE community has some amazing points. Save more and invest more. Yes! Love it!

What I think the FIRE community get’s wrong is wanting to retire and do nothing. Fulfilling work is critical toward a happy human experience. So to sacrifice for years, never live a decent life in order to invest, then retire with a portfolio supporting you with a $2,000 monthly safe withdrawal rate is scary and not my model.

I’m not taking any credit away from FIRE people. Well done! I’m not there, yet. I’m simply arguing this may not be the best path for most. After all, what are you going to do with your time for the next 30 years? Another beer on the beach isn’t going to make you happy after a few weeks. You’ll most likely feel more depressed and isolated than ever before. You have no purpose!

The model I find that works quite well with my personality is such: find a career you excel at. Get really good at that career. Invest the delta between your monthly savings and bills. Repeat this over several years to eventually exit your career into entrepreneurship through various business models like rental real estate, blog, SaaS, and eCommerce.

When you exit the career to take the leap, you want to have at least 12 months of living expenses liquid. Have no bad debt (student loans, cars, credit cards). Own a profitable business (rentals, online). Move your work hours into full time efforts into your businesses. Work 5 hours a week or 70 – it’s your call. You have freedom!

The alternative is everybody else’s reality. Working a job to pay the bills and feed an endless consumption lifestyle.

If a young or old person can nix the belief that a continuous consumption lifestyle will ongoing make you happy, you’ll find peace in life. This is key. If you think you need new clothes every month, new vehicles every 5 years, and the like, you’ll never be financially free.

I’m not perfect. I financed a quality Mazda SUV after driving my high school car into the ground for over 12 years. From a pure financial lense, this was a mistake. I have a car payment (gross). Yet I see this purchase as a smart deployment of capital. I studied consumer reports identifying the cheapest annual repair car brands, more reliable brands, and on-road abilities to handle city, country, and mountain transportation needs (I live in Colorado and love snowboarding/camping).

My SUV purchase, even though it’s financed, is around 5% of my monthly gross income. Most people are spending around $900 per month on their vehicles (all costs like maintenance, depreciation, etc) which is insane!

Buying too much car can kill your ability to build wealth. Avoid that financial decision as best as you can. It’s taken me a few months to be at peace with my decision, and I am.

Personal finance is PERSONAL – so identify what’s important to you, develop a plan, execute the plan each day, have endless patience, and in a few years you’ll be impressed with your net worth. 

Again, the alternative path of pursuing early financial freedom is everyone else’s reality i.e. working a full time job.

When you think about the journey to financial freedom with such a perspective you can’t help but get motivated and excited!

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