102 comments

What it Feels Like to Become Rich

Overheard in a Reddit forum recently:

Dear forum,

I feel a bit stuck. I’ve got a solid job, I’m making 401(k) contributions, have no debt and my spending is under control. Making extra mortgage payments and buying a bit of Vanguard index funds with any money I have left over.  I drive a fuel-efficient car with no loan, and I read far too much about personal finance online. Mr. Money Mustache writes articles, I nod my head and say “oh yeah baby, that’s right!” at most of what he says. I already know all this stuff, so I’m getting a bit bored. Am I doing something wrong? What’s next?

As I read that person’s words, some deeply familiar feelings were stirred up from my own working days way back in the 2000s. I remember the same plateau of monetary doldrums, which lasted for several years. Many of you Mustachians might be traversing that same plateau right at this moment.

Relationships to money are an odd thing among humans, especially in the current era of extreme debt.

Many (perhaps even most) of the current US population wrangles with money like it’s a fiery serpent. There’s never enough of it. It provides jolts of great pleasure and relief as it fetches us  really big new televisions, or allows us to buy our way out of unpleasant situations like an uncomfortably hot house, a lack of home-cooking skills, or an outdated car. But it also provides decades of constant background stress, as bills and expenses pile up, desperately-needed job income is interrupted by layoffs, and interest payments drain away a good portion of the fruits of our labor.

For others, money is a source of flashy power. Some high-income people are able to meet their basic needs very easily, plus buy the TVs and air conditioning, and are still left with more. So these lucky folks can also add a vacation home, a yacht, and really high-end travel. With sufficient income, they can even do all of this without getting too deep into debt. Their money defines them – they can buy their way into, and out of, anything. And they may even be quite happy, as long as the stream of money remains plentiful.

Then of course there are countless other relationships, from poverty where money is so hard to come by that even basic nutrition is tough, to nearly infinite wealth, where any level of spending could never deplete the family fortune.

And then there’s you and me. We’re working away, running our lives with a certain level of efficiency. Makin’ the Dough and we be ‘Stashin’ it / Neva’ see us Flashin’ or Trashin’ it / Takin’ that check home and Cashin’ it. The salary comes in. The credit card automatically pays itself in full via automatic withdrawal each month. Automatic investment transfers do their thing, and we sweep the considerable surplus to additional investments whenever the bank account gets above $3k or so.

It’s all on auto-pilot, and all there is for us to do is go to work during the week, and pack some fun into the weekends. There is no drama in your financial life. Many people would kill for a situation like the one you’re in.. but yet you’re bored. What is wrong with you?

Congratulations. That odd, slightly bored feeling you have is the feeling of becoming rich .

It’s a bit anti-climactic, isn’t it?

I hate to be the one to deliver this news to you, but a wealthy person’s relationship to money should actually be pretty boring, if you are doing it right. You’re on a very short road that leads straight to financial independence. After that, work will be optional and money will become simply an appliance to you. Like clean, drinkable water from a tap, it is essential to basic life, but it fades into the background once you have enough of it.

It will be there to help you out whenever you need it. It is reassuring if you’re a naturally worry-prone person (like I tend to be). You can be creative and use it for generous purposes.

But it also must be used with discipline. Unlimited money can be like a video game on cheat mode.   It can drain the challenge from most areas of life and leave you lazy and paralyzed. You’ll be pressing wall-mounted buttons in the throne room of your 787 to summon personal assistants to brush your teeth and change your socks for you.

Even the best intentions can lead to disaster. My first roommate in Colorado was a trust fund student whose father was the CEO of a Fortune 50 company. The dad lived on a 40-acre compound in the country with a historic stone mansion within limousine commuting distance of Manhattan. The young man was an enormous brat, drunk-driving between the Denver clubs and taking dinner with a side dish of cocaine as he waited for the next allowance check to arrive (and eventually a $5M gift when he turned 21, which would allow him to forego renting out rooms in the Boulder luxury home we shared with two other people). He had never had a job and never planned to get one. The lesson? Giving money to your kids is not necessarily a blessing.

On the positive side, I still maintain that becoming somewhat wealthy is a worthwhile pursuit. Responsibly managed riches are great because of the freedom they can provide. Hopefully not freedom from discomfort, occasional inconvenience, and great challenge – those things are so good for you that it would be a shame to give them up.  But freedom to use your time and energy in the most life-improving way you can dream up. Freedom from working the same repetitive job for most of your waking hours during the best decades of your life, just to pay the bills. That’s a freedom worth buying, because it’s almost like buying more of life itself.

Sure, if you love your work and you plan to do it until the day you die (and you’re sure this situation won’t change later in life), there may be no need to buy your freedom with money. But heck, we’ve already demonstrated that financial independence is pretty easy to attain. So a cautious guy like me is naturally apt to hedge my bets by earning the freedom early in life, allowing the love of work to go on without the pressure of financial matters lurking in the background. This allows things like dedicated childraising, long vacations, or low-paying artistic pursuits to become real options.  Just in case your current youthful love of running a law firm, performing heart surgery, or writing cutting-edge software ever wears thin in your later years.

So, your financial boredom with will probably continue. Keep up the good work.

And better yet, get used to it: this excessive calm you are feeling is the base upon which you will build your new life. Once you have flushed out the false excitement of consumerism, a busy career, and financial drama, you get to create an actual life for yourself instead. What do you really want out of life? What things make life most worth living? Try the inexpensive and challenging things along with the usual pricey ones and see which ones really make you happy. Make a note of your results, and keep experimenting and improving whenever you can.

Welcome to the world of the rich!

 

  • Mike August 16, 2012, 6:10 am

    Great post! I especially like the part about occasional discomfort. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius would occasionally sleep on the floor so that he would remember that all of his comforts could go away at a moment’s notice, a key tenet of stoicism.

    Reply
    • Nurse Frugal August 16, 2012, 10:47 am

      “Makin’ the Cash and we be ‘Stashin’ it / Neva’ see us Flashin’ or Trashin’ it.” I think you just found yourself a new side job, MMM free-style rapper :)
      Mr. MMM, do you feel like you have made it? Like you have reached the epitome of your financial freedom? What do you think about donating money as a way of life? The other day someone commented on my blog that her credit card was stolen and the thief donated $4 to Children’s Hospital. She said it was a huge wake up call because she always intended on donating money, but never did.

      I am definitely not at the point where I’m “bored” with our finances because we have a huge goal coming up…..paying off the house next year. This has made everything more exciting: making more money and picking up extra shifts, our budget meetings, sacrificing in other categories so we can throw more at our mortgage. I often wonder how I will feel once that is done and the house is paid off. Then what? Then is it going to be the next thing? Save for another place? It’s so hard to imagine that the excitement of reaching our goal won’t be here forever, I kind of like it ;) One of our goals after paying off the house is to be able to donate more money. It changes your heart and the world, especially if everyone who felt “bored” did it.

      Reply
      • Virginia August 16, 2012, 10:51 am

        I love that line too. I think MMM should autotune it and put it up on itunes.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache August 16, 2012, 1:25 pm

          Thanks Virginia and Nurse F – I’ve actually got a whole Hefty bag full of rhymes that have been piling up over the months.. (Don’t be afraid when you get paid / Just be sure not to blow it on an Escalade!).. Definitely need to do something with them someday.

          Regarding charitable work – you are definitely right, I am interested in that area and there’s a book I have to finish from my reading list before I can really write much about it (“The life you can save”).

          Reply
          • Georgia August 16, 2012, 5:37 pm

            Please tell me the Hefty bag reference is a jest regarding this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxqnFJ3lp5k
            which, in my opinion, has some truly terrible lyrics.

            Reply
          • Nurse Frugal August 16, 2012, 8:35 pm

            Mr. MMM I have a rhyme for you: Yo Mr. Money, what’s up yo? Why you so tight on your cash outflow? It’s not up to you if I buy an Escalade or an Accord, What matters is that I’m giving a tenth to the Lord, Keep things in perspective brother, don’t let the money rule your life like a mother, always remember to consider another who might not have as much as yo self.
            Word. You can feature me on your debut rap album as N to the F ;)

            Reply
            • Ugly American August 16, 2012, 10:18 pm

              Escalade? The US trade deficit is about $60B per month. $40B per month is oil. Much of that goes to fund countries that hate us (and oppress women). The direct cost of fighting the people funded by our oil imports is an additional $15B per month. To fix the US economy, we must eliminate oil imports.

              Reply
          • CH12 August 16, 2012, 8:38 pm

            I read the Life You Can Save for my philanthropy class. I didn’t like the conclusion, but I did like several of the points – that your excess can be used to save others.

            Reply
        • AGil August 18, 2012, 7:07 pm

          How am I going to get this line out of my head? Brilliant – in every way possible.

          Reply
      • Rich Schmidt August 16, 2012, 2:15 pm

        I’m right there with you, Nurse Frugal. Using your time, skills, expertise, and resources to make a positive impact on others is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of life.

        So… for those who are starting to feel the boredom of becoming rich… how about focusing your creative energies on solving some of the world’s problems? Now that you’ve funded your financial independence, how about working to fund a foundation or scholarship or something like that? Maybe you could start pouring money into micro-loans to entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva? Maybe start a business yourself, with the goal of providing employment for others? Or maybe you could give yourself to some local non-profit organization that needs your participation?

        The options are wide open! How could anyone be bored? :)

        Reply
        • D'Arcy Cooper March 12, 2013, 1:09 am

          The reality is most problems in this world are caused by consumerism. I have become rich and still save 80% of my income not because I like money. Which is the part that bores me. But because I like not consuming. But ultimately I agree that doing something worthwhile trumps any level of income or accumulation of assets. Being rich however gives you way more options and can give you complete control over your actions.

          Reply
        • D'Arcy Cooper March 12, 2013, 1:23 am

          BTW Kiva is the worst. Those loans are at ridiculous rates. And why are you not receiving anything in exchange for allowing Kiva to make loans to credit facilities who charge huge interests. What these people need is a real, profitable bank in their region, that rewards it’s depositors with parts of the proceeds. The reality is charity is an unsustainable double edged sword. Without giving, the benefits are over and giving people things does not change their reality as much as increasing their capital and GDP. They don’t need charity, they need money. And surely can manage it themselves, we do. Rather than give to charity or give loans on Kiva, I only give on an inividual level with no tax receipts. And I give way more than the average person. In 2011 I gave about 5k away to individuals when my income was only 75K. I was able to do that because I spend so little that I have no need for money.

          Reply
      • pdx August 22, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Hi Nurse Frugal,

        The thief donated to the charity because it was an easy, discrete way to check their ability to use the stolen card. I work for a non-profit, and these low-sum payments are part of the credit card fraud cycle.

        It would be great to image that person as Robin Hood, but unfortunately, probably not the case!

        Reply
  • Gerard August 16, 2012, 6:22 am

    Yeah, money, sex, prestige… things people obsess over only when we’re not getting any. I’m starting to have to deal with the bored thing now… without spending time putting out financial fires, or watching TV, or over-working to cover my ass, or doing a long commute, I have an extra 40 hours or more a week in my life. Now I have to make decisions about how I spend my time, instead of having circumstances make them for me!

    Reply
  • Savvy Scot August 16, 2012, 6:27 am

    I think you have summed up quite well what I am starting to feel. Maybe the urges people get to slap a big bill on a credit card is an attempt to break the normality – crack the routine? I think the key is to get the balance right and fill your life with sufficient excitement that doesn’t involve spending for the sake of it! Easier said than done though…

    Reply
  • RichUncle EL August 16, 2012, 6:34 am

    I can’t fathom being bored when I finally reach that stage. I would try new financial adventures like buying a rental property or buying 30K worth of dividend paying stocks. Use the money to better your situation in the future even though you feel like you’re doing enough, switch it up from time to time.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache August 16, 2012, 1:29 pm

      You’re right Rich – I find there’s still lots of excitement around moneymaking.

      But when I think carefully about each project before and after I do it, the excitement really always comes from the thrill of learning, the joy of getting to work alongside other people, and the satisfaction of getting things done.

      At the end, if there’s a healthy profit, it just goes into the ‘stash and is forgotten. But having the money to invest in the first place definitely opens up many doors to do these projects in the first place.

      Reply
    • catalana August 17, 2012, 4:10 am

      Hey Rich – you’ll try those things (been there, done that, got the t-shirt) and then…….

      …… life continues. You’re still not financially independent, but equally you’re pretty well off.

      The million dollar question of what to do with your time once you’re retired actually happens earlier I think. If you enjoyed buying the rental property or doing the investment research then maybe you will do more of it. If you’re like a lot of us, you may start itching to learn how to do something else.

      I work, I save, I manage my investments, and I have a ton of free time that is waiting for me to identify a new passion.

      Reply
  • Rod August 16, 2012, 6:34 am

    Glad your back, and in fine form! So missed the posts while you traveled, on your much needed hardcore vacation and I am feeling some of that feeling you wrote about today. I had to have your blog to wise up, quit buying shit, and save more. I don’t know how to work the TV, and use time and money much better. Now less is more, and my progress is really taking shape. I will be working for a while to pay for the loss of time, I am 42, but my son and I are exercising frugality, luckily he’s a natural. I can’t wait to get bored with it, but enjoying the excitement of seeing retirement as a reality, and not a question mark. I have a personal challenge of 1 week to spend on needed items and 1 week to not spend. it seems to work, and now I have excess money, gas still in the tank, and didn’t miss a bit of anything. Luckily I can cook, so eating out is a mere nuisance mostly. Thanks for all you do, it is good for so many people. And I love the rollover beer concept posted way back. We often say ” Mister MM would be smiling and proud” whenever we don’t spend on bullshit. You are one of my new best friends!!

    Reply
    • markymark August 17, 2012, 3:40 am

      Actually I take the stance ”Mister MM would smack me in the mouth” if I DID spend on bullshit!!!

      Reply
  • Jimbo August 16, 2012, 6:41 am

    Tihs is the type of article I missed on your vacation. Welcome back!

    Reply
  • Heath August 16, 2012, 6:50 am

    This goal seems soooo far away right now. I’m debt free, saving small amounts, and in the process of to returning to a decent income. But the mountain seems SO HIGH.

    I can only aspire to be similarly bored in my future :-)

    Reply
    • shadowmoss August 16, 2012, 9:17 am

      Your comment of the mountain seeming so high, even though you are debt free made me smile. I am soooo happy that I can see being debt free appearing on the horizon that stashing after that seems like a piece of cake. How high can that mountain be if you don’t have debt in front of you?

      Reply
      • Uncephalized August 16, 2012, 11:32 am

        The problem is that once you are debt free and no longer have that worry hanging over you (which is a really good motivator), it’s easy to feel unfocused and unmotivated when you’re faced with a decade or so of accumulation–which for many people involves just sticking it out in a job they don’t really like for that whole time. Talk about boring.

        That’s why my wife and I are working on decoupling our income stream from my 9 to 5 job, so we can “work” while traveling around the country in a trailer and doing other fun stuff.

        Reply
        • Mr. Risky Startup August 16, 2012, 12:17 pm

          That is a good point. It is not always about what you do, but also how you do it. I love my job, and have no intention of quitting, but in the past couple of years I made major changes on how my work gets done.

          I outsourced some of the most stressful parts of my work, I cut my hours from 80 to about 50, hired someone to manage day-to-day processes and completely moved my business to cloud (read: able to do my work from anywhere). So, now 95% of things I do is what is best about my job, I work less, travel more and amazing thing happened – even though change was expensive, company doubled profits, even though I work less… Sometimes I feel guilty for getting paid…

          Reply
          • Uncephalized August 16, 2012, 12:35 pm

            Yeah… a lot easier to make sweeping lifestyle changes like that when you are self-employed. Corporate employees are not so lucky.

            Of course, nothing is stopping me from employing myself but fear! Maybe next year… we don’t have enough money saved up yet.

            Reply
            • Mr. Risky Startup August 16, 2012, 12:49 pm

              Actually, I am not yet self-employed (although trying to buy the company I manage). However, you are right – I am fortunate to have a set-up where I have full control of the company (at least for as long as company is making money for the owner :)

              However, it is important to note – while I had the flexibility to make decisions for the company forever, it is only after I got out of the debt and became less dependent on the paycheck, that I felt comfortable to cut my hours, and start enjoying life.

              So, cutting expenses, paying off the debt and saving a little can make a difference in ones life even before reaching the FI. This is not a binary proposition – there are many levels between debt-hell and financial independence. I guess, we could call my status FC – financial comfort (but short of FI – financial independence) :)

              Reply
        • Jay August 16, 2012, 7:39 pm

          That first paragraph describes my situation as well.

          I’m doing better than fine, but I have family who are not. Would others ‘bail out’ their family? We’re very, very close, and others haven’t been as fortunate as I have been due to circumstances beyond their control (a car accident that left them less mobile).

          I feel *guilty* that I’m doing so well and they are stuck in a rut. Should I?

          Reply
          • Joy August 17, 2012, 7:36 am

            Jay,

            Here is what you need to ask yourself.

            What would you like to happen if the situation were reversed?

            Would you like for your family to bless you financially if
            you were in that accident? Or, would you rather go it
            on your own. Tough it out and, do without?

            Reply
          • barb August 18, 2012, 10:14 am

            Never start with handouts to family, it never stops.
            Everyone needs to find their own way do not interfere
            with their journey.

            Reply
          • Hibryd August 19, 2012, 6:46 pm

            “I feel *guilty* that I’m doing so well and they are stuck in a rut.”

            Been there. I called it “economic survivor’s guilt”. When the shit hit the fan in 2008, it seemed like all my friends were getting fired or having their hours slashed, and my husband and I just happened to be working for two stable companies — our jobs were secure, through no effort of our own.

            Reply
      • Gipsy Queen August 16, 2012, 11:37 am

        Try this:
        In order to get FI the way my money is currently run, I need to have at least 10 times as much.
        Considering the fact that I saved most of it during the two years between undergrad and gradschool, when I lived with my parents and literallly had no living expenses (Thanks, Mom!), and that now my saving rate has decreased significantly (new state, so slightly higher paycheck vs. nearly four times rent – Don’t worry, I keep my head above water, and the job opportunity is definitely worth it) – I can’t see it hapening in the next 20 years.
        I could be wrong, but I don’t see it now.

        Reply
  • Holly@ClubThrifty August 16, 2012, 6:58 am

    I agree that saving money can be boring. We are living on about 40% of our income and all additional funds are automatically invested or put towards our mortgage (our only debt). It can be really anti-climactic BUT I am sleeping very well these days. I never worry about getting a bill I cannot pay. My husband and I never disagree or argue about money. Life is good.

    Reply
    • BonzoGal August 20, 2012, 11:35 am

      That ability to pay a bill without stress is huge, isn’t it? I remember my early student days of freaking out over paying a bill to a hospital emergency room. My medical situation was less stressful than paying that bill!

      Now I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to pay bills easily and even have some “cushion” in savings to handle emergency bills. It’s lovely!

      Reply
  • Emily A August 16, 2012, 7:24 am

    Thanks for this post – a very timely one for me.

    Reply
  • aspiringyogini August 16, 2012, 7:29 am

    I loved this post and it reminds me of my father, who taught us kids financial responsibility and solvency from an early age. We never spent a lot, nor went without much. On Christmas eve, well after we had all made all our cash purchases and had our gifts wrapped and under the tree, he would ask us if we wanted to go to Wal-Mart to watch the crazies throw stereos and t.v.’s into their carts and frantically shop until they dropped. He observed these people like an urban anthropologist, with amazement at all that people tried to pull off at such a late hour before Christmas, since his own situation was soooo boring! How exciting and dramatic their financial life must be, however, we preferred the boredom while observing from the outside with critical detachment!

    Excellent article, keep them coming!

    Reply
  • Chris August 16, 2012, 7:45 am

    I actually look forward to paying bills and moving money around in various accounts every month. Its a constant reminder that things are good and only getting bettter. I think for our kind money becomes a bit of a hobby that we continually try to fine tune and grow like a garden. My wife thinks I’m a bit off, but I love it, in fact, I even enjoy doing my taxes every year, it feels empowering to understand what Uncle Sugar is doing with my paycheck and I look forward to the tax refund (yes, I get a tax refund, b/c that is part of my motivation to do and understand my taxes!).

    I hope once I’m FI that money get’s boring, I’m not there yet, its still very exciting to think and work through the possibilities!

    Reply
    • Steff Metal August 16, 2012, 2:58 pm

      You’re not alone, Chris. I also LOVE doing my taxes. It feels great to know exactly what I’m earning through my side hustles, and, although I haven’t had a refund in the last couple of years, I’ve overestimated the taxes I’d have to pay and have been able to transfer some pretty large sums from my business account into savings.

      Moving money around and trying to get the best out of what we’ve got is definitely one of my favorite new hobbies.

      Reply
    • Dillon August 17, 2012, 6:20 am

      +1 on the taxes

      only difference is that my utility comes from adjusting my w-4 throughout the year to try to make taxes paid as close as I can to taxes owed without having to square up too much at tax season. It’s like a really dull video game in which the outcome is immense internal satisfaction and weird looks from the fiancee/soon-to-be-wife.

      Reply
  • Graeme August 16, 2012, 7:55 am

    Much of the initial thrill I got when I started saving a high percentage of my income is now gone – but I still really enjoy watching my net worth climb every month!

    Reply
  • William @ Drop Dead Money August 16, 2012, 7:57 am

    If money is what you need to liven up your life, you live a shallow life. Here’s a more extreme example: August Busch IV, scion of the Anheuser-Busch family: http://bit.ly/BWBusch

    Your approach is dead-on right: money will become boring when it’s under control (where it should be). Kind of like your iPod: a tool that’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing – just now and then it adds a little more fun to your life.

    Reply
  • SavvyFinancialLatina August 16, 2012, 7:59 am

    Great post!!! very insightful! I can’t wait until we are in automatic drive :)

    Reply
  • Debt Free Teen August 16, 2012, 8:11 am

    That will be a really weird feeling when I’m done with school and supporting myself. It’s hard to imagine being able to retire and do the work I want. hopefully I will find a job I like in the meantime. Love you observations!
    Chase

    Reply
  • Lance@MoneyLife&More August 16, 2012, 8:17 am

    I feel like I am in a similar situation as my income is definitely well above my expenses. I don’t have a huge asset base yet but as long as I have a steady income things are on auto pilot for me financially. I don’t get excited when a paycheck hits the bank because it doesn’t matter. I don’t live paycheck to paycheck and I love it.

    While it does get boring make sure to do the most you can to continue improving your situation so when the time comes and you decide you want to kick back and relax you can. That is my plan anyway…

    Reply
    • Jen August 16, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Yeah, living paycheck to paycheck is an interesting phenomenon. I have a group of friends who celebrate their paychecks – and I feel so good that I don’t even remember exactly when is the payday. Rather be bored than stressed.

      Recently I saw a post from a women who was asking fwhether she should throw a big birthday party for her husband (i.e. lots of guests, renting a beach house etc.). They live paycheck to paycheck, her husband has just lost his job, BUT received a 3-month paycheck for his layoff. She said that is just enough for the party, yay! Sometimes I’m envious how people can be so easy-going about their finances :)

      Reply
  • Jeff August 16, 2012, 8:17 am

    I’m definitely in the bored phase. Retirement is still probably 5 years off, so there’s not much to do but stay the course and wait.

    Reply
  • Daisy@EverythingFinance August 16, 2012, 8:25 am

    I can imagine that once you are comfortable, secure, and don’t have to work toward anything, it can get a little boring. I have to say though, being bored with money is a much better feeling than the feeling you get when you don’t have enough.

    I think challenging yourself with your money is a great way to step out of the boredom zone. Raise money for a cause, go travelling, or take a sabbatical from work. I especially like the first one.

    Reply
  • Brian West August 16, 2012, 8:27 am

    I sense that this boredom stems from the fact that the same activity performed over and over again isn’t really growth, even if, in this case, the stache continues to grow. When you’re first building your frugality muscles, it provides real growth: changes in behavior, exercising self-control, & viewing things in a new way. But once those changes occur and our behavior turns into routine, we need to find new arenas for growth.

    MMM notes this: at a point, we need to look somewhere other than the financial realm.

    Reply
    • Mike August 16, 2012, 8:34 am

      This is a really insightful reply.

      Reply
    • rjack August 16, 2012, 12:37 pm

      I’m finding this out the hard way. I’m already FI and recently retired, but I look for becoming “more” FI even though I don’t really need it. It is hard to focus on something new and challenging.

      Reply
    • 205guy August 16, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Yes, I wanted to say the same thing as Brian: a lot of people get engaged on the FI path because it gives them a goal (the getting engaged and making changes, not the FI itself). In a perverted sense, this keeps them occupied just as much as spending money did before, and for some a purpose to their lives. But like money, FI should not be the end in itself.

      I think other commenters have given the solution: once your finances are on auto-pilot, you need to excite your brain in other ways. Practically, these ways must fit into the working life you still have for a while (which usually means weekends as MMM mentions). Ideally, you can find ways that will be complementary to your FI lifestyle. For example, home improvement seems to be the main “hobby” chosen by MMM and it is perhaps the most compatible with FI. It allows you to save money and enter the real-estate market at a huge advantage (fixer-uppers, property repairs). I don’t rebuild houses or even kitchens like MMM does, but I understand the appeal from the little I do. It is a “hobby” that gives great satisfaction because you create useful things for yourself and others.

      Even if your hobby is not directly beneficial to your FI, it could be good to start on it while still working. For example, if you want to go sailing when FI, you could start a boat project now in your “boring” time. But I really liked the ideas of charity and travel (or the two could be combined through charity bike rides or 3rd world volunteering). If you want to volunteer, by starting to make concacts and network now, you will be much more effective, even a leader in your field when you reach full FI. You could also become a messenger (like MMM with this blog) or politically engaged. These ideas can all be done on weekends and vacations from work and will begin to enrich your life.

      More fundamentally, you can start thinking about what you want to do at FI. Start exploring those things now in your “boring” time, and you may find you have new and different and better ideas.

      Also, I got the impression that the person that MMM quoted is single. From my limited experience, being in a relationship and later having kids keeps the boredom away. I know not everyone wants that, but it certainly is the largest challenge (mental and emotional) I have faced in my life.

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache August 16, 2012, 1:49 pm

        Definitely true about the family, 205guy. I feel pretty darned challenged just helping to raise my own son, and it really limits my free time. That sparsity is actually a bit refreshing, since the I feel the free time I do have is very precious and must be used to great advantage.

        And that’s been the story for our whole retirement so far, since we had him just after quitting work. We don’t even know what life would be like with fully unlimited free time.

        Once he’s grown up, I’ll need something pretty big to fill in that extra time. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be exciting.

        And it will probably get me in big trouble with the Internet Retirement Police, since it might provide a lot of income :-)

        Reply
        • KP August 16, 2012, 4:15 pm

          I’ve been at this bored stage for almost a year, when I’d saved all the money I’d need for the last pre-payment on our mortgage – now I just have make payments until it’s paid off next year. So we’ve taken a three month trip to SE Asia, and now we’ll be adding to our family early next year, with our first child.

          Knowing that the mortgage payment can roll into a nanny payment and I can keep working (because I love what I do), without any added financial stress even at reduced hours is – well fantastic for my piece of mind as my body is quickly changing before my eyes!

          I don’t think I’ll ever be bored – there’s too much to read, cook, explore out there!

          Reply
  • Joy August 16, 2012, 8:33 am

    This article is well-timed for me. I am soundly in the “bored” category. I keep searching to see what more I can do or how I can improve. I makes me relax a bit to know that this feeling of boredom is normal. Thanks MMM, and welcome back from vacation. We missed you.

    Reply
  • Mr. Risky Startup August 16, 2012, 8:34 am

    There is a middle ground too – I for one plan to work for the rest of my life (I would go to work if I won lottery tomorrow) because I truly enjoy my work – dealing with people, working with my team, providing opportunity for many people over the years to earn the living they need, mentoring young nerds, winning (as in making profits and selling)… However, I am also very close to reaching financial independence. I want to get to the point where I work for the fun of working, not because I must buy food.

    Even before we hit FI, just stepping off the consumerist bandwagon created the situation where I no longer worry about my future – I know that in present conditions, I can work at McDonalds for $24K per year and still live just fine.

    Reply
    • Chris August 16, 2012, 11:06 pm

      “mentoring young nerds”!! LMAO!:)

      Reply
      • Mr RiskyStartup.com August 16, 2012, 11:38 pm

        Due to nature of the company I manage, many of my employees are college and high-school students who are pursuing future in programming or IT. I give them their first jobs, let them learn how to deal with non-nerdy people (customers and non-IT coworkers) and then give them awesome references and experiences. Some of my nerds from 15 years ago are high level engineers at Google, Ford etc. This is one of the top reasons why I love my job – getting to deal with these people, some of whom remind me of myself at their age, and watching them go from kids to men (and women) within 3-4 years they spend here. They are awesome, funny, and I still get calls for references over a decade later and stay in touch with most of them.

        Reply
        • Simply Rich Life August 16, 2012, 11:44 pm

          That’s one of the many reasons I think that managing or owning a business is a good opportunity for someone who is doing well. Or maybe it’s just us that enjoy it :)

          Reply
        • Chris August 17, 2012, 7:13 am

          RS-

          I was a huge book nerd at that age as well, that’s why it made me laugh!

          Reply
  • Mr. Everyday Dollar August 16, 2012, 8:51 am

    I struggle with becoming rich and here’s why.

    I can’t say I’m fulfilled or even as interested in my profession as I once was. It’s not a bad job, I don’t dread going to work, I don’t have a toxic work environment. It’s just not my calling.

    Could I quit my job to find something that I love to do? Sure. But I would venture to say whatever that is I would be paid a lot less, therefore putting my early retirement much further into the future. So, my choice is to plow through the next 7, 8, 9 years in my current job and then retire around 40. That’s the choice I’ve made. Some will say why put up with doing something you don’t love to do for even one minute? True. But I know that if I do stick with it, I can walk away from ever working again. And that’s the reward. Not a bad one.

    Most people would consider me rich – no debt besides a 15 year mortgage and well on my way to becoming financially independent in under 10 years. I’m grateful for that as many people will struggle financially until they’re 6 feet under.

    Reply
    • PeteyP August 16, 2012, 8:51 pm

      For what it’s worth, I think that finding deep fulfillment or passion in your work is pretty rare, and is usually a pipe dream. I’ve noticed that the people who always talk about how important it is to love their job are the ones who flit from low-paid job to low-paid job, never satisfied.

      Being committed to a decent job is underrated. It might not be as romantic as being the dreamer who’s always chasing their dream job, but stability and life satisfaction are important. And take a look at retail and hospitality workers – their jobs are probably not intrinsically fascinating, but they can often be pretty happy because of the relationships they have with their colleagues.

      My pet theory is that it’s not the job that makes the difference, it’s a combination between your relationships with the people that work there and your own attitude.

      Reply
    • Mayank August 16, 2012, 9:28 pm

      I’m in the same situation. Have worked for 8 years in programming only to realize its not something I can do for the rest of my life. The good news is a I can be FI in another 7-8 years. So I’m gonna stick it out and then rebuild a new life.

      Reply
  • Joe @ Retire By 40 August 16, 2012, 8:59 am

    I don’t think I ever go to that boredom stage of finance. It feels great to see our net worth increase every month. Our finance is on auto pilot, but it still require a little tweaking almost every month. I buy new dividend stocks or buy new loans on Prosper. There is always something to do and I’m not bored yet. I guess I’m a bit obsessive about money…

    Reply
  • Shiznik August 16, 2012, 9:40 am

    The rap was my favorite part :D

    Reply
  • Smorgasbord August 16, 2012, 9:47 am

    The image for this post is great. Do you still have the larger version of it, that you could put up?

    Reply
  • Andy August 16, 2012, 10:25 am

    Made me think of the song, “When We Refuse to Suffer”, by Jonathan Richman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5taGgJ2RJSU

    Reply
  • Kevin M August 16, 2012, 10:50 am

    My wife and I struggle with this issue as well. We’ve found 2 things that help keep us engaged. It is incredibly boring to simply/automatically send money to Vanguard and my 401(k) every month.

    1) Review your net worth every month/quarter/year. Compare it with the previous period and celebrate your growth.

    2) Figure out what you value and allow yourself to spend on it. We value travel and our home so we define how much of our “extra” money we will spend on those items each year. This not only gets us excited about something new and shiny but keeps us engaged to make sure the money is earned.

    Good luck to you and remember activity doesn’t always equal productivity!

    Reply
  • brkr12002 August 16, 2012, 10:52 am

    I feel the same way. Bored to death at work b/c I know I can retire right now. The job has become unfulfilling and doesn’t challenge me mentally. I spend my work days deciding which road bike do i want to treat myself to as a retirement treat Fuji or Specialized, and debating will today be the last work day. The other highlight at work is seeing my dividends post to my brokerage account and updating my spreadsheet. Speaking of which, have to see if PG and ABT posted. Later.

    Reply
    • Jimbo August 16, 2012, 11:24 am

      I don’t get it… Why don’t you retire, then?

      Reply
  • Mr. Mark August 16, 2012, 11:42 am

    Wonderful post MMM.

    Reply
  • brokelyn August 16, 2012, 12:42 pm

    May I suggest an alternative? If you’re in this enviable position and find yourself bored, it might be worth your while to seek out alternative investment venues with a small portion of your savings. I don’t mean things like high-risk ventures, but rather investments that pertain to issues that you care about. For instance, for me, I’ve been fascinated by the potential of local investing as a means to earn a decent rate of return while supporting my neighbors and local businesses that I care about. When my local food co-op turned to its owners to finance loans that would support its expansion recently, I really wished I was in the financial position to be an owner-lender. The rates of return were competitive and I felt given the management and my personal knowledge of the organization, the risk of default was low. In turn, I knew my money was going to help increase the availability of organic, sustainable food and boost the sustainable farms in the area.

    I think more investment opportunities like this are out there (or can be created) but require more legwork than the “set it and forget it” of automatic investment into index funds. If you’re feeling bored though, this could be a good outlet for you. I recently read an interesting book along these lines — Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Schuman (http://www.amazon.com/Local-Dollars-Sense-Prosperity-A-Resilience/dp/1603583432). I don’t agree with everything in the book but I think he sketches a good outline of some of the possibilities.

    Reply
  • Praxis August 16, 2012, 1:04 pm

    I think one of the aspects of “early retirement” is transitioning from spending money for fun and enjoyment to using your time for fun and enjoyment. You don’t need to do something quick and flashy like an expensive night at the bar when you can just take the day off and go for a bike ride or plan a picnic or work on a project.

    That’s the reason the transitionary stage, the wealth building, is boring. You don’t have the free time to easily do those time-consuming fun hobbies. You’re too tired after a long, frustrating day at work in your cubicle to work on your projects. Yet, you can’t spend your money on those “bursts” of entertainment that you used to. So you feel bored. Not because you’re not busy. But because you’re working all day, getting exhausted, and then have quiet evenings.

    If I actually retired, I wouldn’t be bored at all! I’d bike ride all the time, take on projects for fun, happily fix my friends’ computers in exchange for a free dinner, etc. But when I’m working all day, and exhausted, and then come home in the evening? There’s a certain type of “boredom” there that’s coming from not having any excitement. Yes, I can read a book, but it’s too late in the day to go out and DO anything…

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache August 16, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Those are some wise insights there, Praxis.

      Is it possible that your tiredness and reluctance to do things after work is born out of habit?

      Maybe there’s a way to program yourself BEFORE the work day to do just one little enjoyable, but productive thing when you get home. Or plan your weekends a bit in advance. Then you’ll think about it through the day and mentally save energy for it, which comes pouring out when you get home.

      That’s the way things work for me, anyway. I can get into a real lazy funk if I start the day off on the wrong foot. But I usually have pretty amazing days, because I think about them the night before, or a week before, and write everything down.

      The brain processes these neat plans even while you sleep or do other things, then when the time comes, you might find yourself racing out of the starting blocks.

      Reply
      • Georgia August 17, 2012, 11:37 am

        Or, do something fun before you even go to work. For health reasons, I have to use a light box right after I wake up. Since I have to be sitting in front of the thing for half an hour anyway, I use that time to practice guitar. It’s an awesome way to start my day. I know getting up early (or earlier) is not for everyone, though. . . .

        Reply
  • Devin August 16, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Great post. The only thing I would maybe expand on is what are you actually bored with. Or another way to think about it is how has the excitement worn off? What made it exciting in the first place? If you start to ask these questions you can find you can apply them not only to your financial development, but your personal development or anything that you choose. To me it is not that you are so much bored, but your freedom has increased and you are looking for a new focus. It is like the shiny new toy syndrome but in the area of personal development. When it is no longer new, how do you keep the excitement (spice, break the routine) in your relationship (with money, or insert your goal here). The naturally occurring item of plateauing. This is when true change or challenge is required. Not necessarily in the area that you have plateaued, but it could be in an undeveloped area. Health, fitness, personal relationships, skill development, anything. Once I hit this plateau I chose a new goal. It was to learn an instrument. Instead of just focusing on reading post after post (of which MMM is a staple) of financial independence, I chose to take some of that time and develop who I am. This took a lot of energy to do just like any other true learning, fear of change and all, and not deviating from the financial plan at the same time. It was uncomfortable, but boy was it rewarding. You are capable of really anything. The hardest part is not thinking too hard about it. Paralyzing analysis. Become a human doer, not a human being. “No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” Yoda. Sounds like a motivational speech, and it is. We need a swift kick in the ass every once in a while to untie that piano that is tied to our ass. Where it comes from doesn’t matter so much as that you take it and turn it into something. This is why I read not only these posts but the comments. It motivates me. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache August 16, 2012, 1:58 pm

      Thanks Devin – and the comments today seem unusually good, don’t they? What a valuable resource all these Mustachians around us are.

      Reply
    • Dragline August 16, 2012, 2:52 pm

      Devin’s right. If you are bored with money, you need to start looking at other parts of your life. One thing I like to do is imagine myself at the end of my life and ask myself “what kind of memories of my life would I like to have?” While at first it sounds like just a bucket list, what I’m really more interested in is what kind of emotional or “satisfaction with life” memories would I like to have? The kinds of things that come out of relationships or personal accomplishments — not just “seeing the Great Pyramids” or something. Some of the things on that list are “write a book” and “found or run a charity.” Now mind you, I have no idea at the moment what kind of book or what kind of charity. Other things I can work on now like “learn more about psychology” and “spend more time teaching something to someone who wants to learn” (which I am able to do part-time at the moment.) “Have adventures with my children” is another current favorite, as well as “make sure my parents are contented in their final years.” There’s so much more than money — its really just a tool.

      Reply
  • totoro August 16, 2012, 3:36 pm

    I enjoyed this article but I think my relationship with FI is slightly different. I enjoy the challenge of analyzing the system and implementing it and making it work more than the end result of early retirement. FI is only one of my interests and really only because it makes sense overall to allow even more time for even greater quality of life and I really hate waste.

    I approach other interests exactly the same way. I will read a tonne of books and research on a particular topic and let the ideas sit until I come up with an interesting plan to implement. The satisfaction comes from watching the plan unfold and dealing with the challenges as they arise (well, sometimes that is just a pain in the ass too). I’ve done this with gardening, rental properties, cleaning systems, my career, personal growth, philosophy… I really enjoy all of it and what I don’t enjoy gets thought about as a problem to solve so I can get more of what I really want in life.

    A vision board with health, family, FI, work, social, volunteering, investing… has been really helpful. We do a new one about every two months on a big piece of poster paper and hang it on the bedroom wall. We have solved some really tricky things like whether to sell a business we own, how to increase our physical activity, when to buy a new rental property, specific steps to increase spiritual practice… when you write it down I find it works and the research on goal-setting supports this. We also sit down together and set out a critical path to complete certain big tasks like putting a suite in our house. It is fun and it works to keep things on track – for the most part.

    Maybe that is the trick, the boredom is another challenge to solve? What are you really passionate about other than FI?

    Reply
  • Sean August 16, 2012, 4:04 pm

    My mother has always stubbornly refused to work with me to plan out her finances. She always says, “I just hate thinking about this stuff.”

    Of course the result is that she’s had financial troubles all her life, and has had to think about money constantly because of it. Her finances are exciting. Being bored by your finances is a blessing.

    One day I’ll convince her that the best way to avoid having to think about money is to do your thinking up front.

    Reply
  • Fubek August 16, 2012, 7:32 pm

    So true. I am financially independend and let me tell you that it’s like the trash pickup. It just happens and no need to worry about it. That is about how much I think about money these days.

    Reply
  • Stacey August 16, 2012, 8:16 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog religiously over the past year, but have yet to comment on one of your posts. You’ve been such an inspiration to me and my husband and we’ve been able to push ourselves even farther in our financial goals – particularly when it’s come to tamping down on our already frugal spending. Thanks again for all the time you put into this – you’ve really built something special.

    When I read the following two lines, I knew I had to comment: “Freedom from working the same repetitive job for most of your waking hours during the best decades of your life, just to pay the bills. That’s a freedom worth buying, because it’s almost like buying more of life itself.” Definitely one of my favorite lines ever in one of your posts. If I had to explain what FI is or why it’s a good idea to work towards it – that’s it.

    Reply
    • J.Reid August 21, 2012, 2:33 pm

      Yep I highlighted those two sentences too!*

      (*From here in my gray box at work. Clearly still some work to be done…)

      Reply
    • Heath August 21, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Rereading that quote almost bring tears to my eyes.

      Good. Call.

      Reply
  • Simply Rich Life August 16, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I’m in a fairly similar place, not a whole lot of results in the accounts yet but they’ve been growing quickly and it’s just a matter of time. It will happen even if I forget all about it. Which is where I’ve been going recently. Last year I would sometimes spend a couple of hours updating my financial spreadsheets before starting to work, at least once a week. Since then I’ve taken on bigger challenges and risks in my business (ironically they are highly likely to increase my income quickly and develop my skills further, while letting me reduce my hours) in addition to a few other minor things such as having our first baby.

    Now I sometimes wake up and realize I haven’t updated the spreadsheets in a couple of months, but I know things are still moving forward since it’s nearly all automated. Where I was focused on one thing most of the time in the past, I now have a wider variety of challenges to keep me busy and sometimes overwhelmed. And there are always big new things I would like to start but I know I’m already pushing it far enough!

    It’s fun to make and execute a solid financial plan, but once you’ve gotten over the hard part it’s time to put it in its place as a supporting element in your life and focus on the things that really matter today. It’s just like eating; if you can’t cook to save your life you’d better work on that, but once you’ve got the skills you don’t keep doing it 60 hours a week. You just do what you need to so you can support your lifestyle.

    If you’re bored, expand the things you’re working on and take some more risks. Think of what you would do with your work/income once you are fully retired, and do 10% of that now. Despite the shock from the ex-MMM world, we are mostly playing it a lot safer than we need to (seriously, do we need every possible risk covered 3-10x over? Is that the best we know how to do with our advanced financial skills?). A lot of employers will let you cut back to 4.5 or 4 days a week so you can start doing other things. Think of it as both a reward and practice for when you get there. Who knows, it might make its own profits and help you get there faster.

    Reply
  • Someone August 16, 2012, 8:45 pm

    I’ve always been debt-free and had some savings, which was what allowed me to give a two-week notice and go back to school full time. I’m getting a computer support specialist associates degree. With this I hope to get into work that pays well enough to afford my eventual early retirement by 45.

    Just because of my savings habit, I’ve never worried about how to pay my bills. But now, with the goal of early retirement, I’ve gotten smarter about investing my surplus and trimming still more fat from my budget. Thanks for the stories and tips, Mr. MM.

    Reply
  • Monevator August 17, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Unfortunately there are sound reasons for thinking that a lot of rich people will never ease off and find other things to do in life, as some kinds of security have infinite demand… This chap (or chapess) explains it well:

    http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/3487.html

    Depressing. Maybe Marx was right? (Karl, not Groucho. We know Groucho was right!)

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache August 17, 2012, 3:41 pm

      Wow, that interfluidity guy is pretty wickedly clever.

      The problem with those brainy but bleak portrayals of the world is that they never take into account the possibility of things changing. That’s why I’m glad to be unintelligent enough to work at changing things myself. Because of this, I see the world as a fantastic world of opportunities for us all to fix things, rather than something to speculate endlessly about like Marvin the Infinitely Depressed Robot from the Douglas Adams books.

      Reply
      • Monevator August 18, 2012, 4:02 am

        Yeah, definitely a better life strategy if you can pull it off! Study after study shows optimistic people do best. Makes sense, evolutionarily speaking.

        Plus the world is pretty super for the likes of us and most readers.

        Reply
    • Dragline August 17, 2012, 8:44 pm

      I go with Harpo. Life is chaotic. Get over it.

      And the author of the link relies on a lot of unstated assumptions and has a limited sense of history. Hint: What do WWII and the Black Death have in common? And what was the result in employment in the aftermath. See http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture30b.html for some clues

      You can read Plutarch’s Lives for other examples. Just because economics as a discipline was invented in the 19th century doesn’t mean than nothing existed before it.

      Reply
      • Wesley August 17, 2012, 9:45 pm

        I agree with Dragline, that Interfluidity guy lives in fear…daily. He’s so worried about his future and everyone else’s future and anything else he can worry or fear over, he can’t function.

        Maybe he has his reasons, but I doubt it, and I’m not letting him drag me down into the existential marxist muck with him. He can have it all to himself.

        Reply
  • M August 19, 2012, 1:09 pm

    I was feeling just the same boredom this morning. Thanks for the perspective.
    For me, when I had just a bit of excess I decided to sponsor a child and help pay for her education. I connected with a young girl half a world away. Her widowed mother wrote me a thank you note for sponsoring her daughter. I was floored. Little did I know her mother was dying of TB and she feared for her daughter’s future (most likely she’d be forced into a sex trade). Her mum died when her daughter was just 13 years old (my mother died when I was that age, too). I sooo got her pain and I hope I’ve been able to provide some support and compassion over the years. My financial bounty connects me to my sponsee but as a side benefit it helped my heal my own childhood hurts.
    I’ll send her Mum’s letter when she’s grown as a reminder of our shared blessing.

    Reply
  • Dividend Mantra August 19, 2012, 6:37 pm

    Great post MMM!

    I embrace the “boredom” on the journey to financial independence. Once I moved into a cheap apartment, sold my car, canceled cable, cut my cell bill and started watching my food budget I realized that there wasn’t much else I could do. It’s now a sit-and-wait game. But, that’s really where the fun begins.

    I think the boredom is what separates the weak from the strong, and it’s what makes reaching FI so difficult. If it was easy, everyone could do it. But it is difficult, and I thrive in that challenge. I believe it will make early retirement that much more enjoyable and memorable…knowing the arduous journey it took to get there.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
  • The Money Rat August 22, 2012, 10:37 am

    Good post. I’ve recently hit the boredom phase. Still in the Rat Race with about 5 or 6 years to go. When things get slow at work, I kill time looking at rental properties and “businesses for sale” websites and dreaming of the next phase.

    Great site, keep it up.

    The Money Rat

    Reply
  • Young and Thrifty August 22, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Awesome post. If a subdued feeling of stability is what accompanies the realization that you are in fact rich, then I can’t wait! I love the idea of removing any financial stress out of my life (not that I have all that much to be honest because of the plan I have to stay on the straight and narrow path that you define). I’m looking forward to joining you in “boredom”.

    Reply
  • Jay October 12, 2012, 1:34 pm

    MMM, this is a great post, your right having financial freedom just sneaks up on you, but being able to do whatever you want never sneaks up on anyone, the difference between being able to cover your expenses and being able to do anything is pretty substantial. Being able to whatever you want is probably a bit overrated and definitely not for everyone.

    I’m new to the personal finance blog space, I’m in my mid 30′s and my life has been on autopilot for a while now, I will be able to retire early and comfortably. I’m not quite to the point of being able to give up my day job, but the days of being an employee are numbered.

    However I am always looking for more, not necessarily because I need it, but it is fun coming up withe new lucrative ways to build wealth. The money is just a way to keep score, family and health always come first.

    My favorite part of financial freedom is helping others figure out how to achieve it, that ah-ha look on someones face when the finally get it.

    Reply
  • Mark Baker January 3, 2013, 8:26 am

    Read through the blog, skipping a few articles and comments here and there when they seemed boring. I am getting this feeling now, so I had to come back and re-read this article. In my opinion, it’s one of the best! I started working full-time in January, 2012. It was exciting seeing my savings go quickly to $1,000, then $10,000. But after that there aren’t any major benchmarks for a while, and the day-to-day stuff gets boring. Unfortunately a lot of little sacrifices add up, but each sacrifice doesn’t save much. This makes it easy to say “I’ll drive today because it’s only $1 to go 5 miles.” But if that attitude was taken to everything, we would be right back to ‘normal’ lifestyles. Unfortunately, attempting to be awesome is … boring.

    Reply
  • Michelle March 10, 2013, 3:52 pm

    The other side of this coin is the social consequences for becoming financially independent (aka “rich”). Most people just don’t get it or understand that we work hard to eliminate drama from our lives. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

    Reply
  • Z October 19, 2013, 7:41 pm

    This article really spoke to me as I’ve done many of the saving steps found on good personal finance blogs like this one for many years now and sometimes as someone engaged in the process with money you keep wanting to do more, but at some point there’s not much more you can do if you have things automated right.

    While I’m not completely financially independent nor 100% debt free, I’m very comfortable where things are at.

    Being extremely financially comfortable though has had an unintended negative consequence for me though.. it’s eliminated a huge amount of my drive at work to be better at my job, better at running my business, and thus has stalled out my income… simply because I don’t have a burning desire for generating additional revenue.

    Colleagues of mine that are more obsessed with the high lifestyle have blown past me in growing their businesses because they are driven to produce more and be better at what they do. They are considered better at what they do and more successful than I am.

    Really being in incredibly good financial shape via frugality has left me at career crossroads. I’m in a medical job with a degree I spent 6 years getting. I help people and am good at what I do. I’m definitely not ready to leave the profession.

    Anyway… this was a great post and reminded me that I’ve attained being “rich” in my book, but now that I’ve made it (and I realize this is a high quality 1%er type of problem) I really don’t know what to do with myself.

    Reply
  • Leah Perkins October 27, 2013, 1:26 am

    Boredom is one of many possible consequences of wealth. Having too much choice can go one way or the other, depending on how we respond to this psychological state of affluence. I’m writing a book about it at the moment and I work with the the wealthy to help them figure out how to use these opportunities they have to live a fulfilling life. In the words of Garth Brooks ‘you aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy’. Having money is great if you know how to make it work for you.

    Reply

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