Work Goes On… Long After the Thrill of Workin’ is Gone

I almost didn’t write this article for you today.

It’s Sunday night, and the MMM family has had one of those enjoyable and tiring summery weekends. We were out in the sun all day, working in the garden for a while. Then the lady and boy went off to visit friends for a birthday party while I spent a few hours at the top of a ladder in the blazing heat, doing prep work on my house’s siding to get it ready for painting next week. Then we all came inside, and I cooked dinner while I drank a large homebrew, ate a hearty meal, then spent an hour cleaning up the mess that the weekend had generated.

By the end of it all, I was ready for an early bedtime. I looked forward to tucking my son in and then rolling into my own bed before it even hit nine ‘o’ clock. But then I was struck by a brief lightning bolt of panic.

“Shit!” , I thought. “Tomorrow’s Monday!  Don’t I usually put up a Mr. Money Mustache article every Monday morning? I don’t have anything ready, because this weekend has been so much fun!”

Luckily, the lightning bolt quickly fizzled out and was replaced by a gentle breaking wave of relief:

“Wait a minute! I don’t HAVE to put up an MMM article. Who cares if it’s Monday!? I don’t have a boss I need to answer to. I’m not depending on that blog to pay for the groceries. I’ll write, or not write, whenever the hell I want.. I don’t need to follow a schedule!

The Mustachians would surely understand.. and indeed, they might even Respect a retired man taking a Monday off from “work”, just to illustrate one of the many benefits of retirement!”

Ironically enough, the train of thought flowed so nicely that I ended up getting fired up to write something about it. And so here we are, with something to talk about on Monday after all.

This idea of being relieved that work is not mandatory has actually been popping up in daily life for some time now.

Back in January, I spent a pleasant day on the rooftop of the Foreclosure Project house, soaking up some warm sun while I stripped off 80 years worth of worn-out shingles. The next day, I had an average experience heaving sheets of plywood onto the old roof structure, and cutting and nailing them into place, while that same sun beat down all day and started to make me feel a bit like an overcooked bagel. By the third day, the fun had worn off completely and I forced myself through a tedious seven hours of hauling up packages of waterproof underlayment and shingles, opening them, and monotonously installing them across the hundreds of square feet of new plywood. Measure, cut, set, nailnailnail, Measure, cut, set, nailnailnail. My hands were black, my jeans were ripped, and my mind longed to do something other than balance on a roof and install roofing materials.

“Man”, I said, “I’m sure glad this isn’t my real job. Can you imagine doing this every day, week after week, year after year, with no end in sight?”

In fact, when it boils right down to it, many jobs carry a workplace hazard of losing their thrill. Some are of course better than others: my gas station jobs didn’t last longer than eight months, the convenience store was good for well over a year, and the engineering work kept me entertained for a solid decade. But at some point, for many people, the thrill of working even the most interesting job may come to an end.

At that magical and terrifying point in a job, your mind starts to race. If you’re sandwiched between a wall of debt and the cliff of an expensive lifestyle that you locked in for yourself back when the job seemed fun, the joyless job can be quite scary. You’ve got no options, but you need the money, so you have no choice but to continue the dance.

If you’ve thought ahead and set yourself up with just a bit more freedom  – skills in other areas, friends in other companies or industries, or savings that will get you through a year or more of unemployment – the feeling is somewhat different.  Now the realization that your job sucks can serve as more of just a kick in the butt. Motivation to start looking around, stretch your wings, and embark on a challenge of finding new employment – a challenge that will benefit you anyway.

The ultimate situation, however, is to be working for the sheer joy of it to begin with. You’re learning and staying challenged at all times, because if you fail to do that, there is no pretending that you are not a complete fool for taking that job when you didn’t need the money. You can afford to set your standards higher, which in turn may actually make you work harder.

Would a financially independent person really sit all day in a cubicle and surf mindless websites while answering the odd email and pretending to work? NO! She’d either get some really good and meaningful stuff done, or she’d go home and read a book while dipping her feet in the swimming pool. There’s no need for in-between fakeypants work when you are working for the joy of work itself.

So that’s my answer to all the commenters on other websites that say, “But I don’t need to save for early retirement – I love my job so I’ll never need to quit!”. I’m glad that you are so confident, because loving your work is a great thing. But do you really want to lock yourself in by maintaining financial dependence on your job? Wouldn’t you rather be forced to love your job even more, by having the option of the feet-in-the-pool novel reading always looming over your head, keeping you honest with both yourself and your coworkers?

It sure works for me. I mean, look at that – the option of not working is what motivated me to work tonight, and ding, here’s the article I wanted! The shingle job got finished and the pain of the repetitive work faded away, and now there’s only that finished roof I get to see every time I walk by. I’ll surely grow tired of laddering around my own house exterior during next week’s paint job as well, but that job will come to an end and it will be time to think up the next job that needs doing. And this blog will never become a treadmill of cranking out articles just because a boss tells me they’re due. It can go on vacation, or it can grow bigger and better, or it can morph into a touring hiphop group or a cooking television show if that’s what fate decides.

Variety.. the spice of life!



  • Marie April 23, 2012, 6:18 am

    Great post MMM! You’re zeroing in on the potential burnout factor relating to the type of work a person is engaged in. I would add another potential negative the “I love my job” crowd may encounter: changing work environment. You can love your work but that doesn’t mean you have control over your work environment. A new boss. An unpleasant co-worker is hired and you have to work with him or her on a daily basis. All of a sudden you can end up very unhappy and trapped. That’s why FI is so important to a person’s overall health and happiness. It provides the freedom to exit a bad environment.

  • David April 23, 2012, 7:06 am

    This certainly makes sense to me. Even when you do love your work, everyone goes through cycles prompted by any number of things. It doesn’t need to be something big like a frustrating project or a boss you can’t stand either. I’ve found that just getting a cold can sap the enjoyment out of a week of work, even if I’m interested in the work itself. The biggest thing here is something we repeat over and over again at MMM, freedom. The freedom to choose when and how to work, what to work on, and who to work with.

  • Joy April 23, 2012, 7:12 am

    This is so true!

    In my line of work “Nursing” I took an office/paperwork position. The pay
    was great, the hours awesome, and weekends off!

    After six months I felt like I would rather shoot myself than sit and, do
    mindless paperwork. The work was very repetitive and, only necessary
    to cover the facility in possible legal issues.

    Fortunately, I had the option to quit this mindless sinkhole!

    MMM, never push yourself to write. I want you to love this space you
    have created as much as your readers do. You are doing a good work
    here. :) If someone wants an MMM fix, they can hit the random button.
    It never hurts to read these articles again. They are educational and,
    entertaining all at the same time.

    I can’t imagine how many have benefited from your blog. Too, the earth is
    benefiting as more of us are learning to use less resources and, find it
    fun in the process!

    I just had a thought, as some like to read and, comment knowing others will be commenting too. Perhaps you or Mrs. MM could figure out a way for say
    “The random post of the day.” Meaning, on days/weeks off from blogging
    your site would automatically pick an older post for readers to “discuss.”
    This way people could comment knowing someone will be reading the same
    post. Others that have already commented could still join in. As, they might
    have a new insight since they last commented.

    I like the idea?

  • Jeff April 23, 2012, 7:26 am

    I tried explaining this concept to my brother in law who’s still in college, but he’s still too brainwashed by the school system to get it. Every teacher you had pushed the idea that you’ll need to find a job you love to be happy, but if any one of them won a multi-million dollar lottery, do you think they’d stick around for their job? Hell no! More than 99.9% of people would quit their job. It shows how much our work and spending habits don’t match up with our true desires.

    • Dancedancekj April 23, 2012, 11:47 am

      As part of the millenial generation, we’ve been told by our parents, the media, our peers, and role models to do “something that you love” and that life is too short to waste it on doing something that you don’t love. Which might deserve a punch to the face, in my opinion.
      Why not pick a job that pays well? Achieve FI/ER. Then guess what? Once you retire early, you can pursue the rest of your passions to your heart’s content. Not to mention, you have more financial means and ability and experience to discern and pursue your life’s true passion and dream (in which you learn that being a vocal performer like Mariah Carey isn’t all what you thought it was at eighteen).
      I’m not saying that one should get stuck in a job that is unstimulating, or does not match their morality cues, but your job should do what it’s meant to do : bring in money so you can build your Stash.

      • Jeff April 23, 2012, 12:51 pm

        I think that’s why we’re changing jobs so frequently compared to earlier generations. No one can find anything they actually desire. That and I don’t think our generation cares as much about bigger houses and boats and cars like our parents did. I think we’re going to start to see a shift toward more freelance work where people can choose how many hours to work and to take off months at a time if they’re financially sensible.

      • Shanna April 23, 2012, 4:22 pm

        The whole “work you love” lesson to youth is completely irresponsible. I will not pay for a degree that won’t make some kind of money to allow my kids to be financially stable all on their own.

        There needs to be a little common sense about finances early on- come on kids you just can’t graduate with skills that don’t bring in any money and then whine to me about your huge college loans you can’t pay back. On what planet is that even smart? Get your money first and then run off following you “bliss”. This might be the older generation trying to live through their kids by indulging every ridiculous whim and emotion.

        We were on an extreme budget to pay off my husbands college loans and I really don’t want to pay to “forgive” others’ loans. Take care of business first then go play.

        • Joy April 24, 2012, 12:53 am

          I think the type of job matters here. Be an artist who mooches off Mom and Dad for ten years while building up debt? Not cool. But teach because I love it, while pursuing financial independence? Works for me.

          I guess the clarification I’d make is just that getting a job you love that is a real, but not 60K+ position, can still provide the means for reaching financial independence if you live wisely.

          Isn’t that MMM’s whole point? That it’s not the amount of money, over maybe 30K, that determines happiness, but how you spend/save/deal with it?

          I’m new here, so I might be wrong, but thought I’d pipe in!

      • Gypsy Queen April 24, 2012, 12:22 am

        I think you are reading too much of it: “Find a job you love” doesn’t mean “Pick something fun, and expect money to come from it”. Even in the dream job there are unpleasant parts (like getting baked in the sun for MMM, or filing too many reports for my taste in mine). The trick is to find a job in which the overall is satisfactory enough to make all the not-so-good things (low payback, long hours, you name it) worth your while, just so you can get it done. At that point, FI is always good, but ER is redundant, since you will do the same thing anyway, maybe just slow down a little.

  • Jimbo April 23, 2012, 7:31 am

    The same can be said of retirement though… Same thing day in day out… Frankly, I am a bit scared of having too little on my plate once I reach FI.

    But I guess having kids will change this perspective a bit.

    • bogart April 23, 2012, 9:57 am

      I don’t know — I’m inordinately grateful to be a mom (to a kid who — touch wood — is sharp and healthy) but OMG, the tedium that a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 year old can provide. Different people feel differently about different ages and there are plenty of utterly wonderful and priceless moments, but I can’t say that I found, e.g., our last “Mama, what if we had a [fill in the blanks, we worked through each one] cabin cruiser/fishing boat/cruise ship/submarine?” conversation stimulating (we recently got a book out of the library that involved boats, but you could also fill in those blanks with any other variety of transport over recent months — trucks, trains, planes, cars, flying machines…). Nor the one before that, nor the one before that. Parenting involves plenty of repetition of pretty mindless stuff …

      • Joy April 23, 2012, 10:39 am


        It is all in the challenge. I had three children, all adults now.
        If I tired of one thing, we moved on to other things.

        My children were entertainment enough for each other on most
        days. I enjoyed watching them learn. My days were filled with
        meals, play, walks, books, flash cards, and naps. Most activities
        couldn’t last more than 30 minutes. :) This kept me busy and, didn’t
        allow much time for boredom to set in.

        I will say when you just have one child, it is harder as you are not
        just the parent but, the playmate too.

        • bogart April 23, 2012, 7:20 pm

          Joy, yes, I suspect the only kid angle is part of the problem (and, again, don’t get me wrong — not a big picture problem, but a small-picture one; I accept that this comes with the territory, and I like the territory). But of course having more than one (which would have been my preference but isn’t what happened) would introduce its own set of (different) challenges.

          I suspect that with the passage of time, the frustration with the repetitiveness of this young age will pass … but for example my Sunday consisted of … 1 hour of early a.m. cartoons for DS (while I slept in — until 8 — sort of), 1/2 hour making breakfast, 2-hour walk in the woods, 1 hour making banana bread, 1 hour divided across playing with wooden trains and with Lincoln logs (separate activities, but total time about an hour), 1.5 hours going for a swim (includes drive time to get to the pool and time in the changing room), 1/2 hour going to local shop for an ice cream cone, and about an hour total on bedtime routine, including reading. That accounts for 8.5 hours spent with DS, leaving a mere 5.5 of his waking hours unaccounted for (in terms of my being involved). But it also includes plenty of tedious (to me) repetition even with a bunch of fun activities in there … certainly at least 4 repetitions of the “What if …” conversation, for example. So … yeah. I will say that unlike some, perhaps many, paid jobs, assuming one’s children are blessed with health and with normal developmental trajectories, there is at least the knowledge that, “This, too, shall pass,” when it comes to the repetitive conversations, or reading the same story for bedtime for months in a row. But I still find parts of it boringly unstimulating, for all the joyful moments it contains.

          Or, more succinctly, it was only after I was an adult that I understood why my mom found the question, “What’s for supper?” so annoying!

      • It Figures April 23, 2012, 6:57 pm

        I am so glad you came out and said that! I know exactly what you mean but parenting seems to become more and more fun as time goes on. My children are now 11, 9 and 6 and this has been the best year yet.

        • bogart April 24, 2012, 7:48 pm

          You bet, I’d rather be honest about the downsides as well as the wonderful ups. And yes, I do find it gets better and better … I am definitely not a mom who feels sad about those early stages passing (since their passage allows new phases to arrive). And as I’ve got stepkids in their 30s I’m actually in a decent position to say that the trend continues for a long time!

    • Joy April 23, 2012, 10:03 am


      Having kids will cure any habitual existence. LOL!

      In fact you will long for some boring, quiet me time. Which makes
      these so called boring moments “special.”

  • AspiringYogini April 23, 2012, 7:33 am

    I love the “tropical paradise” fruit plate picture on your post. It is so cool and I am going to steal your idea for my contribution for the snack we have after exercise group! Reminds me of the book “Playing with your Food” and another one I have entitled “Garnishing”.

    One other thing I see with people who are “stuck” in their work is that they are financially dependent on their jobs (and affluent lifestyles), but they believe that there is no way that they could earn the same sort of money doing something else that they would prefer more. Being FI or even living beneath your means allows you to pick up any old job that you like, whether it pays nothing or $1000/hr. You can also leave that job whenever you can’t stand it any more or if something better comes along. I have seen this in friends, a lot of whom are in the health professions, but I imagine it happens in all fields. Those people stay in those fields and then can’t deliver their services as well as others who are enthused about their jobs. They probably make a lot more mistakes as well.


  • Chris April 23, 2012, 7:58 am

    Don’t feel like you’ve got to crank out articles on a schedule MMM, continue to be random when the mood strikes you!

  • Marie April 23, 2012, 8:23 am


    “mindless sinkhole” —- LOL!

    Howabout a 45 minute meeting on the meaning of the phrase “subject to” buried in my 6 page technical legal document? I didn’t say much because I was fascinated by the absurdity of it. All those lawyers and brain cells wasted on this?

  • Joy April 23, 2012, 8:40 am


    UGH! the misery.

  • John @ Married (with Debt) April 23, 2012, 9:11 am

    I suppose some of my desire to retire early is that I’ve never really worked a job I love. I wonder if there is such a thing. Scratch that – I know there is a perfect job out there for me, but is it easier to find than early retirement?

    • EarningAndLearning May 13, 2017, 11:57 am

      I think that’s why I’m also passionate about not having to work, because I don’t think there is anything I could do as a career that I would love for years. I’ve had jobs in areas that I was passionate about, jobs I was excited to have initially. But when you do something you love 9-5 Monday-Friday, with a 45-min bus+train commute on either end, plus an hour getting ready every morning, you can’t maintain the same passion. In fact, you may even start to hate the job, and start to feel indifferent towards what you were once passionate about.

      At this point I agree with the earlier commenter who said something like, “let’s stop trying to find jobs we love, a job is for making money to build your stash.” I agree. I’ve gotten much more practical about job hunting and way less emotional. I know no matter what job I get, eventually I’ll hate it and will be moving on. I’d rather save my passions for evenings and weekends; when I work at them as my job, my passion quickly wanes.

  • Alice April 23, 2012, 9:21 am

    Great post! I can so relate to job burnout! Every job I’ve loved has had its peaks and valleys and a time to move on. I have always enjoyed learning, so throughout working I kept taking classes, making new contacts, volunteering and when the time came, there was a new path to follow.

  • Dmitry April 23, 2012, 9:23 am

    I’m so with you on variety! I could never understand, and still can’t understand to this day, how it’s possible to go to the same cube day by day for years… Goddamn it.
    And when I read about the “she” who sits in the cube and browses websites mindlessly, answers emails and pretends to work, I saw myself in the not to distant past! (Only I am “he”). Indeed, only this stupid fulltime corporate slavery is such a racket :).

    Lastly, here’s great quote on variety from the book I recently read (Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything):
    “Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear. That’s why it’s so important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.”

  • sideways8 April 23, 2012, 9:47 am

    I need to tape this blog to my face and to everything I look at every day so that I don’t lose a moment of inspiration.

  • No Name Guy April 23, 2012, 10:10 am

    There seems to be a connection between the enjoyment of doing something and the not HAVING to do it.

    I do volunteer trail maintenance – heavy, physical work in some times crappy conditions. Rain or heat, or bugs galore. If I had to do it for a paycheck, I suspect the fun of it wouldn’t be there. But because I choose to do it, when I want, and can choose NOT to do it, it’s always fun.

    • Gypsy Queen April 24, 2012, 12:26 am

      Tom Sawyer said it first.

  • MoneyOCD April 23, 2012, 10:12 am

    MMM, that is very cruel of you to write such post on MONDAY(!!!) when all of us who are still “not there yet” bracing ourselves for one more 5-day stretch of “mindless sinkhole” work.

    Happy Monday, Everyone!!!

    Now I will go and check how my stash is doing, may be it will improve my mood today…

  • Vanna April 23, 2012, 10:28 am

    So, how do we get more people to understand the concept of working for fulfillment? I spent over 10 years working with a bunch of ‘dinosaurs’ that had been doing the same thing for longer than I was alive. Most of them still don’t get the fact that they were the ones who inspired me to further my education in order to get the hell out of there. I am another one of those healthcare workers that expanded into the land of paper. At the moment I’m still challenged every day and mine is a dual, fast paced role, and not quite full time (0.8). I like to have my cake and eat it too! I don’t think we always know what we are getting ourselves into when we try something new, but that is the beauty of having more than one skill and working for a purpose other than a paycheck. Once you are brave enough to ‘brake the mold’ the possibilities are endless and become exponential (my new favorite word – thanks MMM). I wish this message could get through to all the amazing talented people I see imprisoning themselves day in and day out.

    • Vanna April 23, 2012, 10:45 am

      Oh, I forgot to add my Monday morning description of why I love working part time…I’m heading out to the lake with my husband to take in some early season Crappie fishing while the kids are in school. Hell ya!! And yes, I stuck 65% of that paycheck into the stash; so, I will lounge on the lake, guilt free today. Thanks MMM for teaching me how to live the dream. I may not yet be retired, but I feel like I have accomplished the next best thing.

  • TLV April 23, 2012, 10:48 am

    If MMM hosted a cooking show I would totally watch that. As long as it was available for free on the internet and didn’t have too many mind-numbing ads, that is.

    • Dancedancekj April 23, 2012, 11:35 am

      I’d totally buy tickets to the touring hip-hop group as well. Maybe NMHD, Frugal Toque, Ramit, Jacob of ERE and MMM could lay down the moves while singing about ER/FI.

      • Russell April 23, 2012, 2:58 pm

        Touring hip-hop cooking show?

  • rjack April 23, 2012, 10:48 am

    MMM, your post is well balanced. However, I would like to re-emphasize the point that all work/jobs have some parts that are boring/painful/mind-numbing. This is just part of accomplishing something useful. Also, here is an intereresting article with a different perspective on “pursuing your dream”:


  • Erik Y April 23, 2012, 12:15 pm

    “Would a financially independent person really sit all day in a cubicle and surf mindless websites while answering the odd email and pretending to work?”

    Ten thumbs up to this comment. I’m convinced that most of the office workers around here could be just as productive working 10-20 solid hours per week vs. forty hours doing just what you describe.

  • Kenneth April 23, 2012, 12:19 pm

    “Would a financially independent person really sit all day in a cubicle and surf mindless websites while answering the odd email and pretending to work? NO! …There’s no need for in-between fakeypants work when you are working for the joy of work itself.”

    Fakeypants work. Well put. I wonder how many of us office workers would own up to this. I read of an expression a while back called Computer Face. It’s used when people are walking by your cubicle or office and you put some work related stuff up on your screen and pretend to be reading it and thinking about it.

    Some days I have more work than I can handle. Other days, I am just surfing the web and killing time, doing FakeyPants work and putting on my Computer Face. 9 hours a day of my life somedays spent like this. Wow. I know now that I need to be working hard towards FI, because sometimes this kind of life is not tolerable. Not to mention when you have boss issues etc..

    • Poor Student April 24, 2012, 12:11 pm

      George Costanza taught me how to do it. The more annoyed you look, the busier people will think you are.

      • Aimee January 11, 2016, 11:28 am

        Thankfully I have bitchy resting face which helps me look busy while I sit here all day reading MMM.

  • Greg April 23, 2012, 12:42 pm

    “If you’re sandwiched between a wall of debt and the cliff of an expensive lifestyle that you locked in for yourself back when the job seemed fun, the joyless job can be quite scary. You’ve got no options, but you need the money, so you have no choice but to continue the dance.”

    This is the quintessential why I wanna try and save as much as possible and don’t get carried away buying stupid stuff that doesn’t give me anything. Even though I just started working this month out of college I hope I won’t get carried away by consumerism.
    Have been reading your blog since last Octobre, but this is the first time I felt the urge to post :) Even though most of the things you write about don’t directly apply to me (no debt etc.) I still enjoy reading it a lot and hope it’ll make me wise enough to make smart decisions. Keep up the good work!

  • smedleyb April 23, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Can’t wait to reach that point where my mind is liberated from my current job and free to roam from one opportunity to the next. I got off the mustachian path several years ago — perhaps as a means of escaping the tedium of my 9-5 — but I’m hell bent on getting things back on track. Earn more, spend less — it’s the first and last thought of the day. My wife thinks it’s a touch unhealthy to be so consumed with FI, I think she’s insane for failing to see the urgency of it all.

    Regardless, we’re both working a little harder to earn an extra buck but spending less in the process. We’re doubling up the payments on our vanity sedan and have slashed the telecom, food, clothing, and vacation budgets. In the past we wouldn’t flinch at dropping 1K on a weekend escape. Now we just strap on our hiking boots and hit the state parks in the area, if we drive anywhere at all. And we’re saving almost double what we did last year — and last year’s savings were 25% of net, robust by mainstream financial media standards, but pretty damn average when measured inside a mustachian system of co-ordinates.

    The thrill is not gone but simply misplaced. FI is the means of recapturing it, and that thought in itself is quite thrilling.

  • Osprey April 23, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Thanks for the article Mr MM. You make so much sense. This year I’m burnt out in a job I used to love and can’t even buy my way out of the commitment. It’s been absolute hell. Luckily I learnt this lesson early in my career because there’s no way I’m going to let myself get stuck in any job again!

  • BrookeJ April 23, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Great post–no “case of the Mondays” here either! Enjoy your day.

  • Julia April 23, 2012, 4:51 pm

    I think this is the fundamental reason behind seeking financial independence/early retirement. Just because I enjoy what I’m currently doing, doesn’t mean I want to be forced to continue!

    And although you don’t have a boss nagging you to write, your dear readers certainly appreciate your posts!

  • Math Teacher April 24, 2012, 1:35 am

    What is the difference between your retirement where you run a real estate business and being self-employed? I have a chain of tutoring centers. I have employees who do most of the teaching. I handle the finances, marketing, hr and sales. I have no boss and can take any day off that I feel like. I’m not debt free (don’t own my house) but don’t I get most of the same benefits are you MMM?

    • rjack April 24, 2012, 5:48 am

      It sounds like you have a nice lifestyle business.

      I think the difference could have to do with whether your are Financially Independent or not. MMM is FI and does real estate stuff because he likes to do it. He could sell his properties tomorrow and still live a great lifestyle. This creates a different outlook on his business/hobby then he would have if he NEEDED the business to survive.

      • Mr. Money Mustache April 24, 2012, 10:23 pm

        Yeah, that sounds like a neat job, Math Teacher!

        There’s not a huge difference between owning a great business that puts very low. flexible demands on your time, and being completely financially independent.

        I wouldn’t say we really have a “real estate business”. Maybe more of a hobby that turns on and off as exciting opportunities come up. Just like I wouldn’t call this blog a business, but yet it does make me work hard occasionally.

        Overall, you need to do something with your time whether you’re retired or not. For me, being a bit of a worry wart, I was only able to really loosen up and do totally flexible things once the money part was taken care of.

        But some people are totally immune to worrying about money, even if they have none saved. For those people, financial independence may not provide as much of a life satisfaction boost as it did for me.

    • FreeUrChains April 27, 2012, 10:03 am

      In theory, once FI, you could continuously start, stop, restart any and all types of businesses (or creative inventions) you ever dreamed up while you worked for someone else. Spare Time has increased, thus giving you more freedom to truely Live. More love to share, more time to think, or more labor to volutneer to change the entire world. Once passive incomes and a very low expenses lifestyle are established, happiness flurishes from creativity, innnovation, and applications as well as relationship building and support from many friends and co-creators.

  • Expat April 24, 2012, 2:43 am

    If I had ‘dipped my toes in the pool and read novels’ when work got tough, I wouldn’t have all of the opportunities I have had these last 5 years. I’ll agree with all of the sentiment to be FI, but saying that unpleasant work is a good reason to retire is a little biased. Unpleasant work is a good motivation to consider alternative options, with early retirement being one of the more permanent ones…

  • Jen April 24, 2012, 3:27 am

    “Would a financially independent person really sit all day in a cubicle and surf mindless websites while answering the odd email and pretending to work? ”

    Beautiful. It may seem so weird to readers of this blog, but there are so many people around who don’t grasp the concept of FI. Like one of my family members: “But what are you gonna do all day?” , “You will be bored”, or my favorite – “Your life would not be meaningful”. Yeah, because the true meaning of life is prostituting yourself Monday to Friday for a monthly paycheck.

  • Berta April 24, 2012, 8:11 pm

    I love being a veterinarian but I still want to be in control of my schedule.Trading time for money is fine when you decide how many dollars & hours. I see a lot of unhappiness in jobs that don’t allow this. I am so glad I found out how to make many parts of my life tax-deductible so that I am able to have choices. MMM is great to help people realize FI is not so much about the money but what the money can give you – freedom.

    • FreeUrChains April 27, 2012, 9:43 am

      I started keeping and scanning monthly, all my receipts that shows State sales tax on them, because ALL state sales tax can be deducted next year. It averages out to about $0.50/ receipt or such, depending on expense levels.

  • FreeUrChains April 27, 2012, 9:40 am

    How about a Financial Independence Reality TV show?!!!!!!!!! The government or Rich Consumer Companies would shut it down faster then lightning! You actually show/picture the cash in physical form that is your Cash Snowball while you keep gaining your dividends and pile it up in front of the camera on your 1-90-365 day journey for season 1.

    I financial independence Video game can do the same thing. The closest video game out there, is Fable II and Fable III for Xbox. You get to buy houses of the kingdom and rent them out, earning you Gold every 5 min while you adventure freely, and you buy up whole villages as you adventure, eventually “owning” the kingdom and becoming King.
    (as you have wives and children, slay creatures, and evil bandits while you age)

  • FreeUrChains April 27, 2012, 9:53 am

    I rather have a financially independent, happy, Surgeon Operating on me for the thrill of saving a life, then a Robotic natured souless surgeon full of debts, worries, and drama.

  • Just sayin' April 11, 2015, 7:31 am

    Maybe I haven’t found the posts that cover this yet, but what about the psychology of “needing” to work. This post seemed to imply that the driving factor is money but I know there is an Overwhelming fear of quitting your job and “throwing it all away.” I’ve quit three jobs now, all to pursue some “time off” and had a fair bit of trepidation each time and none of it was over my financial situation. There’s a lot of psychological warfare over “needing a job” and proving your contributions to society, and being part of a team, and succeeding, and… that extend well past the money. I know many others who could be financially independent too, even without changing spending habits, but they can’t see the light and they still kill themselves not that slowly with their nose to the grindstone for some reason. It would be one thing about enjoying the work but often times the job has it’s death grip on you and, like the mafia, you just can’t get out of the business…

  • Be October 5, 2016, 5:06 am

    Unfortunately, I’m in the financially dependent and over working for someone else, camp.
    I experienced the new boss which was literally traumatizing (she had a lot of issues and my blunt logic was not well received) so I went into my current job grateful to have a human being for a boss. Now my brain patterns have changed so much that I value my time more than my wage but I don’t have the means to quit. Always have a backup plan, always.


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