The Things People Sacrifice for Money : Why I'm Actually Against FIRE but Didn't Use to Be

The Things People Sacrifice for Money

Why I'm Actually Against FIRE but Didn't Use to Be

By Adam Mundorf

The Things People Sacrifice for Money
The importance of looking rich, acting rich and the focus on money in today's society is extremely common.  People will do just about anything to earn a buck including sacrificing their morality, self worth, time, imagination and physical health.  Whether it's porn, sexual acts, your prime years and emotional eating to drown out the lack of fulfillment from your job........there is no limit on what people will do for money.  A while back, I learned how shallow the pursuit of money is.  It's no secret to those reading this blog that I enjoy personal finance, investing and the pursuit of making your money work for you long term with minimal effort.    I'm still a proponent of working hard but Jesus Christ, have some perspective and don't sacrifice things that are hard or impossible to ever get back.

Why I'm Actually Against FIRE (Financial Independence/Retired Early) but Didn't Use to Be
Back when I began investing I came across a community online called 'FIRE'.  It's an acronym for 'Financial Independence/Retired Early'.  These people had a lot of similarity to my approach of index investing, saving and budgeting but somewhere along the way I noticed the dysfunction of many of these individuals/couples.  These people were sacrificing so much for a pipe dream of retirement.  They oftentimes were sacrificing their body, mind, emotions, relationships and youth in the pursuit of more.  In many cases, when these people reached their 'number' for retirement, they looked back and realized they wasted so much time on something that isn't what you think......

Retirement sucked for most.  I can count on two hands the amount of people I've seen bust their ass for years, wasting their youth and then going to retire only to instantly get sick/die a couple years later.  I've been there.  I reached my number for retirement quite a few years ago and experimented with leave from the workforce numerous times.  Let me tell you, retirement is not it and early retirement certainly is dysfunctional.  Instead of plowing ahead and wasting your youth/health/time, I suggest a different route :  

  1. Choose a job that pays the bills
    1. If you have a ton of obligations, that's probably your fault.  Your bills will be different than someone who made the right choices.  Own it.
    2. Don't aim for all the money (you'll never make it and it'll never be enough) but the key word here is enough.
  2. Get Your Employer Match for your 401k
    1. Get that employer match if available for your 401k.
    2. This will pay dividends and is pretty much 'free money'.
  3. Put at least 3 to 6 months of money away (emergency fund)
    1. This will give you peace of mind and give you a safety net.
  4. Budget enough money to pay your bills but leave enough to live a little.
    1. Put enough money to budget with a LITTLE bit extra.
    2. Spend the rest on things you want to do.  Enjoy life.  We never know when it will end.
  5. Invest some Money into a Roth IRA
    1. Invest your remaining money into a Roth IRA until maxed.
    2. This will allow you to continue investing past just your 401k
  6. If You Have Money Left Over
    1. Continue funding your 401k until maxed out.
      1. This won't be possible for many without great sacrifice.
This is not a comprehensive list, if you want something more, I suggest you go to Reddit and look up the personal finance flowchart.  I'll be honest with you, steps 5 through 6 are probably optional.  Do it if you want but if it prevents you from enjoying the present, skip them.

The goal is not to die with the most money or the biggest house.  It's to live and enjoy the present but with the future in mind.  I see too many people die without enjoying the fruits of their labor.  Life is fleeting so please realistically indulge yourself.

Build up your physical bank account.  Master your health and in turn save money on preventable medical bills.

Work on your mental strength and in turn lower stress which will lead to better health.

Delve into philosophical topics and in turn learn what really matters in life. (Hint : material possessions aren't it).  You'll probably find that simple wants are the way to enlightenment thus needing less money to get by.

Build and identify your Moral Compass.  You can't put a price on doing the right thing.

You won't have the most money but you'll have a word that's rare in modern society : Enough.

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