Financially Independent or Addicted to Money?

Addicted to Money

Addicted to Money?

I have searched far and wide.  Read countless blogs and had many, many conversations.  I’ve chatted with individuals who have a net worth of six figures, seven figures, and even eight.  We use titles like financial independence and retire early for various reasons.  But no matter how well-off we are, almost everyone is still bringing in an income, even after they have reached their number.  What gives?  Are we all lying to ourselves.  Are we truly addicted to money?

Many argue that the value of money is the time it gives us.  The argument goes that when we reach financial independence, we can stop doing things to build our bank accounts.  We can start living our lives with  purpose and meaning without the ulterior motive of  material wealth.

So if we aren’t addicted to money, why monetize the blog?  Why charge consulting fees?  Shouldn’t we be volunteering our time?  How many people who have already reached FIRE are hunting for new income properties or starting their own online course? And furthermore, why are we still frugal?

I can think of a few basic reasons.

The achievement orientation

We, as a whole, are highly motivated achievers.  We came to financial independence by maximizing our wages, building businesses, and hustle.  Somewhere during those very productive years, we developed the taste for succeeding.  We like to create empires.

How does the highly motivated business mogul measure success of their new endeavor?  Profits, of course.  We don’t feel that rush of pleasure if the money is not coming in.

Sure we like to help people.  Of course we want to change the world.  But most of the time we don’t offer these services for free.

It’s not that we are addicted to money.  Not that we need the extra cash flow.  The simple answer is success.  We measure success by how much we make on a new business.

Addicted to Money

Hedging bets

Retiring early is a daunting task.  We can quote the trinity study ad nauseam, but the fact remains that previous performance is not an indicator of future performance.  The biggest fear is that the money will run dry. So what is a FIRE enthusiast to do?

Maybe instead of saving 25X, we will shoot for 30X.  But look at the Shiller-Cape Ratio!  We better settle on 40X before the well of easy cash dries up.

We are ultra conservative and therefore ultra-careful.  Why not make a little extra money on the side?  Just to be sure.

Don’t hate the player

We love the game.  Need I say more?  We are not addicted to money.  What’s separates us from the rest of the world is our veracity.

A win isn’t a win if it doesn’t come with a windfall.

I spend ridiculous amounts of time on side hustles.  I blog for free in the hopes that one day I will be able to monetize.

Why?  Why, do I do this?

It’s just who I am.

Valuism

The guys at ChooseFi call themselves valuists and I think this holds for most our community.  Even if we have the money, we don’t like to pay more for something than it’s worth.  We know that money is time.  Time is a limited resource.

We don’t believer in waste.

Summary

So are we addicted to money?

No, we are not.  We are very careful, achievement oriented people who are in love with the game.  We value some material possessions or services and thus are willing to spend on them, but we do not waste.

This was the formula that delivered us to financial independence, and I suspect most are going to stick to it.

What do you think?

Doc G

A doctor who discovered the FI community but still struggling with RE.

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12 Responses

  1. Steveark says:

    As an early retired guy who has more than enough in investments to not have to work I really found this interesting. I’m sitting in a meeting with two regulatory agencies this morning representing my clients doing something for money that I don’t need. I really don’t know why, I can only make educated guesses since few of us totally understand all our own motives. I think I do love the game, and the game loves me, it keeps me socially active, mentally sharp and I do like the fact that my withdrawal rate is zero, especially considering the stock market has been plunging like a boat anchor this week. I do tons of volunteer work, and it does a lot of good for people in need but it doesn’t satisfy the same parts of me that the paid work does. I simply enjoy the paid work more. I was going to write a post on this someday, but I don’t think I could do it as well as this, great post!

  2. Ty says:

    I’m insecure even with 8 figures… :-O

    That’s hard to admit, but I grew up in poverty and have seen a lot of troughs.

  3. JoeHx says:

    After you’re financially independent and secure, you go to the self-actualization stage of needs. The problem is self-actualization isn’t as easy to measure. There’s no units, no numbers, it just is. But money has numbers, and it’s easy to tell if you’re making more money than you did last year, or if your net worth is going up or down.

  4. Mrs. Groovy says:

    I think we’ve got enough money but time will tell. After 2 -1/2 years of blogging we haven’t monetized. And after 1-1/2 years of retirement we haven’t done a side hustle or bought real estate. We rely on passive investing, mostly, and a small pension. I value being able to do what I want with my time, even if I’m not out slaying dragons.
    Lots of food for thought here. Great post.

  5. Ms ZiYou says:

    Call them rose tinted glasses, but I think when I get to FI I’ll no longer work for money… but the proof is in the pudding, and ultimately only time will tell.

    • Doc G says:

      Hey Ms ZiYou. Love the name and blog on feminism! Welcome to the blogosphere. I thought when I reached FI I would stop working. I’m slowing down gradually. It takes time!

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