How to Hack Your Brain for FIRE

FIRECracker
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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
FIRECracker
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“How do you stick with it?”

Whenever I tell friends and family about our children’s novel, the non-profit app, or the blog, one of the questions we get asked the most is how the heck do we stick with these projects? Generally, they have no problem starting projects, but finishing them is the hard part.

One friend wanted to lose 30 pounds and joined an expensive gym.

Another wanted to start his own online business.

A third wanted to publish a novel, like us.

The first friend quit after just 2 months. Apparently, lifting weights and running on a treadmill wasn’t for him. The second one lasted 6 months. He went as far as putting together an online website, advertising his services, but when no clients showed up, he called it quits. The third one lasted a year. She wrote one manuscript, before abandoning it halfway through to start a completely different story. When she finished that story, she queried it to a handful of literary agents, only to get zero requests, so she quit.

It took us 7 years to get published, 9 years to reach financial independence, over 2 years to code and release the app, and we’ve been writing the blog for 1.5 years and counting…

When it comes to passion projects, we’re in it for the long haul. This makes our friends think we have super-human discipline and herculean levels of motivation.

But that’s not true. Hell, if that were true I wouldn’t be spending our days floating in a Hungarian spa or lounging on a beach in Thailand. Sometimes I don’t even bother putting on pants and end up chilling in my AirBnb all day (like today).

We are not exceptional. We’re normal people, just like our friends. The only difference is our approach.

Why You Can’t Stick To Things

It all boils down this simple concept:

“Willing versus Able.”

Source: Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change: Integrating Best Practices By Kathyleen M. Tomlin, Helen Richardson

The Y-axis is “willingness” or motivation—basically whether the person is “willing” to change. The more motivated they are, the higher the dot moves up the vertical axis.

The X-axis is “ableness” or confidence—basically how confident they are in achieving the goal. The higher their confidence, the more the dot moves to the right.

Once you’ve find out how motivated and confident they are, you find out where those points intersect, and this determines how likely you are to actually get shit done.

And no, I’m NOT making this up. It comes from an actual psychology book that therapists use to help patients quit smoking.

For example, someone who’s lost a relative to lung cancer might be extremely motivated to change, thus earning them a solid 9 on the “willingness” scale.

BUT, given that they’ve been a smoker for the past 30 years, have tried to quit at least 20 times, and would step over their own mother for a cigarette, they might only score a 2 on the “ableness” scale. They aren’t confident they can kick the habit.

Their chart looks like this:

If you multiply the 2 numbers from the X and Y axis, you get what I like to call “the readiness score”. In this case, their RS is 9 * 2 = 18. Which is quite low since a perfect score is 10*10 = 100 and this isn’t even halfway there.

On the other hand, someone who doesn’t believe smoking causes lung cancer and thinks smoking “looks sexy” will be very low, a 2 on the “willingness scale”.

That being said, they haven’t been smoking very long, and have sometimes gone long periods without smoking. They are quite confident they can quit, a 9 on the “able” scale, but they continue smoking because they believe it doesn’t affect their health.

This person’s chart looks like this:

Even though they have completely different reasons for why they won’t quit, their readiness score is the same—18.

Once we realized this, it actually explained why some of our past projects never took off.

When We Face-Planted

photo credit: felixtsao @ Flickr

Swap-It

Waaay back in 2008 we tried to launch a website called “Swap-It.” It was basically a “swap meet” site where people can trade their stuff without using money. That project lasted all of 4 months because a) I hated coding and b) back then web dev tools were sucky. It took way too much time and effort to make a flashy-looking site. I also wasn’t confident that idea was novel enough and quickly lost the motivation to keep going. On the “Willing versus Able Chart”, this project was scored a crappy 4*3 = 12.

Two Nerds. One Dream.

We also tried to launch a blog for writers, “Two Nerds One Dream”, documenting our publishing journey in 2011. Not only did we blog infrequently (we were too busy writing the novel), we didn’t have the authority to teach people about writing since we weren’t published ourselves. That project quickly died a dignified but well-deserved death eight months later. All was not lost, because we did meet quite a few fellow writers along the way, but when we pulled the plug on that sucker, it had a pathetic 500 total page views in 8 months…and most of that was probably just ourselves testing the site and reviewing posts. The google adsense revenue from this project? 11 whole cents.

The readiness score for this project? 8 on the motivation scale, 3 on the confidence scale, giving us 8*3= 24, slightly better than the “Swap It” project, which is why we actually launched the damned thing. But because our confidence was low, we couldn’t keep up the momentum and it didn’t take off.

Now, let’s look at how the chart looks for the projects we DID finish:

When We Succeeded

Little Miss Evil:

On this project, we scored a 10 for motivation/willingness and an 8 for confidence/ableness. We were super motivated to write the book (since it’s my childhood dream) and by this time we already had 3 failed manuscripts under our belt and a group of helpful, supportive writing partners. That’s why our confidence was super-charged up to a 8 (it wasn’t a 10 since there were other factors outside our control, like market timing, and whether parents would let their kids read a book about super-villains, etc) . So overall our RS was a solid 10*8 = 80! Triple our score for “Two Nerds One Dream” and 7 times our score for “Swap it”. No wonder we ended up getting published.

Non-Profit App:

We knew that one of the reasons “Swap it” failed was because it didn’t have any marketing power behind it, which caused us to lose confidence. However, when we made the non-profit app, we had the force of an entire non-profit organization behind us, so we knew they had the marketing power to push this thing. Also, since we started coding the app in 2015, the tools were MILES ahead of the tools we had in 2008. This meant that with little effort we could “prettify” the app without having to do everything from scratch. This pushed our confidence to 8 and our motivation to 9 (since we felt strongly about the underlying cause), giving us an overall RS of 9*8= 72—six times higher than our score for “Swap-It.”

Becoming Financially Independent:

Even though we had tried countless online business ideas (There were so many ideas we tried that never panned out), and no matter how promising they sounded at first, and how hard we work at them, they all fizzled out.

The main reason was that there were too many factors outside our control and this caused our confidence to plummet.

Becoming FI was different. FI was a mathematically proven, pragmatic process that we could measure and move towards in a systematic way. Which is why so many of our business ideas failed, but FI was a success. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was simple and unlike most of the other projects we tried, a lot of the pieces were under our control. We knew it was doable, we knew we could do it, and my stressful, soul-sucking job motivated me like crazy.

So on the motivation scale we were a 10 and on the confidence scale, we were a 9, giving us a 10*9= 90, the highest RS out of ALL our projects. We made a plan, tracked our progress, and got to our goal within 9 years, just as we predicted.

And because we became FI, all our dreams came true.

Which brings us to this blog.

The Truth About the Millennial Revolution

photo credit: Nick Youngson

We built Millennial Revolution, not to make money, but to tell the truth. The truth about investing, the truth about retiring, the truth about what happens when you escape the rat race to live life on your own terms.

One of the things you may have noticed about me, if you’ve been reading this blog, is how much I hate bullshit. My hatred for bullshit far exceeds my hatred for overpriced housing, and that’s saying a lot. So what does a straight-shooter do when they discover a magical red pill and break out of the Matrix? Shout about it from the rooftops of course!

But for those who are listening, the question then becomes, how “willing and able” are you to reach FI?

Because on the scales of “willing” and “able,” the “willing” part is easy. If you’re reading this blog, you’re already motivated. And besides, who doesn’t want more freedom and more money?

But confidence? That’s another story.

We know first hand how frustrating and confusing the investing world is. Wall Street and Bay Street designed it to be confusing on purpose, so you’ll hand over all your money for them to “manage,” which is shorthand for pillage and steal.

That’s why whenever we get an email from someone saying “should I use this robo-advisor” or “should I invest with this guy?” my answer is always: Never hand over control of your money to someone else because you don’t understand what you’re doing. Read the Millennial Revolution Investment Workshop, increase your investment knowledge, become confident in what you’re doing, and only THEN decide who you should trust with your portfolio.

So many people email us saying “I am SO confused about money, I don’t know where to start!” But just as many people email us saying “I used to be clueless, but I read your blog and it explained things in a way I actually understand. I think I get it now.”

Those are the most rewarding emails to read, because that’s basically what we’re trying to do with this weird little blog of ours. If we can help a few people become confident about their money, inspire another few people to live life on their own terms, and taunt a few haters for shits and giggles, then Mission Accomplished.

So let’s hear from you. How confident are you about your money? What’s your Readiness Score? And what can we do to help?

42 thoughts on “How to Hack Your Brain for FIRE”

  1. I really like this concept! I haven’t looked at it this way, but it makes a lot of sense the we need both the willingness and the ability/confidence to achieve our goals and stick with our pursuits. I think Mr. Adventure Rich and I do pretty well, but we still have room for improvement on both fronts (maybe an 7 or 8 on the ability and a 6 on the willingness scale?). I’ll keep coming back to these charts for a little motivation 🙂

    1. Another thing to note from experience is that motivation increases over time. As you see your portfolio go up and getting closer to the goal, your motivation increases. At at least that’s what happened to us throughout the years. People tend to be motivated more when they see their hard work yield results 🙂

  2. That’s such a great way to think about goals, especially relating to FI. 😀

    Sometimes I have to check myself if I’m trying to do to many things at once, as my overall cumulative, theoretical willingness level only goes so high!

    1. “trying to do too many things at once” is something we struggled with too. As it turns out, focusing on one task at a time (or at most two) ends up being WAY more effective. Easier said than done, of course, considering I have the attention span of a squirrel 😛

  3. Great way to think about confidence and motivation FireCracker!

    I really related to the part about what was under your control as a major factor in your success — my own business ventures have worked out very similar.

    Success has very little to do with hopes and dreams (in my opinion). Confidence can be built, but it takes time (and the appropriate math/science doesn’t hurt either).

    There’s no substitute for absolute determination however (motivation in your terminology).

    1. Yup, I think that’s why FI worked out better than most of the businesses/projects we tried. Way more things within your control. The market is generally outside our control, but we could still mitigate with backup plans.

      And your absolutely right about confidence developing over time. The more experience you have in something, the more confident you get.

  4. Awesome post! You always seem to make abstract concepts a lot more concrete :). This RS scale is amazing. For FI I’m a 10 on the motivation scale and I think an 8 on the confidence scale, so 80 overall. I’m completely confident that I can do it, but know things like the market and my job security are not exactly in my control (I’ve been laid off 3 times in 6 years – oh marketing you roller coaster you).

    1. Wow, 80! That’s great! Sorry to hear about the layoffs, it sucks.

      On the plus side, once you become FI, you no longer have to worry about them. They are one of the reasons my motivation went up to 10 🙂

      1. All very true! I actually don’t mind lay offs and usually look forward to them. I always have a topped up emergency fund, was usually planning to quit anyway (I have a short attention span) and am able to increase my salary about 20% each time I move…So now that I think about it – it sounds like I’m able to retire much earlier BECAUSE of lay offs. Huh.

        Anyway, I’ll work on getting my confidence to 10. Then I’ll be unstoppable mwahaha!

        1. HA HA. That’s awesome, Semira. I’ve never heard of anyone kicking so much ass at getting laid off before. But you’re right, if you’re skilled, you end up getting a good severance package and increasing your salary when you change jobs. It happened to one of my friends too.

          You’re already unstoppable! Just keep being you!

  5. I love this post! For me, the ability/confidence really has to letting go of the idea of failure. I was a high achiever all my life, but that made me incredibly afraid of failure since most of my achievements came without failure. I wish I had encountered more failure in my life so I didn’t let every little roadblock totally deflate my motivation!

    1. Oh man, I can SO relate to your fear of failure. Throughout most of my life, I’ve been taught that failure is bad, but in fact, it’s actually essential for learning and growing.

      In my case, what helped was working on those projects that failed in the past. You fail, and you realize it didn’t kill you, and then the next time, you’re less afraid. That helps build your confidence that you won’t be doomed the next time you fail.

      1. I find it amazing watching little kids in question/answer videos! They rebound so quickly from getting an answer wrong. They just literally are like “Oh, that’s wrong? Ok!” and move on. I need to take a lesson out of their book 😛

        I agree, though, the more you fail the more you become a little less affected by the idea of it! It is still a little like a muscle though. If you don’t encounter failure for a long time, you kind of start feeling anxious about it again.

        1. That’s so true. I think that’s why it’s good to do things that scare you every now and then, so you can build up that muscle. I think that’s why I like travelling, because by not knowing the language you automatically become unconformable and encounter some failure and embarrassment each day. You learn to laugh at yourself, pick up a few phrases and words, and then build confidence. Getting too complacent causes us to be afraid to fail.

  6. FIRECracker and Wanderer are the wind beneath our wings! This is such a great way of looking at projects!

    My FI RS: willing 9, able 6 (increasing by 1-2 every couple of years as my circumstances align better)

    I’ll take longer than many, but that’s A-OK.

    1. 54 is pretty good! You’re above the half-way point and I suspect it will increase over time.

      Doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, as long as you eventually get there. The time will pass anyway. Good attitude!

  7. Not really related to this post but I keep meaning to ask you guys what platform you develop apps for: iEverything or Android? Or does one of you do the Android version and the other the Apple one? 😉

    1. Good question. We wanted to avoid having to redo work for each platform so we build a web app and used Cordova to compile it into a mobile app. That way it works on all platforms (Android and Apple). No need to duplicate work 🙂

  8. First off, thanks for sharing some of your failed pursuits. All too often people only talk about the things that go well, yet it is oh so important to recognize that life is never that perfect. Now I don’t feel so bad about some of the things I’ve given up on or those that didn’t go as planned. I reckon it is time to re-evaluate some of my goals and place a big RS number on it. Maybe I can start tackling some of my passion projects and see if this new approach impacts the outcome.

    1. Definitely don’t feel bad about failed projects. There’s no way we would’ve finished the successful projects or gotten any of them to take off without the failures. The idea that people just become “overnight successes” is a lie. There’s usually decades of hard work and mountains of failures behind them.

      So give the RS system a try. I’ll love to hear from you how it pans out!

  9. Marketing is also the thing I am most unsure about when it comes to our project we are working on. I have been doing a lot of research over the years and have a few different strategies in mind. It should work on paper but I’m not sure how it will pan out when I put it into practice. My spouse is a really good artist but when it comes to managing anything he is a horrible procrastinator so the responsibility of running the business is largely going to fall on me and I am more of a “jack of all trades” and consultant. I am not really good at anything but I can get by better than average on most things so I am a decent artist, musician, business person etc. and because I dabble in so many different things I am good at coming up with ideas and solutions to problems but when it comes to following through on them i’m better at tasking other people to get things done because I’m not very confident in doing them well.

    And yes, reaching FI was a lot easier and more straightforward to achieve then pursuing a successful passion project. The good thing is that now that we have reached FI we have plenty of time to put into our other endeavors and make them succeed.

    Your blog has helped me so much, I wish I could tell more people about it but as I’ve mentioned before most of the people I know are not in a position to be able to do this due to living paycheck to paycheck because of low paying jobs and not extravagant spending, it would seem more like I’m just rubbing my success in their faces rather than actually trying to help them. Even now most people we know just know that we have moved to a place that is cheap to live and I am working from home to support us while my spouse tries to work on his art career, investment portfolios aren’t even part of the equation as far as they know we are just taking a few years off of working full time to make a go of things. When people check in on me I automatically just start downplaying things so I am not bragging about how awesome things are for us.

    When we both worked full time but were able to go home most days and just cook a nice dinner and work on art, hang out with our cat and play video games I would always tell my spouse how happy I was and we’d always agree how lucky we felt to be able to have the lives we have. Now that we are FI and have even more time to do all those things I feel super fortunate all the time and if I hadn’t found this blog I’d never have come up with the idea to sell our place and move here.

    1. Liz, you seem to be very self-aware about your skills, and that’s one of the keys to success when it comes to passion projects. Earlier on the game, I had no idea just much we sucked at marketing, and because of that lack of self-awareness, we didn’t try to improve or bother working with people who were actually good at it. So in your case, you’re already WAY ahead of us in that aspect.

      As for whether the marketing strategies will pan out, you’d have to try and see. The biggest advantage you have is that you are FI, so you can keep trying and tweaking, trying and tweaking until you succeed. Without becoming FI first, I’m 100% certain, we would’ve given up on our passion projects because motivation would’ve been down at 3 or 4 (I would’ve asked myself “what’s the point if I can’t support myself with the book or the app?”).

      I’m so glad the blog has helped you! And I’m in the same boat when it comes to talking to friends and family about FI. That’s why I love the online FIRE community because it’s the one place I can truly be my authentic self. In real life, I tend to change the subject quickly when other people ask about it, because they get all defensive and I just don’t feel like spending the energy to convince them. That’s why I’m so pumped about the Chautauquas! Finally a whole room full of like-minded people and we can talk about FI forever!

      1. yeah, when we were working full time everything else got put off because we worked all day and didn’t want to be working when we got home although I did spend a lot of time doing research and my spouse did spend a lot of time doing art, we never felt like actually going through with anything though. I kind of feel the same way now since I am still working part time. I was ready to go all in trial by fire style and quit my job and try to make this work but when my boss offered me this work from home gig I agreed to take it because it would be a safer option but since working 4 hours a day combined with our portfolio is more than enough to live on I don’t feel the pressure to go hard into working on the art business. If I wasn’t working from home we’d either slowly be losing money or we’d have to try to make money off our art which would be doable but would mean my spouse would have to focus on doing commissions instead of working on our project so for the time being it’s better if I am the one working.

  10. Another interesting view on things.

    The wife and I score a solid 100 on the chart when it comes to acheiving FI. We have been absolutely killing it over the last 4.5 years. The strong stock market has helped, so we can’t take all the credit.

    Some may say we are already FI. We still have a couple years to go according to our own math. Our ability to get as far as we have in such as short amount of time, as well as our willingness to live way below our means is a testament to our motivation.

    Now, when it comes to maintaining my Blog… Well, that’s another story. I’m a halfway decent writer, however, ability takes a hit due to work taking up so much of my time as I feed my insatiable appetite for FI. Motivation… Well, I started out on a roll. However, writing and editing is a time consuming process as you know, and time has been hard to come by. I’ve started to seriously question if it is truly worth my time to blog when I can earn a decent rate with side work.

    With that said, I have recently taken a part time job and kicked my awful full time job to the curb. It’s a bit scary considering how much income I may be giving up, however, we are at a point where I can safely do so. Perhaps a side benefit is my ability and motivation to start blogging again will increase. Right now, blogging is at a measly 40 on the charts.

    1. Wow! 100 RS on FI! Amazing. Like you said, you’re probably already there or just inches from the finish line.

      As for blogging, I suspect that 40 will go up now that you’ve gone down to part-time. We had no time to blog about writing back when we were working and writing the children’s novel. That’s why that blog failed. So time is definitely a factor here. Especially since full time work tends to sap all your energy, so when you get home, your motivation is just down in the dumps. Going down to part-time should help you a lot!

  11. I struggle with the confidence because I know my expenses will not remain constant, particularly after I have kids my expenses will go up and I know I won’t be able to save as much. I know y’all have written blogs about how having kids doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg but they still do cost money so the confidence part of the hard part for me!

    1. I can understand that confidence will go down due to some expenses that are outside your control. That being said, getting to FI is not a race, so getting there slower is still better than not getting there at all. The time will pass anyway, so as long as you work towards it, you will reach your goal.

  12. This is really an eye opener! It allows us to determine how likely a goal can be achieved. For us, FI would look like 9, and a 7 for confidence as there are factors beyond my control.
    Hopefully we can tweak the confidence up more in the near future.
    Thank you for sharing !

    1. 63 is a pretty good score. I’ve found that confidence improves over time as you get closer to your goal. Keep going!

  13. Interesting post about yours and your friend’s journeys.

    You are so right about the need to be motivated and the need to able to.

    To reach FI and to lose weight, We were motivated by FEAR and we were able too by learn from friends/family. It took the perfect storm to force us to change.

    We are currently age 52.

    >>> FI – Heard of re-org that will affect me negatively and of future laid offs in 2009. I told my wife that I will have to quit if that bad mgr becomes my boss. This lit a fire under my ass to find a way out. We always saved 50% of our incomes starting from 1991. We feared the stock market and all of our money are in CDs. Close family friend lost a lot of money in the stock but he told us about individual 5% Municipal Bonds.
    We needed to prepared to be jobless asap!
    – in 2010, we cut expenses from 56K to 40K
    – dumped life savings into building up a 5% municipal bond portfolio.
    – in 2012 the bad re-org happened but the bad mgr I feared was laid off! Total of 350 ppl were laid.
    – in 2012, we generated 40K in tax free interest from muni bonds to cover expenses. Not quite FI since it did not include 20K for healthcare.
    – in 2014, we generated 66K and now we are FI.
    – in 2016 about 500 ppl were laid off including my wife but we had NO stress.
    – in 2017 another 150 will be laid off.
    – in 2017 our 4-5% muni bond generates 87K tax free.
    – we continued to buy bonds each year. It takes many years, commitment and sacrifice to reach FI.

    >>>> Losing weight – need to lose weight due to higher A1C, HBP and high cholestrol. Parents are both sides are diabetic, have HBP and high cholestrol. We prefer NOT taking any drugs and want to be healthier. We feared being like other relatives taking so many meds. We learned from my aunt and uncle by eating better.

    3 and 2 years ago my wife and I started a life style change, respectively.

    Wife started 3 years but eating less white carbs such as bagels for breakfast and she lost 7 lbs and as of today she lost 16 lbs.

    I started exactly 2 years ago. COLD TURKEY. JUST Stopped eating rice, noodles, breads, etc (white carbs) Mon thru Friday. In 10 weeks I lost 18 lbs. in 4 months I lost 23 lbs. Went from waist 33″ to 29″ and from 155 to 132 lbs.

    Our BMIs were 25s and now our BMIs are less than mid 22s.

    This is NOT a diet. It is a life style change that we are committed too. We eat a lot veggies, fruits and a protein like fish, chicken and pork.

    It is not easy. I excerise 6 days a week (just 1 mile on the thread mill and some hand weights) and wife does kick boxing twice a week. This year I got lazy by not excerising as much and eating out too often. I gained 9 lbs but in the last 2 months I lost 7 lbs and I need to lose the remaining 2.5 lbs to get back to 132 lbs.

    We told other ppl about how we reached FI and how we lose weight but 99% of them do not listen. I told my co-workers about our muni bonds and about future laid offs but they thought we were doom and gloom. They continued to spend money on new cars and larger condos/houses. After the multiple laid offs, they finally believe us but it is too late for them. They frantically look for jobs after they were laid off. Almost all of them took 7 months to find a new job.

    Adam

    1. Holy shit, that is an AWESOME story. Thanks for sharing!

      Fear of layoffs was a big motivation for me too and helped us get to FI faster. Kudos to you for everything you’ve accomplished!

      I can’t believe you stopped eating carbs cold turkey. That must take an inhuman amount of discipline. In my case, I switched to Paleo a few years ago (with a few cheats, here and there), and it helped A LOT. No other diet worked. Because instead of deprivation, Paleo let me stay full longer and eat delicious things with healthy fats (I don’t know why people are so afraid of fat. It’s carbs that makes you fat). Now that we’ve been travelling, I haven’t had to pay attention to my diet as much. I ended up losing weight and staying fit from walking and moving around a lot. No more eating junk food to combat boredom or stress!

      Congrats on becoming FI and losing so much weight!

      1. Thanks! It is SO difficult to lose weight. Been trying for over 10 years and just kept gaining. Used work stress as an excuse to binge eat junk food which affected our health. Then my uncle and aunt told us that they stopped eating white carbs and they each drank one litter of veggie smoothies each day. Yuck, I cant drink that stuff without tons of sugar.

        My wife just started making the veggie smoothies in the morning for the past month and she is OK with it.

        We find it SO difficult to not eat chips whenever we like. We used to eat 2 bags a week! We stopped that 3 years ago. Wife loves bread! I gave up the white carbs pretty easily even though I love rice. We cheat by eating a bag of chips every couple of months.

        I am glad that the Paleo diet works for you and to keep it up.

        Congrats on the success of this blog, your retirement and your travels. I dont comment too often but I LOVE all of your travel posts except for the one where so many people were killed. I could not read something so depresssing.

        Adam

  14. Yaaaaas. Willing + able can equal success if it all falls into place. For example, it’s been a rollercoaster for me making exercise a daily habit. It takes forever just to get the will to work out. And then some days I’m excited to work out, but I’m sick or unable to workout because of my schedule. Bah! But it’s about ditching those excuses and still making things happen. Life ain’t fair.

    1. I hate working out too. Back when we were working, we tried to work out 2-3 times a week by weight lifting and treadmill running. Turns out it’s WAY easier to lose weight just by travelling (especially to Asia). The food seems to be all organic or at least unprocessed, so I end up metabolizing it much quicker.

      Swimming helps a lot too. I get bored when I used to work out but swimming is super fun! (at least it is for me).

      1. That’s true! I was lucky enough to spend a month with my sister in Korea and I lost a lot of weight. The lifestyle is so much healthier there! And the food is lighter too, but still filling. 🙂

  15. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and I have to say that you two are so much wiser than I was at your age. I wish I new about investing and FI much sooner. I’m turning 42 in a month and I have about 465k saved up and invested. However I only started investing three years ago and made a lot of rookie mistakes. As a result my portfolio did not grow much. My job is killing me and crushing my spirit everyday, and I wish to god that I can just quit and not look back like you guys. I definitely have the motivation and i save 48% of my gross paycheck while getting taxed at 35%. I maxed out my 401k for the last two years(kicking myself for not doing that sooner). I’ve lived frugally and spend very little my entire life. So I think I’m doing everything that I can possibly do right now but a little late and not sure if I can hang in there with my job. Can I retire with 500k? I think the answer is no.

    1. First of all, kudos for having 465K in your portfolio! Since the average American savings rate is 4.4% and yours is 48% I’d say, you’re doing pretty well!

      Also, 465K is a big chunk of FU money…even if the passive income from it is not enough to cover all your expenses, it still gives you the option to switch jobs, scale down to part time (not sure whether this is possible in your field), or get a side gig going to supplement your expenses and quit.

      Would you be willing to move to a lower cost area? You could scale down to a less stressful, lower paying job and decrease your expenses. Having FU money gives you options.

  16. Absolutely amazing post! This is just what we needed. The hubby and I became debt free earlier this year and discovered FI and it’s definitely our goal! Trying to learn everything has been overwhelming and I still don’t have a grasp on it yet. I feel like sometimes I overwhelm myself with the “willingness” aspect, but then it all gets shot down by my lack of confidence. So I will definitely persevere will learning, building confidence, and go back to wonderful resources like your investment workshop! I also bought the book, The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing so I can get a better understanding of investing. Thank you so much for all you guys do! You are definitely making a difference!

    1. I’m glad it was helpful, mrsknott90! I know it seems all very overwhelming at first–it was like that for us as well. But we didn’t learn all this overnight. It took a lot of time and mistakes to figure it out. So don’t worry, your confidence will improve over time! As long as the willingness is there, you can build up the ableness.

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