financial independence dreams

Yesterday I discovered this dude, and I spent much of  the day reading through his blog archives.
Mr. Money Mustache is a radical anti-consumerism, pro-frugality advocate. He retired comfortably at age 30 or so on a normal (combined) income. Now he blogs about it.

As a man with a dream* myself, one that isn't going to to wait until I'm 65, I found this extremely interesting. I've always secretly believed that your optimism could be strong enough to conquer seemingly unrealistic challenges with ease. Simultaneously I've always felt kinda silly and childish for believing I could beat the system.

Well it's refreshing to hear from someone who has beaten it and feels great about the result. What I like is that he systematically unpacks the factors that keep people spending more than they need to on stuff that doesn't make them happy, and then offers alternatives. He talks about the billions spent on advertising to convince us that we need to buy manufactured goods and overpriced services. And he frames it in an amusing call to man up and grow a money mustache.

It is in fact exactly the kind of advice that you CANNOT find in the mainstream media, because it challenges the underlying assumptions of the entire framework of consumerism. Little ideas like, what if we took our enormous collective wealth and spent it on more leisure time with our families, instead of on more stuff? Anyway he's kindof a zealot but I'm really enjoying the perspective.

Many of his goals and conclusions are familiar to Annie and I, since we started our financial adventure together years ago: a) rental properties are a great deal for the landlord right now b) fancy houses and cars are a cash drain c) Vanguard index funds FTW, d) cable television, and fancy furniture are not for us. e) restaurants are expensive so use them for special occasions. f) cooking is awesome. g) walking/biking as much as you can is awesome. h) time with family is really important. i) some things ARE worth splurging on. Just pick them carefully.

It's good to hear from someone further down the trail. This is going to become my default money advice destination. Financial independence is a touchy subject I think. It's full of inherent implied or inferred lifestyle judgments that I generally try to avoid, and that makes the whole topic a bit taboo. But it's also crucially important! So finding a way to talk about it is important to me.

*I want to retire with $2M+ net worth around age 40, and then spend the rest of my time building a castle** with my own hands (and power tools).
** modern, castle-inspired structure, ideal for multiple families and guests to live harmoniously, close to the land, with awesome amenities like secret passages, aquaponics operations, and a full shop.


  1. Yeah, this guy is basically along the same direction as me, too, just way more out there.

    I don't think I'm going to be at $2M until 55 or so, but this guy would say that because I only spent about $30K last year, I only need about $600K total. (And further that I should try to spend much less...)

    Somehow this seems precarious to me but I don't have a fully rational counter-argument. Maybe part of the thing for me is that I still enjoy my basically traditional career (in part because I know I don't need any particular job and so can do what I think is right without any kind of fear of losing it).

    And yeah, woo Vanguard index funds. I need to help Kirsten get her excess funds into one...

    1. Yeah I agree.. while I can see that in theory I could live off of 600k, it doesn't really feel comfortable, and I don't mind working some extra years to attain that level of comfort. But the good thing is that once I have that 600k I can be a lot more picky about what kind of job I take.

      Man if you enjoy working, more power to you! I sure don't. Ha.

  2. Hey wait, I've already run across this blog, too!

    It was this post:

    It made the good, and unintuitive, point that your time to financial independence is based only on the fraction (not absolute amount) of your income that you spend (vs save).

  3. Thanks for the link! This guy's philosophy is up my alley too, but I'd never heard of him.