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Overcoming The Downer Of No Longer Making Maximum Money

Do you know what is really hard? Deciding to walk away from a whole lot of money in your prime. If you decide to retire early or take a lower-paying job out of joy, you must accept the death of your maximum money potential.

Over the years, many readers looking to retire early or do something more fun but less lucrative have found it difficult to walk away. After all, working for just one more year will boost your savings that much more!

Then ten years go by and they regret sacrificing so much time for money. Time lost with friends and family. Journeys not taken. Businesses not built. Passions not followed. The list goes on.

If you don’t enjoy your job, this regret of pursuing more money will sting even worse. Therefore, make sure if you choose money, to make the most of your free time.

This post will share how you can quit the pursuit of always making more money to live a more fulfilling life. Because once you get to your target stretch income, the joy won’t last for more than a month. You’ll then naturally try and make even more money.

The cycle never ends until you learn how to break it.

Breaking The Golden Handcuffs Is Hard

At age 34, I was making a base salary of $250,000. Come year-end, my bonus would range between $0 to $500,000. Instead of suffering from the one more year syndrome for one more year, I decided to quit the money by negotiating a severance instead.

If I hadn’t left my job and averaged a realistic $500,000 a year in total compensation since 2012, I would have made $5 million by now. And if I had gotten regular raises and promotions, maybe I would have made more than $7 million after ten years.

Damn, perhaps I should have stayed in finance after all!

The more you make, the harder it is to walk away. Conversely, the less you make, the easier it is to take more chances.

I told myself back in 2011 that if I didn’t leave soon, I probably never would break free from the golden handcuffs. Many people who dislike working in finance, management consulting, and big tech after a while have this same problem. It’s hard to drop your maximum money potential.

However, if you’re unhappy with your current situation, as I was, you must find a solution to overcome the desire for more money. Once you make enough to have your basics covered, more money truly doesn’t bring more happiness unless you enjoy what you do.

How To Be OK With No Longer Making Maximum Money

Everybody has the ability to make a certain amount of money. Income has a range that usually increases the older you get.

Rational people are also realistic with how much money they can potentially make. If you decide to work for the government, you know your pay will be within a very tight band. Alternatively, if you decide to become an entrepreneur, your income upside is unlimited.

Let me share with you the steps I took to be at peace with no longer trying to make maximum money. In the process of walking away, I also lost my title and became a nobody. For some, walking away from status and prestige is even more difficult than walking away from money. We all want to stay relevant somehow.

To clarify, this post is not so much about early retirement. It’s more about saying no to a promotion or a job transfer that requires more work for more money. It’s also about taking a new job that brings you more meaning, but doesn’t pay as well. Early retirement is an extreme example that isn’t for everybody.

1) Envision What Your Life Would Be Like Making More

The easiest way to imagine how your life would be different if you made maximum money is to analyze the life of your boss.

The two most observable things include their house and car. The type of car your boss drives may be misleading given they may drive their dough car to work and leave their show car at home.

However, when you make a lot of money, the one thing you tend to splurge on is your home. After all, we’re spending a lot more time at home post-pandemic.

Find the address of your boss’s home and ask yourself whether this is the type of home you aspire to own. Just be aware your boss may be a Financial Samurai reader and purposefully downgrade the features of their home to stay more stealth.

The next step to discover what life would be like making more money is guessing whether your boss has a happy home life.

Is s/he single, happily married, or bitterly divorced? Are his or her kids well-adjusted or in rehab? Do his or her kids attend good schools? Are they still living at home as adults because they were neglected by workaholic parents? Obviously, these are judgement calls you must make.

The final step to deciding whether you want to make maximum money is to rate your boss’s overall happiness at work. Use a scale of 1 – 10 after deciding what your rating is.

Is she coming into work and leaving at a reasonable hour? Or is she constantly burning the midnight oil? Or maybe she’s living the dream working from her vacation home in Hawaii while commanding you to work in the office. If your boss is making big bucks while hardly working, then you will certainly be more motivated to stay on!

After several years of working together, you should be able to get a good idea of what your boss’s lifestyle is like. You must then make a calculated decision as to whether your pursuit of more money is worth it.

Not An Exact Science Analyzing Your Boss’s Lifestyle

Of course, you won’t necessarily replicate your boss’s lifestyle. Maybe he is generally a moody and miserable person. And maybe you are a jovial person who takes a more optimistic outlook on things. However, a lot of stress in life comes from your responsibilities at work and the activities you do to make money. Therefore, be realistic with your comparisons.

Personally, I liked my immediate supervisor. She was the most hard-working and optimistic person in the office. Go Kathryn! However, she didn’t have jurisdiction over my pay or promotion. She was more of a figurehead given we worked in a satellite office. My career was determined by my bosses in New York City and Hong Kong.

My boss in NYC was actually the same level as me, Executive Director, but five years older. I knew he had to get promoted to Managing Director first before I could. Therefore, at minimum, I had to wait another three years. That was too much time to waste.

My NY-based boss was an OK guy. But he was not charismatic or inspiring. He also looked very unhealthy, which is something that disturbed me. I was paranoid that if I worked as long and as hard as him, I might one day look and feel like him.

There are many stories of relatively young people dying from heart attacks in high-stress work environments. Further, I was already suffering from plenty of chronic health issues due to all the stress.

I had the belief the richer you are, the fitter you should be because you can afford to eat healthier foods, hire trainers, and so forth. Therefore, his poor health made me wonder whether our work was somehow taking years off his life. If I worked until his age, would my health also disintegrate? I became a little paranoid.

There is no point having a lot more money if you are unhealthy or die young. Having to work for 5 to 10 more years to potentially make 100% more was no longer worth it to me.

2) Calculate The Minimal Amount Necessary To Be Happy

The minimal amount of money necessary to be happy equals being able to cover your core living expenses: food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and children (if any).

Some researchers believe once you make over $75,000 a year, your happiness no longer increases. Inflation adjusted, that figure is about $100,000 today. $100,000 might be great for someone living in Des Moines Iowa, but it’s not that great for someone living in an expensive coastal city. Adjusting for the cost of living is important.

In 2012, after carefully analyzing my income since graduating college in 1999, I decided that making $200,000 a year was the ideal income for maximum happiness living in San Francisco or Honolulu.

My investment income was generating about $80,000 a year, my wife was making about $120,000 a year, and I was earning some supplemental online income as well. Thus, I felt taking a risk and leaving work behind was OK in 2012. Worst case, I would go back to work after a couple of years.

By the time my wife retired in 2015, we were able to generate closer to $150,000 a year in passive income. Although we were $50,000 a year short, I had confidence that we’d eventually get to $200,000 and beyond if I regularly reinvested my growing online income.

Analyze your budget for the previous three months to calculate your core living expenses. Treat your analysis like a pop quiz since. For the next three months, observe whether your core living expenses truly are enough to make you satisfied. If not, keep spending a little more each month until you find that perfect minimum monthly expenditure.

Now work backward and see whether your existing capital and supplemental income activities can cover this annual lifestyle expense. If it can, then you can take things easierl. If it can’t, then keep on saving away until you can get there.

Be Careful Not To Overestimate How Much You Need

Since leaving work, I realized we overestimated how much we actually need to be happy by about 30% for the first five years before we had children. It’s as if we forgot that after we retire, we no longer need to save for retirement. But we calculate a savings rate into our retirement income anyway since we’re so used to the habit.

If you have a net worth equal to 15-20X your average annual household income for the last three years, you can probably retire comfortably. If your net worth is equal to at least 40X your average annual expenses, you should be able to retire as well.

I wouldn’t use 25X your average annual expenses as a multiple to declare financial independence anymore given how low interest rates are today. The proper safe withdrawal rate is lower today than in the 1990s. Further, unexpected expenses pop up all the time, not to mention the occasional bear market!

However, these multiples are used for those who want to retire and not make ANY active income ever again. This article is about how to walk away from making your maximum money potential, not all money.

Therefore, if you have enough passive income or capital to cover your core living expenses, you should better be able to overcome the pursuit of maximum money. In other words, we’re talking more Barista FIRE or Coast FIRE where work is more flexible.

3) Find More Joy And Purpose In Something New

If you find something you’d be willing to do for free, it is much easier to shun making maximum money. If you’re making a lot of money, but not helping anyone, you’ll eventually lose interest. Your soul might start hollowing out as well.

Let’s say you’re making millions as a senior executive at The Coca-Cola Company. Your company is producing artificial products with excessive amounts of sugar that are hurting the health of billions. The ingredients in the products are creating more diabetics and creating a larger burden on the healthcare system. Clearly, you’re not helping the world.

However, you may trick yourself into thinking you’re doing good due to a charitable foundation Coca-Cola or you have created. You can tell yourself the means justify the ends in order to take care of your family. But deep down, you know that greed is what’s driving you to get more people hooked on sugar. The same goes for working at tobacco companies and maybe some social media companies too.

At the end of the day, you want to feel good about the product or service your company is producing. Once you’ve accumulated enough capital to cover your core living expenses, it’s worth trying to switch jobs if you don’t feel proud of what you do.

Experiencing A Wake-Up Call In 2008

Once the Global Financial Crisis hit, I no longer felt good about working in finance. Even though my job had nothing to do with the housing crisis since I worked in international equities, it still felt bad to be part of the system.

Yes, there is good in helping pension funds and retirement funds grow so that people don’t have to work forever. However, after 13 years, a career in making money from money wasn’t satisfying. So I left. I wanted to produce something instead.

Financial Samurai made very little money during its first couple of years. But I kept writing for several hours before and after work because I was having fun. Making money online wasn’t the primary goal. Expressing myself and connecting with others was and still is.

As the site grew, I could see the reward in helping people solve their financial dilemmas. Empowering people gave me purpose, therefore I have continued until this day. The kind comments and supportive notes are supremely rewarding, way more than any amount of money can provide.

Thank you letter to Financial Samurai to encourage you to quit maximum money making potential

4) Make Sure You Actually Win Back Some Time

If you choose to walk away from maximum money, make sure you gain back more time in your day. Not only should you gain back more time, you should also make sure you’re less stressed. Don’t just go through the same motions with your new occupation. Be very purposeful about how to utilize your extra time.

One of my friends left banking to become a pastry chef. She went to baking school for a year and got a job as a junior baker at a restaurant. She went from making ~$300,000 a year to $15/hour standing on her feet for eight hours a day. The joy of baking the yummiest desserts quickly disappeared.

She told me, “If I’m going to constantly be yelled at, then I might as well go back to banking!” Two years after quitting banking, my friend returned. She’s been back ever since.

Giving up 80% – 90% of my income was painful at first. However, being able to have 100% control over my free time made me incredibly happy.

More importantly, my chronic back pain, TMJ, and allergies started going away as well. My TMJ was so uncomfortable, I once paid a dentist $700 out of pocket to drill divots in my rear molars to provide jaw relief.

The health benefits of early retirement are priceless. The recovery in my health made walking away from maximum money much easier. More time is already more valuable than more money. The combination of more time and better health made quitting the money that much more of a no brainier. However, I didn’t really appreciate the health benefits until about a year after leaving my job.

And once again, it was the noticeable deterioration in my mental and physical health during the pandemic that necessitated a need for a sabbatical.

I discovered what it was like to make more money online because I tried, but it didn’t make me happier. Instead, it sucked me back into the never-ending cycle for more, more, more.

5) Try To Escape With A Win

Leaving a high-paying job with a severance package is a must. It is very common for high-paying jobs to come with some type of stock compensation or deferred compensation to keep you locked in.

A severance package helps pad your new lower compensation so the transition isn’t as jolting. With a smoother income transition, it will also be easier to accept making less money.

By negotiating a severance package, I was able to make the same amount of money had I stayed for the rest of the year working. This felt like a huge win.

The severance package kept paying out a livable income for five years total. As a result, I wasn’t as stressed as I should have been in my mid-30s. Further, I didn’t feel rushed to make money online.

Three years later, my wife also walked away with a severance package in 2015. She had a lot of doubt she could negotiate one, even after I negotiated mine. But after much coaching, we were able to come up with a win-win scenario. She felt like she had won the lottery!

Other wins may include having your company pay for your MBA, parental leave, or a sabbatical before you leave. If you like your company, another win may include getting reassigned to an easier role with less of a drop in pay as you would have expected.

It’s easier to walk away from maximum money when you are winning than when you are losing. Think about an NFL player retiring after winning a Super Bowl or a tennis player after winning a major. When you’re losing, there’s an inherent desire to prove to yourself and to your detractors that you can still succeed.

Knowing when to quit is as important as knowing when to keep on going. If you keep on grinding at something that is no longer worthwhile, you’re robbing yourself of a better life.

Making Lots Of Money Will Not Make You Happier

One of the goals I have from posts like the ones below is to make you question your pursuit of making maximum money.

In big cities such as New York and San Francisco, where I have lived since 1999, I meet people all the time who are miserable making multiple six-figures.

They went to good schools and feel like they have to follow traditional industries that pay the most. If not, what will their friends and family think of them? I’m assuming many of you reading this article fit the profile as well.

After I started focusing more on entrepreneurship, I began meeting people making millions a year. But they seem to have even more issues than the six-figure crowd!

One went through his third divorce. Another is constantly annoyed at dealing with HR issues given he’s the big boss. Yet another is dealing with a lawsuit that wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t so rich. And another has been so stressed out by the markets he hasn’t been able to play tennis for six months due to a psychosomatic injury.

As you climb up the income stratosphere you simply start comparing yourself to a new set of highly-accomplished people. Just like making more money, the comparison never ends.

Make The Effort If You Feel Like Something Is Wrong

I know it’s hard to quit the money, but you must try if you are not happy. No matter how much money you make, if you don’t do something meaningful, you will eventually fall into a pit of despair. You might find yourself becoming more irritable, more moody, and more cynical.

Please calculate the minimum amount required to cover your living expenses to get understand your base income need. Then pursue something else that brings you joy. Stop moving the goalpost by appreciating more of what you have.

Although I left behind millions of dollars in finance, I gained back time. And if time truly is priceless, then giving up lots of money is no sacrifice at all.

Readers, are you pursuing your maximum money potential at a cost to your health and happiness? If you have been able to quit the money by taking a lower paying job, retiring early, or changing fields, I’d love to hear how you did it.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009

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Overcoming The Downer Of No Longer Making Maximum Money is written by Financial Samurai for

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IRS Out For Blood More Than Doubling Penalty Interest

IRS taxes increase

In a blatant act of financial tyranny, the IRS is intensifying its assault on hardworking Americans by shamelessly jacking up the interest penalty on underpaid taxes from a pitiful 3% to an exorbitant 8%. This calculated move, recalibrated quarterly, serves as a stark reminder of the insatiable appetite of the IRS, an oppressive behemoth relentlessly extracting every last penny from citizens already shackled by burdensome taxation.

Specifically targeting non-corporate taxpayers, the IRS demands the federal short-term rate plus an additional three percentage points, a blatant money grab that directly targets struggling self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. These individuals, already grappling to make ends meet, find themselves in the crosshairs of a government voraciously hungry for more of their hard-earned wages.

For those daring to resist this blatant financial coercion and falling short on their payments, brace for the punitive underpayment penalty. There’s a meager concession – if the amount due is under $1,000 after begrudgingly considering credits and other tax factors, citizens might receive a temporary reprieve from the claws of the taxman.

This audacious maneuver puts the self-employed and independent contractors in the IRS’s oppressive grip, coercing them to make quarterly estimated tax payments under the looming threat of severe financial retribution. The January 16, 2024 deadline for the fourth quarter of 2023 is fast approaching – a date that casts a dark shadow over those grappling with the suffocating weight of government overreach.

While the regular W-2 employees might momentarily sigh with relief as taxes are conveniently siphoned from each paycheck, tax experts issue a stern warning against such complacency. Joseph Doerrer, a CPA and financial planner from New Jersey, challenges individuals to scrutinize their tax situation, posing the provocative question, “Are you where you should be?” A question that echoes as a stark reminder of the government’s overreach into the pockets of hardworking Americans.

One taxpayer, Sameet Durg, found himself blindsided by an underpayment penalty reaching into the thousands – an unwelcome surprise that serves as a chilling testament to the relentless demands of the IRS. Durg, a marketing executive, now watches his finances with unwavering vigilance, refusing to endure a hefty hit come April.

As the IRS unabashedly cranks up the interest penalty, taxpayers are left grappling with the heavy-handed tactics of an agency that seems insatiable in its quest to confiscate more of their hard-earned money. This move underscores the urgent need for citizens to vehemently resist the oppressive tax regime, actively defy the IRS’s overreach, and reclaim sovereignty over their wages.

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GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

( – Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all charges related to the collapse of his Bitcoin exchange, FTX.

“A New York jury in Manhattan federal court agreed with prosecutors that Bankman-Fried defrauded investors, customers and lenders in connection with the collapse of his crypto empire,” reported Fox Business.

“Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried, who founded and controlled both FTX and sister hedge fund Alameda research, of misappropriating and embezzling billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits, scheming to mislead investors, and instructing other executives at his businesses to do the same,” it added.

Bankman-Fried was charged with five charges of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud in the first two criminal trials.

The maximum sentence for each crime was 110 years in prison.

The hearing for Bankman-Fried’s sentence has been scheduled for March 28.

The Southern District of New York’s U.S. attorney, Damian Williams, commended the decision and said that Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

“The cryptocurrency industry might be new, the players like Bankman-Fried might be new,” Williams said. “But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time.”

NBC News gave some background information and historical context before the decision:

“FTX and Alameda quickly collapsed in November 2022 after some of their financial liabilities were exposed.

The fact that Alameda had taken billions of dollars from FTX’s customers and that much of Alameda’s balance sheet was comprised of digital currency assets it had created was central to the case against Bankman-Fried.

Unnerved by disclosures about the firm’s financial position, many of FTX’s customers tried to get their money back. That set off the equivalent of a bank run.

The value of Alameda’s investments crashed, and FTX couldn’t return much of that money because it had been given to Alameda. Some went to the fund’s lenders, and billions were spent on sponsorships, commercials, and loans to top executives. That, too, was a major part of the case against Bankman-Fried.”

Following the collapse, more FTX and Alameda executives were prosecuted, including former CEO of Alameda Caroline Ellison, co-founder of FTX Gary Wang, and chief technology officer of FTX Nishad Singh.

All three pleaded guilty, agreed to cooperate, and testified against Bankman-Fried.

In exchange for their cooperation, they will receive less severe punishments.

In his defense, Bankman-Fried stated that he never intended to deceive anyone and that, following the failure of FTX and Alameda, the government had been searching for someone to blame.

“Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Mark S. Cohen, counsel to Bankman-Fried, said in response to the verdict.

Williams stated that he hoped the conviction would be an example for others.

“It’s a warning, this case, to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they’re untouchable, or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or that they’re too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they could try to talk their way out of it when they get caught,” Williams said. “Those folks should think again.”

Copyright 2023.

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Brutal ‘Bidenflation’ Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

Brutal 'Bidenflation' Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

( – According to an analyst, “Bidenflation” may be a long-term issue, leading one out of every six pensioners to contemplate retiring early.

It will undoubtedly persist if Biden wins re-election.

In the far-left USA Today, Patrice Onawunka laments the possibility that the “financial insecurity” brought on by inflation—which was brought on by “reckless federal spending”—will last forever.


“People have connected the dots between ill-advised government policies and harsh economic outcomes. Spending nearly $2 trillion on government transfers to almost every household during supply-chain disruptions and exacerbated labor shortages caused inflation to accelerate. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and other production disruptions worsened it.

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats passed a climate change bill that they falsely labeled the Inflation Reduction Act in hopes of fooling Americans, especially seniors.

The bill never addressed rising food, housing, or energy prices — households’ most basic and critical needs. Any climate savings would take years to come to fruition and could be offset by new costs for families — tens of thousands of dollars — on new electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, the green subsidies cost more than three times what the law’s supporters claimed.”

What could be crueler than adopting a law that does the exact opposite and is titled the Inflation Reduction Act?

55 percent of those who have already had to un-retire claim it was because they needed more money.

The White House and corporate media continue to lie to us by promising that the inflation issue will pass quickly, yet nothing ever appears to change.

Everything’s cost is skyrocketing especially housing. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is exerting every effort to keep inflation high. The federal government spends like a drunken sailor, which cheapens money.

Even worse, Biden has permitted countless millions of illegal immigrants to enter our nation, which raises the price of housing by increasing demand for limited items like housing.

Housing is a necessity, Onwuka tells us, unlike other discretionary expenses. Rent costs in America are rising, disproportionately affecting older folks and those with low incomes, especially those on fixed budgets.

In addition, she states that “10 million households headed by people aged 65 or older spend more than a third of their income on housing, and half of these pay more than 50%.”

See what happens when you factor millions of illegal immigrants into the housing problem.

Biden punishes Americans who have lived by the book, paid their taxes, saved money, and worked hard. He is putting the interests of millions of illegal aliens—who raise demand for everything and drive up prices for everything—above the interests of those Americans.

“In a little over four years, I intend to retire. I’ll never be wealthy, but since I started my first 401K in 1994, I’ve been setting money aside for that moment. I enjoy both my job and my coworkers.”

That isn’t the problem. The dream is the problem… the desire to live out your third act with the freedom and resources to do whatever you want.

Similar actions are taken by many working Americans who save money and forgo immediate enjoyment to prepare for their elderly years. As a result, I find it difficult to understand what it must be like to enter a dream before having it destroyed.

The anguish of coming out of retirement, returning to the grind, and facing Monday mornings all over again escapes me.

The only idiots, child abusers, and masochists vote Democrat.

Copyright 2023,

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