Loser…..

Feeling Like a Loser…..

Net Worth

Some of you may be familiar with J$ (or J-Money), whom runs the websites www.rockstarfinance.com and www.budgetsaresexy.com (both very entertaining websites/blogs by the way). On www.rockstarfinance.com you can also find a list of net worth updates from various personal finance bloggers. It’s quite diverse as it ranges from as much as -$0,5M to as much as +$4M, and everything in between. The list of millionaires is quickly growing as more people blog about their finances and are open in discussing where they are and how they got there. Albeit we don’t post our net worth (we do have the Cheesy Index of course!), most of you that have been here before and are keeping track of what we do, should have a pretty good idea of what we are worth.

Loser.....

Loser…..

Earlier this week, Mr. 1500 posted another similar and rather personal question to his readers to divulge their net worth’s, what followed next in the comments section was rather spectacular! I was reading it all with awe. There were so many non-bloggers and bloggers that were very open about their finances and many (new?) millionaires-next-door popped up, some folks who’s comments I’ve been reading for a while or others I’ve never seen before.

Feeling a bit like a loser…

But seeing all these millions pop up, it suddenly made me feel like a loser! Although our net worth is nothing to sneeze at, we are nowhere near any of these $1-2,5M numbers. And most likely we won’t even reach anywhere near these numbers in the next decade….

This actually has two reasons, one: we don’t need that much money to live and two: I don’t’ want to be working for a boss so much longer (I simply don’t like my job that much). Will we ultimately hit a 7 figure number? Absolutely, just not any time soon (at least I hope not because that would mean someone would have died and left us a sizable inheritance. It won’t be the lottery, since we don’t play :-).

Strangely enough, it was both motivating and demotivating at the same time. On one side you kind of want to be that successful financially, it would really be a pat on the back that you have been frugal, have invested well and have made the “right” decisions. On the other side, we only saw “the light of FIRE” about two and a half years ago. We have made massive turn around in that time, cleaned up our act, moved internationally and nearly quadrupled the value of our income producing assets and added 5 properties to our portfolio. That on its own should be something to be proud of! But it doesn’t feel that way…..

Patience is a virtue

Maybe I want to much too soon, building wealth takes research, efforts, time and patience. Not doing this would actually hamper you efforts to increase your wealth and would probably even make you unhappy. My major problem is patience, it’s not my strongest character trade. I can get really motivated and can achieve quite a bit in a relatively short period of time. When the changes are visible quickly, it really motivates me more, again improving the results in return. But at some point you have done as much as you can and just need to “ride it out” to the finish line (read: keep on saving and investing).

Any words of wisdom?? How do you deal with motivating yourself on the path to FIRE? Do you know that double feeling when looking at others that are already successful on obtaining the status of FI?

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33 comments

  1. Heh, I guess it’s all about perspective. There will always be someone richer or smarter or fitter than you. From our (DDU) perspective, your net worth is over 10x ours, maybe we should feel 10x as a loser as you! lol. But we’re okay, we are all racing our own race – and we will win it after enough time 🙂

    Tristan

    1. Hey Tristan, was just having a bad day for not figuring out the whole FIRE thing sooner. Wrote down my feelings at that time. But I cannot argue that considering where we are today, we should consider ourselves far from being losers 🙂 Lesson learned!

  2. Net worth doesn’t mean anything if there is no cash flow. Like Californian or New Yorkers living in $1.2M house but that house doesn’t generate any cash flow, on top of that, they’d have to pay $1000/mo in taxes, plus the up keep, for me that house is weighing them down. They can’t retire without selling it or renting it out, turn it from a liability to an asset.

    To motivate myself, I first recognize that I can’t blame anyone else other than myself. My boss doesn’t have to like me nor that it’s his job to promote me. I failed to promote myself. So my second step is promote myself. I open a business and promote myself to be CEO and manager of that business, voila, double the cash flow. Generate money like I’d leave $2M in a dividend paying account but my net worth is less than half of that. Time and commitment is what required when you’re in management position, so that’s why I recognize that I no longer do and 9-5 job, after that job then I’d still have landlord duty – bookkeeping, and upkeep.

    Don’t chase the number, chase the cashflow. You can’t fix other, but you can change yourself and your mindset.

    Cheers!

    1. Hey Vivianne, we actually were discussing the cash-flow topic over the weekend. Might need some updates to the Cheesy Index (which is net worth based) or a new cash-flow tracker to see how we are doing on that front. Only downside is the taxation, that’s a bit harder to estimate as for us it depends on wealth and income.
      Thanks for the feedback!

  3. We don’t know our net worth at all… I’ve read the same article, including the comments. We are very openly about our money, but I’ve never took to time to measure up our net worth. I felt the need to do so, because everybody else is doing it.. But then again, what benefit will others gain from publishing our net worth? So other people can be jealous, I doubt it. I’m probably still going to do it, but only because I like seeing the numbers, whatever they may be. Net worth isn’t saying it all, it matters what you do in your live, the choices you make. And hey, isn’t the end goal to be happy 😉

    I believe you guys rock, and you can be proud of what you achieved!

    1. Thanks guys for the feedback, please remember that I’m not so much jealous of the money, more the freedom that it brings.
      It was very cool to meet you guys in person last weekend, hope to see you guys again during the next event!

  4. Try not to stress yourself out about it. You’re doing great no matter how you look at it.

    Giving things time, and being content with what you have is one of the tests you have to pass before FIRE.

    Remember: It’s not *just* about the big number, but the spending that goes along with it.

    1. Hello Mr Tako,
      we had a great meet up yesterday and actually also discussed the topic “systems vs. Goals”, in which you latter comment is very much applicable. The system is in place for our spending, and we are doing well on your path to FI. I’m just a little frustrated with myself for not figuring this whole FIRE thing out a bit sooner in life. So I’m not jealous of the number per se, more about the state of freedom that is associated with it. Will get there eventually 🙂

  5. Hi TeamCF,
    If I may, I will quote Charles T Munger who said something along the lines of the only sin you could never have any fun at is envy. And I totally agree. Some take motivation from comparing themselves to people further ahead but you should definately not co spider yourself any less. You rock! Look where you are on the journey, what you have achieved and how many fellow bloggers are actually way behind you (like myself). Do I wish I would have known earlier about FIRE? Absolutely.
    Regarding patience I would say that time is relative. Don’t look at your net worth everyday. It’s like watching grass grow and somehow in summer I still have to now the lawn every so often.
    Thank you for the post.
    – DIB

  6. I recently read that Johnny Depp spends $2M per month on all kinds of stuff like 45 luxury cars and expensive wines. He, and many others in the same luxury boat, have net worths much higher than you and I yet we have much more financial freedom than they have. So a net worth figure does’t tell the whole story and it is of no real use to compare the numbers with others. On the other hand, I can understand the short versus long term character of becoming FI. Just keep up saving and the freedom will come rather sooner than later 🙂

  7. Ciao CF,
    It’s hard to give an advice as most of us are in a similar situation. In Europe, let’s face it, we will never see our pensions, as far as Italy is concerned I am just paying “another tax” because the actual pension that I will get will be worth nothing. So I cannot count on that money, and at the same time, for as much as I believe that I am good at investing, the returns shown so far are very promising but cannot get me to live like I am now just by themselves.
    But this is not a cause of concern for me. I started the journey and I am walking at my own pace, of course there are people with bigger capitals, but there is no point in comparing to them. One thing that I can do is to try to get the best out of this trip that I have started, I keep my objectives close to watch and of course I need to be patient too… I am not great at it, but one good thing that I have learnt since I started trading is that “patience pays” 😛
    Ciao caio
    Stal

  8. Funny that you’re definining yourself as a loser, while you’re an example for me with already 5 rental units and a nice amount of index funds. Keep your head up, you’re on the right way!

    1. Thank OGZ, appreciate your words of support! I actually realize that we are very fortunate and are on the right path. Guess it is a human tendency to look up to other people, but forget to look at yourself and appreciate what you have.
      You probably know I don’t really feel like a loser, but I do have my moments that I think I could have done better.

  9. Everyone has different circumstances and a different story. For this reason, I never compare myself to anyone else. At the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have. I admire those who have more than me, and look for ways to borrow their success ideas.

    1. So true, I do try to learn (and have done so already, and will continue to going forward) from those who are succesfull. Either financially or personally.
      But I have my moments of frustration when I realize what I’ve done in the past (or now!) was not very smart….

  10. Dude, seriously? And I thought you were cool! You shouldn’t give a rats ass about your net worth or somebody else net worth. I have a friend who literally walked away from a factory. A big ass, profitable factory. The kind o factory where, if you have to walk from one end to the other end you think about getting a bicycle. Knew it would make him miserable, so happy to leave it to his sister. Go watch fight club again and remember: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

    1. It’s not the amount of money I’m concerned about, it’s the freedom it buys!
      What can I say, I had a moment of self-doubt… But I’m mostly shocked that I’m no longer cool in your book, that hurts!

  11. I agree with Geldnerd, US bloggers generally include their pension accounts that makes the final figure much higher. But even if it wasn’t like this, you should have nothing to worry about.
    I also follow these updates actively and I’m also one of those who disclose my portfolio together with the values. Seeing amounts that are 20-30 times higher than my own doesn’t discourage me at all. It actually gives me more motivation that achieving 7 digit figures is absolutely achievable.
    If you check the sites of other bloggers with high net worth figures, you will realize that there’s no magic behind it. They did the same as most of us do and yes, for most of them (besides of some extreme exceptions) it took one or two decades to get there. Time and patience is a key factor. So don’t get disappointed, just keep up the good work you’re doing! 🙂

    1. See comment on Geldnerd, some comments apply, some do not (at least for our situation).
      I get that it motivates (which it also does for us!), as you see it’s possible to get to FI. But when you are a bit older, you do feel a bit of a loser for not having figured out this (in its core rather simple) method to make yourself financially independent at a young age. That really is my only point.

  12. We’ve even seen the light later than you did and are just getting started with fire. We started with a net worth of nearly zero in 2016 and are increasing it “rapidly”.
    My character flaw is also that I’m not that patient, but I don’t feel a loser when I see that other people are further on their way to fire.
    Just relax and keep doing what you are doing. You’ll get there eventually.

    1. I have a hard time to “relax” when I know that is so much more to do before we can call it quits. Something to do with patience 😉
      Maybe the term “loser” is a bit over the top, it’s not that bad but it fitted the post rather nice.
      Good luck to you guys too on your journey.

  13. Keep calm and relax! Having 5 rental units is no small base! I am sure that puts you near the 1 pct of the population…

    Also keep in mind that the us has way less tax and cool systems we do not have.

    Be aware not to fall in the fire Joneses trap. I have a post on that and our next life as well. Maybe good to read both.

    In the mean time: hang on, you loser

    1. Ah, but in this case I would like to join the FIRE Joneses, sooner rather than later. Too many fun things that I can do when no longer needing to work, seriously looking forward to that time. But this loser will certainly hang on 😉

  14. ‘Just a number’ does not mean much to me. Anybody can state any number they wish. I want to see backgrounds. And I found that Americans usually include the amounts on their pension accounts in their net worth. And it does not work that way for us Dutchies, as few of us have personal pension accounts.
    I think the Dutch pension system assumes that we can ‘enjoy’ our pension for about 20 years. If I multiply my expected yearly retirement amount (as mentioned on my annual pension statement) by 20, and add that tot my net worth, 7 figures it becomes…

    So, keep an eye for local circumstances. And keep your eye on the ball. My plan, my objectives. And always look for ways to do better than the plans.

    If only financial markets would co-operate….

    1. Although true about adding up the pension accounts, you have to take into account the present value. I won’t retire for the coming 25 years (“officially” speaking of course), if you calculate the PV then you easily lose some 100Ks. Furthermore, the expected yearly retirement amount assumes that you’ll be working full time until your pension, so if you quit 10 -15 years earlier, the retirement amount will be much much less.

      Americans on the other hand add up their pension accounts in their net worth as is, meaning that money sits in their plans right now.

      1. Hey Bas, good points! PV will be considerably lower for sure (dependig on your age obviously) and the system is gear to you working until retirement age before touching any of the funds. A comparison is therefore rather difficult.
        But Geldnerd does have a point that there are many tax advantages in American pension accounts that we simply don’t have (not even in our Dutch pension accounts!). See GoCurryCracker and RootofGood, both virtualy don’t pay any taxes on “incomes” well over 100k. Dutch system is a bit more bullet proof from a tax perspective.

    2. Ok, it is just “a number”, but for many of them it is above THE number, and that is the point. Most of these folks figured if out a lot sooner and worked their tails off to get to that point in their life that they became FI. I just feel a tiny bit of loser that I did not figure this out sooner. I’ll get over it 😉
      As to the pension accounts being taken into considerations, this applies to us too as we have our Canadian pension accounts included in the net worth. So our situation is more similar to the American bloggers than to most Dutch (granted, we also do have Dutch pensions, but with a massive gap for the years we did not work in the Netherlands).
      But yes sir, will keep an eye on the ball!

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