Meet Mr. Money Mustache

“What do you mean you retired at 30?”

This is a blog about money. We’re going to cover a lot of ground and make plenty of amusing side trips into lifestyle and culture issues, but when it boils down to it, we are talking about money, and the freedom it can give you. Freedom from worry, and freedom from most forms of bullshit. And the best way to illustrate such freedom is to have an opinionated but wise role model guide you through your daily life from this point onwards. That role model is ME, Mr. Money Mustache.

I’m going to teach you a radical new way to think about and enjoy money that will get you off of your current debt-powered treadmill and into a lifestyle that is completely unimaginable to most people where I live, which happens to be in the United States, ground zero for self-imposed treadmills.

Once you are off the mill, you’ll feel like Neo did when he unplugged the suction cups from his pale naked body in The Matrix and looked around at the other imprisoned humans. “Holy Shit!”, you will say. “I’ve been living in this ridiculous slave world and never noticed.. and everyone else still is! WAKE UP DRONE PEOPLE!!!“.

You will suddenly be able to fly freely through the world, free from having to work for a living, able to start living life as you choose, doing exotic things like spending time raising your young children, taking a 3-week vacation each month, or just enjoying understated shows of leisure like sweeping your driveway in pajamas at 11am on a sunny Thursday morning.

Let’s talk about YOU first. If you are one of the 99% of working people I hear and read about every day, you are in a bad place right now. Young folks today seem to live somewhere on a Spectrum of Financial Idiocy.

” I am…

  1. Retired, and my money situation is perfect
  2. Still working, saving max in 401k, no loans on cars or credit cards, paying regular mortgage payments
  3. Same as above but add one or more car loans
  4. Same as above but not quite able to max out 401k plans due to life’s little expenses
  5. Same as above but have a few credit cards that I’m making payments on
  6. Can’t always make all my payments, got some bad marks on my credit score.. I’d be screwed if I lose my job now
  7. Everything has collapsed – losing my house and possessions, can’t find work, debt is more than I can pay off in a lifetime, why is the world so cruel to me!?

So your goal is to move up this spectrum. Everyone can do it. But most people think they can’t because they’re still stuck in the Matrix.

They blame “the economy” or other bullshit external factors, when really the only problem is they aren’t listening hard enough to Mr. Money Mustache. Become a regular reader of this blog and you’ll move up fast.

See you at #1.

Next Post:
  • Richard C. October 11, 2014, 2:20 pm

    I googled you after hearing about a retired 30yr old. Your blog is fantastic. I am a 5 I think. 2 car payments, 50,000 in combined Student loans. Low balance on an interest free (promotional till May 2015) credit card. No house my wife and I rent, and have a one year old. I have a 401k she doesn’t. I want to retire at 45 if possible. I am 34 now. I am trying to pay off my student loans by the end of 2015 leaving 26000 of my wifes’. Should I invest at all or until they are all paid? My rates are 3-6.55 percent and my wife has 5.9 percent. My car rates are very low and they will be paid by 2016. I have degree and she is still in school. I work in software engineering but only make 55000 a year only graduating last year. HELP. : )

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 12, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Welcome Richard!

      I’d start by ditching the cars and two less new, highly efficient one that you can actually afford with whatever cash you have laying around. Even better, share one car if possible. Then roll that massive monthly savings into getting out of all other debt.

      You’ll still want to contribute to work 401(k) plans, especially if they have matching – and make sure they are in index funds with low expense ratios. Keep reading and you’ll find more answers!

      • Richard C. October 12, 2014, 4:28 pm

        Thanks for the advice. I wish we could get rid of both cars, but with family (who help with child care) living in different parts of the Houston area, and it unsafe for me to bike to work even though I could maybe get home faster on the 7 mile commute with traffic, raised Ford F250’s might kill me on the 45 MPH roads. My wife drives very little since she works at home, but won’t accept one car since she would not volunteer to take me to work or leave her with no car and the baby. I got my car (A 2013 Mazda 3 used with warranty, and low miles) to get rid of a very gas thirsty truck (also not safe for a baby) that I had paid off but was costing more in gas and maintenance than a new efficient car even with the insurance difference. We went through lots of repairs before on both vehicles and did not want to do that again (over 2800 in car repairs in 2013 for both). We could pay off my wife’s car (2005 Subaru Outback) by the end of the year ahead of time or continue paying more to my highest student loan (6.55% vs 1.79% on my wifes car). We do not have an emergency fund, so should we invest some money monthly and consider it an emergency fund or continue to pay debt as fast a possible? I am doing 12% in my 401k with only 6% matching at half so its a total of 15%. I am in a Vanguard Large index and a Vanguard mid index with low expenses. I liked the idea of getting dividend stocks from two of the blog posts. I am going to look more into that in the future after debts are paid. When we retire and join you in Colorado we will definitely dump one car, and bike everywhere. Thanks again.

        • Powskier September 5, 2015, 8:03 pm

          Look for the possibilities on how you can make it work, not all the excuses of why it can’t be done. Seriously, life is too short to not make it better.

          • Richard C. September 5, 2015, 10:22 pm

            2005 Outback -Paid off. 2013 Mazda 3 will be paid off next month. Using Hypermiling to save gas/money. Not driving at all most weekends has reduced mileage to less than 12000 combined even with my wife not following my stricter car usage rules. Biking is still unsafe on my only path to work so reducing usage worked best. Having a child and making more income than my spouse I would not like to risk the possible injury or death. I’ve paid off over $35000 in student loans since following MMM, in addition to the almost paid off cars. Debt free should happen next year for me and 2017 as a family. 401k/IRA’s are also above 18000, from less than 3000. So in about 2 years life has been made better. Thank you MMM.

            • Amonymous March 5, 2018, 6:44 am

              I just love happy endings! Thanks for the inspiring update! :)

  • Tony November 16, 2014, 7:55 pm

    Hello. My wife and I have enough money to retire. We are between 2 and 1. No debt. I’m working and she is a stay at home Mom raising our baby. The problem is she won’t let me retire. Most of the net worth is hers. I’m 45 and she wants me to work 20 more years yet I could retire today.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 18, 2014, 8:14 am


      How useful are you in the area of helping out with that baby? Most women are glad to get any help they can. Maybe there isn’t all that much benefit to having you around the house? ;-)

      More seriously, perhaps she does not agree that you have enough money to retire? Most people assume that work is mandatory until you are very old. You could explain the basics of “enough money” to her: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/29/how-much-do-i-need-for-retirement/

      In general, while I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable retiring on money I didn’t earn myself, your choices would either to be do the convincing wisely.. or get a job you really enjoy without regard for how much it pays.

  • mr spark December 2, 2014, 8:07 pm

    its taken me a few years to sniff you out but i knew i was not alone in my thinking.

    37 now been retired since 31

    i used to pity the fools, now i have better things to think about but i will be indeed sharing your blog.

    freedom-dwelling fist bump!!

  • Sibley December 4, 2014, 2:33 pm

    New to the site, I’ve read all the posts to date, and am starting to make some changes in my life. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, but am confident that I can get things back on tract. 29, rent (with a roommate!), no significant savings, credit card debt, student loans, car loan. I’ve been working on paying off debt for a while and think that about 2 years should do it. Plus, I’ve decided to sell my despised, but very nice, car and buy a used, much cheaper car that I’ll be happier with. That will help free up cash to pay off debt, then build savings.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Mike&Connie December 12, 2014, 10:59 am

    Hey MMM, Just stumbled on your blog and am very impressed with what I’ve seen! This post is for your readers from someone who has been living the dream for some time now. In 1996 my wife and I left corporate jobs that didn’t satisfy us. We like to say we went out on a backpack trip… and never returned; we retired at age 35 both. Always thrifty types, for the years prior we saved over 60% Gross of our paychecks. It became more fun to save than spend for sure – it was a game to see how much we could put away – in stocks mostly, & even with the tech meltdown in 2000 & the bust of 2008 we still believe in equity. Our annual cash outlay is in the $27K range, no debt… we have plenty. Now at 54 I look back at the almost twenty years at the things I’ve learned & accomplished… teaching ourselves to build fine furniture with mostly hand tools, home remodeling, extended travel, reading & in depth study …. hobbies and interests in every direction with the time to pursue. We bicycle quite a bit, cook fine meals at home & know how to repair much. It is a frugal lifestyle to many, but I feel so blessed to be lean & fitter than I was at 30 and in total control of my destiny. We are happy. Cheers to MMM for his efforts at education here, and to all his readers — it can be done, and it just may open you up to a more rewarding future.

  • Matt January 8, 2015, 7:24 pm

    Mr MMM I want to ask about this Affordable Health Care and how you are dealing with it. I lost my coverage from my part time job this January 1st. Since than I cut my hours down to 2 days and when figuring my income out it hinges on how much Long Term capital gains my one mutual fund pays out in June and December. Most years it is around 18,000. In 2014 it was $46,000. that was very high compared to any other year. Vanguard did a financial plan and I don’t have to work anymore . I made $35000 per year at my job when I was full time and my current assets invested are about 1.4 m and i have 2 rental properties that generate $30,000 per year. $18,000 in HELOC and a 0% car loan. If I choose to continue to work and put 40% into 401k and $5500 into my IRA I still will have about $9000 in taxable income which puts me closer to going over the $36900 limit to keep my LT capital gains tax free. i have write offs on the properties for the next 2 years. I also have dividends that other index funds kick off that I have accounted for. I am wondering if I’m the fool to risk loseing the government tax credit on healthcare and possible going over the $36900 (or whatever the new figure is for 2015) and paying tax on those cap gains. Just want your thoughts on the subject. It really makes me feel I should just quit the job when I hit the $5500 I can write off on the IRA?? I have 660K in taxable accounts and the remainer in IRAs if the 4% flexible withdrawal rule works I will easily replace my working income. Is the government really telling me I would be better off not working? I just would like your ideas and any other people’s ideas that may be in the same situation.

  • Douglass Holmes February 9, 2015, 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m semi-retired (trying to write novels) and I exercise at the local YMCA almost every day. I could ride my bicycle, but I’ve allowed myself to drive to a nicer YMCA that’s a few miles further away. Thanks to your inspiration, I’m looking to start riding the bicycle again. Gas may be cheap, but arriving at the YMCA already warmed up is even cheaper.

  • Vaibhav March 8, 2015, 11:54 am

    Dear MMM,

    I am an avid reader of your blog following it for nearly 2 years now. For me, life has come round the full circle from someone not having enough money to do anything to someone having decent money but no incremental utility from it.
    And it is now, than ever, that I realize that your philosophy should be THE way of life for the planet.

    Ok, enough of tangents! Though I love the basic idea of mustachian, the examples and tips pertain mostly to the western world. And I am unable to figure out the way it can be made to work in India.

    For example-I don’t spend much on fuel (1% of income per month). Can you please enlighten me?


  • mattsfactor March 11, 2015, 3:57 pm

    Really cool idea for a blog. I hope to find here a lot of useful information on finance, which I’ll be able to use in my daily life.

    Certainly many people aims to achieve financial freedom, and no wonder. Everyone wants to solve the lack of money problem once and forever. But in my opinion, in life it is better to focus on doing what pleases us and make money on it, than seek to financial freedom. Financial freedom or as early as possible retirement, it should not be a goal in itself. If we take pleasure in our daily work, we will be good at what we do, and the money will be only a nice addition rather than the ultimate goal.

  • Patrick Millerd June 22, 2015, 5:05 am

    Hello Mr MM – I think your site is great!
    I’m 67 and about a #1.
    I think that the concept of traditional retirement from work at age 60 something is for losers (for example in sport – you retire when you can’t make the grade!). I consider financial retirement as an achievement. It’s the moment you think you have enough money to live your planned lifestyle till you die. I realize that this definition creates some problems as you can move in and out of financial retirement with events like a failed business venture, an expensive divorce or choosing a vastly different lifestyle!
    I’m still employed full-time and if I needed a label would call myself a “nevertiree”. Lots of things to do, much to give back and time is running out. Also if this is good enough for people like Buffet, Munger, Branson, etc. then it’s good enough for me.

  • Rochelle July 18, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I read an article about a lady in Canada who was on a one year shopping ban and how she had got inspiration from your blog and I came upon your site. I love what I have read so far and hope to read all 4 years worth of articles and do my best to turn my situation around. I live in Canada with my husband and kids and while we have a good income, we are nowhere near where we should be financially, I would say that I’m about 5 on your scale.

  • NewMom September 7, 2015, 1:44 am

    Hi Mr. M,

    New reader of your blog from BC, Canada! You mention Vanguard is a good option for US and other options for Canada. But here I found out that Vanguard has funds in Canada too: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/in-the-vanguard-of-lower-fund-fees/article6965600/
    Is-it different than the one you mention? Do you think I should consider it for a long term investment of my RRSPs (20 years+) ?

  • Liz F. September 30, 2015, 2:32 pm

    Hello Mr. MM, I am the 25 year old product of immigrant parents who are horrible with money. I am currently fortunate to have a decent paying job after graduation, but I have debt. Mainly student loans. I am currently trying to save a little bit every month (around $400) and paying off my other small debts as much as possible. I also am enrolled in my company’s 401k plan to get a start on my retirement (I am paying more than the company is matching). How do I go about getting ahead of the curve and staying ahead while being somewhat young? (I live at home, but I help pay for a lot of things).

  • JazzWife January 27, 2016, 9:08 pm

    I am definitely a #2. I’ve been contributing to a 403b since 1991, maxing since 2001. I’ve just “discovered” your blog and have decided to start from the beginning.

  • carl weber February 23, 2016, 5:13 pm

    I am a #2 my car looks like a POS but it runs and gets me where I want to go. I dont want any more car payments. I have tried to live frugally for years and debt free. I just read your article in the New Yorker. Your an intense person. My new mission is getting all the clutter and crap out of my home and my life. If you dont need it get rid of it. The article talks about you earning 400k because of your website and that you plan to give it away some day. I think you should be proud that you built a business up from nothing and now you are a success. This should be celebrated, not hidden. I to strive to be succesful in life. So keep it up, America needs you.

  • Baby Mistral February 26, 2016, 7:39 pm

    Hello ‘Mr. MM I read your article on the New Yorker (February 29. 2016 issue) and after I did I almost got sick to my stomach as I know all the mistakes I’ve done with money. My big challenge is I dont understand the market and I’ve lost a lot of money on investments listening to all crappy “smart” officers at different banks who always promise good returns on their recommendations and I always end up losing all my money, and when I try to have them explain they don,t even return my calls. Please tell me how can I learn about being smart about investing. That is something I didn’t read about in your article. Are you are able to share how in the world you get a 4% return on your money. I am good with my money but most of my mistakes are about investing. I’ve lost a lot, a lot, but I still have hope I can learn. Can you write something in your blog about that? I know you can. i’d like to think its not too late for me. Thanks. GM

    • Tyler February 27, 2016, 11:41 am

      Hey there Baby Mistral,

      While I’m fairly new to all of this as well, I can definitely offer my understandings of everything I’ve read(start to finish) on this blog.

      To answer your question on how to make money in the stock market this is a great place to start:

      As for my own understanding, the best way to make money in the stock market is often the most boring. I’ve just come off the high myself of moving all of the money my wife and I have managed in 2 years into Vanguard accounts (total index) and now we just wait for the paychecks, transfer the money to Vanguard, and live our lives as usual. It is definitely not as exciting as taking investment advice from bankers or trying to pick the winning stock for the year yourself. However, it seems obvious to me now, the best way to invest and keep your money is to put it someplace boring for all of the reasons and more as explained by the article provided.

      Concerning the 4% return, I feel you may have misinterpreted. Mr. MM does not get 4% return on his money(Unless capital gains are only 2% for some reason plus dividends). As far as I know, and understand, when deciding the date of his retirement, Mr. MM chose a 4% withdrawal rate as a worst case scenario for his families spending in the future. Using the search option on the blog, you can find the post referencing the “safe” 4% withdrawal rate. I would probably wager most of my savings that he makes whatever the market makes(5-6% after inflation) and then subtracting for any fees involved, which for Vanguard are probably around .05-.06%. As explained in the 4% withdrawal rate article, on average, this would actually allow for a growing savings account rather than a shrinking one over the long haul during retirement.

      Baby Mistral, it is never to late to learn and make changes. As you will learn as you read, this blog is focused more on saving(both your money and our world) than any other aspect of person finance and early retirement.

      This post will outline the savings rate necessary to retire in any time horizon you want starting from $0.

      Good luck to you and I hope this helped!

  • jerry burden February 27, 2016, 7:59 am

    Just read the article about you in the New Yorker. I’ve sent your link to my kids who are at university as this is exactly the sort of approach they need to think about given the pressures on your people today i.e. student loans which are still a relatively new thing here in the UK. I’ve absolutely got some reading to do! Jerry

  • Kathy February 29, 2016, 1:16 pm

    I read somewhere on here that you and your wife made over $100k (assuming this is each) and you saved a large percentage of your pay in order to retire at 30. My husband and I made a lot of money mistakes when we first got married, but are trying to save now. However, combined, we only take home $50k, and we have no house payment, no car payments, no credit cards and we only pay utilities and expenses to live. It takes a large portion of both our pays to just live without any extravagant purchases. I save maybe 20% of my pay and that leaves us scrimping at the end of each month. I do without a lot of things in order to save that much. We are both 10 yrs away from retirement and wondering HOW we can possibly save 3/4 of our pays and still be able to pay our living expenses. I could do it if I had a large salary, but $50k doesn’t go far today. I do enjoy reading your blog though

  • Mich May 19, 2016, 10:08 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I just came across your blog, and it’s frightening how much it’s making me think hard about my life.

    I am a 2 but I pay rent rather than a mortgage. How do I make the transition to a 1????

    I’m also a Software Engineer but I’ve never been much for the traditional lifestyle, always yearning to do something else. I’m getting frustrated with corporate life and want out. I spent the 95-05 years in a form of early retirement, but finally had to go back to work when my savings ran out. Back then investments were way to risky and vanished, or locked away in ‘retirement’ accounts and unobtainable. Now things are better, and after reading through your blogs I half-realize that I could do it. With $1MM now in IRAs, 401ks and savings, although most of that is locked in the the retirement accounts, and with a spending rate consistently under $25k, it seems that there is no reason that I should not. But I’m not exactly comfortable “retiring” before turning 65. It’s been hammered into me my whole life. Can I do it before all of the accounts actually become available?

    So… Do you have any words of wisdom that could help me take the plunge, that I kind of know I should take, but am conditioned not to? That I am afraid to do?

    • Charles June 13, 2016, 5:40 pm

      It’s mentioned in several places about rolling over into a traditional IRA and then a Roth IRA. The ages actually vary from 55-60 as the 65 number you mentioned only pertains to social security / medicaid.

      So the real questions will be:

      1. Do YOU feel safe retiring at your age.
      2. Do you have to guts to follow through with it?

  • Value RN July 17, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Mr. Mustache,
    I am a single guy who will make between 105k-110k this year, this should raise each year by anywhere from 3%-12%. I have no children. I currently rent a apt for $1500.00 per month. I have 100k in student loan debt. I have no other debts. My minimum payment for my student loan is $581 per month. I pay roughly $620.00. I have taken an approach of paying myself first and am open to hearing your critique and thoughts. At present I am contributing $700 per month to my 401k and $600.00 per month to my Roth IRA and $120.00 to my 529 for my future child. I put a extra few hundred into savings or my equity account that I have. I plan to increase these numbers as I reign in my expenses and live more Mr. Mustache style. Current assets are roughly 250k. Would like to retire in about 13 years. Do you disagree with my approach of not going after my student loan.
    Thank you

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2016, 5:15 pm

      Hi Value,

      The most important factor is the interest rate on that student loan, which you didn’t mention. I’d probably pay that off before saving anything for the massively uncertain future education of a yet-to-be-conceived child.

      Even if you’re going to pay it off early, you should also re-finance your student loan to the lowest possible interest rate. Here’s a related article on doing that with SoFi:


      Overall though, congrats on thinking ahead!

  • Sandy July 18, 2016, 6:04 am

    Any thoughts on taking a year off before retirement to go care for an aging parent (or travel)?

  • Hernan August 24, 2016, 1:02 pm

    I am at a #2! I don’t have a mortgage but I do have 1 credit card that I am trying to pay off. Thanks for the inspiration MMM! Anything is possible if you focus on your goals in life. I also started riding my bike. It feels so awesome!

  • Jack September 29, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I really like your site. I’ve even made it a goal of mine to read through each post bottom to top starting with April 11, 2011 posts, and deliberately trying to chew on the principles/practical advice expounded here. I live in Brooklyn, NYC which is not known for its low-cost of living. That said, my fiancé and I both make modest incomes ($38K and $44K respectively) and live in a neighborhood that we can both afford. We have no debts, which we are proud of, but for the time being we are saving little. I would place myself at #2 – although, I have yet to have max out on my Roth IRA. Lastly, I plan on using Kahn Academy (in conjunction with this blog of course) to educate myself on practical/basic financial knowledge. That’s my game-plan for now.

    Keep up the great work!

  • LauraTX January 1, 2017, 8:59 pm

    I’m headed to complete 2 after I pay off my credit card balance that always seems to remain at $2k using some of my liquid savings. I pay the card balance down and use it again. I’m getting off this credit card roller coaster ride.

    I’ve always have been great at budgeting but lacked on significiantly saving. I’ve setup my budget for the next 6 months and hope to save approximately 50-55% of my net pay, after 454, Roth IRA, flex spending and supplement health insurances has been deducted. I plan to pay down my mortgage by increasing payments to the principal.

    I’m finally serious of savings after being sick and tired of telling myself to save more and never do it. I know how to live frugally but now I need to live frugally to save. My first official month of living frugal to save is not to spend anything I do not need.

    I look forward to reading your material to help jumpstart my savings and keep me motivated!

  • Midlife Mark February 26, 2017, 9:32 pm

    Hi Mr Money Moustache,
    I have just started to listen to your Tim Ferris podcast and arrived at your site and signed up to the Blog.
    Im one of those people asset rich cash poor. 53 no mortgage, house worth 1.3 mill aussie dollars. Adults kids studying so dependent on me to bring home the bacon and provide a roof over their heads. Cash poor, out of work 5 months dipping into savings. Traditional financial advisors don’t seem to offer any thing creative. I’ll start by reading your blog posts to date, but anything in particular you can direct me to? Cheers

  • MG April 7, 2017, 12:48 pm

    Guess I’m a 1.5.
    No mortgage (or any other debt), but work and max out 401k.
    Not sure how to make the leap to retirement at the age of 41…

  • Athena May 7, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Mmm, i happily stumbled on your site. My husband and I are trying to set up the lifestyle that you speak of. We live a very modest lifestyle and your blog puts things in manageable steps. I have a question though regarding student loans. I was given terrible advice by my mother and ended up with 136k worth of student loan debt. Gulp… I have private and federal loans. Since i work in public service, the federal loans will be forgiven in 10 years as long as i make monthly payments which are based on my income. The private loans are being paid by the cosigner at this time. I calculated that if i throw 200 more dollars at the private loans along with the cosigners contribution, i should be done with this one in around 10 years. I’m afraid I will never be able to pay this down and save. Any reccommendations?

  • Jonathan May 23, 2017, 9:02 am

    I have always been financially savvy. My fiancee has recently gotten into it with me and introduced me to your site. We enjoy the simple things in life, good clean fun (geocaching; hiking), and freedom. Nothing brings more freedom than financial freedom. I am 29 with about $350K in cash, stocks, and retirement assets. No debt except a mortgage. And my fiancee just finished paying off her student loans. We really have a bright future. We currently live in the Washington DC area, which is expensive. But the idea is to make money here, and work to retire to a cheaper area once we have the ability. I have made it a mission to read through all your articles and take notes from your success story. We know we can do this and make sure we can spend our lives doing what matters – which is being together and making memories. Look forward to reading through your site!

  • Jack June 7, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I love your blog! Here are my thoughts on the article.

    I think your notion that most people in America are living on “self-imposed debt-powered treadmills” is an accurate and a poignant observation. In my experience many Americans are living financially, and I would add environmentally, unsustainable lives. I also agree that most situations like this are avoidable, if not completely reversible.

    While I am completely on board with your philosophy, I did read some of the”exotic” benefits you propose from stepping off the treadmill with a healthy dose of skepticism. I do not see a lot of evidence in my life of people who do not have to work for a living, or who are able to take 3-week vacations a month. That’s said, I think you meant this not literally but as a moving target. Reaching a level of financially security that affords one greater opportunity and choice is certainly a worthwhile goal. I am just underscoring the importance of adjusting ones expectations to match reality. I am certainly looking forward to meeting the Realist in your next article :)

    Your sliding scale, or “spectrum of financial idiocy” had me reflecting on where I currently stand financially. I would place myself somewhere in between 2-4. I’m still working, I do not have regular mortgage payments and I do not have a car loan, but I am not quite able (or at least I don’t think I am) to max out on my 401k and Roth IRA. To this point, I realize I could do better and have decided to take the necessary steps to figure out how I can contribute maximally to these accounts.

    Thanks for the inspiring read! I look forward to reading each article in your catalogue.


  • Cubert August 1, 2017, 3:51 pm

    I’m a “2” these days, but I think it’s time you updated the scale to add a level between “1” and “2”:
    Level “1.5”: I am… within five years of being retired, and my money situation is close to perfect. I’m still working or scaled back to part time, saving max in 401k, no loans on cars or credit cards, and *paying off* my mortgage. Oh, and I belong to this cooky new FIRE cult phenomenon.
    -Cubert (fka “MJB” in comments)

  • Dakota Reuland April 9, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Hey there Mr. MM, I have been turned on to your blogs through a Financial Independence class here at the University of Iowa, and so far I have enjoyed what I have read. I tend to dive deeper into the blog posts, but wanted to comment on this one first. So far, I don’t know where to place myself on the scale, other than a college student with debt, but also some financial opportunity. I look forward to reading and learning more!


  • Greenbacks Magnet January 16, 2019, 6:40 pm

    In my journey towards FI, I have learned that credit cards steal your wealth. Only discipline will get you out of it. I got inspired by a book I read to start paying off all of my credit card debt. I also paid off my car loan in 2009. No car payment for 10 years now! Whoo hoo!

    I started putting all this cash into my 401k and grew it to 6-figures in 6 years.

    A blog post I read inspired me to start saving more money. I went from saving $1 a day to $13,333 a year. I cut out all the crap and stopped the bleeding by spending on only what I needed. It took me 6 years to do this. It was not easy, but I always remember, it’s not about the money; it’s about the freedom.


  • Lelo January 28, 2019, 6:04 am

    Very nice post! I would say that i´m at step 2. I have a question.. Would you like to be my mentor? I´m 32 years old and lives in Sweden for the moment. Have a nice day!

  • Todd February 3, 2020, 1:41 pm

    I can’t register for the forum. For some reason it’s asking me 2 questions: The practical benefits of outrageous and What is the first word in the title of the first blog post?
    Seems like a lot of work to sign up. I think the answer to #2 is “Meet” but I don’t have the interest to research the first answer.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 4, 2020, 6:40 pm

      Thanks for your interest Todd! Although it may sound harsh, your situation is EXACTLY why we have those questions in place. We want to deter both spam bots, and people who are prone to asking questions without first exhausting all other possible research avenues FIRST.

      The forum is only valuable if the posters are mostly of disciplined, research-oriented people who minimize repeated questions and maximize high-quality answers. Anybody is welcome to read as a guest for free, but there needs to be a higher bar for being a poster. (and really, the bar is still too low in my opinion)

      • Sayonara April 16, 2020, 4:56 pm

        Love this response, MMM!

  • Sayonara April 16, 2020, 5:02 pm

    Wow – here we are 9 years after the first post, and who knew that you would literally change the lives of thousands of people for the better, not the least, including myself. After discovering your thoughtful, witty teachings about 2 years ago as a 26 year old guy in Los Angeles with a high paying but non-soul-satisfying job, I am happy to say that my life has improved more than I ever could have imagined thanks primarily to your perspective on life and your willingness to share with all of us. Healthier, less stressed, with far more practical life skills (cooking & remodeling!) and about 1 year away from true financial independence, I thank you for showing so many of us the way and the light. Have a wonderful coming decade, and beyond, MMM –Simon

  • George Choy June 22, 2020, 5:08 am

    Hi MMM
    My wife and I are at #1. We retired young, but not as early as you.
    The key turning point for us was just deciding we were going to do it. Before that we were funding an excessively expensive lifestyle – buying luxury cars in cash and going on cruises in our 20s. It took a while to get my head around frugality as I was a total shopaholic.
    We made it in the end :-)

  • LHermes May 24, 2021, 6:51 pm

    Sr. Money! me encanta su blog. Siempre hay que estar motivados y apasionados por lo que hacemos. En mi caso me gusta lo que hago y siempre quiero mejorar, una de mis decisiones de crecimiento fue aperturar una compañía en UY y una pasarela de pago para mi actividad de internet, soy emprendedor, y en este camino me topé con Foster Swiss, una consultoría bastante responsable y efectiva. Son los que me han ayudado a realizar todos estos trámites y me han prestado sus servicios. De este blog he aprendido mucho, siempre los leo. Saludos!!

  • Angie August 31, 2021, 4:51 pm

    Hey MMM,
    Currently at #2 right now (no mortgage, no kids, just maxing out 401K and building up net worth). Hopefully can get to #1 in a few years!

  • LandonDean20 November 24, 2021, 6:44 pm

    Hello MMM community,

    Today is the day I reached my first major financial goal. I am only 19 years old. I work for Walmart for about $37,800 every year. This first year I was able to stock away $20,500 in investments so far. I got a 5% raise, and I may get another one! Walmart is currently paying for my college education (Bachelors in Business Administration). I am attempting to have $100,000 to $200,000 invested by the time I graduate in early 2025.

    My car is payed for, and it should last me a long while, and I look forward to building Financial Independence for my future family. I’ll be contributing $30,000 to $35,000 per year or more over the next 4 years.

    I can definitely agree with MMM. It feels different living like this, and watching everyone else around you stuck in a consumer society like ours is crazy!

  • chris December 15, 2022, 3:36 am

    Dear MMM, what do you consider to be the sixth word in this blog post. I’ve tried “money”, “retired”, “do” so far and none of them are right.

    Many thanks.

  • sayonara February 11, 2023, 8:14 pm

    I always love the irony of you wearing an STP oil shirt in probably the most famous photo on this blog.


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