Everyone Makes Sacrifices

Guardian by Sam Flores
Everyone will have to make sacrifices at some point in their life. And I'm not talking about the little ones either, like going to a certain restaurant because that's what you're significant other wants, or settling on used car with low mileage because you can't really afford a new one. I'm talking about career goals, things that will change years or decades of your life.

The most common sacrifice is the debate of working for money or passion. If money wasn't important people wouldn't sacrifice their passion for it. Sometimes people (myself included) don't have a passion that is strong enough to outweigh the money we could make doing something else. Sure, I could have picked a different profession like working with animals that would have given me more personal satisfaction than my current job. But my current job affords me the lifestyle that I like and will hopefully get me closer to my goals much quicker than any other use of my time.

Everyone will have to make a sacrifice at some point. There's a reason the term "starving artist" exists, it's because most of them don't make enough money to get by. They have decided to sacrifice money for their passions in hopes that eventually some reputable publication takes note of their work and helps them "break out".

But it's not always a sacrifice between money and passion. Entrepreneurs have a passion for the products and companies they build, and occasionally they make money off of those passions pretty quickly, but they sacrifice something else. Their time. Do you think that someone like Mark Zuckerberg didn't sacrifice his time when he started Facebook? Or what about Elon Musk when he started PayPal? Mark Cuban is known for not taking a vacation for the first 7 years that he started his company.

Everyone has to sacrifice something

The hardest part of any sacrifice is sticking to it through the end. If an artist chooses to pursue an art career it may take decades to be noticed enough to make a comfortable living. If five years in you decide that you can't live that way anymore and you try to get a corporate job, you probably can. But you will start from the bottom again. Or if you started with a corporate job that pays well but doesn't interest you, if you change your path to get that career working with animals you might have the skills to get you in the door, but you start from square one again.

People talk about changing your career like it's some sort of great feat. When in reality, walking away is one of the easiest ways out of everything. The hard thing is sticking through the difficult times. When long hours or little pay make you want to run away from it all and back to the choice you didn't pick so many years before. Because money wasn't so important to you then but now that you're starting a family you have to think about someone else now. When that voice in the back of your head keeps telling you that you've made the wrong choice and now the people that you love have to sacrifice for you too.

What good is a plan if you only execute it 65 percent of the way? Making progress when you first start something is pretty easy, but eventually you hit a wall and need to keep at it to push through. Sacrifice at the start of something is always easy, you're expecting it. But most people have a hard time thinking about how they will feel five or ten years down the road. Sometimes sacrifice doesn't end when we want it to. We think it will only be for so long but many times it doesn't end up that way, sometimes things happen, life happens, and you have to keep it up longer than you originally planned.

Changing jobs is scary enough, but changing career paths is a lot riskier. I'm not saying it doesn't work but if you're going to do it have a well thought out plan, and be prepared to sacrifice something else to make it work.

The path to financial independence is a long and hard journey. Perseverance is the hardest trait to maintain on this road. For me it's been about 4 years on this path, and now I'm seeing some of the results of my efforts. I also haven't had too many of the bumps in the road yet but I hope to keep my goals in mind and not give up somewhere along the way.

3 comments:

  1. I didn't know you have been on the path towards financial independence for four years already. Do you feel it gets easier as it goes on? Life style wise I don't feel like I am lacking currently, but I am only like 1 year into trying to get on the right path.

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    1. Well, I've been working at this since around when I was 28. When I first started, I was saving maybe 40% of my income because I had other expenses such as a long commute to work at the time (80 miles round trip!). I also made less money at the time so I couldn't save as much. But over the years I've gotten better at being mindful of what I spent money on so I'm probably saving about 60% of my income now. I'm about to turn 32 in a few months and so perhaps it's a little under 4 years but that's about the time frame I'm looking at. I did have one of those days where I realized that I could reach financial independence early and started working towards it, but I didn't exactly remember to record the date that I was starting down this journey.

      So I think it's been about 4 years now. I've only been writing about it for almost a year, 10 months to be more precise. That I have a date on :)

      To me it doesn't feel like a sacrifice, in fact it never has. It's just been more about being mindful of what I spend money on. Occasionally I do stray and make spend more money than I probably should but those are usually* on things that I think are worth hurting my savings rates for like when I took a vacation to Cuba I'm sure there were ways that I could have gotten better value for my money but the experience was worth it.

      The hardest part for me is getting other people in your life to accept minimalism. Other people sometimes have a hard time accepting that you don't want to spend money on various things that they find normal, and to be perfectly honest, they are normal things. I'm just not very interested in them. Going out to dinner is something that people find very normal. For me on the other hand, I am perfectly happy, actually, I'm happier to make my own meals at home. I think that spending $15-$20 on going out for dinner is really not high on my list of things to do. I guess it would be different if I were a big foodie but I'm quite the opposite actually.

      I still go out to meals but I view that as more of a social event and it usually would come out of my entertainment budget. But sometimes my entertainment budget goes much higher than I would like because of this.

      *the surround sound system in my house was probably completely unnecessary but at least I can watch TV while the dishwasher is on now. I'm also about to go over on a bachelor party next month, but that will probably be worth it since it's a fishing trip with friends.

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    2. I understand what you are saying. I guess for me hanging out with family my parents don't eat out very often, and my wife has a large family so getting everyone together to go out to dinner is more of a hassle than meeting at someone's house. We also enjoy making our meals at home, if we had more time we would probably make more new meals that we haven't before. I think it mostly just depends on whom you are spending your time with and what their preferences are.

      60% savings rate is awesome! Living like that should help you obtain financial independence in no time! I think an area I need to improve is to look for used items at good prices. All of the small things add up.

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