What’s the Dark Side of Pursuing Financial Independence too Aggressively?
We all can be masters at our craft but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend…”
Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the best basketball players to ever walk the planet. He accomplished so many things on the court. Five championship rings. Two scoring titles. MVP of the league. The list goes on and on ad infinitum. But what did Kobe have to sacrifice in order to master his craft and become legendary? Kobe speaks about having to sacrifice family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend, son, etc. While most of us will never reach Kobe’s level of fame and wealth, we should all strive to be masters at our craft.
Masters at Our Craft
To master our craft, sometimes we must choose to make similar sacrifices that Kobe chose to make. If we become masters of our craft, certainly our career prospects will look brighter than ever before. After putting in those long hours, we may expect to see a promotion or two as we climb the ladder of success. Those promotions would definitely help us in our quest to achieve financial independence. But we must be cognizant of the sacrifices we have to make in order to achieve greatness. I recently read an article featured on Rockstarfinance.com titled Why Two Incomes Aren’t Always Better Than One.
Why Two Incomes Aren’t Always Better Than One
This article was a brilliant analysis of how a two income household isn’t always better than one. According to the article, “In fields that highly compensate non-linearity (such as finance, law, and corporate professions), someone who works half-time is generally going to receive less than half-time pay, whereas someone who works double the normal hours has the potential to receive more than double the compensation.” To resolve this issue, the article suggest one solution could be to let one spouse focus on their career and the other one stay at home. The logic being that if one person works 80 hours, they could potentially make more in those highly compensated fields than if both spouses worked 40 hours a week. This makes sense but what about what about the inherent sacrifices that come along with this decision?
An 80 Hour Work Week
If one parent works 80 hours a week, that leaves that parent with 88 hours left in free time. Scratch that! This parent has to sleep. Let’s say they get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, that only leaves them with 32 hours of free time left during the week. The daily free time available would equal 4.571 hours per day. The opportunity cost of this spouse working 80 hours a week means less quality time spent with the non-working spouse. I wonder how many couples get divorced over this. Maybe some day someone will perform an economic analysis of it! To my knowledge, no one has written an analysis of that yet but I have an anecdote I would like to share from the How I Built This podcast episode with Tariq Farid, founder of Edible Arrangements.
The Case of Tyriq Farid
The story of Tariq Farid is a fascinating tale of what happens when you do not take no for an answer. In the episode, many people doubt his idea of selling fruit arrangements will be successful. His dad was so worried that his idea would fail that he invited a professor over to tell him his idea had no chance of succeeding. “If no one else does this, why do you think you will be successful” the professor asks. Afterwards, he goes on to ask Tyriq if he has done a focus group. Tyriq’s smart aleck response to that was, “I did do a focus group. I brought it home and put it on the table and my mom said this is going to be big! His mom turned out be right; there are 1300 edible arrangement franchises around the world now. But what sacrifices Tyriq Farid have to make to pull off such a great feat?
Price Paid for Success
Before Tyriq Fard allowed outside investors to get involved, he did most of the work himself. Just how hard did Tyriq work? Guy Raz asks him, “You working just like a dog?” “I think dogs even get a break.” was Tyriq’s response. To achieve greatness, Tyriq had to sacrifice a lot of family time and his first marriage ended up in divorce. He informs the audience that there was a very heavy price to be paid for his success. As you may know, the busiest time for Edible Arrangements is around the holidays. So when people were taking off, he was working harder. In retrospect, Tyriq wishes that he spent more time with his children because they did not care if he was rich or poor. They just wanted quality time with their father!
Is It Worth It?
If I knew then, what I know now all the pain that I would go through…that my family would go through. Was it really worth it?
Some personal finance bloggers may try to convince you that achieving financial independence is easy. But I am here to tell you the honest to God’s truth. Achieving financial independence can be an arduous task but I believe in the end it is well worth it. Just try to spend more time with your family in the process. In the end, all they care about is spending quality time with the one they love! They could care less whether you or rich or poor. Well, some of them…
After writing this article at the beginning of last year, I ended up not following my own advice to spend more time with my family. Instead, I let the dark side of side hustling consume all of my time.
I believed that working 24/7 was the only way to achieve my financial goals. Since then, I have learned that belief is not only false but also dangerous, as it puts me at risk for a potential burnout.
The truth is, I can achieve my financial goals and not sacrifice my social life in the process. It just requires that I stop procrastinating so much and tackle my high-value tasks every week day.
R.I.P. Kobe Bryant
It has been four days since Kobe, his daughters, and friends were killed in a helicopter crash. I am still in disbelief. Even after reading countless articles, watching tributes to him on ESPN, it’s still hard to process. It feels weird speaking about him in past tense.
This article was inspired by him. He was my favorite NBA player. I’ve found his Mamba mentality inspiring.
While scouring the web for articles related to his death, I came across an interview posted on Maria Shriver where he spoke about his greatest accomplishment: being a father.
Here is what Kobe had to say about it:
Being a father is the thing I am most proud of in this world; it’s my greatest accomplishment. I’ve learned so much, but perhaps the most profound thing has been the fierce, unconditional love you have for your children when you become a parent. I’m blessed to have had that experience four times now and there’s nothing more powerful in this world.
In another article, I discovered that his reason for purchasing a helicopter was to spend more time with his daughters. After missing one of their plays due to Los Angeles traffic, he purchased a chopper.
Kobe’s untimely death is a poignant reminder that our most valuable asset is our time. We never know when we are going to run out of it. Spend it wisely!
Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.
Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.
Also, please subscribe below if you found his content valuable and want to continue following him as he documents his own journey from Broke to Financially Woke!