Me vs You

Apparently I am the only person here that thinks there is more to life than saving, investing, and/or creating passive income streams. While those things are great and all, I hardly want to give up what are arguably the best years of my life because I’m chasing some “dream” I don’t really want.

I’m assuming that you all suggest I save more, invest more, and create multiple streams of income so that one day I can have the financial freedom to cut back on work, possibly even retire extremely early. Let me stop you right there. I don’t hate my job nor do I care to be wealthy.

Multiple income streams:

Girl Ninja and I don’t think to ourselves at night, “We need to make more money.” Actually, we are completely content with what we have. Contentment is a beautiful thing.

I understand multiple income streams help protect oneself in the event of a job loss, but she’s a teacher and I work for the fed. Fortunately, this means we have a good bit more job security than those in the private sector. If we don’t need more money coming in, and we both enjoy our rather stable jobs, I don’t see an advantage to an income property or a taxable investment account. In fact, all I see are potential headaches and emotional roller coasters.

Save more:

Could we keep saving until our bank account read $120,000, $150,000, or $200,000? Sure. But what’s the point? I’ve already chronicled why I would NEVER pay cash for a house, so that’s not really incentive (side note: you shouldn’t pay cash for a house either).

I hope you all remember that the only reason we save is so that one day we can spend (or give that money away). Why do we need $200,000 in cash? Seriously, I don’t get it. Part of me thinks people want me to save more cash because it sounds like the responsible thing to do. Let me turn the tables, How many of you have $150,000 in a savings account right now?

Invest More:

I got my job six months after I graduated college. Since day one, I’ve steadily contributed 15% or more to my retirement. Since I have absolutely no desire to retire with tens of millions of dollars in the bank, I don’t really see the need to go crazy. I said I’ll likely up my retirement contributions to 30% once we reach our $100,000 savings goal, but I don’t really see a reason why I should be putting more than that away? Unless of course I want my future dentures, wheelchair, and catheter to be made out of diamonds. Barring some major catastrophic event, I think a 15%-30% investing rate over the course of a 40 year career should be just fine.


I do realize however, I was being dramatic in my last post and it’s very likely many of you took me literally; Thinking I was going to buy a new flat screen TV every month just for the sake of doing it. That’s hardly the case. That post was simply my way of acknowledging, that for the first time in my personal finance journey, I’m completely content. I’ve stressed about student loans, emergency funds, down payments, and retirement for far too long.

To be clear: We will still put our excess discretionary income in to a bank account (or taxable investment account). We will continue to save for our future house (and the unexpected headaches that come with homeownership). We will make sure we have enough cash on reserves to take care of our not-yet-conceived children. But mark my words, once we reach our $100,000 goal… you’ll see a whole new side of Ninja 🙂



  1. Again, you suck at communicating 😉

    Thanks for the blast from the past regarding your liquidity post. I like to read what I comment in the past and see if I still feel the same way today. I still do.

    $150,000 cash in the bank??? What good would that do??? 🙂 Insanity me thinks they are, yes…

    I’m waiting to see what is to come when you reach your 100k goal. Maybe it will give me some ideas for myself. Not the usual stuff like travel, charity, or toys.

  2. Money is for only thing: spending.

    All the brouhaha is always over one word: when. At some point you will either spend your money or give it away. If you die with it, you give it to your heirs.

    So… all saving and investing is so you will have money to spend at a future point, but in the end it’s for spending. If you spend it now, you won’t have it to spend later, If you save it now, you will have it to spend later (unless you ignore the economic cycle and have a recession simply eat it).

    Everybody has their own idea of their drop dead money: enough money where they can tell the world to drop dead, and they’re free to spend it the way they want. If you’re happy with what you have, bully for you. 🙂

    When you want to spend it is your choice entirely.

  3. I love this post. (Sorry, typing one-handed with daughter in lap..will..try…cliff..notes) Pfers, fanatical misers sometimes. Ninja, healthy perspective and good balance. What side of Ninja will we see next, hmm…

  4. Job security? You both work for the same employer.

    I agree though, everyone should spend their money the way they want.

    • The same thing? State and federal government are completely different entities. Do you really not understand that?

      What’s more, my position within the fed is considered mission critical. That means its apparently über important. Do you remember when there was all the hype about a possible government shutdow? Yeah, I got an email specifically saying my agency would not shut down since the work we do is considered mission critical.

      Last example, for the past three months I have had to work mandatory overtime every week. When is the last time you heard of a federal employee not only working overtime, but having it be mandatory?

      As far as job security goes, I think I’m pretty fortunate.

          • Actually, I think we might both be varying degrees of wrong. I thought GN worked for a private school.

            While I can’t say I’m sure no one in a mission critical job working overtime has ever been let go…I was in a crappy mood yesterday and retract my comment. No one wants to hear their jobs are not secure, especially in the case where they aren’t.

            My apologies

  5. To me, here’s the thing… offspring are apparently ridiculously expensive. Having been one at one time, I can vouch for that fact. At one point, I had developed a 5 digit per year sporting habit that my parents were fortunately able to support and happy to do so. Given your desire for mini-me’s and to live without Girl Ninja’s income, I would say you’re quite possibly going to want to keep that money for the future. To spend. Not to hoard ad infinum.
    I am also a huge, huge fan of the giving away of money 🙂 I do it all the time. Why not start a scholarship fund, or help to create a bit of an endowment fund for your YL’ers?

  6. I don’t need to be rich either, just comfortable. HOWEVER, I do worry about retirement a lot and I’m just not confident that what I’m doing is enough. Mostly because I fear I’ll have to live in gov’t provided senior housing and/or eat cat food. I just don’t know when it’s ok to stop saving, you know. Any thoughts?

    P.S. Looking forward to the “whole new side of you”. I’m assuming it won’t be total debauchery ala Motley Crue in the 80’s (but wouldn’t that be a great blog!). 😉

    • 15% of your income invested in low cost index funds for a long time (30-40years) and you should be alright.

      • This is not unreasonable, but a bit simplistic. I would suggest that anyone interested in the question of “safe savings rates” ought to read the blog by Wade Pfau, who is a researcher in economics based now in Tokyo. He has a number of charts here to project safe savings rates for various stock/bond allocations, multiples of salary saved, and projected retirement age. My main objection is that he doesn’t take life expectancy (which he always fixes at 100) as a variable, when in fact it may be the most determinative variable of them all. Even so:

  7. Teacher… Job Security…

    I don’t know what world those two go together, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be this one. Most state governments are trying to convert teachers to contractors.

    • Girl Ninja has never had a problem getting a teaching Job. Nor has her sister that has taught for 8 years. While some school districts are struggling financially, the kids don’t go anywhere. And although some teachers get pink slipped at the end of each school year (GN’s sister being one of them), she has ALWAYS gotten hired back.

  8. The point of having all that money is to buy time.

    1. Accumulate money
    2. Invest money to create passive income
    3. ???
    4. FIRE (step 2 was the PROFIT! 🙂 )

  9. Ninja, I mean this as nicely as possible, but you’re doing it wrong. Perhaps I just missed it, but you seem to have one savings account that serves all savings purposes. So when you have $100K in savings, you really won’t have $100K for a house. You seem to be rather attached to your liquidity, so I’m guessing you’ll never let that savings number go below $50K. That means you don’t really have much for a downpayment at all. If you put your emergency fund in a separate place, so you always make sure to have that money when you need it, and assuming you want that number to be 50K, then you really only have 25K for your house. That’s a pretty small downpayment for Seattle, so I’d say this whole debate is premature, because you have a ways to go before you truly reach your $100K goal.

    • Ahhh you are partially correct. We have $10,000 earmarked for an emergency (3.5 moths of expenses) and about $75,000 in a general savings fund.

      You are probably thinking to yourself, $10,000 isn’t enough, but with the our relatively stable jobs we feel comfortable with this amount. And if we haven’t spent the $100,000 savings that is still a backup option.

      What’s more I’ve blogged in the past about why one should consider using their Roth IRA as a secondary emergency fund. If you search Roth IRE on my blog it will come up. So between our $10,000 efund and $30,000 in Roth we have a decent chunk if the proverbial crap hits the fan.

  10. Love the discussion! In the end, it’s your choice, your money!

    I’m working to get to 100K, I wonder if I’ll be facing this type of dilemma in a couple of years.

  11. Ninja, whereas you claim your last post was “dramatic,” I was totally serious about getting your own California Burrito place. You might even be able to use the business as a cover for your James Bond: Mission Critical job (tax writeoff?). Or your house could be on the 2nd story so the business is directly below (2am burrito anyone?). You could even do stealth marketing by slipping random people burritos when they aren’t paying attention.
    In conclusion: Ninja’s Cali Burrito >> $100k savings account.

  12. You phrased your post as though anything over 100k is excessive savings and you didn’t know what to do with all your extra income.  Talk about first world problems! 🙂   No one said it wasn’t “enough” and that if you wanted, you couldn’t increase spending on things that you value.   You (dramatically, as you say) said you were just going to blow money on stuff you didn’t care about once you reached your goal.  That’s why everyone chimed in with better ideas.  Everyone’s advice stands – there is a lot of things you can save for and ways to increase your wealth if you have “extra” income coming in.  You can spend it too, if you prefer. 

    Personally, I do like to save more than 15% in retirement now, not knowing what the future holds or if we’ll always be able to save 15% (if one of us stays home with kids) or maybe we’ll just retire early or scale back our savings in our 40s. That doesn’t mean 100k isn’t enough, or that you have to do the same. But saving more now always gives you more choices in the future. Spending some money now is fine too, but I really don’t get the impression that you are super frugal at this stage in your life. which is fine!

  13. Not sure you what you do, but like you I REALLY like my job. That being said the focus I have for accumulation is so that one day I am working, because I want to not because I have to. Right now I am completely in grained in the having to work.

  14. My boyfriend’s sister and her husband are just like you guys. He is a police officer, she’s a teacher. They will both be able to retire with full salaries at 52. They are set to work for these next 20 years until then, and then they will comfortably retire. While that sounds like a very happy life for them, I have a totally different personality. I want to push myself and take risks and own businesses and real estate investments and deal with everything that comes with it. Contentment sounds good but the journey and adventure and possibilities are what keep me going in life 🙂

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