The Sweet Spot: Comparison With MMM

Recently Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) wrote a nice article on finding the sweet spot as applicable to various things in life. For example, a successful tech career’s sweet spot is when someone has worked for 10-15 years and has accumulated a few million dollars (in the US context). The “too less” side of things is when the person is earning $15/hour. The too much side is when they have accumulated tons of wealth but at the cost of 40 years of stressful work.

Similarly, he draws parallels to other aspects of life. For example, the sweet spot for a work week would be 20-40 hours/week. Just 4 hours or 60+ hours/week fall on the extremes. But the most intriguing example for me was the right mix for raising kids. The too less side would be “kids abandoned in front of the TV”. On the too much side we have kids doing 5 types of sports activities + piano lessons + singing classes, all on the top of an already busy school schedule.

We try to overachieve some things. His advice is to be careful of the desire for fame and fortune and not overachieve. Overachievers tend to neglect other important things in life.

…overachievers like us tend to get really good at a few things like a career or an athletic pursuit often specializing so much that we neglect other things like overall health or personal relationships


My turn

He explains how he looks at his own life from this perspective, and came up with quite a few diagnoses of his own in the areas of money, friendship, career etc. Towards the end of his post, he asks the readers to write down their own assessment of whether they are hitting the sweet spot or not in various aspects of life. Since I am a fan of MMM, I decided to go through the exercise and see where I stand. I am assessing myself in the same areas that he assessed himself. So here it is.

Money: Enough

Just like MMM, I have the right amount of money. Not too less and not too much. I have this feeling of what will I do with more money anyway? I am quite happy with what I have. More money does not bring me more happiness. I can buy more stuff but the fun fades away soon and I adjust to the new baseline. Instead, I prefer relaxing family time.

Career Success (blog): It Varies

Sometimes I am very motivated to write lots of posts. Other times I slow down too much. I sometimes feel like my blogs are not helping anyone and stop writing abruptly. I am notorious for ending blogs. The death of my previous blogs are a testament to the fact. We will see how long this blog goes. I started making some youtube videos but now I am not motivated enough to do more. So that might be the end of that. My assessment in this regard is just like MMM — it varies.

Friendships: Enough

I have enough friends. However, until I retired, I wasn’t able to keep in touch with a lot of folks. Life kept me too busy. But since retirement I have tried to reach out to as many folks as I can. I am still finding more of my friends who I lost contact with. Hoping to continue to keep in touch with them for ever going forward. Here I am doing better than MMM since his assessment is not enough.

Health and Fitness: Too Much

I have never felt healthier or fit like I do today. And everyday is a small improvement over the previous day. Yet, I am over doing a bit on this front. I am certainly not as fit or healthy as some other folks at this age. At the same time, I keep getting injured all the time. Shoulder injury? Check. Both shoulders in fact. Tennis elbow — check. High hamstring tendinitis, adductor over stretch, neck injury, black eye — check. Have to find my sweet spot when it comes to workouts. Choosing the right diet is in the sweet spot. I am not obsessed over the right kind of diet, nor am I too lax. This is not inline with MMM who marked it as enough.

Parenting and Kids: Enough

It has been a couple of years since I retired and became a full time dad. It is very fulfilling to say the least. I never thought I was capable of raising kids. Due to this reason I never really wanted kids. But circumstances and here we are. We are certainly at the sweet spot just like MMM with one kid. Not too less and not too many. Loving my time with the kid and I feel like a super dad :). I can’t say any better than MMM so here I quote him

… I made “being a Dad” my primary goal in life, quitting my career to do so. It’s the only thing I can truly say I have done the best I could at, and I’m really proud of that


Personal Projects and Daily Habits: Not Enough

I thought early retirement would free up a lot of time to work on personal projects, but that didn’t happen. Just like MMM I squander entire days on accidental distractions. For example, reading a news on launch of OLED TV, sets up the stage for watching numerous reviews about TVs, videos on OLED tech, comparisons with other technologies, details about electronics and on and on. I have to figure out a way to be on track and make more progress. Don’t get me wrong, I have accomplished several projects that I always wanted to work on. But more new projects keep getting added to my To-Do list.

There are a few more items I can list out, but this is a good list so far. I need to adjust a few things to get to the sweet spot, but otherwise things are on track. Now it’s your turn.

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2 thoughts on “The Sweet Spot: Comparison With MMM”

  1. Money : Enough

    How much money is really enough. People tend to accumulate money to be ready for unforeseen issues and never know how much is enough. When you say “enough”, what are the parameters for that? Does it cover future medical needs, educational needs etc. Do we need to have a financial corpus goal or learn to adopt with what we have?

  2. The only person who can answer “how much money is enough” is the person themselves :). For me the only parameter was I need to have a corpus that is enough to easily cover all my expenses using 4% rule and then some (20-50% more than your expected expenses). I did not plan on education or medical needs. The excess 20-50% corpus should take care of every unexpected eventuality. I wouldn’t suggest everyone to do the same. It depends on your mindset.

    Are you a risk taker and can face adversities in life without erasing the smile on your (and your family’s) face? Then you can do what I did. Some call me reckless. But you know who you are, and don’t be swayed by what people think. I am the kind of person who learns to adapt with the situation. As I always say, in the worst case, I will go back to work.

    On the other hand if you are the kind of person who worries for every small detail in life then you certainly need to use a lower rule like 2% with some cushion. It may mean you can never retire at all. Because for every salary band I can come up with expenses that all seem important and non-discretionary which means you can never save “enough”.

    Find something that works for you. Lets say kids education corpus, some medical corpus etc. Then reach each goal independently. The process is the same. Save the right amount (use the calculators on this blog to find how much to invest) for each goal and profit!

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