Radical or Focused? | Two Personal Finance Success Stories

by RJ

in Psychology

One of my favorite business books to come out this year, is Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. I truly believe that this book is going to become a classic. If your into business and entrepreneurship, I would recommend giving it a read.

This purpose of this post isn’t to review the book. It’s about a very important lesson regarding personal finance that came to me while reading Rework.

Jason and David run a business 37 Signals, a web-based software company. They do things their own way. They let employees work from where they want to. They let employees work when they want to. They have a 4-day work week. They wrote a book detailing exactly how they make their software and even gave it away for free. Yes, even to their competitors. Yet these guys are making a lot of money.

A lot of what 37 Signals does might sound radical to anyone who has their MBA in business. However, I think these guys are extremely focused on making their business profitable and a great place to work .

How This Applies to Personal Finance

I love to listen to success stories in personal finance. People who had goals and did everything they could to achieve them.

Two blogs I love to read are Extreme Early Retirement and Man Vs. Debt.

Jacob from Extreme Early Retirement reached financial independence at the age of 30. For the short time he had a job, he managed to save and invest around 80% of his salary.

Adam from Man Vs. Debt, sold his crap, paid off his debt, and traveled New Zealand for a year with his wife and 1-year-old daughter. As the website says, now he spends his days doing what he loves.

If you told these bloggers stories to people on the street, a lot of people would think what they did was radical. However, just like the guys at 37 Signals, I think these guys were and still are extremely focused.

They are doing what makes the most sense to them. Jacob doesn’t have a drivers license. Adam doesn’t use a credit card.

They each knew they would have to give up some things. However, it was a small price to pay to achieve their goals.


Setting goals is one of the most important aspects to designing your financial plan. I say this a lot, but it’s worth mentioning again. You need to set Big Hairy Audacious (financial) Goals.

Your goals might sound radical to your parents or friends, but that’s fine. This is your life and you deserve to do whatever you want.

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Early Retirement ExtremeNo Gravatar May 31, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for the mention. I think what keeps most people where they are is
1) They don’t go from knowing to doing.
2) They don’t go hard enough. If it’s not top priority, it’s not going to happen.
The second point is word laboring on. What creates success is doing something to such a degree that it is better or different from 95% of everybody else. If not, the results won’t stand out, and if they don’t stand out, one might as well not have bothered.

So it’s not so much the 80% savings in itself that’s important. It’s the fact that it’s 4 times as much as the average. If everybody saved 80% interest rates would be very low and one would need to save even more.

Hard disciplined persistent work is the key.

It is the only thing. But few people have the drive.
.-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..The value of reviewing bad books =-.

RJNo Gravatar June 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

@Jacob – Excellent comment and great advice not only for your finances but for life.

Mark LawrenceNo Gravatar June 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Great stuff! Just retweeted! It’s always inspirational to read about real world success stories like this!
.-= Mark Lawrence´s last blog ..Fake Work is Destroying America! =-.

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