At present, many young people wish to grow up asap. They want to achieve their dreams as soon as possible and become successful in their careers sooner. Though some attain this goal, there are obvious drawbacks to the plan. Sam Dogen is one perfect example. This man retired at the age of 34 after seemingly achieving all his dreams.
Who is Sam Dogen?
Sam Dogen is the founder and of Financial Samurai, which is the largest independent personal finance website. Before starting up this business, he worked in investment banking for more than a decade. He studied and got his B.A. in Economics at The College of William and Mary. For his MBA, he attended the University of California in Berkeley. Many major publications such as Forbes, The L.A. Times, The Sydney Herald, and The Wall Street Journal, have featured Sam Dogen.
After building up Financial Samurai, he finally retired in 2012. He was 34 at that time. During his retirement, he had a net worth of about $3 million, generating around $80,000 in investment income yearly. He says that thus far, he is enjoying his retired life. He appreciates not waking up early and not going through long commutes to work. He is living his dream by doing whatever he wants to do. Sam Dogen now spends more time with his family and on his hobbies. However, he does have some regrets regarding his early retirement.
5 Things He Would Do Differently
Retiring at a young age has some ups and downs. Sam admits that no situation is perfect, and if he had the chance to go through the whole situation again, he would do some parts differently.
1. Think about it for a couple more years
He has recently just realized how young he was when he decided to retire. Many people have expressed how his decision seemed to be irresponsible and even reckless. Some noted that it was unfortunate, especially since he was at the peak of his career and earning more money than ever. He claps back at them by saying that he was tired and bored with his job, after being with the same firm for eleven years.
However, now Sam Dogen thinks that he could have waited it out a bit more. He believes he could have found a new position at the firm at a different location. His firm had offices all over the world, like in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taiwan, and London. If he had the opportunity at that time, it might have helped him regain his interest in his work.
Also, if he worked a little bit more, he could put all his extra income into risk assets such as stocks and bonds. He could have gotten $20,000 additional income as passive earning. He regrets not taking that chance and wasting the opportunity.
2. Have his son before retiring
If Sam could do it all over again, he would have discussed having his son before retirement with his wife. The couple initially agreed on delaying any plans of children as they thought they were not mentally and financially ready during that period. They wanted to make sure that they had enough funds to support their child. Sam and his wife were 39 and 36, respectively, when they had their first son.
If he had a son in his early 30’s, he would have less bonding time with his son due to work. However, Sam believes that spending a higher amount of time in his overall life with his son is much more significant. Now, he hopes to live long enough to see his son grow up and become a successful man himself.
Also, if he did have his son while he was working, he could have taken advantage of the benefits his firm offers. His company gives 20 weeks of paid parental leave. He thinks it was a wasted opportunity to earn thousands of dollars.
3. Blogging more
Sam Dogen had the Financial Samurai idea back in 2006 but was not able to start it up right away. At that time, he was too busy trying to get promoted to earn more significant titles and a higher amount of money. However, after the 2008 financial crisis, he was sure that he could not climb up the corporate ladder further nor get paid more than his previous position. That meant that his career would stay stagnant for an extended period plus he would get paid less.
This realization led Sam Dogen to launch Financial Samurai in 2009. In the beginning, he focused on writing about the financial crisis, trying to explain what went down and why it happened. After some time, he started writing about other topics like career strategies, investing, retirement, and other financial subjects. He began genuinely enjoying doing his blogs. Today, millions of readers around the world have visited his website to learn more about financial independence. You can now consider Financial Samurai as a popular website that continues to generate a fair amount of income. However, Sam wonders how much more successful the site could be if he had started it out in 2006.
4. Investing more money in 2012
It was in 2012 that Sam Dogen decided to retire and he was incredibly busy negotiating his severance. He was too preoccupied with his retirement that he was not able to buy more property, stocks, and bonds. It was a critical year of investing since it was right before prices shot up, especially for the real state sector. The increase in the rates from 2012-2019 was due to the new high-tech boom. For example, a property in San Francisco that was for $900,00 in that year is now worth around $1.6 million. He shared that if he did have time to think about his investments, he could have earned around $250,000 in returns.
5. Working in a different industry
Because he had worked in the finance department for 13 consecutive years, he lost interest in his job, which then led to his early retirement. What he didn’t consider at that time was exploring different industries that he could have entered. The tech sector could have been a great industry to work in because of its explosive growth. He was also living in San Francisco, which is the tech capital of the world. There were many companies that he could have applied to like Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb. These are some examples of companies that have grown significantly over the past years. He could also have taken the challenge to join a real estate company or even starting his own. Sam notes that he could pursue this dream of his in the future, but for now, he feels that he is too old and exhausted.
In life, there are many things that you have to consider. Before making big decisions, take some time to think about all the aspects of your life and make sure that you choose the best one for your situation. Sam Dogen suggests that if you want to retire early, don’t do it before the age of 40. If you are tired of your job, take an extended vacation for you to clear your mind and recharge.
However, once you set your mind on retiring early, you have to make sure that you have enough investment income to fund your lifestyle. Also, you need to know already what you are going to do with your free time. If you don’t, you might end up getting bored and feeling useless. You have to be confident that you will feel satisfied with your decision and not have big regrets in the future.