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Should You Save More to Reach Financial Independence Sooner?

By Brian Withers and Jason Hall - Updated Mar 7, 2021 at 9:56AM

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Saving more is usually a good idea. Until it isn't.

It's a pretty simple formula. The more you save, the quicker you can reach financial independence. But saving too much may have unexpected downsides. In this video clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on Feb. 19, Fool contributors Jason Hall and Brian Withers talk about why you might want to take a more measured approach to save for your future.

Brian Withers: One of the things that I love about this whole discussion is, a lot of times people say, when I get to that point [of being financially independent], [but] there's no reason why you can't take a two-week vacation today, and grab that RV, and drive out to some of the national parks, and try it, and test it out. I know Brian Stoffel did this. He and his wife were elementary school teachers, and they looked [a rental house] up on Airbnb, and moved to Costa Rica for a trial period.

Jason Hall: Yeah, that's a lifestyle change.

Withers: So much. Yeah. That's a part of what they do today. Please don't put off things way into the future of things that you could do now to test out stuff and try things. Because you may decide that living in an RV after two weeks with your spouse, and your dog, and may or may not have kids is not all it's cracked up to be.

Hall: Actually, I'm going to drop a link here in the Zoom chat. This is an article of it. We first published it on a number of years ago and I updated it last fall. It talks about FIRE. It talks about some of those different flavors.

I think this is an important thing that you mentioned because there are people who are living on ramen noodles and saving every penny they can as aggressively as they can so they can get to a point whereby the time they are maybe even in their 40s, they can walk away from everything and have an enormous nest egg.

Two parts of that, Brian, you nailed it. No. one, you're missing out on experiences now, I think that's one thing we're all going to talk about, the things that we are always willing to pay for as expenses. But I think the other part of it, too, is you start training yourself for this frugality. You can get to a point where emotionally, you can't move past that and actually enjoy the wealth that you've created. You can't actually start enjoying the fruits of your labors. I think there's a balance there, that everybody has to figure out what works for them.

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