Seeking Non-Monetary Motivation

The software developer and blogger behind the Mad Fientist had been planning and saving for years to retire early. At the age of 34, Brandon realized he had been motivated by money his entire life. But now, he no longer is.

Through planning and living frugally he managed to save and invest about 70% of his income, and saved enough to leave his job. He stayed on for a few years more than planned when his boss made the position a remote one. Traveling with his wife Jill until they relocated full-time to Scotland in May 2015, he continued working, blogging, and saving until he retired last summer.

Brandon reflected on his first full year of being financially independent, not reliant on a job to pay his bills and therefore able to pursue only the projects and activities he’d like.

He wrote that the “biggest mindset shift that occurred after reaching [financial independence]” was that money is no longer motivating. This was quite a shift since money had motivated him his entire life, working hard in school to go to a good college so that he could get a job that paid a good wage. Then, working hard at his job in an effort to get promoted and make even more money. He started business to increase his income, and lived his life based on the effect of that income. Where to live, travel, entertainment… all based on how much it would cost. All of his decisions led back to money.


Now that he has enough money, it has lost a lot of its importance. He says that it is disorienting to lose your main source of motivation.He had business ideas but now that money isn’t important, he has even set those aside. He goes on to say, ““think about how many decisions are motivated by money, you’ll find most of them are…I’ve had to reevaluate my entire life while finding a new source of motivation.” He also states that although money is less important, it’s not meaningless . Being content is a good thing, but you have to find something to motivate you.