The savings rate also helps me to see how we're tracking and gauge our badassity. With different incomes and costs of living it makes it easier to compare yourself with the badass guidelines.

And yes, it is soo easy to want to give up if you only look at debt vs net worth.

[light bulb] Ahhh, this makes more sense now. I could never really figure out why anyone was concerned with what their exact savings rate was, or how to calculate it, considering the math behind it was a generalization and you still need to accumulate your stash to get to FI anyway. It's not like you can call yourself FI if your savings rate of X matches the number of years Y from the table if you don't have the money anyway. (market fluctuations, investment losses, etc.) So I always looked at the savings rate to years to FI as a broad guideline. Now that I see it's a competitive thing, I understand why you're all concerned about how to calculate it exactly. [/light bulb]

I am puzzled by your comment about competition. I am not sure anyone is viewing it as a competition (I could be wrong). I am not. I am using the formula I mentioned above to calculate my savings rate, because my savings rate means I need to spend less to live. If I spend less to live, I can retire sooner. Also, I will have more saved and more $$ making $$.

I took the notion of competition from what I quoted, about gauging badassity and comparing yourself to badass guidelines. I guess that doesn't have to be a comparison to others, but if it's not for competition, then I'm still really confused as to why anyone would spend time figuring the savings rate number out.

You don't need to calculate your savings rate to spend less or retire sooner. If you increase your savings or to attempt to save as much as possible, you'll do the same thing. The actual savings rate number or how you'd calculate it doesn't matter, since you still need to actually accumulate a large enough stash. And your FI stash size is based on your expenditures, not your savings rate. Because of that, I keep very close track of my expenditures, but I don't care at all what my savings rate number is, since I'm going to attempt to save as much as I can.

Therefore, I never really understood why people spend lots of time trying to figure out if they should add in mortgage principle or 401k, or what's the net and what's the gross or whatever. There are tons of threads that talk about it, use formulas, debate what should be included, etc., but I don't see why it matters at all, since it's your expenditures that determine what your FI number is.

Am I missing something? Other than motivation, what does calculating your savings rate do for you?