Author Topic: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?  (Read 40982 times)

MudPuppy

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #500 on: October 07, 2020, 02:17:20 PM »
Dang, @nereo, great post. That last bit especially felt like being in therapy

Cool Friend

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #501 on: October 08, 2020, 08:30:11 AM »
I think I understand better what you guys mean.

For me, in order to aggressively pay my student loans off the MMM way, I had to accept a lifestyle that I wasn't happy with. I ran the numbers, and living on my own wasn't possible unless I stopped paying them off. Please don't get me wrong, I'm glad I paid them off, it's a huge burden lifted. But I also sat on the sidelines of life for 4 years of my prime, and I regret that I had to do that to make it happen.

Two things here
1) as Pete would say, paying off debt is your previous self giving your current self the shaft.  It wasn't current you choosing to forgo life for future you... it was past you dumping this load on current you.  And I say this as half of a couple that had six-figures in combined SLs which we recently paid off in full, so I get where you are coming from.

2) your last sentence concerns me.  The fact that you feel like you had to sit "on the sidelines of life for 4 years of your prime" makes me think that your approach was deeply flawed.  We were broke grad students for a decade (masters than PhD) but neither of us ever felt like we sitting on the sidelines of life.  If anything, we had amazing experiences during out PhDs, living on meager stipends and making lots of headway on our loans. We were actually discussing how we felt our lives were more free adn adventerous when we earned half as much and logged 50% more hours in hte lab. We traveled more, too. Of course having a kid really changed that dynamic ;-P

what is it that makes you feel like you missed out on life?  I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the underlying problem wasn't money per se, but perhaps the stress it entailed and how you approached your social life.

I say all of these things not to pick on you - i'm just reading what you write and suspect there's some deeper underlying factors at play.

I'ts been tough watching all my peers cultivate a domestic life while I still live with roommates. Even though I was doing it first because I had to, and then because I wanted to pay off my debt, it still feels like an arrested development. Like I said before, paying off the debt felt good for a moment, and then redirecting that disposable income into savings after I succeeded felt responsible, but nothing materially changed in my life. It's an intangible success.  The red numbers on my computer screen are gone and the black numbers are getting bigger, and this is decidedly good for Future Me. But that doesn't really mean much to me here and now, you know?

It didn't really hit me until the COVID lockdown: I realized that my life didn't change all that much--the biggest change was not being able to visit my friends and family, which is definitely a big deal, but I only occasionally went out to restaurants or bars, and never traveled or sought out new experiences (where I live, most of those cost money). Some might not have a problem with that, but it occurred to me that I was already living in emergency mode without an actual emergency (insofar as non-MMM people define emergencies).

Having run some of the numbers, I should be able to eke out a 10% savings rate if I get my own place and stop being afraid to spend money. Housing is very expensive where I live, and the Mustachian solution is to move to a LCOL.  But it's also where I've lived my entire life and where all my friends and family are. I have strong doubts that isolating myself from the people I love (more than I already am, given the virus) to have a better savings rate is a good decision.  10% will have to be enough, because I don't want this to be my life anymore



RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #502 on: October 08, 2020, 08:41:26 AM »
Having run some of the numbers, I should be able to eke out a 10% savings rate if I get my own place and stop being afraid to spend money. Housing is very expensive where I live, and the Mustachian solution is to move to a LCOL.  But it's also where I've lived my entire life and where all my friends and family are. I have strong doubts that isolating myself from the people I love (more than I already am, given the virus) to have a better savings rate is a good decision.  10% will have to be enough, because I don't want this to be my life anymore

How are your prospects for increasing your income? Have you made a case study on here?

slappy

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #503 on: October 08, 2020, 08:53:13 AM »
I think I understand better what you guys mean.

For me, in order to aggressively pay my student loans off the MMM way, I had to accept a lifestyle that I wasn't happy with. I ran the numbers, and living on my own wasn't possible unless I stopped paying them off. Please don't get me wrong, I'm glad I paid them off, it's a huge burden lifted. But I also sat on the sidelines of life for 4 years of my prime, and I regret that I had to do that to make it happen.

Two things here
1) as Pete would say, paying off debt is your previous self giving your current self the shaft.  It wasn't current you choosing to forgo life for future you... it was past you dumping this load on current you.  And I say this as half of a couple that had six-figures in combined SLs which we recently paid off in full, so I get where you are coming from.

2) your last sentence concerns me.  The fact that you feel like you had to sit "on the sidelines of life for 4 years of your prime" makes me think that your approach was deeply flawed.  We were broke grad students for a decade (masters than PhD) but neither of us ever felt like we sitting on the sidelines of life.  If anything, we had amazing experiences during out PhDs, living on meager stipends and making lots of headway on our loans. We were actually discussing how we felt our lives were more free adn adventerous when we earned half as much and logged 50% more hours in hte lab. We traveled more, too. Of course having a kid really changed that dynamic ;-P

what is it that makes you feel like you missed out on life?  I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the underlying problem wasn't money per se, but perhaps the stress it entailed and how you approached your social life.

I say all of these things not to pick on you - i'm just reading what you write and suspect there's some deeper underlying factors at play.

I'ts been tough watching all my peers cultivate a domestic life while I still live with roommates. Even though I was doing it first because I had to, and then because I wanted to pay off my debt, it still feels like an arrested development. Like I said before, paying off the debt felt good for a moment, and then redirecting that disposable income into savings after I succeeded felt responsible, but nothing materially changed in my life. It's an intangible success.  The red numbers on my computer screen are gone and the black numbers are getting bigger, and this is decidedly good for Future Me. But that doesn't really mean much to me here and now, you know?

It didn't really hit me until the COVID lockdown: I realized that my life didn't change all that much--the biggest change was not being able to visit my friends and family, which is definitely a big deal, but I only occasionally went out to restaurants or bars, and never traveled or sought out new experiences (where I live, most of those cost money). Some might not have a problem with that, but it occurred to me that I was already living in emergency mode without an actual emergency (insofar as non-MMM people define emergencies).

Having run some of the numbers, I should be able to eke out a 10% savings rate if I get my own place and stop being afraid to spend money. Housing is very expensive where I live, and the Mustachian solution is to move to a LCOL.  But it's also where I've lived my entire life and where all my friends and family are. I have strong doubts that isolating myself from the people I love (more than I already am, given the virus) to have a better savings rate is a good decision.  10% will have to be enough, because I don't want this to be my life anymore

I'm still not sure why living alone is so important to you. Is it just because your friends are doing so? It seems like you could continue living with roommates and ease up on the going out part of the budget, while still maintaining a higher savings rate. It sounds like family and friends are important to you. Maybe you just need different roommates?

I don't think the "mustachian solution" is to move to a LCOL.  That's a bit extreme, although of course it's an option. The mustachian solution is to evaluate all options, not just living with multiple roommates vs living alone. You need to find a solution and a savings rate that you are happy with.

Laura33

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #504 on: October 08, 2020, 08:53:43 AM »
I think I understand better what you guys mean.

For me, in order to aggressively pay my student loans off the MMM way, I had to accept a lifestyle that I wasn't happy with. I ran the numbers, and living on my own wasn't possible unless I stopped paying them off. Please don't get me wrong, I'm glad I paid them off, it's a huge burden lifted. But I also sat on the sidelines of life for 4 years of my prime, and I regret that I had to do that to make it happen.

Two things here
1) as Pete would say, paying off debt is your previous self giving your current self the shaft.  It wasn't current you choosing to forgo life for future you... it was past you dumping this load on current you.  And I say this as half of a couple that had six-figures in combined SLs which we recently paid off in full, so I get where you are coming from.

2) your last sentence concerns me.  The fact that you feel like you had to sit "on the sidelines of life for 4 years of your prime" makes me think that your approach was deeply flawed.  We were broke grad students for a decade (masters than PhD) but neither of us ever felt like we sitting on the sidelines of life.  If anything, we had amazing experiences during out PhDs, living on meager stipends and making lots of headway on our loans. We were actually discussing how we felt our lives were more free adn adventerous when we earned half as much and logged 50% more hours in hte lab. We traveled more, too. Of course having a kid really changed that dynamic ;-P

what is it that makes you feel like you missed out on life?  I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the underlying problem wasn't money per se, but perhaps the stress it entailed and how you approached your social life.

I say all of these things not to pick on you - i'm just reading what you write and suspect there's some deeper underlying factors at play.

I'ts been tough watching all my peers cultivate a domestic life while I still live with roommates. Even though I was doing it first because I had to, and then because I wanted to pay off my debt, it still feels like an arrested development. Like I said before, paying off the debt felt good for a moment, and then redirecting that disposable income into savings after I succeeded felt responsible, but nothing materially changed in my life. It's an intangible success.  The red numbers on my computer screen are gone and the black numbers are getting bigger, and this is decidedly good for Future Me. But that doesn't really mean much to me here and now, you know?

It didn't really hit me until the COVID lockdown: I realized that my life didn't change all that much--the biggest change was not being able to visit my friends and family, which is definitely a big deal, but I only occasionally went out to restaurants or bars, and never traveled or sought out new experiences (where I live, most of those cost money). Some might not have a problem with that, but it occurred to me that I was already living in emergency mode without an actual emergency (insofar as non-MMM people define emergencies).

Having run some of the numbers, I should be able to eke out a 10% savings rate if I get my own place and stop being afraid to spend money. Housing is very expensive where I live, and the Mustachian solution is to move to a LCOL.  But it's also where I've lived my entire life and where all my friends and family are. I have strong doubts that isolating myself from the people I love (more than I already am, given the virus) to have a better savings rate is a good decision.  10% will have to be enough, because I don't want this to be my life anymore

FWIW, I think you're attacking things from the wrong end.  You're not happy with your life now -- awesome!  But the solution you've targeted is "ditch the roommates and live alone."  How does that change your daily happiness?  You're still living a life where you're not going anywhere or doing anything; it's just now you have a somewhat nice to sit around in while you're not going anywhere or doing anything.

Why not start from the other direction:  instead of blowing your entire budget on a place to live, what if you took, say, half that amount and put it toward finding fun things to do with your life?  Do you have hobbies or interests?  You could buy a mountain bike or backpacking supplies and get out on the weekends.  You could take an art class or do something creative that you've always wanted to try.  You could join a woodworking club or something similar.  If you want to find a partner, and that's the underlying source of your unhappiness, then get the hell out there and go places where you could meet someone.  Given that you live in a HCOL, the choices are pretty much limited only by your imagination.

It seems like you're fixated on this feeling that everyone else is moving on to a grown-up life, and you're stuck living a college existence.  And that's a great realization to have.  The problem is that you are judging that based entirely on appearances:  you have identified "living on your own in your own house" as the marker, the signal that you, too, are growing up and living your life.  And that, in a word, is bullshit.  You know how you live your life?  You actually go out and live your life.  You put your time and energy into pursuing interests that bring you satisfaction and make you happy and help you grow.  You don't throw money at plush surroundings where you can continue to sit and do nothing, just in greater comfort.  It's like saying my butt is getting sore sitting on my couch, so I'd better invest in a nicer couch. 

BicycleB

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #505 on: October 08, 2020, 03:30:49 PM »
I think I understand better what you guys mean.

For me, in order to aggressively pay my student loans off the MMM way, I had to accept a lifestyle that I wasn't happy with. I ran the numbers, and living on my own wasn't possible unless I stopped paying them off. Please don't get me wrong, I'm glad I paid them off, it's a huge burden lifted. But I also sat on the sidelines of life for 4 years of my prime, and I regret that I had to do that to make it happen.

... your last sentence concerns me.  The fact that you feel like you had to sit "on the sidelines of life for 4 years of your prime" makes me think that your approach was deeply flawed.  We were broke grad students for a decade (masters than PhD) but neither of us ever felt like we sitting on the sidelines of life.  If anything, we had amazing experiences during out PhDs, living on meager stipends and making lots of headway on our loans. We were actually discussing how we felt our lives were more free adn adventerous when we earned half as much and logged 50% more hours in hte lab. We traveled more, too. Of course having a kid really changed that dynamic ;-P

what is it that makes you feel like you missed out on life?  I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the underlying problem wasn't money per se, but perhaps the stress it entailed and how you approached your social life.

I say all of these things not to pick on you - i'm just reading what you write and suspect there's some deeper underlying factors at play.

I'ts been tough watching all my peers cultivate a domestic life while I still live with roommates. Even though I was doing it first because I had to, and then because I wanted to pay off my debt, it still feels like an arrested development...

It didn't really hit me until the COVID lockdown: I realized that my life didn't change all that much--the biggest change was not being able to visit my friends and family, which is definitely a big deal, but I only occasionally went out to restaurants or bars, and never traveled or sought out new experiences...

Having run some of the numbers, I should be able to eke out a 10% savings rate if I get my own place and stop being afraid to spend money. Housing is very expensive where I live, and the Mustachian solution is to move to a LCOL.  But it's also where I've lived my entire life and where all my friends and family are. I have strong doubts that isolating myself from the people I love (more than I already am, given the virus) to have a better savings rate is a good decision.  10% will have to be enough, because I don't want this to be my life anymore

FWIW, I think you're attacking things from the wrong end... the solution you've targeted is "ditch the roommates and live alone."  How does that change your daily happiness?  You're still living a life where you're not going anywhere or doing anything; it's just now you have a somewhat nice to sit around in while you're not going anywhere or doing anything.

@Cool Friend, I hope you find a happier path and stay on it, building an excellent life from this day to your last day (hopefully many years from now).

Like most commenters, I am confident that Pete intended even the MMM character to suggest living the fullest and most thriving life possible. He suspects that for most people, to distinguish spending that has high dividends in personal and financial areas from that which does not is a helpful shortcut. Let's get to the nitty-gritty. What is the shortcut for? What do you really want?

I notice that in the excerpts above, you "watch your peers cultivate a domestic life." What does that mean to you?

Is it about relationships? Are there feelings that someone who cultivates a domestic life would feel that you would like to feel? Is the key difference from your current environment that you would have more control, or more peace from intrusions, or more respect from others, or better looking surroundings, or that your dream love would find you marriageable, or you'd feel comfortable inviting a guest for an intimate encounter, or something else? What aspects of a domestic life can be cultivated in your own place that cannot be found in a shared apartment? Is there something specific that you want, or is it a more general FOMO from people's Insta posts and the assumption that they must feel good in their beautiful homes and private apartments? (FOMO is very understandable in my opinion. If you feel bad, and assume that they feel good - that's a very very natural thought process for sure. Some of them no doubt do feel good.)

It's clear there's something in your current life you dislike. I support making changes to fix that. The clearer the plan, the better. As you explain more, you may get useful suggestions from people on this thread - or even think of your own new ideas that maximize the coming era of improved living.

You wrote that in the last four years, you only occasionally went out to restaurants or bars, and never traveled or sought out new experiences. What would you like to find in the restaurants and bars? What new experiences would you like?

One reason I ask is that, if you get your own place and your savings rate drops to 10%, you wouldn't have much money for restaurants and bars and travel even when those things are fully open again. Which would be better: your own place with little money for new experiences, or living with roommates and spending lots of money on new experiences?

« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 03:56:14 PM by BicycleB »

Cool Friend

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #506 on: October 09, 2020, 08:37:02 AM »
I'm regularly asked to housesit for friends, so a couple weeks out of the year I stay in their apartments by myself to take care of their dog/cat/plants. I don't ask for compensation, because these are like mini-vacations for me. I really love the peace and quiet. I love not waiting for the bathroom or kitchen. I love being able to walk around in my underwear, if I want to. I love not having to deal with other people's particular living quirks and habits (I've had dozens of roommates--everyone has these quirks to varying degrees of annoyance). I love knowing that my own habits aren't bothering anyone either--if I want to cook all day, I'm not bothering anyone. If I want to binge watch a show on the couch til 2am, I'm not bothering anyone. I love knowing that in those four walls, I don't have to interact with anyone at all. I feel my body unclench when I'm alone. I fantasize about how I'd like to decorate and furnish a place of my own if I didn't have to consider anyone else, if I didn't have to compromise with several other people about how my home is set up.

There's definitely the possibility that, if I move out on my own, in time I will come to hate it. I don't know. It's a big, expensive risk to do something I've never done before. I don't know if it's right, but I do know that no matter whom I'm living with, I'm on low-grade edge when they're around, and that's not going away any time soon. In fact, it gets less tolerable the older I get, and is way worse now that I'm stuck with them 24/7 as we all work from home.

So I know that it's not just a desire to keep up with the Joneses, the difference in my mood between being alone and cohabitating is very real. Talking to my friends who once had roommates and now live solo, they tell me they would never, ever go back to roommates. I believe them. Cultivating a domestic life to me means getting to live a home life my way, on my own terms, for once in my life.

edit: Just wanted to thank you for your very thoughtful responses
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 08:39:04 AM by Cool Friend »

TomTX

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #507 on: October 09, 2020, 09:04:14 AM »
Any prospects for finding a "life partner" of some stripe and moving in together? That's a different dynamic than generic roommates.

Cool Friend

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #508 on: October 09, 2020, 12:30:14 PM »
Any prospects for finding a "life partner" of some stripe and moving in together? That's a different dynamic than generic roommates.

Maybe someday, but not anytime soon. Dating still seems pretty risky, and I can't bring anyone home anyway because my roommates and I agreed not to have people over until it's safe to socialize indoors again.

mspym

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #509 on: October 09, 2020, 02:46:48 PM »
@Cool Friend I have alternated between living alone and living with other people since my mid 20s (earlier than that there were always multiple flatmates, sometimes up to 10) and there is something so enjoyable about walking into a place that is 100% yours. It always felt like removing a weight as soon as I closed the door. Your description of your body unclenching is spot on.

I would say no choice you make now is permanent. You can live on your own for a while and then switch back to living with others. You could post a case study and see what other people could suggest.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #510 on: October 09, 2020, 06:14:29 PM »
I'm regularly asked to housesit for friends, so a couple weeks out of the year I stay in their apartments by myself to take care of their dog/cat/plants. I don't ask for compensation, because these are like mini-vacations for me. I really love the peace and quiet. I love not waiting for the bathroom or kitchen. I love being able to walk around in my underwear, if I want to. I love not having to deal with other people's particular living quirks and habits (I've had dozens of roommates--everyone has these quirks to varying degrees of annoyance). I love knowing that my own habits aren't bothering anyone either--if I want to cook all day, I'm not bothering anyone. If I want to binge watch a show on the couch til 2am, I'm not bothering anyone. I love knowing that in those four walls, I don't have to interact with anyone at all. I feel my body unclench when I'm alone. I fantasize about how I'd like to decorate and furnish a place of my own if I didn't have to consider anyone else, if I didn't have to compromise with several other people about how my home is set up.

There's definitely the possibility that, if I move out on my own, in time I will come to hate it. I don't know. It's a big, expensive risk to do something I've never done before. I don't know if it's right, but I do know that no matter whom I'm living with, I'm on low-grade edge when they're around, and that's not going away any time soon. In fact, it gets less tolerable the older I get, and is way worse now that I'm stuck with them 24/7 as we all work from home.

So I know that it's not just a desire to keep up with the Joneses, the difference in my mood between being alone and cohabitating is very real. Talking to my friends who once had roommates and now live solo, they tell me they would never, ever go back to roommates. I believe them. Cultivating a domestic life to me means getting to live a home life my way, on my own terms, for once in my life.

edit: Just wanted to thank you for your very thoughtful responses

I know exactly what you mean.  I lived with a good friend through college, and we got along well, but no way in hell would I ever go back to living with an unrelated roommate again.  That was a long, long time ago, and I've been married for going on 30 years now, but that's a totally different dynamic from a roommate.

I suggest you sign a one year lease on a small apartment of your own and see how it goes.  You can always go back to sharing an apartment with a roommate if you feel like you need to.  But my guess is you won't.

We all have to find our own equilibrium between saving for the future and living a tolerable life now.  Don't feel bad for doing what works best for you.

BicycleB

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #511 on: October 09, 2020, 11:42:06 PM »
I'm regularly asked to housesit for friends, so a couple weeks out of the year I stay in their apartments by myself to take care of their dog/cat/plants. I don't ask for compensation, because these are like mini-vacations for me. I really love the peace and quiet. I love not waiting for the bathroom or kitchen. I love being able to walk around in my underwear, if I want to. I love not having to deal with other people's particular living quirks and habits (I've had dozens of roommates--everyone has these quirks to varying degrees of annoyance). I love knowing that my own habits aren't bothering anyone either--if I want to cook all day, I'm not bothering anyone. If I want to binge watch a show on the couch til 2am, I'm not bothering anyone. I love knowing that in those four walls, I don't have to interact with anyone at all. I feel my body unclench when I'm alone. I fantasize about how I'd like to decorate and furnish a place of my own if I didn't have to consider anyone else, if I didn't have to compromise with several other people about how my home is set up.

There's definitely the possibility that, if I move out on my own, in time I will come to hate it. I don't know. It's a big, expensive risk to do something I've never done before. I don't know if it's right, but I do know that no matter whom I'm living with, I'm on low-grade edge when they're around, and that's not going away any time soon. In fact, it gets less tolerable the older I get, and is way worse now that I'm stuck with them 24/7 as we all work from home.

So I know that it's not just a desire to keep up with the Joneses, the difference in my mood between being alone and cohabitating is very real. Talking to my friends who once had roommates and now live solo, they tell me they would never, ever go back to roommates. I believe them. Cultivating a domestic life to me means getting to live a home life my way, on my own terms, for once in my life.

edit: Just wanted to thank you for your very thoughtful responses

Sounds like a small private space is in order. High prices make finding one an adventure. Good luck!!

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #512 on: October 10, 2020, 12:48:27 AM »
How do you feel about moving and how much stuff do you have? Would a series of house-sitting / property guardian gigs work for you? Maybe with a van-dwelling between gigs?

undercover

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #513 on: October 10, 2020, 11:06:07 AM »
But I'm confused, I thought prioritizing saving for the future to lead to the happiest, most satisfying life was the main point?

That could be the point...but Iím not getting the feeling that you are imagining a distinct future where you know where your career and social life is going. I would definitely get depressed saving money for no reason. If you feel deprived itís because youíre not happy with some imagined future that doesnít even exist when your current life is suffering for connection and meaning right now.

Itís easy for this site to feel cult-like and for your own mind to feel very obligated to the ideas and principles surrounding FIRE. But the truth is that everyone is on different paths and needs to adjust to their own situation. I donít think MMM would have been half as motivated to start a blog about FIRE had he not had a stable family life with high income. Itís just easier in that situation, I donít care who you are. You can apply the principles with a smaller income - but itís going to take longer and there is less wiggle room for ďbreathingĒ.

Itís a lot different when you have a high savings rate and are looking to retire in ten years knowing you can spend whatever you want whenever you want rather than feeling forced to save a certain amount because thatís all you have to work with.

I would start by taking a week out of the city alone and try to disconnect a bit. After that, maybe consider renting a monthly Airbnb somewhere nearby. If youíre still digging the alone time, try a year lease alone. You literally have nothing to lose. If youíre unwilling to do any of that or it didnít work, you need to at least try to cultivate a life outside of your current space so that youíre not all that concerned with where you lay your head at night. The point is that you need to be living right now in order to feel more ďfreeĒ. If you do that then the motivation to work harder or make bolder moves will probably happen naturally. If youíre stressed and feel deprived then itís not as likely to happen.

Maybe also try ditching ďexpensive riskĒ from your vocabulary (at least temporarily). First, there is virtually no risk in living alone for a year as a single young person. You can always go back or find new roommates. And itís only expensive in my book if youíre going into considerable debt to do it. The actual expensive risk could be staying where you are with the same thought loops and routine that you arenít happy with.