Are you too Old for Financial Independence?

Laks Vajjhala
3 min readJun 11, 2020
This is the way!

I am 40 years old and have two young kids both under five years of age. I travelled and did a lot of soul searching in my 20s , trying to find the right career blah blah.

Other than 200,000$s in my home equity I have no significant savings. What should I do?

This was a question posted on one of the popular personal finance forums. This situation, while unique to the person, is not uncommon.

After posting my opinion on this question I continued to think about it further.

I saw that there is a sense of regret in that question. There is also despair and helplessness. These are much more important to resolve than the financial statement analysis and cash-flow management.


In Hinduism, it is said that the child in the mother’s womb who is yet to be born recollects the incidents of the past life and regrets the misdeeds and regrets having to repeat the cycle of birth and death yet again.

It is easy to see this as a morbid thought but I think we should see it in a different light. Regret is a constant in life, just like change. It WILL occur no matter what choices we make. We can only try and manage it.

Despair and Helplessness

These are feelings that occur due to a narrow perspective. Most of the people who were ever born in this world are dead. One should at least appreciate the fact that one is alive to feel Despair and Helplessness.

Another way to look at it is to compare one’s life situation with someone who is less fortunate than us. Not from a high-ground to look down upon but from a compassionate mind filled with intention to help.

These suggestions seem like cliche but there is no better answer. Like if you want to get into shape? Exercise!

A general answer

Everyone’s life situation is different but the financial advice is actually simple.

  1. Earn More
  2. Spend Less
  3. Track Expenses and Budget
  4. Invest Long-term — Don’t pick stocks, invest in low cost Index ETFs
  5. Rinse and Repeat

This general advice does not really change because of your age. What does change is the How?

The how to? of adapting this to your personal life. This is just like the advice of Exercise mentioned earlier.

There are as many exercise routines as there are people who exercise! The general idea of exercise is actually quite simple — exert your body through movement without risking injury.

In your 20s, Earn more might mean — moving to the big city, taking up a traveling job, switching careers in pursuit of higher income and learning. Similarly, Spend Less could mean — budgeting your weekend parties, moderating the toys you buy (think used Car vs New) etc.

The very same advice for someone in their 40s with young children, Earn more might mean — maximizing the current and the future household income. This could be achieved by one of the partners staying in to look after the kids to save on daycare, moving to a MCOL (Medium Cost of Living) city etc.

Spend Less might mean — filing taxes jointly and taking advantage of spousal and child-care benefits, eating out less, repairing instead of wear and tear etc.

This is the Way!

The suggestions made here may seem simple and of course they are!

This does NOT in any way make it easy by any stretch of imagination.

The hard part is the actual doing.

And not just doing but the discipline and perseverance of continuous doing.

Just for a sense of scale for the mathematically minded. If the suggested advice is x, then the actual doing is 10x harder. The consistent and disciplined doing over a long period of time is like 10000x harder.

I can only assure you that it is not all pain and sacrifice.

There are rewards. In case of exercising, it is a healthy body and mind. In the case of personal finance it is Financial Independence and an Option to Retire Early

As the Mandalorian says — This is the way!

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