The Power of the Cash Stack

FIRE is a long journey, it’s a marathon if you will.  And it takes a long time to finally reach FIRE, and once you’re there, I can only imagine the freedom and relief you get when Sunday evening rolls around.  You get ready for bed.  Then you get up Monday morning… and you continue on with your weekend.  What a great feeling?  I can’t wait to get there.

But, not quite yet.  We’re definitely making progress, and we’re getting there rapidly.  But still have a bit to go.

I think everyone knows the power of being able to live a life of luxury. And having a fat enough stack of cash to allow you to never work again, is something that most people argue is a good thing.  But what about the path there?  Is it all just misery and cutting back the whole way?


The growing stack of cash gives you a lot of power.  Imagine the struggle between you and your boss or company.  For most folks, the power is almost entirely on the company side.  They need the company to pay their bills, to buy their next new car and pay off their mortgage.

But for the FIRE community the power scale slowly shifts to your side.  It’s pretty amazing.

Coming on over to the good side!

Here are some examples of times where we have used our new found flexibility and power to our advantage.

  1. Starting a company – So the Mrs was working a 9-5 for a small business.  She wasn’t all that thrilled with the way it was going, and thought she could do it better.  So, she did.  But, at the beginning the business wasn’t driving as much money as she used to make.  No worries, we had a safety cushion behind us.  We made our life so that we can live on less than one of our salaries.  It allowed her to take the chance and see where things went.  She’s grown it into the point where she just hired on her first employee, and it’s still growing strong.  But had we not had the safety net, I don’t know that we would have been able to take that chance.
  2. Walking out of a bad job – I had a job a little while back that seemed great when everything started.  But the wind soon shifted and I was not happy there at all.  It was stressful, the management was demeaning.  It was starting to take a toll on my personal life, it was making me a bitter person, even my marriage was starting to struggle.  I ended up fielding a call from an executive from an old company that was starting something new.  He wanted me as part of the team, but he couldn’t pay me what I would make on the open market.  But after having another year of cash storage under our belt, I could take a cut, and roll the dice to see where this went.  So, I did.  It went well, I was happier and more importantly my wife was happier.  Eventually the company wasn’t healthy enough to sustain itself, and we shuttered it.  But, again, the ability to walk away and take a pay cut to try something new was facilitated by having that stack of cash.
  3. Negotiating a better salary – After the story in #2, I was on the market again, looking for a new job.  Well, I wasn’t exactly just sitting around. I found a new employer, I liked them and they liked me.  They made an offer, but it was pretty low.  So, I told them what I wanted and they said they couldn’t match it.  Now, had I needed a job, I probably would have cowered and accepted their low offer.  Instead, my response was, “Ok well that’s just not going to cut it.”  I got a call back from them, they moved the offer up again… and again.  I got them to the upper limit of their budget and then negotiated a raise after 90 days given mutually agreed upon terms were met.  Sort of a trial run for both of us.  So, in the end I finished with very close to the original number I was looking for, all because of the power of that lovely stack of cash.

These are just a few of the powers that having that fat stack behind you has realized for us.  When we started this journey, I knew there would be some advantages along the way, but I never realized how truly powerful it is.

It’s interesting to talk to people about how they don’t know what they would do if they lost their job.  How they’d not be able to pay their bills, and they’d worry about losing their house.  I just sit and snicker to myself.  I’m not sure if that makes me an asshole or not.

But I know there’s a certain amount of confidence that comes along with knowing that I don’t need this job.  I’ll find another to help us on our way.  I’m sure there are many more ways to use this power.  Have you used your stack of cash to your advantage?



  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 4, 2017 at 6:30 am

    I think you know my story with this? Demeaning management? That sounds AWFUL! snort! Yes, I know too many people who have to stick it out in situations they hate because they are married to the paycheck. I would say that’s 99% of people.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…September Rewind: The One Where I Didn’t Sleep

    • Mr WoW October 4, 2017 at 8:05 am

      Yeah, I feel your pain. That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up to not be married to the pay check!!! You spend too much or your limited time working. There is no reason to be miserable while you do it. Give yourself OPTIONS!

  • Dads Dollars Debts October 4, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Nothing like options…and with a mountain of cash the options are much more robust. That is one reason I want to reach financial independence, so that I can make decisions based on everything but money.

    • Mr WoW October 4, 2017 at 8:06 am

      That’s really a great way of putting it: “to make decisions on everything BUT money.” There are so many people that just have to make a decision based on money, and it’s terrifying because you no longer have control. And if there’s anything you want in your life, it’s control over it.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina October 4, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Hello Mr. WoW!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    I faced a similar situation recently and decided to give my 2 weeks notice.

    It was a hard decision when I decided to walk away, but my husband kept telling me that we would be fine. Thanks to our saving natures and our stack of cash. It really is great.

    While we’re not FI, we’re on our way.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted…2 Weeks Notice

    • Mr WoW October 4, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      They power is unbelievable!!! I’m so glad that you are on your way, and that you are able to harness this power well before you can walk away for good. Well Done!!

  • Dividend Diplomats October 16, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    It equates to one word….freedom. Your examples around having the freedom and flexibility to do what you want and pursue what makes you happiest. That is why I am doing what I can to build my cash reserves and start focusing on making myself happy and the focus of it all. This article is very motivating, thanks for the read. I hope the picture leading into the article is an accurate picture of your reserves haha


    • Mr WoW October 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Exactly… Freedom, options, how ever you want to look at it. That’s exactly what it is. I think that’s why we’re all doing this. To allow us to have the freedom, and the power to do what we want.

      You wish… that stack is nothing compared to ours!! HAHA!!

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