The Hedonic Treadmill. What is it?

The Hedonic Tredmill and the FIRE movement.

When I heard of the FIRE Movement and Early Retirement for the first time I was very skeptical. 

The fundamental ideas at the base of this movement are really simple:

  1. Change your lifestyle;
  2. Earn more than you spend;
  3. Avoid Debt;
  4. Don’t buy stuff you don’t really need;
  5. Save and invest aggressively your money  ( Index fund/ REITs/ Rental Property );
  6. Accumulate and grow your wealth;
  7. Never work again and live off your investment.

Working 45 hours a week in your office for 40 years doing the same horrible job, from my point of view, is a subtle form of inhuman torture.

The more I deepened the philosophical, ethical, and practical aspects of the Fire Movement, though, the more surprising results I found.

So I decided to embrace the fundamental ideas and principles of the movement.

I read many books, blog posts, articles, from people who escaped the rat race, but… unexpectedly…I found a specific tendency: each of these “FIRE people” once they have achieved Financial Freedom, suddenly experienced a sense of great annoyance, dissatisfaction and incompleteness in their life.

The Hedonic Treadmill and the FIRE movement.

The same pattern was recurring: people who joined FIRE Movement wanted to have enough money to quit their day job, send their boss to hell, then travel the world for some time… but then the boredom and dissatisfaction returned.

The reason is that humans adapt quickly:  this is called “Hedonic adaptation” or “Hedonic Treadmill”. 
Basically, the more your income increases, the happier you are.

However, this is only true to a certain extent. beyond that point, you will always remain at the same level of happiness.

A new house, a long journey, or a shiny new car, will become quite ordinary after a while. 


 (source: Youtube – Anthony Ongaro)


How to avoid Hedonic Adaptation.

A way to avoid this effect is to find fulfilling work.

When you find a meaningful work, you can put your passion and use your personal skills to help people (and earn some money too).

When your mind is focused to create, it will easily overcome the sense of dissatisfaction.

Doing meaningful work has a positive effect on your mind and a big impact on other people.

It also has an unexpected correlation with longevity.

A study by Oxford University demonstrates that retirees have a higher probability to die than others who continued working.

If you are still skeptical,  just look to Warren Buffett (born 1930) and Charlie Munger (born 1924). (link below)



Reaching FIRE avoiding the Hedonic Treadmill: Work is better if you don’t have to do it.

Your path to happiness doesn’t involve giving up your job completely, rather you have to find a fulfilling job that you can put all your passion into.

If your actual work is good, fulfilling, and makes you happy, you better keep doing it.

It is even better if you can choose a flexible or part-time job.


Reaching Financial Independence

The best way to reach your freedom, and work on your own terms is to have financial independence.

This is actually my objective. 

Improving my lifestyle, I’ve managed to save almost 200k  over the past 3 years.

My goal is to reach $500k and invest it, and, at the same time, build up other assets and income streams to cover my bills, and monthly expenses.

I’m running this website and I’m also an Amazon KDP Author and self-publisher.

Blogging and writing make me happy. 

When I’ll quit my day job, probably I’ll completely dedicate myself to writing. 


Work for passion.

If you’re, like me, on the long path to financial freedom, I strongly encourage you to think about finding your next job.

Staying at home doing nothing is the best way to get depressed and unhappy.

Once you try and get involved with new and different types of job, you’ll surely find what is good for you, and what makes you really happy.

By doing so, you could actually accelerate the entire process and quit your day job much earlier.