Adults Can Do Whatever They Want

Here’s a convo my 5 y/o son and I had the other day:

5 y/o: “What are you eating over there???”

Me: “A chocolate bar – mmm mmm it’s tasty.”

5 y/o: “How come you can have a chocolate bar right now and I can’t?”

Me: “Because I’m an adult – and adults can do whatever they want.”

I probably should have said “Because you’re still eating your dinner” or “you can have one later” or “here’s a little piece of it if you pay attention to the lesson I’m about to teach you,” but instead I played the adult card. And I ain’t gonna lie – it felt good :)

Also, scary.

Think about just how FREE all of us really are right now? And how much damage/trouble/awesomeness we can get into at any point of our lives now that we’re on our own? Don’t want to do the dishes? Forgettabout it! Want to sit on your ass and gorge yourself of ice cream and Netflix? Go for it. Want to call in sick and play video games all day long? I get controller #1!

Sure we still have bosses and spouses and police officers keeping us all in check (“I swear officer, I thought it was Halloween! I wasn’t trying to take all the bank’s cash, I was trick-or-treating!”), but at the end of the day we really do get to do whatever the hell we please.

And that’s exactly where the scary part comes in. Because unfortunately, there’s also this thing called “consequences.”

Webster Dictionary defines it as…. Pshh. Y’all know what consequences are! (Why do writers always go down that route btw? As if we’re all so dumb we literally need to go back a couple decades and bring out the dictionary??)

Here was the rest of the convo w/ my 5 y/o:

5 y/o: “But daaaaaaad, that’s not fair!”

Me: “Well, there’s also these things called “consequences” when you do things as an adult. For example, if I eat this chocolate bar I may get fat or get a toothache or upset your mother for taking the last one from the box (psst – don’t tell her!). So while it is cool we get to do whatever we want, we also have to make sure we’re okay with any bad stuff it can bring, especially if it affects someone around us.”

5 y/o:”What does affect mean?”

Me: “Look it up in the dictionary.”

(Just kidding… although this is the right way to bring up a dictionary ;))

Me: “It means everything you do can change something else. If you go and hit your brother right now, he’s going to cry and then you’re going to your room for a time out. Just like if I were to hit our neighbor I’d probably be hauled off somewhere too – called jail. So even if you want to do something sometimes, it’s good to think twice about it unless you really like getting into trouble.”

5 y/o: “Ahh… I can’t wait until I become an adult.”

Me: “So you can eat chocolate bars?”

5 y/o: “No, so I can punch my brother!”


I started reading this new book called 10% Entrepreneur by Patrick McGinnis, and it reminds me a lot of this adult stuff. Simply for the fact that it helps contain us more, despite our brains thinking other avenues could be better for us.

For example, everyone thinks self-employment is all rainbows and freedom and full of cash money millionaires. And while that’s partially true, there’s also a whole other dark side to the game when things are anything but. I can’t tell you the times I’ve considered shutting it all down or getting a new job or not knowing if I’ll be able to support my entire family from this crazy thing called “a blog.” Yes it’s fun and yes there are advantages up the ying-yang, and technically you don’t ever have to work if you don’t want to and just take off traipsing around the world, but at the end of the day it all rides on your shoulders and your shoulders only because you’re The Boss. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and you’re not wearing any seat belts.

Without self – and emotional – control, you’re doomed.

Which is the basis of the 10% entrepreneur idea… I’ve only read the first handful of pages so far, but the notion is that it allows you to still dabble in making money on the side and starting your own hustle, but with only 10% of the effects. You’re still tied to your day job and the structure, but you also get to reap the rewards of putting yourself out there. And I’m going out on a limb and will say that the amount of *positive* return on that effort will likely be much greater than 10% too – making the deal even sweeter.

As the tagline of the book goes: live your startup dream without quitting your day job. Check it out if you’ve always wanted to dip your toes into business – it could be a good solution for ya!

10 percent entrepreneur

The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

With everything in life, there’s things we WANT or THINK we want to do, and then there’s the realities of what could happen if we act on them. Eating a chocolate bar won’t cause much of problem alone, but if you’ve already eaten 87 of them or have high sugar levels or they cost $7.00 a pop, then yeah – you’re probably going to have issues.

Just like if we sit on our asses watching TV all day or quit our jobs on a whim to start a new venture or anything else we desire in our lives. Moderation: good. Extremity: usually not so much.

We all need some structure in our lives, or at least a set of rules to follow – even if we make them ourselves. This is the basis of personal finance, after all.

  • Spend less than you make – RULE
  • Save/invest the difference – RULE (and an important one!)
  • Pay off your credit cards at the end of every month – RULE (this counts even if you’re a hacker gobbling up all the free points and miles and cash back, btw. The second you leave balances on those cards the benefits start diminishing!)
  • Protect your wealth/stuff/family with insurance – RULE. A boring rule, but a rule nonetheless
  • Always be learning and reading Budgets Are Sexy – RULE. The best rule ;)

Our lives are riddled with rules and for good measure. But that’s another benefit of being an adult – WE GET TO MAKE THE RULES NOW!! How sweet is that?? We may not enjoy following them all, but if you want the life of your dreams – both now and in the future – the rules are a necessary part of making it happen.

My son now goes around the house telling people whether they can, or cannot, do things based upon their adultness – even visitors. The lesson’s sunk in, but only if he knew how good he really has it. Free food, toys, and shelter, without any care or responsibility in the world?

I don’t know about you, but I’d gladly trade my chocolate bar for that!

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  1. Budget on a Stick July 24, 2017 at 5:42 AM

    Thank you for such an insightful post. I know when it comes to the whims of the adults in this household we can eat one too many chocolate bars.

    It is important to have a partner that keeps you from getting into too much trouble. Although last Friday she was trying to get me to come home to play Mario kart and watch Netflix…

    Well sometimes you have to let go a little I guess

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 7:29 AM

      Oh man, haven’t played Mario Kart in years! I have a feeling it’ll be coming back into our lives though as my kids keep asking me what “video games” are, and how they can go about playing them :)

  2. Mrs. Adventure Rich July 24, 2017 at 6:12 AM

    Haha- your son is too smart for his own good! ;)

    I think you hit the nail on the head. While choice and freedom can be incredible privileges and tools, they are only useful if they are put to good use and directed towards good consequences. It is where many of us are tested daily… “How much do you want X or want to avoid Y?” “Are you willing to give up A in order to gain B?” Because we CAN choose to do so many things, many of which are directly contrary to our goals or intended outcomes. It takes discipline to choose what is in line with our goals and has the right affects.

    thanks for the great reminder this morning!

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 7:35 AM

      Glad you enjoyed! Was a fun post to write :)

  3. Wall Street Physician July 24, 2017 at 6:28 AM

    When you’re an adult, you have the freedom (choice) to do whatever you want, like eat a candy bar or not save enough, but you also have to live with the consequences, like have health or financial issues.

    White Coat Investor wrote a post with many similar themes as your post. Always great to get reinforcement from many different sources :)

  4. Matt @ Optimize Your Life July 24, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    This is a great perspective. Parents make choices on behalf of their kids where parents also make choices for themselves. I feel like sometimes it is easier to make the “better” choice for someone else! The world of consequences and pros and cons can be easier to see from a distance sometimes.

    I’ll have to add 10% Entrepreneur to my list. Sounds really interesting. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 7:39 AM

      Oh yeah – MUCH easier to tell others what to do than yourself :)

      Let me know what you think of the book! I think it fits people a lot better than the “all or nothing” approach. And very similar to our Side Hustle stuff too.

  5. Lance @ My Strategic Dollar July 24, 2017 at 7:42 AM

    Really enjoyed this. No matter your circumstances, no matter your income level and no matter how much debt you have – YOU MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES. And those choices have consequences, good or bad. I believe in the concept of each person is their own self-manager – sometimes you’ll get it right and sometimes wrong, but continuing to read, learn and grow is important.

  6. Apathy Ends July 24, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    Haha, I am tired of being an adult right now. Wish the consequences weren’t so serious for taking a month long break!

    Will have to check out this book, maybe it will help me bridge some gaps in my current approach

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 9:56 AM

      Yeah – it can be tiring being an adult :)

  7. Nicole @ Budget Like a Lady July 24, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Too Funny! I often play the adult card with my 5 year old. So far she wants to be an adult so she can eat brownies for breakfast. Haha!

    Great read!

  8. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar July 24, 2017 at 8:30 AM

    LOL His brother does sound like a bit of a jerk… ;)

    Kids are the best for this kind of thing. But adults are just as bad. It’s hard to appreciate something until you go through it, but then it’s hard to appreciate it like you thought you would after the fact!

  9. ChickenSuperhero July 24, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to the protected safety of childhood. I’ve felt like an adult, not a play adult or a fake adult, since I was a late teen. The knowledge though took a lot longer to catch up.

    I find it so interesting that there are people who are not terrified by self employment. I find it downright magical that in a big corporation, there are all kinds of experts responsible for knowing things I am not good at. Entrepreneurs have to do it all at first. I have family and friends with an innate drive to be entrepreneurs, and I admire it… but I can’t imagine doing it.

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 9:58 AM

      “I find it downright magical that in a big corporation, there are all kinds of experts responsible for knowing things I am not good at.”

      Right?? I don’t know how entrepreneurs do it either…. I’m technically one, but it was all by accident :)

  10. Free to Pursue July 24, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    I will love to get my hands on that book!!! 10% is absolutely my motto…though the 10% has grown to encompass many undertakings. Variety is the spice of life after all, right?!

    OK. I might be biased, having had some sort of side hustle from the time I was 17…unless you count babysitting…

    That said, there are many benefits to a side hustle aside from the extra $$ it can bring in. It can make you learn pretty neat stuff, it can keep you stay engaged and curious and it can even *gasp* make you better at your *real* job.

    It’s unfortunate that our society praises the specializers as opposed to the polymaths. The polymaths is where the party’s at. ;)

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 9:59 AM

      I think I smell a new blog post for you to write :)

  11. Miss Mazuma July 24, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Way to get the lesson in while also distracting from the fact you were eating the last of the chocolate! Parenting at it’s finest. :)

    I hear you about the self employment factor. While I am not self employed, I am an hourly employee with no minimums. I choose if I want to make money or stay home and make nothing. There have been days (and months) that I chose the latter then regretted it later. It is really hard to keep yourself in check at times! It helped me to set monthly goals but even those are self inflicted and easy to skimp on. I am so grateful to have stumbled across this community and FI in general because it has given me more drive to work towards a lifestyle than a number. Keep it up, man!! You got this. ;)

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM

      Oh yeah – hard to not stay motivated with this crew! You’d literally have to just stay off the internet in order to do so :)

      1. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto July 24, 2017 at 1:13 PM

        Please don’t add “Stay Off The Internet” to your list of rules. Besides, it’d be an inherent conflict with Rule #5, right?

        1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:08 AM

          Haha… indeed it would.

  12. Amanda July 24, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    You want cobbler? Make cobbler:) I relate to this so. very. much. The reality of cobbler is that too much sugar drains your energy. It makes your clothes tight. It makes you sluggish. It AFFECTS you. I’m struggling lately with the balance between day job and the time I want to spend blogging. Or, day job, blogging, and my creative work. As an adult, I *should* be able to do what I want, but even in that, I have a hard time deciding sometimes WHAT I want. I like the idea of 10%, though. I don’t always have to go “all in.” The struggle for me, though, is in the balancing.

    1. J. Money July 24, 2017 at 10:02 AM

      It’s def. a tricky one. I find myself going in phases one year to another and always changing it up – esp once I had kids. I sometimes think the ones with no initiative at all have it the easiest – they just do what they need to to get by and then call it a day!

  13. Paul July 24, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Great post – but I couldn’t get Eric Cartman’s “Whatever – I do what I want!” out of my head the whole time :-)

  14. Mrs. Picky Pincher July 24, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    Hahaha! Well, in all fairness, there ARE adults who do whatever they want. And they end up in jail. :P It’s tough to force the sense of self-control; it comes over time. I had to self-impose the control so I could afford to buy groceries as an adult. So some of us learn self-control and responsibility before we turn 18, and some of us learn from a crash course thanks to the school of hard knocks. ;)

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:13 AM

      Haha – yeah they do. Though I need a jail for my wallet sometimes whenever Naughty J. Money comes out to play ;)

  15. Dads Dollars Debts July 24, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Teaching control and self discipline is probably the most important thing we can do for our kids. It doesn’t mean they have to be boring, but they do have to think things through.

    Part of the reason I am trying to grow my blog outside of just enjoying the writing process, is to make some side income. I figure if I make enough side income I can start going part time in my day job. Silly, but a dream none the less. You somehow managed to do it, so thanks for the inspiration.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:15 AM

      It’s definitely possible, my man! Actually just had someone writing me about it and here’s what I responded with – in case it helps:


      yup, blogs like mine make money off a variety of ways:

      — display advertising
      — affiliates
      — sponsorships
      — brand ambassadorships
      — selling our own products (you’re right, i don’t have any of my own)
      — speaking
      — publishing books
      — consulting

      and the list goes on…

      tons of opportunity in the space, but the #1 priority is being passionate about it and enjoying it :) I haven’t known anyone to become successful financially off their blog when they’re sole focus is making money. it’s a long road to that point and most will burn out.

  16. Mr. Smart Money July 24, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    After quitting my job, I’ve unfortunately learned how real Murphy’s Law is. It’s like all the bad luck waits for you, and comes all at once.

    Will definitely have to read that book!

  17. Dave July 24, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    I will have to check out that book. Life is like a menu at a restaurant. We make choices and they are followed with a cost. Doing the right thing is not always easy. Opening a business sounds fun, but is hard work and most fail. It is important to take calculated risks in life, but a thorough review of the consequences also need to be reviewed.

  18. Joe July 24, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    Sounds like a good book. I will check it out.
    When my kid says “That’s not fair!” I tell him that life is not fair. That’s the truth of it.
    I’ve been trying to teach him consequences too, but I think that will take a while to sink in…

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:17 AM

      I think that goes into one of the top 3 lines parents universally use :)

      #1) Money doesn’t grow on trees
      #2) Eat your food – there are starving kids in Africa
      #3) Life isn’t fair

  19. Mr. Tako July 24, 2017 at 11:55 AM

    It sounds like The 10% Entrepreneur is merely advocating for a ‘side gig’.

    Nothing wrong with side gigs, they’re a great idea! Sometimes they do take-off and become real businesses, but most don’t.

    Real startups take a HUGE amount of time and effort to get rolling. They’re real businesses along with everything that implies. Doing all that on 10% time seems like a big leap.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:20 AM

      Still only in the early parts of the book, but it seems so far that it’s more about joining *others* in starting up side businesses where everyone’s contributing time/energy/money, as well as those side hustles that don’t require as much heavy lifting (like consulting, or even just investing in other peoples’ ideas/companies). So far nothing on starting a full-fledge business by yourself with only 10% of your time/money (def. no way that’s taking off!), but we’ll see what the rest of the book holds.

  20. Owen @ PlanEasy July 24, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    Although I like the idea of being a 10% entrepreneur in my experience its nearly impossible. Do they mean 10% of the 168 available hours in a week or 10% on top of the regular 40 hour work week? Spending just 4 hours per week on a side business isn’t going to get it very far. Spending 16 hours per week is different. Then you’ll actually start to get somewhere.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:22 AM

      See comment above :)

      (and I believe it refers to 10% outside of your normal 9-5 gig, although certainly the plan would be to get it to where it’s 10% of your total time/energy/money so you have even better output by spending the same amount of time)

  21. Tim Jordan July 24, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    Great post and reminder, J. Money! I think it’s so important to constantly remind ourselves that WE are in control of our lives and future. There are always consequences to our actions and it’s our responsibility to make the change.

    Also, your son sounds adorable. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  22. EL July 24, 2017 at 2:57 PM

    Kids always bring up interesting conversations. IT catches me off guard sometimes and it goes back to the basics of young mind development. I crack up all the time, with lil people questions.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:24 AM

      Oh yeah…

      We visited an open house of tiny homes the other day, and the first question my son asks? (Very worriedly at that?) “Where do I go during time out?” Haha…

      Guess he doesn’t plan on behaving all the time still ;)

  23. Mrs. BITA July 24, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    #adulting isn’t all it is hyped up to be. I remember that when I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to be an adult. All that freedom! All those choices!

    Now, having adulted with some success for about two decades, if someone (say someone with a cool mohawk who owns a great blog) was to volunteer to adopt me, ‘no’ would not be my go-to response.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:26 AM

      Hah! I feel like the same goes for other things us adults now desire too – bigger houses, more $$$$, financial freedom. All fine goals, but by the time we’ve accomplished it we’re now older and grayer and would die to have our youth back! Which is exactly why I stopped saying I wish I were Warren Buffet. The money’s nice, but I don’t exactly want to be 86 right now :)

  24. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family July 24, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    I’ve been pouting a little about my no spending until we get out of debt rule, which is (obviously) self imposed. I keep hitting a mini cycle of “Wait, I don’t HAVE to do this. I’m an adult!” to “Uh, if I ever want financial freedom, then yeah, yeah I do.” In the end, I manage to push harder to get out of debt more quickly.

    But getting to eat all the candy bars is definitely not as easy as it seems!

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:27 AM

      Haha, amen sister.

      Btw – you still owe me a guest post on your debt rules stuff! :)

  25. Leo T. Ly July 24, 2017 at 5:04 PM

    Freedom comes with a lot of responsibilities. I sometimes questioned myself why am I not happier to make a six figure salary now comparing to my teenage years when I made $6/hour? I would love to go back to the good old days when there were no mortgages, no bills, and no work week. Even only $6/ hour, I get to spend every penny of it. Maybe this is a good question to ask my kids to see if they want the become adults. #carefreedays.

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:28 AM

      YES!!! EXACTLY!!!!

      We all hurry up to get older and become adults, when everything we actually wanted/enjoy was sitting there right in front of us the entire time! Oh well… guess we just gotta work harder to become “free” again so we can go back to the good ol’ days. The whole point of FIRE, eh?

  26. Lily @ The Frugal Gene July 24, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I kind of wish I had my own little 5 year old to talk and pick brains about *wee bit jealous :)*

    1. J. Money July 25, 2017 at 7:31 AM

      Ooooooh are babies in the future for you, praytell? They sure are cute and fun! (And hungry for all your $$$! ;))

  27. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom July 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    hahahaha This was a great read. I love kids’ perceptions about adulting. And then you become an adult and miss the care-free days of childhood. I completely agree with your perspective that the freedom of our choices as an adult can be a great thing if we recognize the power in it. I am in my early thirties and it makes me sad when I hear that so many of my friends haven’t even thought about retirement, are in over their heads with debt, and have no plans to change things. As long as they get their fancy vacation every couple months they are content. My family has made the choice to be debt free and to learn everything we can about DIY investing to save for our future. We still travel a couple times a year, but I am truly stoked about what our possibilities will be when we retire. Our choices today will give us the freedom to do whatever we want in our retirement later!

    1. J. Money July 26, 2017 at 6:10 AM

      You know it! Keep on going!!

  28. Oliver @ July 28, 2017 at 8:37 AM

    I do agree…don’t get too excited to leave your day job just to pursue entrepreneurship. Enjoy the best of both worlds for now! What’s important is that you won’t get bankrupt so it’s better to prepare yourself with enough savings once it’s time to give up on that day job and work on your startup.

  29. ZJ Thorne July 29, 2017 at 12:14 PM

    This is precisely how I set up my business. I started it while working FT elsewhere. The business does not pay me yet, but it allows me to dabble and see that I really like doing it. I have the safety net of other money coming in while I build this up properly. I also get the satisfaction of knowing I’m a business owner.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2017 at 5:48 AM

      Congrats, ZJ :)

  30. Ming August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

    Haha, you are not alone, J Money. I would definitely trade chocolate bar for that as well.

    Now my son is just starting to talk. When he is a bit older, I can only imagine all the interesting conversations we’ll have.

    And, thanks for the book recommendation!

    1. J. Money August 14, 2017 at 12:27 PM

      Let me know if it ends up changing your life :)