The Active Chaser vs. the Passive Spectator

Most of us want financial success, yet surprisingly few are successful at it. Why? What is the the defining characteristic of those who achieve financial success?

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years about personal finance, it’s that being in a position of financial strength rarely passively falls in to your lap.

Sure, there’s the occasional 1-in-50 million lottery winner or the increasingly rare inheritance benefactor (birth lottery winners), but 99% of us are going to have to actively chase financial success.

We gotta hustle and earn it.

Yet – most take a passive spectator approach to the things that impact their finances:

  • they pursue another’s career agenda for them
  • they pursue the easy job of least resistance
  • they accept the salary they are offered
  • they don’t show their worth and hope for occasional merit or longevity raises
  • they buy things they could easily make
  • they don’t optimize their budget
  • they are completely dependent on others and outsource projects versus learning to DIY
  • they save whatever is left over from their spending
  • they stay in the same job way too long
  • they don’t pursue side income or self-employment
  • they don’t put their savings to work for them
  • they retire at the standard retirement age because that is when you’re supposed to

Active chasers take a different approach:

  • financial successthey set their own career agenda
  • they challenge themselves to find better, more challenging, more rewarding, higher paying jobs
  • they actively negotiate their salary
  • they calculate and show their worth and use it to push for raises and promotions
  • they make things they could easily buy
  • they relentlessly optimize their budget
  • they in-source projects through learning to DIY
  • they set aggressive personal savings rate targets and cut the fat to get there
  • they leave jobs when they get too comfortable and boring
  • they embrace entrepreneurial opportunities
  • they put their savings to work for them
  • they retire when they want

It’s OK to be passive from time-to-time – we all are. And even if you consistently check all of the passive bullets above you could still be a mighty fine person and live a very fulfilling life.

However, if financial success is your goal, the more you can develop the qualities of an active chaser, the more likely you will achieve it. I’d also argue that the more active chaser qualities you develop, the more success you will have in other areas of your life as well: job fulfillment, health, fitness, hobbies, relationships, community involvement, education, etc.

Chase wisely, my friends.


  1. Tom
  2. Warren
  3. Warren

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