Advice from a man who's just retired at 34 for some of us seeking financial independence

"A mistake a huge number of people make in the States is I don't think they really know how much money they spend on stuff that probably doesn't make them happy. You don't have to dedicate your whole life to budgeting or anything, but set up Mint or Personal Capital, look through it all, and try to figure out how much of that money is going to your happiness.
"A lot of people are spending money on stuff that might have made them happy a year ago — maybe buying a new car on credit but now the car is old, or spending a fortune commuting to live in a big house in a neighborhood far from work. Figure out what makes you happy, and start investing accordingly."
"People are so used to paying for luxury, to be pampered all the time, but the hard stuff in life is the best stuff,"
Says Brandon, 34-year-old software developer and blogger behind the Mad Fientist — who doesn't use his last name online for privacy reasons — who officially retired On August 1, 2016.