Flying Pizza Pie said:
Everyone can believe what they want, but I strenuously disagree with part of this "story." The "Starbucks" example is not a "rounding error" as you put it. Just as an example, the US stock market has averaged nearly a 10% annual return for decades. Just suppose your Starbucks expense each day is $5. And, you quit the habit and save the $5, five days a week, and put that money ($108 each month) into a stock fund such as Standard and Poor's 500 Index. After 20 years, that little $5 a day habit will have grown to $82,000. I know it's possible, I've been doing it since 2004. In 30 years the return is $240,000 and in 40 years you should accumulated $670,000. Rounding error?
Live your life as you see fit, but if you save $100 each week - in 40-years it should grow to $2.7 million. If you didn't start until today, well, that amount might only buy you a new house when you retire. If you don't start at all, I'm sure you'll think of something else when you reach retirement.
Thank you for the correction. My post lacked nuance and was very easily countered, as you demonstrated.
To be nitpicky (of course), saving $400+ a month is a tall order for someone living paycheque to paycheque, and this also doesn't include responses to sudden extra costs, or the natural costs of the "typical" adult experience: mortgage, having children, repairs, etc. And especially in the US, healthcare. There's also inflation and the cost of living index to keep in mind. These costs are bearable if you have a rising wage, but the unfortunate reality is that many don't get to have that, and possibly not even the chance to pursue it. For many, getting a raise to match inflation can be the exception and not the bare minimum, let alone a raise that puts you above where you were before.
I think it's a good idea to invest in a fund, though. It doesn't take extreme financial literacy to do, and if you really can regularly invest toward it, you'll have a good egg after 40 years, just as you describe. I just hesitate to claim it's easy to invest and save when so many have their wages and avenues of opportunity suppressed. Expecting optimal financial behaviour is silly for even the most comfortable, and it seems cruel to expect it of someone who's stressed and otherwise hurting for ways to feel better about the daily grind of modern living.
I technically waste a lot of money every month, money that could be much better spent elsewhere. But that's in an objective sense; subjectively, the money I waste is what allows me to survive to this point. If someone wasting $100 a month on Starbucks is what gets them through the day, is it truly a waste, even if it's the nail in their coffin 30-40 years from now?
And just to make sure these posts don't get purged due to being off topic, in response to the OP... Publishing, as said by others, is mercurial and can differ greatly from one month to the next, even if you have a strict schedule in place. Personally, I'd never quit unless I had a year's worth of savings, plus an emergency fund, plus a plan for maintaining a minimum publishing income. However, that's the overly cautious part of me. Instability stresses me out and I like knowing that I'm secure. It's an incredible luxury to feel safe. I like the idea of reducing hours instead of quitting entirely, and making sure you always have a fallback in case the worst happens with your writing.
I wouldn't worry too much about KDP arbitrarily banning you. They have reasons for what they do, and it's easy to avoid being in a position where they'd have a reason to drop the hammer. That said, this risk exists with any company you'd publish with/through. Even trad pub has exit clauses in their contracts.