May 20, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes

Most of us are intimately familiar with Return on Investment (ROI).

Invest $1 today to generate $1.20 tomorrow.

The higher the ROI, the better.

Or is it?

I’d like to introduce to you the concept of Return on Hassle “ROH”:


Return on Hassle takes into account the time and energy required to achieve a specific Return on Investment.

In this article, I want to give you 5 examples of activities with a decent ROI.

But low ROH.

Let’s go:

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Flexible Saving Accounts (FSA)

An FSA is a great way to save money on taxes.

Contribute $3k into an FSA and pay ~$1k less tax.

Solid ROI.

But you are required to track medical receipts and submit them to your benefits provider for reimbursement.

Those receipts don’t always get approved right away (trust me, I know).

Managing your FSA could easily take 20 hours of your time over the course of a calendar year.

Not to mention some major annoyance.

Factor that energy into the equation and the $1K savings becomes much less meaningful.

Low ROH.

Note: this doesn’t necessarily apply to HSA’s, which carry great value if you’re young and healthy. More on HSA’s here.

Doing Your Own Taxes

If your financial situation is relatively straightforward, a CPA will run you ~$800.

Anyone would love to save $800.

Feels like a good ROI.

But to save $800 you’ll probably spend 10 hours gathering files and entering data into TurboTax.

Moreover, one small error can lead to overpaid taxes.

Negating the cost savings altogether.

Low ROH.

Note: I know some of you enjoy preparing your taxes. I do too. If it’s “fun” for you, I get it. But if it’s a hassle, outsource it every time.

Picking Individual Stocks

It’s extremely difficult to beat the market.

Essentially no one does it.

Tinkering with your portfolio allocations ends up being a huge time suck.

Pick a few low-cost index funds with broad market exposure and move on.

Focus your time on building more active income instead.

Credit Card Points

I’m sure I just triggered a few of you reading this.

People that are into CC points are really into CC points.

You may enjoy optimizing 10 different credit cards to get a free trip to Mexico.

I get it.

But that stuff takes a lot of energy.

If you don’t really enjoy it, don’t do it.

Low ROH.


I fall victim to this all of the time.

There is a major administrative headache that comes with managing multiple savings accounts, retirement accounts, LLCs, syndication investments, mortgages, etc.

Be critical of unnecessary complexity.

The older I get, the more I realize too much diversification can be counterproductive.

Two practical examples of ways to simplify:

  • Use 1 high-yield savings account with high FDIC insurance (eg. Wealthfront)

  • Consolidate old retirement accounts from former employers

Final Thoughts

To be certain, Return on Hassle evolves.

It’s ultimately a reflection of the dollar value of your time.

When you’re 21 years young, with a simple 9-5 and no financial assets, spending 3 hours gathering files and entering them into TurboTax may be a good ROH.

But be careful.

Don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over little things that don’t actually move the needle.

In my early 20’s, I maxed out my FSA, tried to beat the market, always did my own taxes, opened a dozen credit cards and overcomplicated my investing strategy.

I spent a lot of time chasing pennies (while walking over dollar bills).

That’s it for today.

Until next week,


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