I thought it would be good to start with some of my personal thoughts on money, personal finances, and financial freedom. As this site grows, I will probably delve a bit deeper into how I arrived at where I am today, but for now, I think it would be good to give everyone an idea of how I think. And just to be clear… these are MY opinions. Not the gospel. If you are reading this, take what you can and apply it to your situation. We all have different values, needs, and priorities so what works for me probably won’t work for everyone, but I have found that I can usually find some nugget of insight in even the most contrary of views.
Money = Options
That’s it. I have no attachment to the pieces of paper or round metal coins we call money, but I love the options it gives me. We have decided as a society, for good or bad, that we will trade our hard labor for the ability to make certain choices in life. Don’t get me wrong, we all have plenty of free will independent of our financial status, but I think it is safe to say that we have MORE choice the more money we have. Now, before anyone gets started, I am not saying that everyone with money makes good choices. Nor am I saying that the hard work needed to achieve financial freedom doesn’t require sacrifice. I’m just saying that if I have $100, I have more choices on what to get at the grocery store than if I have $1. If I have $1,000,000, I have more choices about where I can live than if I have $10,000. Again, I could choose to spend that $100 on junk food and someone far wiser than me could spend that $1 on an apple, or I could choose to spend my $1,000,000 on a home that I can’t afford to pay taxes on or maintain and someone else could spend $10,000 on a sustainable tiny home that supplies them with everything they need, but what I’m talking about here is simply the number of choices.
That is really the basis of my relationship with money. And believe me, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it took looking back at some (or many) careless decisions I made in the past to come to this point of view. Now knowing that at a conservative rate of return, every $1 saved at 25 years old would be equal to 7x that at 65 years old (2x purchasing power adjusted for inflation)1 makes me cringe at all the “essential” items I spent money on in my youth. But on a more positive note, I look at every dollar I save (or don’t spend) today as an opportunity to make more choices for myself and my family in the future. Viewed through that lens, it is easy to skip out on the morning latte or the fancy car.
I will do another post in the future on my thoughts about spending money on appreciating assets (of which education is probably the greatest one) and other ways that spending money is absolutely great, but at the core, I like the options. It’s those options that have significantly reduced the amount of stress in my life, made my relationship with my spouse better, and allowed me to give more opportunities to my children. These are all things I cherish and want more of.
So that is it for my first real post. Let me know how you relate to money or what is important to you. I think it’s important for everyone to know a bit about my thoughts on finances before reading on, but I also hope that by hearing from all of you, my views will grow and change for the better.
I am going to try and post once a week (weekends), so if you somehow managed to find this page (via a late night google session for sloths and personal finance), then welcome and come back next week!