I really enjoy the feedback I get from the readers here, keep them coming because there is always some great insight there. I got a recent comment regarding how frugal I am and other remarks regarding my lifestyle.
I want to be clear about something, I am not trying to get anyone else to live the lifestyle. Though it is working out well for me I find it a boring lifestyle and frankly not an easy one to adopt unless it just feels natural to you.
My posts can come across a little judgmental but they aren’t intended that way. I love my friends, the individuals who are close to me in life and whom I go out of my way to keep in touch with. There aren’t a whole lot of them but they are important to me.
Not a single one of them is vegan and not a single person has any issues with spending money on gasoline, driving a car, wearing leather or spending on what brings them enjoyment. There is only one friend who is frugal but that’s the only thing we share in common and her reasons are similar to mine, which I’m about to ‘splain.
I don’t judge my friends/family because they are different from me. I care for them to adopt my lifestyle and I don’t think I would feel any closer to them if we shared the same sociopolitical beliefs.
At the same time I’m not shy about how I feel about things. If you think that I’m gonna hold back my feelings or opinions because it aint mainstream then you’ll be disappointed talking to me. I am not the right person to come to when you feel like expressing your disgust for someone torturing animals when you’re eating meat from animals raised inhumanely on factory farms.
I’m not the right person to come to when you want to express how angry you are at the ‘Muslims’ who are terrorizing the western nations when you’re driving a giant gas-guzzling SUV and have nothing but oil based products around you (electronics, plastic, personal products etc).
I can’t even go to myself to find some solace when I feel emotionally overwhelmed at work, anxious or frustrated because of whatever is happening in the urgent care. That’s because my unhappiness comes from drama that I’m creating for myself. It’s simply a job, a source of income and my perception of it is what I’m battling not the actual work (Sorry Dr. Mo, go whine to someone else).
What does this have to do with being frugal? Well, I don’t think there is one way to skin a cat. Just like not everyone has to be vegan or have the same political ideology, not everyone needs to be frugal to achieve their financial goals.
They may have to extend their timeline to financial independence or perhaps generate more income at their work but nevertheless your financial dreams are achievable even without being frugal.
There are plenty of wealthy doctors who have owned and own nice cars, beautiful mini-mansions, expensive jewelry, toys, electronics and who have experienced their fair share of luxurious travels and services. But I assure you, they have worked harder than you or I. They have put in longer hours, taken on harder specialties and worked more years than you or I.
Be aware of the 2 sides of the scale. Your expenses will tip you to the right and your income to the left. What are your financial goals in 50 years? What is it in the 10 years? How about 5? And what is it you want to accomplish by end of this calendar year.
Right now I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing. The whole tiny condo, minimalist living, pink folding bike, vegan eating, meditating, socializing with friends and going for walks… that’s my shit right now. Will I do it forever? I doubt it… one thing that I’ve finally learned after 38 years in this body is that my wants and needs change constantly. Thank god for that because I would get bored otherwise.
If I suddenly wanted to have a large home, a nice car, perhaps a boat and take nicer vacations then I would plan them into my life. I wouldn’t just blindly add them to my personal finance scale and hope that my 50/30/10/5/1 year goals remain achievable.
What I’m getting at is that I’ve spent some good quality time thinking of what is important to me in life. I have set out to achieve them and my lifestyle has had to change accordingly. I suppose it is a sacrifice but when you are sacrificing for something you are really passionate about it somehow doesn’t feel like a chore.
My 50 year goal is to be someone who is at peace with whatever is happening around me and in a financial position to help others. My 30 year financial plan is to not have to worry about the ups and downs of the market, to be diversified enough to feel financially secure. My 10 year plan is to be generating income only doing something I am passionate about that makes me happy externally and internally. My 5 year plan is to get my taxable investments to around $500k. And finally my 1 year goal is to avoid any unwanted lifestyle inflation as I merge my life with that of my partner’s.
Making sudden large financial decisions and losing sight of your values, what’s important to you, what you want to achieve will leave your soul a bit disappointed. It’s like saying you want 6-pack abs when you have no desire to put in the effort to get them. Or wanting to be an ER doctor but refusing to go back through another residency and having to work overnight for decades to come.
Just as bad is wishing you had 6-pack abs, working your ass off to get it and then sitting there in the mirror wondering why the fuck you cut out all them carbs, did 200 situps and 100 leg raises every morning.
I would kick myself in the nuts if I got to age 65 with way more money than I needed. Why? Because it means that I likely had to work my ass off to get that extra money. Sure, many of us are wishing and dreaming for that one business idea that will catapult us into financial abundance but the reality is that it’s not that common… the overnight successes seem to happen only to those who work their asses off for it for many years.
If I wanted the nicer stuff compared to what I have I first have to decide what things I’m willing to give up. In my case it would be having less time with friends, less time to read and less time to take walks, ride my bike, have drinks with friends. I would have to give up my time autonomy.
It would not only mean having to work more 10-hour shifts, it would also mean having to work for many more years in order to afford that higher lifestyle while still being able to reach the goals I want to reach in life. If I love what I’m doing then sure, why not. If those experiences and possessions are important to me then of course I’m going to make the necessary changes in order to have them.
So, if you look at someone’s life and you find yourself feeling bad for them, thinking that maybe they are missing out on all the fun which you’re having then try to look at it from their perspective.
Sure, a fancy car and a big house is great. The comfort afforded by a beautiful house with A/C, backyard and jacuzzi is something few would argue with. But do you have to give that up or do you have to just push it further into the future? Or could it be that living in a smaller condo close to work or close to things you enjoy doing allows you a pleasure even greater than the comfort of the fancy house behind them gates?
It’s truly about perspective isn’t it? My nurse the other day expressed pity for me biking up this steep long hill on the way to work while it was cold and raining. She expressed that she could never do that and wouldn’t be able to give up the comfort of her air-conditioned SUV.
Interestingly, for a moment I was pitying her because she was missing out on the amazing experience I had riding up that hill and I was thinking to myself how miserable it must be to be stuck in that giant hunk of metal, being forced to maneuver it on small streets, having to maintain it and pay for it while suffering the health consequences of being behind a steering wheel. Just a matter of perspective.