Making money. Saving money. Investing Money. Debt Destruction. Net Worth. FIRE. Student Loans.
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These topics are where I spend the bulk of my time in the Financial Independence space. The Tactical. The How. The Math.
But what is also important is dealing with the mental side of money. Compound interest math is shockingly awesome but the mind doesn’t run solely on factual data. If it did everyone would go to college for investment banking, coffee shops would cease to exist, and we would all live in a grey symmetrical cookie cutter blob of a home to minimize building costs.
Thankfully the “do you know how much money that would be in 30 years” logic doesn’t always win. We can study whatever we want, there are coffee shops to sell me cold press and I won’t drunkenly mistake my neighbor’s house for mine and walk into a weird situation (they are different colors and I’m not colorblind).
When I was writing about how FIRE isn’t just for bike wielding hippies, I thought a lot about the slightly slower path we are taking to Financial Independence due to some of the spending habits we refuse to give up. Two themes emerged that I felt summed up our approach
I don’t want to feel guilty for spending money instead of saving it
I don’t want to feel guilty about the way I spend my time
I will be using those two sentences as guiding principles as we pursue Financial Independence moving forward
Pursue the Guilt Free Spend
The Guilt Free Spending of Time
An interesting thing has happened to me since I became a Dad. I have consistent conflicting feelings about how I should spend my time. Balancing blogging, dadding, husbanding, working, family, friends, etc, etc, etc is very difficult. Finding a day or two to go fishing is going to take a small miracle of opportunity aligning with the schedule and cooperative weather.
The internal debate:
Spend every waking minute with my kids because I know I will never see them at this age again (This one is 98.5% of the time)
You kids and great and all, but I want to morph out of this house and forget that bottles and diapers exist, back to the day where hangovers were not amplified by a midnight wake up call. (This is how I feel 1.5 % of the time, and a 100% of the time I am hungover)
When the latter wins and the stars align, I don’t want to feel guilty for not being there. I want to enjoy the moment, the mini-vacation, or FinCon
Want the secret to not feeling guilty when you are away from your family?
Be a rockstar Husband* and Dad when you are around. That means cleaning, cooking (then cleaning again), and feeding (then cleaning again). It’s washing all the bottles and pumping paraphernalia for your wife. It’s actually getting down on the ground and playing or reading books with your kids.
This applies far beyond just this example
- I don’t feel guilty for not working on this site every day after I publish a post (especially one I am really happy with)
- I don’t feel bad at all about taking PTO because I know I give my company value every day I am there
- I don’t feel guilty hiring someone to come clean our house once a month (this one is saving time, and guilt free spending which ties directly to the next section)
**Applies to everyone, I just speak from the male side and see a lot of “phoning it in” from my side of the gene pool
The Guilt Free Spending of Money
Who wants to feel like crap for spending money on what they want?
Definitely not me, or Mrs. AE and if our kids understood what money was they wouldn’t want to either.
The kicker is Spending and pursuing Financial Independence will be enemies if you let them. One detracts from the progress of the other, it’s a natural conflict and can lead to guilt.
“I shouldn’t have spent money on coffee, I can make this at home”
or more appropriately for me
“Should I be dropping $11 on a 6 pack?”
To be fair, the guilt free spend has been part of our money philosophy for a while. It’s one of the reasons I say Budgets Suck. We don’t want to skip out on experiences because of some line/number combination in excel says so
Instead, we set a savings goal, we automate until we hit it and every extra penny we spend on whatever the F we want, GUILT FREE WITH A GRIN.
That means vacations, restaurants, nonsensical kids toys, fishing lures, daddy pops (craft beer), anything else as long as we can pay off the credit card every month (which we 100% do) is fair game with no regrets.
The very short version:
Set a goal on how much we want to save. Automate the savings. Anything left over can be spent guilt free.
Knowing that we already have a nest egg that can sustain us for a few years also make it easier to justify spending on experiences we might regret later.
Next Up – Healthier Eating and Exercise so I can have Guilt Free lazy days and avoid the Dad Bod
“Balancing blogging, dadding, husbanding, working, family, friends, etc, etc, etc”
One of those “etc” needs to be filled with exercising and healthy eating. I have been doing decently well at the eating part (outside of the amount of free terrible food I consume at work) but as I wrote this post the overall health picture came to mind as something I need to work on.
What do you think about pursuing the guilt free spend of time and money?