What do the terms budget, minimalism, frugality and investment have in common? They’re often the first words people think of when figuring out how to do everything you want and still save. They provoke subtle feelings of discomfort, even perhaps leaving us feeling a little dirty. All the enthusiasm we had a second ago with planning how we want to spend our money evaporates and we pack it in. Because let’s face it, it’s human nature to avoid what FEELS or IS PERCEIVED to be unpleasant. It is possible to afford being social, hobbies and still save.
It’s no secret that I’m passionate about intentional living (knowing what your goals are), making conscious choices (frugality) and having a plan on how to spend your money to achieve it all. I’m passionate about personal finance as a means of turning your dreams into goals so they can become reality. I’ve mentioned that I accumulated $15,000 of credit card debt. It all started with the unexpected coma and death of my 57 year old mother. Paying Off Debt was My Biggest Financial Lesson. Yes, that’s right. I call it my biggest financial lesson, not my biggest financial mistake. Would you like to know why?
I’ve been fascinated by an experiment lately, where I introduce the concept of FIRE (financial independence/retire early) in conversations where lifestyle, goals or finances come up naturally. This isn’t done in the context of encouraging anyone to pursue it or how to do it, just at a very basic:
I’ve heard of this new trend where people are minimizing their costs and saving up to 50% of their salary to become financially independent after 10 – 15 years and some even choose to retire in their 30’s.
I’ve done this with friends, acquaintances, co-workers and even a local tailor. Reactions have ranged from intrigued to predictably ‘that can’t be possible’. The act of saying we all have different goals is one thing, but having that simple short conversation has been fascinating to see other perspectives. It’s really re-enforced how important it is to spend some time having those conversations. So what financial goals and perspectives are out there?
Have you ever spent time making plans for your goals and thinking ‘Awesome, I got this!’, only to start your journey and trip over an unexpected obstacle? Something you feel you could have seen coming? In a previous post, we covered how personal finances is similar to video games where you need protection and weapons. Whether you’re at the beginning or well into your journey, there are four financial obstacles you’ll should be on the lookout for and have the right protection and weapons to slay them:
- Destructive attitudes that prevent you from learning about personal finance
- Lack of goals
- Fear of financial skeletons
- Not understanding your emotional relationship with money
I’m an avid fan of the outdoors. I’m not hard core or anything but every so often, I like to push myself outside my comfort zone. I wanted to do a multi-day backcountry camping trip. In Ontario Canada, the first place that comes to mind is Algonquin Park. And rightfully so, it’s beautiful there. But this time around, I was less enthused about that option. I wanted more of a challenge, something a little more remote. And then I discovered the La Cloche Silhouette trail, an 80km loop, in Killarney Park! Perfect! The trail is difficult, rugged and has amazing views! You know how the saying goes: ‘be careful what you wish for’. This trip gave me everything I wished for and then some. Including an uncooperative bear!
Have you ever been told you can’t do something and just wanted to prove them wrong?
I have a confession to share… I got addicted to playing a video game. It started out as a light distraction until someone told me I couldn’t reach the highest level with a certain character type. I spent the next 9 months dedicated to achieving what they said was impossible. That taught me a couple things: with patience, the right tools, strategies and willingness to ignore mainstream nay-sayers, you can accomplish most anything.
Do you have goals that you’ve put down as pipe dreams? Or maybe your dream life isn’t in the realm of ‘possible’ by society’s standards? I bet in a lot of cases, it is possible.
Just like video games, it’s a matter of honing some character traits, and using the right shields and weapons out there to manage your money.