When will you have ‘enough’ money to spend the way that you want?
I did an informal poll on Instagram:
I also then received plenty of DMs like this:
So here’s what I think…
AT SOME POINT IT IS ENOUGH MONEY
I mean truly, it is. Whether it is for you, the first milestone at $0 (being debt free), to finally relax the reins a little, or it is reaching your first $100K or $500K, you have enough money. You have enough to feel ‘secure’ for at least the next 5-ish years or so, and know that in your heart, you can cut back on expenses as well (as you have done before), to make it happen.
If you think you need $500K, you reach it and worry that it isn’t enough, then I worry for when you really know what “enough” means to you. If the goalposts always keep moving, then you aren’t being true to yourself.
What is the point of saving all this money if it isn’t to spend it?
If you don’t want to spend ANYTHING, I don’t think that’s a life at all. There is a certain level of spending you must do, to live the way you want. If you are holding yourself back because you think it is wasteful to spend it to enjoy your life the way you want, that is where I take issue with it.
Otherwise, with such a philosophy, we should all just stop spending money.. on anything. And hoard it all. Is that a life? Is that why you want to save money? So you can hoard it and not spend it? I think not. I think saving money is eventually, to spend it.
Why hoard and then “binge” later? Why not save and spend evenly over a lifetime?
WHO IS TO JUDGE WHAT IS WASTEFUL?
Many people wrote in to tell me that they felt bad spending money on things that were ‘frivolous’. Even if it was $5K on a necklace versus $5K on a trip, the trip somehow felt more “worth it” or more virtuous as a spending amount, versus a necklace.
I think that’s just hogwash. If you have thought about it, saved for it, and definitely want that $5K necklace, go for it. It will be the symbol for you, that you “made it”, or hit a milestone perhaps, and I am not sure why the item itself has to matter so much.
It is something that has been ingrained in us, and honestly, women get slammed more for spending on themselves and things, than men do.
100% you talk about buying a $5000 handbag, and everyone will just pile on you (women included), to talk about how wasteful that is, when you could save that amount to be a million in 50 years. It is like they think you are spending that fictional million dollars.
Well, you aren’t as it hasn’t become a million yet. And who is to tell you what is wasteful and what isn’t, with opinions about YOUR MONEY?
In contrast, you talk about men gambling $5000 on some random penny stock they saw on some finluencer’s site and they call it ‘investing’ but in the end, they lose it all and it was a ‘bad bet’, not a frivolous spending decision. I don’t really see the difference, to be honest. $5000 is $5000, no matter how you slice it.
With that kind of thinking, don’t spend anything. Live in a cardboard hut on the side of the road and shower at gyms. Or live in a jungle so you spend $0. I mean, there has to be a point where you have to balance living your life.
CONSCIOUS SPENDING IS KEY
If you save your money and are conscious about it, what’s the big deal? I will ALWAYS tell you to YOLO when you have the money to do so, and not when you don’t. Knowing what you want to spend your money on, and making decisions, not impulsively just choosing stuff from a shelf because you’re bored/tired/hungry/angry/all of the above, is a completely different animal from making a budget, planning and sticking to it to get what you want.
Why does spending $10K on a dream vacation, feel like a wasteful endeavour? Have you not worked for it? Have you not saved for it? Have you not thought about it?
In contrast, spending $2K impulsively to travel somewhere for the weekend could be considered a bad choice only if you didn’t plan for it, and it took away from your actual dream goals, or worse, you went into debt for it.
There are different levels of spending, and consciously doing it, is the only thing I can see that makes it make sense.
AT ANY INCOME LEVEL YOU CAN SPEND
I got comments about how “spending how you want”, is only applicable when you have a high income. I say “yes and no”. At any level of income, you should budget for some fun money, to ease the pain. Whether it is 5% of $2000 a month, which is $100, or 5% of $20,000 a month which is $1000, you need something. ANYTHING. It just might take someone with $100 a month, longer to get to that $1000 gadget they have been looking at, versus someone with much higher means to do so.
Learning how to spend responsibly, to take and accept a longer timeframe to reach your financial independence goals, but in contrast, you get to have a happier morning, or life because of your decision, is 100% worth it to me. Life isn’t just about money and bills.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN
Too many stories to recount, but basically the story ends like this:
They never got to fulfill their dreams.
In many cases, they worked like crazy, saved like crazy, only to have the wife fall sick, and end up spending that money on her care (thank goodness they had it, but still). Or they passed early. Or other things happened. You just never know.
So why wait when you can do it now?
What’s the benefit of waiting to enjoy the car you have always wanted, in 20 years when you have reached a certain level of financial independence, when you CAN afford to have it now (I mean, more than easily afford it), and drive for 20 years, and just be a little later to your goal post?
I guess I don’t understand deprivation for arbitrary goals. If you want the car, and can afford it comfortably, while still meeting your goals, then get it. Don’t berate yourself and deprive yourself of something you WANT. It is not at all the same thing as not even wanting it in the first place! If you don’t want something, don’t bother with it.
ALSO, DON’T PLAY DEPRIVATION MIND GAMES WITH YOURSELF
I also don’t believe in telling yourself to not want something. Saying you have to reframe your wants and desires into another framework, to force yourself to NOT want the item you actually desire, is some messed up mind game trickery that gives me a headache to think about it.
You want it, or you don’t. You cannot train yourself to squash all desires.
And if you want it, save for it, and plan for it. Maybe along the way, you come to the realization you’d rather spend the money elsewhere than on this thing you have wanted for so long. ALL PERFECTLY REASONABLE MOVES. The point though, is to be conscious about what it is you want, acknowledge it rather than trying to squash it, and go for it.
Enjoy your life within reason
Find a balance between saving and spending, and stop the deprivation train. Find your number (whatever it is), and allow yourself some grace when you’ve reached it. Take the foot off the pedal, you earned it after all.