Personal Finance is Sexy - Distilled Dollar

Personal Finance is Sexy

At the core of personal finance, is a search for freedom, independence, and all those kickass feelings of security for ourselves and those we love. Becoming financially free allows an unfiltered expression of what we will bring to this world.

When we no longer need to work for money, our freedom of expression becomes uninhibited. We move away from a life of work and leisure and into a life of freedom.

While these are all good reasons why personal finance is sexy, none of these make it to my number 1 spot.

Confidence.

Developing a deeper understanding, and more critically, taking action in alignment with that understanding leads to greater confidence.

My girlfriend and I are more grounded and secure today because we’re aware of our situation. We have an honest clarity of the truth.

From our perspective, it is incredible how much confidence we’ve gained in our relationship. When we started dating in 2014, our total student loan debt was over 140k and we didn’t have many assets. The stress was real and it impacted our relationship. A night out celebrating might turn sour if money was brought up.

Thanks to our high savings rate, tax-efficient approach to paying down student loan debt, and — most importantly — our shared values, in less than 3 years of dating, our net worth will hit zero.

We’re constantly enhancing our relationship with personal finance. We’ve come a long way, but by all means, we still have a long way to go,but the days of stress are long gone.

More important than the RESULTS of building wealth, we’ve gained confidence in the PROCESS of building wealth.

When someone doesn’t view personal finance as beneficial, or they don’t view it as sexy, it is often because they don’t have their situation figured out.

Some people spend their time and energy stressing about personal finance instead of taking action and enjoying the benefits of a wise financial strategy. They might be in the process of gaining financial freedom but they’re still in the weed-pulling phase.

Once my girlfriend and I optimized our personal finance situation with, dare I say, our version of a budget, we went back to enjoying and living our lives.

We Don’t Even Know How Good We Have It
One of my frequent shower thoughts is how kings and queens from previous times would have gone to war for the luxury of a hot shower. Every morning reminds me to remain appreciative of what we already have.

Compared with John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man of the 19th century, most Americans today have access to more efficient transportation, better medical care & higher quality entertainment than was available during his era. If you’re in the middle to middle-upper class of America, then you are enjoying a higher standard of living than the wealthiest robber baron.

I first heard the Rockefeller analogy from Warren Buffett who also explained how Americans today are now 6x better off than people in 1930.

SIX TIMES!

Despite this, many people still struggle paycheck to paycheck.

American GDP per capita is now about $56,000…[In] real terms – is a staggering six times the amount in 1930, the year I was born, a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries.” – Warren Buffett

With this shift in perspective, it is easy to value all the tangible items in my life that would have been tremendously more expensive in the past

With this in mind, we know we’re already living a rich lifestyle. It helps us refrain from wanting more and in turn, we set ourselves up for reaching financial independence in our mid 30s through our frugal livelihood.

Frugality is not a sacrifice. Frugality is a means to gain more freedom.

We now have a 5 year plan that includes vacations on multiple continents, planning a wedding, purchasing our first and second condo, all while maintaining an aggressive strategy to save more than 50% of our income. We are making 127k between the two of us, which is great for a young couple, but we also live in an expensive area (Chicago).

For us to execute on that 5 year plan means our frugality is enabling us to live life exactly on our terms.

Learning about personal finance set us up to live such a great lifestyle. We are not financing multiple vehicles, redoing our wardrobes every year, or dining out every night.

We wouldn’t want it any other way.

It is comforting to know we can be there in case a family member or close friend gets into a tough spot. On the flip side, if an opportunity comes up to invest my excess income into a side business, we could afford it.

Personal finance is sexy for us because we are taking advantage of the short term benefits. Doing this allows us to visualize the path to achieving our long term goals.

It is easier to go to work knowing how each day adds another brick to our financial foundation.

Having that foundation provides security well beyond our 30s and leaves us confident that we’re on the right path.

Let me know why you think personal finance is or isn’t sexy. Do you feel the same levels confidence I described above when you see your plan played out over time? Or are you in the stage where you’re taking that hard look at your life and where you stand?

-Matt
Master Distiller

10 comments… add one
  • Allan @ The Practical Saver Mar 15, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Personal finance is definitely sexy and cool for those who are disciplined and responsible enough to take care and pay attention to their personal finance.

    I agree that there’s a degree of confidence when you understand and take care of your personal finance. My wife and I don’t just feel confident because dollar amount in the bank continues to grow bigger but also confident because we know that we don’t need to worry if we have money tomorrow or not. We are confident that we have saved and still are saving.

    I also feel that we are rich as well. When I was young, I was lucky if I got to eat 2 times a day because my family didn’t have money. My definition of being rich is simple because my family and I had close to nothing before. We were 9 plus mom and dad. My dad was earning $1 or less everyday and that wasn’t sufficient for a big, extended family. To make the story short, I believe that whatever me, my wife, and my kid have right now is what I call rich. We’re thankful for what we have and not have.

    I am contented and happy with what we have and any additional benefits that come along our way is a bonus.

    • Distilled Dollar Mar 15, 2016, 9:15 pm

      Perspective can mean all the difference when it comes to spending and saving. If you feel like you need more in your life, then a quick fix temptation is to buy something. When you feel content and happy with everything you have, the mind doesn’t think about new things to add to the picture.

      Having that strong gratitude that you mentioned is the icing on the cake. Gratitude goes a long way to shift the attitude from feeling content to feeling joy.

  • Nurse on Fire Mar 19, 2016, 12:43 am

    Matt,
    Nice to meet you; I’m Brandon. Just found my way over to your blog from Allan @ The Practical Saver and am now a follower after reading this excellent post. The first four sentences speak volumes and could not be a truer summation of why we should all be seeking financial independence. My family and I are headed in that direction and I’m looking forward to learning from you and following along with you and your girlfriend’s journey, as well. Have an awesome day!

    • Distilled Dollar Mar 19, 2016, 12:45 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Brandon. Let me know if there are any particular topics you’d be interesting in reading about. Otherwise, I’m glad to have you on the journey!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money Mar 19, 2016, 7:21 pm

    Oh I definitely agree that having confidence in your finances adds confidence in other areas of life. If you are scared to lose your job you aren’t going to act with confidence at your job or be willing to take risks that could pay off over time.

    • Distilled Dollar Mar 19, 2016, 7:29 pm

      That’s the best part of pursuing financial independence in my opinion. The confidence is gained immediately and is the first benefit on the path to financial freedom.

  • Linda @ Brooklyn Bread Jul 7, 2016, 5:33 pm

    I love this post – my husband and I talk about this all the time. We get a little stressed about money for one reason or another – someone needs a root canal, 6 different gifts need to be paid for at once, the car needs a new battery. But we always come back to how trivial these things are in the grand scheme of things. We don’t have to go back into debt to pay for any of them, which in itself is colossal, but more than that we are just generally happy and healthy. None of those financial road bumps will change that. That’s what life can and should feel like once you get a handle on debt.

    Linda

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 7, 2016, 8:20 pm

      This is still one of my favorite posts because it sums up many of my core beliefs. I’m glad to see it resonated with you too.

  • droppedcoin Nov 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

    It is great to read that you have this attitude already. I had long cleared my student loan debts by the time I finally changed my attitude to finance! So you are ahead of the curve, even the sky is no limit to you. Onwards and upwards!
    Cheers,
    Paulie
    P.s. For me, I like to think of money as points and life as a game. I want to get as many points as possible, just to prove to myself and others that I am a good player! So what if I have to spend a few points now and again to feed myself etc. All part of the great game!

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