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.
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.
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?