Author Topic: Money matters, and then it doesn't  (Read 4017 times)

Mr. Green

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Money matters, and then it doesn't
« on: April 13, 2019, 04:43:43 PM »
I read a quote from someone, who only gave their first name, about financial independence today and it really struck home with me. As my post-work life continues evolving I found this quote to be the perfect description of how my attitude toward money has changed.

"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

One of the biggest surprises for me has been how much money has ceased being a part of my daily thought process, mainly because of how much I thought about it leading up to financial independence. I set rules for portfolio withdrawals in retirement and our expenses are locked in so well that I don't really think about that anymore either. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked but I still am whenever I think about how much of my mental energy has been freed up now that I simply do not care or think about money anymore. It's wonderful, and truly a gift that is priceless. Honestly, it may well by my favorite part about FIRE, more than doing what I want when I want, being free of workplace politics, or any of the other reasons we pursue early retirement.

I hope others coming down the home stretch get excited about the idea that thinking about money will soon be a thing of the past.

meteor

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2019, 04:52:02 PM »
I think I've learned 2 things about money from life:
1) Money doesn't solve money problems [there is something else going on that keeps you in the cycle]
2] Money isn't about buying things. The power of money is that it allows you make choices.  The subway is cheaper than a taxi - and perhaps you still take the subway to save $, but what money really gives you is the choice.  Then you start thinking about your choices instead of just the price.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 04:56:27 PM by meteor »

Moustachienne

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2019, 08:25:44 PM »
This has been my experience in FIR(not that E) as well.  I did close tracking from time to time to make sure of our expenses, tried to project future expenses in spreadsheets to make sure our plans were realistic, and, just before retiring, worried about switching from saving to withdrawal mode and how to track things to be sure that spending levels stayed OK.  I probably even tried to work out "optimum" levels. :) :)

Like you, we set up portfolio withdrawals (into a monthly "income" account) and as it turns out, we still have a pretty good bead on how we spend without needing any detailed tracking.  Basically, we just live our life and the money sorts out just fine.  We continue to live on the same annual amount as before, i.e. the amount we lived on after saving 70% of our income when we were working but now we don't need paid work to generate it.  Still pinching myself about that last bit.

We do think about money when we're planning something bigger than normal, e.g. a big trip or home renovations, but for daily living, we know what we have and what we need and the money questions have faded into the background.

I think for those who really enjoy tracking and spreadsheeting, losing this as a regular activity might be as big a shock as losing the old 9-5 cubicle time.  :)  A lot of mental energy and time will be freed up!

bacchi

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 02:02:03 PM »
"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

Have you ever met anyone into crossfit?

2] Money isn't about buying things. The power of money is that it allows you make choices.  The subway is cheaper than a taxi - and perhaps you still take the subway to save $, but what money really gives you is the choice.  Then you start thinking about your choices instead of just the price.

Yeah, a lot of people don't get this. Money is important but only because it represents freedom. I'm trying to get to the place where I don't care unless we see a 70s stagflation repeat. I'm down to tracking net worth quarterly instead of monthly.

Malkynn

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 03:10:40 PM »
I'm nowhere near FIRE and I have pretty much this attitude about money. I don't give my finances all that much thought and couldn't even tell you my net worth at this point.

I think deeply about my financial decisions, but I trust my frugal lifestyle to produce more savings than I need.
Whenever I do rarely look at my numbers, they just confirm what I already know: our finances benefit immensely when we live our best lives.

Eurotexan

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 06:13:12 AM »
I am still about 4 years from FIRE but can already relate to this. Itís freeing beyond belief.

I no longer fret about spending money to repair something, or if the actual bill comes in higher than the estimate, I get a nail in my tire etc etc. I donít like spending money on these things but they are part of life and I donít have to waste my energy on worrying about paying for them anymore.

The biggest difference, I no longer worry about losing my job. I would be just fine. That is liberating and I believe makes me better at my job.

Having said that, since I am still in the accumulation phase, I track the market and my net worth probably too much but thatís ok.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 06:27:36 AM »
As a spreadsheet weenie, I noticed a significant downturn in my financial spreadsheeting since FIRE.
Weekly to monthly or whenever  vs daily at work. I'm tracking our PostFIRE spending for this first year, and getting less worried about it as time goes on.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 06:38:24 AM »
The only 'problem' I have with not thinking about money is that I sometimes feel guilty.  Most people I know still live a money-centric lifestyle where they never have enough and think just a little more will solve all their problems.  Casey Neistat did a vlog that summarized it well - when you don't have enough money, then money actually will solve your problems since most of them involve money.  But once you have more than enough and you move beyond that, you realize you still have problems, they are just of the deeper 'self actualization' and 'making the world better than how you found it' variety.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 08:03:32 AM »
Snip..... Casey Neistat did a vlog that summarized it well - when you don't have enough money, then money actually will solve your problems since most of them involve money.  .....snip....
Reminded me of.....

ďThis planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.Ē
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quote via goodreads.com

Man, being one of the few unhappy small green pieces of paper would really suck. I mean, how do you solve THAT problem?

undercover

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 11:09:10 AM »
Whether FI or not, I think anyone can employ an abundance mentality right now which is essentially the same feeling.

Having a scarcity mentality causes you to overthink every little decision regardless of your net worth.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2019, 04:09:21 AM »
I have been fire'd for over 4 years now and I have not gotten to that point. While I worry less than ever I think its going to take a tank in the market place followed by a recovery before I will feel that way. I do feel stronger that my portfolio and plan is working and working well as I have more than when I fire'd But having lived through several downturns while running my business and going through one while being fire'd will be different even though I have exceeded what all the stats say I need.

chasesfish

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 05:15:32 AM »
I read a quote from someone, who only gave their first name, about financial independence today and it really struck home with me. As my post-work life continues evolving I found this quote to be the perfect description of how my attitude toward money has changed.

"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

One of the biggest surprises for me has been how much money has ceased being a part of my daily thought process, mainly because of how much I thought about it leading up to financial independence. I set rules for portfolio withdrawals in retirement and our expenses are locked in so well that I don't really think about that anymore either. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked but I still am whenever I think about how much of my mental energy has been freed up now that I simply do not care or think about money anymore. It's wonderful, and truly a gift that is priceless. Honestly, it may well by my favorite part about FIRE, more than doing what I want when I want, being free of workplace politics, or any of the other reasons we pursue early retirement.

I hope others coming down the home stretch get excited about the idea that thinking about money will soon be a thing of the past.

I'm looking forward to this

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 05:57:37 AM »
"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

I'm looking forward to this

Except it is not like that at all.  Once you stop thinking about money, you think about health more.  I'm glad that they used health as an example - what FI is really like is that you stop thinking about dumb things like having enough money to pay the bills and you think a lot more about important things like if the family is happy and if your health is where you want it to be.  I don't know what I'd compare FI to other than being more like all the other creatures on this Earth that worry more about living than worrying about a dumb construct like is there a number in one account that is big enough to take care of other numbers in other accounts.

Mr. Green

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2019, 02:58:36 PM »
"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

I'm looking forward to this

Except it is not like that at all.  Once you stop thinking about money, you think about health more.  I'm glad that they used health as an example - what FI is really like is that you stop thinking about dumb things like having enough money to pay the bills and you think a lot more about important things like if the family is happy and if your health is where you want it to be.  I don't know what I'd compare FI to other than being more like all the other creatures on this Earth that worry more about living than worrying about a dumb construct like is there a number in one account that is big enough to take care of other numbers in other accounts.
I think each of these is a little bit different, for me anyway. As a budgeter and spreadsheeter, before we FIREd I was constantly looking at our numbers and making sure everything was as good as it can be. It because a bit of an obsession, but not to the point that it was unhealthy. After FIRE, once our drawdown plan took root, all that mental space was freed up because I just stopped caring about it. I trusted the numbers and they said we're golden. Sure that free mental energy was now used for other things. I've definitely started thinking about my health more but I don't obsess over that the way I did on our numbers. Perhaps that's simply because I'm not driven to optimal health the way some crossfiters are. I know people that obsess over food, work outs, etc. So I suppose it depends on the person. I just got the feeling that there are a significant number of people here who obsess over their numbers leading up to FIRE, and I thought it would be nice hearing that all that head space might just get freed up for them once they've achieved the goal.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 06:16:14 AM »
Ah, the followup comment makes a lot of sense.  I had forgotten about how much time, in my 20's and 30's, I obsessed over the spreadsheets.  It's seems like such a long time ago! 

Malkynn

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2019, 06:26:33 AM »
"Essentially, financial freedom is merely a state youíve reached in which you donít have to think at all Ė or only very rarely Ö Itís basically the same as health. We donít talk to other people how healthy we are. We only talk about our health when we get sick."

I'm looking forward to this

Except it is not like that at all.  Once you stop thinking about money, you think about health more.  I'm glad that they used health as an example - what FI is really like is that you stop thinking about dumb things like having enough money to pay the bills and you think a lot more about important things like if the family is happy and if your health is where you want it to be.  I don't know what I'd compare FI to other than being more like all the other creatures on this Earth that worry more about living than worrying about a dumb construct like is there a number in one account that is big enough to take care of other numbers in other accounts.
I think each of these is a little bit different, for me anyway. As a budgeter and spreadsheeter, before we FIREd I was constantly looking at our numbers and making sure everything was as good as it can be. It because a bit of an obsession, but not to the point that it was unhealthy. After FIRE, once our drawdown plan took root, all that mental space was freed up because I just stopped caring about it. I trusted the numbers and they said we're golden. Sure that free mental energy was now used for other things. I've definitely started thinking about my health more but I don't obsess over that the way I did on our numbers. Perhaps that's simply because I'm not driven to optimal health the way some crossfiters are. I know people that obsess over food, work outs, etc. So I suppose it depends on the person. I just got the feeling that there are a significant number of people here who obsess over their numbers leading up to FIRE, and I thought it would be nice hearing that all that head space might just get freed up for them once they've achieved the goal.

That could be a big reason why I don't pay much attention to the numbers. My #1 priority has always been and always will be my physical and mental health. When I first got into Mustachianism, I quickly noted that the laser focus on money and the future was having a negative impact on my overall well being, so I dropped it.

The best path to a better tomorrow is to build a better today.

Kris

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2019, 11:19:14 AM »
I saw my parents worry and stress about money my whole childhood.

Somewhere in my twenties, I thought, ďI want to have enough money so that I donít worry about money anymore.Ē

Turned out, getting to that point was only partly about the money itself. A good piece of it was about not thinking I needed to have an exorbitant lifestyle. Not wanting ridiculously expensive things that would only bog me down.

In my forties, I finally got to the place I wanted to be: I had enough money where I didnít worry about not having enough anymore.

It is as nice as I thought it would be.

My husband has a work colleague (former, as my husband is now retired) who makes abou twice as much as my husband made. He once made a comment to my husband that he wouldnít feel like retirement was even a vague possibility until he had at least 5 million in the bank.

When my husband and I talked about the conversation, we realized that he is someone who will never have ďenoughĒ money. Which means he will never stop stressing about money.

Which means that, compared to us, he will always be ďpoorĒ. And that, like I said above, is not about how many dollars you have. Itís about your relationship to money, and possessions, and status.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 11:58:22 AM by Kris »

FIREstache

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2019, 12:09:28 PM »
2] Money isn't about buying things. The power of money is that it allows you make choices. 

Those aren't mutually exclusive.

I've always thought quite a bit about money, since I was a kid, I used to regularly count all my money and log how much I had.

I've thought about the things I could afford, and sometimes I would buy them, sometimes not.  But mostly, I saved.  But money sure comes in handy when you need to pay for things.

I've been FI for a couple years or so, but not RE.  I think about money more now than I did before I was FI.  I doubt much changes in my thinking when I progress from FI to FIRE.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 12:11:26 PM by FIREstache »

CindyBS

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2019, 08:33:26 AM »
To me the real wealth that money brings has nothing to do with retiring early or buying or not buying some material good, but giving you the opportunity to do whatever is needed in a situation when your life falls apart.

Money gives you to choice to walk away from a job when you are being harassed or abused at work.  Money gives the opportunity to buy a last minute plane ticket and rush across the country when loved one has a stroke.  Money lets you leave an abusive relationship.  Money gives the last few months with your mom as she dies. Etc., etc., etc.

The day we found out my son had cancer (he's doing much, much better now), my world fell apart.  I never gave it a second thought that I would quit working and devote myself to saving him.  I never worried if we had enough to pay the bills, even as they were higher than ever.  I never worried we would lose the house, or get the car repo'd.  I never had to market my son as a product to gain sympathy and donations from others in order to survive.   Most of my frugal behaviors like home cooked meals went out the window when my singular focus was saving him.  Money bought me the ability to be the parent I needed to be at the moment my son needed me the most and not give a crap about anything else.   That is real wealth.


nereo

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2019, 01:24:54 PM »
A good reminder that money isn't the endgame with FI/RE -it's how money provides you with the options to live how you want and need.  Glad your son is doing better @CindyBS.

Hikester

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2019, 06:08:18 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread Mr Green, I started reading and it brought a smile to my face. I couldnít relate more. What a difference in our mindsets financial independence makes. Almost 4 years into FIRE and I am loving the freedom. Freedom is addictive.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Money matters, and then it doesn't
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2019, 06:50:53 PM »
 @Mr. Green  @CindyBS   You are spot on. A problem is something you can't write a check to solve. If you can write a check, it is an inconvenience at most. If you don't have the money, it can be a problem.