I read a wonderful article today written by my fellow Belgian FI blogger AmberTreeLeaves. The article of his title was “endless doubt on FIRE“. I was behind on my FI blogger reads and read it a week too late. But, the article was very thought provoking and I would really recommend a read.
Since there were already quite a few posts, commenting there was probably not going to be too helpful…hence this new post 🙂 Hope AmberTreeLeaves does not mind stealing an idea for a post from his blog!
That post by AmberTreeLeaves raised a conflict that I often had and continue to have within myself. One sentence from the post captures this conflict very well: The conflict is mainly between travel /live now and prepare FIRE.
I go through the same conflict in my mind….not just with travel, but also things like buying a car, etc. My parents sacrificed a lot in their present and postponed all their enjoyment to the future. And it did not end well. I went through some years where I did the opposite…living for the now..I guess I was running away from my parent’s philosophy. And when I discovered Financial Independence, I swung the other way….live for the future only and my family was none to happy about it 🙂
But, I have now come to a fair medium. I have come up with a decision framework that helps me rationalize live now OR live for the future vs the benefit I am getting. This has helped making sacrifices easier. Let me state two example cases.
- Lets assume a family vacation costs $5000 on average and hypothetically our family’s post tax take home salary is $60000. My requirement is that I want to have one vacation each for the next 10 years before my kids head out to college. So, I need roughly $50000 to fund all the vacations. $50000 adds one additional year to my family’s expected FI target. Considering that we will never get that many chances to spend time together as a family after kids head out to college, this addition is worth it to me.
- Now consider purchasing a new luxury car like some of my friends have. The car costs $80000 and after financing and maintenance costs, it can rise up to $90000 at least…yes, I could not believe it 🙂 With the same post-tax family salary of $50000 per year, it would add almost 2 years to my expected FI target. For me, getting freedom 2 years earlier is more important than driving a luxury car. Don’t get me wrong…I like the cars…I have sat in them and I think they are awesome….but not awesome enough compared to achieving freedom 2 years earlier…for me.
I am trying to apply this framework for every major decision…it had helped me rationalize family vacations and buying a new car. Next is applying this for buying a home. I am curious how do others deal with this conflict. Lemme know your thoughts please.
And once again, thanks to AmberTreeLeaves for a wonderful and thought provoking post. It took me back in time to a period when I learnt some important lessons.