The idea of being financially independent is something most of us dream of, but some of us are actually taking action to make this fantasy a reality. We believe that living below our means, maxing out our retirement accounts, paying off our debt, and saving consistently will allow us to achieve freedom. We will be free from money issues, free from our constant struggle at work, and free to work on what we are passionate about.
I have always been a saver. There were countless times when I wanted to buy something but stopped myself because I didn’t want to spend the money. From a bottle of coke to that new car I wanted, I stopped myself again and again because I know that buying would mean wasting money I worked hard for. I have used those compound interest calculators so often that I can instinctively calculate the magnitude of how much my purchase would be worth in retirement if I just hold off.
I feel bad when I turn on air conditioning, so it’s rarely running. Sometimes the room is so hot I keep sweating and feel miserable. Yet I struggle through it, thinking that if I can hold off this one time, I could save that extra few dollars that will help me become financially free sooner.
On the other end of the spectrum is my friend. He practices living in the moment and worry about tomorrow later. He has 4 cars in his possession, lives in a very nice house, and goes out for dinner every night. When you look at the two of us, you would think that we were living in different worlds. Maybe he is worried about retirement too, but he is definitely having fun now.
My friend constantly reminds me that although I might have a richer retirement, he definitely lives a richer life now. The fact that he is able to live rich for 20 years should be the same as me being able to live rich 20 years after retirement. He is right in a way, and I sometimes see myself being jealous of how he is now.
Life is full of gives and takes. My friend and I both made choices. I chose to tough it out at the beginning, and have a happy ending. If you want to live rich now, be like my friend by all means. No one is stopping you, because it is your life.
I feel like I am better off than my friend, because I feel secure knowing I am working for my future. I know that I’m getting closer and closer to be financially secure, something my friend never was and probably never will be. I will live my later years quite comfortably, because I worked hard my whole life to ensure this to happen. If you are trying to save diligently and feel burned out from it, remember the following two sentences.
“Perhaps we are giving up many materialistic things right now for the future, but what we are gaining is piece of mind. We know what we are doing is the right thing for us, and nothing in life can substitute this feeling.”