Hello, Alex here. I wanted to note my thoughts about what money means to me. I am quite sure Tom’s experience would be different to my own even though we share the financial independence mindset.
Money means different things to everyone, we learn about it from a young age, from how we see others manage or mis-manage it. Our first experiences with banking, savings, credit cards, loans or others.
What does it mean to you, what is your immediate emotion when you think about it? Pause for a moment and reflect on it.
Does it bring you excitement? Possibility? Gratitude? Tension? Anxiety? Happiness? Sorrow? (Insert feeling here). Each persons feeling towards it is unique as its based on their personal experience.
The lessons we learn about money shape our habits, feelings and expectations around money. In the current society, it still seems that no one talks openly about it outside of niche circles. This adds to the confusion people have around it, combine that with the lack of teaching in the UK curriculums about it. (I asked a 20 year old colleague at work, so my sample size = 1) If you are reading this and you were taught about finances at secondary school do tell me! (Taking economics at 6th form or A Level doesn’t count as you chose it.)
My personal view:
I used to see money as something aspirational, purely for the things it could buy you. During my early years and teens I saw money as something that gets you stuff. A lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Il hold my hands up and say; ‘I wasted a lot of money on stuff!’ CD’s, clothing, cars and videogames to name a few. It is these chapters of my life that shape the person I am today, I don’t regret them, but do recognise the impact they had.
I quickly realised that the term ’enough’ is key here. Do you feel you have enough? If not, what amount would be? If you do? What amount is that? Its all relative to your unique situation. Accepted FI number can help here, it lets you know when you have reached ‘enough’.
Now, I rarely buy things, I still obviously buy groceries, household items, stuff for hobbies and books. The main use of money for me is for buying myself time. Not in the sense I can buy years of life, we aren’t quite there yet (perhaps one day). But free time, some unpaid days off work for sickness or to attend an event, a longer holiday and in the future more paternity leave than my employer will grant me so I can watch my children grow through the early stages and when my wife will need the most support.
I am sure my attitudes will change over time, this is just how I feel at the current moment in time. I reflect on what I have rather than what I could have. Making the conscious decision to not consume is helped massively by having a goal (FI) in mind and actively avoiding adverts. I do still get sucked in from time to time but learning delayed gratification can help here. Il cover that in another post.
If you are on the path to FI and want to come on the show to discuss it, please reach out to the team using the email address on the contact page. Mighty thanks for your time.