I hope you’re all having a great summer! I certainly am, but as you might have noticed, my busy summer has kept me away from the blog. And I have really missed writing.
Since my last post, I finished up a work conference, attended a wedding in Virginia, traveled to the mountains of North Carolina, and spent a week at the beach. In addition to my busy calendar, I was sidetracked dealing with a real mess at work. As it turns out, my computer was hacked by some criminals in Africa who convinced one of my clients to wire them $33,000 while posing as me. Scary stuff. Without getting into all of the details, let me urge you to be VERY CAREFUL when providing wiring instructions these days. ALWAYS demand that the sender call you to verify final wiring instructions before executing the wire transfer. Enough about that.
Back to today’s post.
Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot of time during my blogging break thinking about my favorite parts of pursuing FI. All along the path I have constantly experienced new and different benefits that flow from working to reach FI status. Each of these benefits have kept me going. Here are a few examples:
- Being able to handle a car repair without having to piece together several credit cards
- Not having to use a credit card for every emergency that came along
- Having an AC unit die and being able to pay cash for the replacement
- Paying cash for vacations and avoiding the post-vacation credit card “hangover”
- Having the satisfaction of funding my children’s college savings accounts
- Being able to increase my charitable giving
- Being able to help others to pursue FI
- Having enough money to turn down cases that will take away from my happiness and family time
- Fully funding retirement accounts and visualizing an end to my stressful career
- Having the money to say “yes” when someone asks if I can help a family in need
- Not worrying about money
I could go on and on about the benefits of shunning debt, maximizing savings, and seeking financial independence, but today I want to shed some light on the strange title of this article and tell you why I am so excited about the latest stage of the race. Here goes:
It feels like I have spent $0.00 this year!
“How can that be, Mr. BK2FI? You must be some kind of frugal nut job!!”
To the contrary, I said it only feels like I didn’t spend any money this year. In truth, I actually spent a lot of money. I have had great vacations. I have remodeled my living room. I have given to my favorite charitable causes. I have spent way too much at restaurants. “If that is true, why do you feel like you haven’t spent any money Mr. BK2FI?” I hoped you would ask.
Here is why:
My net worth has grown in an amount greater than all of the money I have spent this year.
Let that sink in a minute. It took me a long time to accept it. I have stared at the numbers from every angle trying to believe it myself. Incredibly, it’s true. Notwithstanding all of my wasteful expenditures, because of my savings habits, it feels as if I didn’t spend anything at all this year — from a net worth perspective.
How did I get here? I didn’t invest in the hottest stock tip or get-rich-quick scheme. I didn’t win the lottery. I constantly increased my after-tax savings rate over the years (now > 50%) and invested the money in low-cost, diversified index funds. I have previously told you exactly how I invest. Everyone has access to low-cost index funds.
And I want you to win with money as well. I started this blog to pass on to others the nuts and bolts of how I went from broke (and almost bankrupt) to the path of financial independence. It wasn’t easy. It took me a long time to get here — I am now 44. But as I said earlier, there are so many rewards along the path to help keep you motivated. I hope by reading my blog you will be inspired to start today.
Have a great week everyone!