Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The post in which I'm overwhelmed by how awesome life is

So many times in the past month I’ve thought about sitting down to write this post.  These past months have been enormously fulfilling, I’ve been gulping in and absorbing knowledge, never getting enough.  It feels like I’ve learned an incredible amount about money, my values, and what I want.  Life is simple and sweet.

I’ve started biking to work, so I’m now up at 7:30am, on my bike at 7:50, at the office by 8:25, and back in the office around 8:50 after showering at the nearby gym.  Then I’ll be at work until 8pm or 8:30, head back home (biking downhill in the evenings through DC is so glorious).  After a quick shower and/or a walk to TJ’s, I’ve got about two hours to read and call my boyfriend.

It just started pouring and the sounds and smell of the rain is glorious.  I want to stand outside so that it can pelt me.  Anyways, bikes and rain are great.  I am happy.  I’ve started thinking about the things we (as a society) buy. Things that I, specifically, buy.  And other things that my money can ‘buy’, like financial independence.  That’s what I want, more than another dress (which I’ve already bought 4 of this year, just checked my closet), more than the other ‘little’ things that add up. 

I’m in the middle/beginning of Warren Buffett’s biography (he’s only in his 30s and dealing with Beatrice, Nebraska) – so I’m clearly not an expert on him yet (that comes after page 500 at least, amirite)?  But one of the things Buffett brings up again and again is the idea that 50 dollars isn’t just 50 dollars.  It’s worth whatever you can get from investing those 50 dollars now, all of the additional compounded interest, and the sum total that you’d have in 20 years (as an example).  So if you buy something today for $50 dollars, you’re saying you choose to have a dress now, rather than a whole lot more money in the future.  It’s a great way to view money – instead of spending $2.79 on something now, consider whether you even need it or want it, and whether you can just buy tea at the grocery store instead of Starbucks.

It’s not a budget, it’s not deprivation, it’s not being a miser, it’s just about understanding what allocation of money makes you happiest.  I’ve read some interesting books about the ‘wealthy’ in the US (people who are over-accumulators of wealth, with over 1 million in net worth) and how they’ve reached that point through consistently high savings rates.  I’ve thought about what we give me happiness and peace of mind as I get older (but remain fabulous, of course).  I want to be financially independent in my 30s – save prodigiously, spend wisely, and in my 30s be in the position to live off of the interest from my savings, be in the position to not have to work to survive.  I’m actively planning and working to achieve that goal, and the peace of mind is unbelievable gratifying.  Isn’t that crazy?

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