Dear money…

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Over the last several years, we’ve had a pretty love / hate relationship. I’m writing now just to get some things off my chest. I hope you’ll understand, and not take it too personally.

I hate you because you make me choose between the things that are important in my life.

Just the very fact that we choose to save for retirement, or a trip, or a car, or a Playstation, means we are saying this is the thing I’d rather have than any other thing. Which means there’s a whole bunch of things that we want that we are choosing not to buy right now. This is tough when the world is increasingly more and more about instant gratification. But…

I love you because you make me choose the things that are most important in my life.

When you don’t just “buy all the things”, the things you do choose to spend money on become a lot more valuable to you. You can keep it this way by using Jedi mind tricks.

I hate you because you cause me a great deal of stress.

I’ve always been an optimizer. When I screw things up and end up wasting money, my reaction is so visceral that it can really put me into a funk even chocolate and hugging Apollo can’t get me out of.

I love you because one day, I’m going to buy my freedom with you.

The ultimate thing we are going to spend our money on is freedom. Note that this doesn’t mean sitting around on our butts (although if that’s what you want to do, I say go for it), or even that we are going to stop working at our current jobs, it just means that income won’t constrain our behavior anymore (within limits – we aren’t planning to buy an island or anything). And that is going to be a great feeling.

I hate you because you make me feel guilty.

Actually a lot of things make me feel guilty. I’m writing this post right now because I took a vacation day, but I’m still fielding conference calls and work questions when they come up, because I feel guilty for saying no. And I feel guilty for spending money on having nights out, going out to lunch, using the air conditioning, paying for lawn care, subscribing to Birchbox, buying a second car, taking occasional vacations… (see, I told you it was a lot of things) because these expenses all mean we are delaying financial independence. But these are silly things to feel guilty about as long as we have a plan and we are sticking to it, because there’s no point in not spending any extra cash now just so we can have a little extra time off later. Or at least, that’s how we’ve set up our priorities.

I hate you because you make me you make me live in the long term.

When you are saving for early retirement, every choice you make now is framed in terms of future impact. This can take the spontaneity out of life if you let it.

I both love and hate you because you make me be responsible.

Being an adult and taking care of your finances is (for most people) less fun than being a kid and doing whatever the heck you want. But being responsible also comes with its own rewards, especially when you can quantify your progress.

I love you because you’ve opened up a whole new world to me.

Since we started up this blog, I have met and interacted with some crazy awesome people. I got to help proofread a book for JLCollins, got featured on Rockstar Finance and talked to J Money, did a guest post, had email exchanges with several bloggers, and exchanged post comments with many others. Also, my latest claim to fame is that I was on an email from JLCollins to a group of 13 people, one of whom was Mr. Money Mustache (yes, I’m super lame, I get it). The financial independence community has been incredibly welcoming and I learn more every day from these great people.

Okay Money, I don’t really hate you. It’s just that sometimes you aggravate me, kind of like when my favorite characters die on Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. I’ll get over it as long as you eventually grant us our freedom.

Sincerely,

Frugal Paradise

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