Different Kind of Shiny and New
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of shiny and new?
It kind of sounds like a question you might get on a game show like Family Feud.
“Name something that is shiny and new?”
“A new car”
“Pair of jeans”
Yes, these are the things that most of us think of first. But, these things just make me think of owing money. To me, there is nothing shiny and new about owing more debt.
The Absurdity of Possessions
Of course, you need a house and transportation. But why do you need a bigger and newer house than your friends? Same goes for your cars. Why do people think they need a new car every three years? It’s absurd.
Debt Equals Hours of Work You Owe
Then I hear statistics like seven out of ten Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Or, eighty percent of Americans die owing a debt.
Wake up people! There is nothing shiny and new about being in debt.
The money you owe exactly equals the hours of your life you have to work to pay off your debts. You should start looking at your debts as hours owed, not money owed.
All of those “Family Feud” style answers above, are physical things that push you further in debt and farther away from retirement. Retirement is the time of life when we can choose what we do with the hours in the day.
Won’t that be nice!: to choose what you do with the time you have earned.
Life Experiences vs. Physical Possessions
My idea of shiny and new is much different than most. I get more enjoyment out of life experiences like having time to learn, to create, and to travel. All of these, you can do relatively inexpensively, and have a more lasting effect on your happiness.
Life experiences you can own for the rest of my life.
Cycle Across Europe
For example, cycling across Europe. The cost of cycling across Europe was peanuts compared to the cost of a house, a car, a motorcycle or a new kitchen.
In fact, you can cycle across Europe for next to nothing, if you are willing to camp and cook your food on a camping stove.
Banks Benefit From Your Debt, Not You
If you buy a new house, then you owe money to the bank. The money you owe is actually equal to the hours you have to work to pay off that debt.
Most people spend all of their time working and are slaves to their jobs.
By avoiding major debt, you are able to take back more time in your life. You are able to take exciting hiking trips or bicycle tours.
I would much rather have more time than more money.
I like to think of myself as “time rich”.
A Balanced Life Comes From Learning
Shiny and new doesn’t necessarily mean rich and happy. What do they say, “more money, more problems.” The same goes for not having enough money. No one likes struggling and living paycheck to paycheck.
The key is finding a balance between time and money. You can do that by continually educating yourself and setting attainable financial goals.
The balance is more difficult to achieve if you fall into the debt trap, buying a new house or a new car or every few years. That is what seven out of ten Americans do, and are living paycheck to paycheck as a result. They are sadly, chained to their desks and can’t break free.
We don’t need more stuff, we need more time!
Most Passions Cost Nothing
Instead of spending your money on physical things, you should be saving your money and focusing on your inward passions.
For example, an inward passion of mine is writing and it costs nothing.
I have traveled further inward through my writing than any airplane will ever take me.
Passions are endless. You can take up painting, photography, sailing, hiking, cycling, gardening, running, woodworking, and the list goes on. All of these things cost little or nothing and offer more happiness than any car or house ever will.
Become Time Rich!
Next time, you are tempted to make an unnecessary, major purchase just stop and think about how many hours you will have to work to pay it off.
Is it really worth those five or ten years of work?
Remember, everybody’s idea of shiny and new can be different.
Focus on your passions! Reject more stuff, that only money (and hours of your life) can buy.
The future is yours to mold.
Action Item: Write down five life experiences you would like to have and make a game plan to accomplish them.
Reading Material: Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving