There’s this person I know who lives “The Life”. This person travels to all the best places, very regularly. This person seems to have it all. This person almost makes me jealous with his/her seemingly ideal lifestyle. It must be so nice to be able to do all that. It must be so enjoyable, so fun, so great.
Recently, after yearning to have that person’s life for a bit, I came back to my world and remembered that I live a ridiculously inexpensive life while making a great income and have a mid-sized money mustache sitting in the bank/investments. I then decided to look at both sides to make sure I’m making the right choice on living below my means and banking tons of cash each month instead of living it up, like this person I know is.
Here’s the stats on my current situation:
- I net $2,000 per month after all my bills are paid.
- I have no debt.
- I’m a year away from breaking the six figure mark in total savings/investments.
Here’s what I could buy with my current lifestyle without going into debt or having trouble paying my bills every month:
- Vacations: I could take one international trip every month. Or, I could take 3 domestic weekend trips to pretty much anywhere in the U.S. every month. Or, I could take 2 weekend trips every month where I pay for a friend to come with me. I could do any of these options while still paying rent, paying insurance and buying groceries each month.
- Loan Payments: If I felt like borrowing money, boy could I have a hay day. Let’s see, I doubt any bank would loan me enough money to capture $2,000 per month in payments. But if they did, I’m sure I could borrow a ton of money for that. How fun would that be? I would probably have a hard time buying enough stuff to spend it all.
- Vehicles: Five years ago, I bought a $20,000 car for $350 per month. So I figure I could buy six $20,000 cars with a $2,000 monthly budget, if I borrowed for them all. Hmm, along the same lines, it seems that I could then buy a $120,000 car with that same budget. Wow, what a nice car that would be.
- Real Estate: I could buy a pretty nice house with the wiggle room I have. No, a lender wouldn’t lend to me on a house nice enough to have a $2,000 per month payment, but I could get a nice one, or maybe two. Maybe I could get a lake home while I’m at it.
Now, let’s stop talking about monthly spending and throw out options for dropping some real cash to buy some expensive things:
- A 2013 Cadillac Escalade ($63,170 – $82,875): I could buy one of those, in cash. Holy cow, those are nice.
- A house outside of the metro area: My sister is interested in a house in her town that’s listed for $60,000. I could buy that in cash.
- A small and modest condo or a fixer upper in the metro area: I could find something that needed a ton of TLC here in the metro and exchange my stash of cash for it.
- A new boat: No problem.
- A new Harley Davidson: no problem.
- A year off work: Easy.
- Four years off work: I could pull that off.
- A year off of work traveling the world: Oh yeah, with plenty of money to spare.
- Going south and spending an entire year on the beach: I could do that.
The point is. WOW, I could do some crazy stuff if I wanted to. I could have the coolest toys of anyone I know. I could live the ritziest lifestyle of anyone I know. I could be looked at as the guy with the perfect life. I could make others jealous. I could also be broke.
Instead of being broke, I’m over here living in a modest one-bedroom apartment that no-one’s impressed by. I’m wearing clothes from Kohl’s that aren’t flashy at all, which I got on sale. I own little more than some clothes, a few pieces of furniture, a TV a computer and a paid for car. I travel once or less per year (for non-work reasons). I go out to eat as little as possible. I bring lunches to work. I don’t own toys. My life and possessions are, well… boring.
But, I do own a few things that aren’t boring, like 1,500 shares of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) and a pretty hefty chunk of cash sitting in the bank. I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with my boring life and boring assets. They are growing at an unbelievable rate.
Would I like all the toys and all the vacations that my money could buy? Gosh, it would be kind of nice. Would I rather have a lifestyle that people envy and be broke, having to work until I’m dead and being stuck in the process? Or would I like to live a boring life, knowing that my future is getting better and better every day? My answer is boring. I’ll take boring any day if it means a bright and free future.