I wrote this for those who are out on the financial independence path, have completely automated their financial life or are hyper-focused on hitting their retirement number. You already know that a path towards financial independence makes cents, but don’t forget to play today!
I wish I didn’t go on that once in a life time vacation, said no one ever.
When pursuing financial independence, it is easy to come across the countless articles prescribing a no fun, no spend life when you are strapped with debt. And frankly, I’m not opposed to that advice, if you are just starting to tackle this lifestyle and need to change your ways.
But after living months or years of dollar watching and debt tackling, it is easy to forget that you need to live for today too and not just plan for tomorrow.
I Won’t Forget To Play
If you read my last article, Crushing Student Loan Debt, you’d know that I have a mountain of student loan debt to pay off. Mr. Money Mustache would definitely tell me that my hair is on fire and I should refrain from all money costing, fun activities until I am debt free.
It isn’t horrible advice and there is plenty of logic behind it. There is stress associated with having a mountain of debt, but sometimes it’s worth pursuing a seemingly dumbass opportunity.
So, I went to Las Vegas.
I made some very stupid money decisions getting there, while I was there and getting back home. But you know what, it was worth it. I make it a point not to forget to play today.
If you continue to say no to your friends who ask you to do something, eventually they are going to stop asking you. When I first started my financial independence journey, I said no a lot and as a result the number of invites became fewer and fewer. If these are relationships you want to maintain, you may need to go outside of your current comfort zone.
Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a no spend hermit.
Making dumb financial decisions helps to reinforce you are on the right track. When I purchased my airplane tickets, yes multiple for one trip, long story and I already mentioned stupid money mistakes, my stomach was upset for a solid day. This wasn’t how I was living my life each day. I had just spent more money in a few clicks then I normally spend on myself over two entire months.
Make the occasional dumb money mistake to validate your daily dollar virtues align with your happiness.
New challenges to tackle in a new environment are exciting. It is easy to keep a frugal mindset when you are in a comfortable environment. By putting yourself into a different environment a new set of challenges appear. Can you sit in airports for 15 hours and spend no money? Airport no spend challenge!
New challenges build character and can help to rejuvenate a stale path.
Breaking out of a habit provides the opportunity to recalibrate. A path towards financial independence tends to bring a ton of routine in life.
For many of the past months my weekday routine consisted of waking up, exercising, reading about FI, working, exercising over lunch, working, family time, dinner, and either blogging, relaxing or reading before bed. By going so far out of the norm, my Las Vegas disruption has allowed me time to reflect on my daily routine.
Disrupting daily life creates the chance to shake things up.
Tomorrow isn’t promised. I’d be remiss if I didn’t state that old adage. On our journey towards a secure financial future, we are well aware of the fact that we need to save enough today to ensure a comfortable tomorrow. But life isn’t about getting to your destination as quickly as possible. As long as you can afford it, stop and smell the roses.
From time-to-time spend money on something dumb that you’ll really enjoy.
Cost of Play
If I would have put the money I spent on my trip to Las Vegas towards debt, I could have realized a student loan debt free future one month sooner. On a roughly four-year journey to pay off just over $100,000 dollars, I can accept one extra month.
I also saved up for the trip and didn’t take on any additional debt. I highly recommend not taking on additional debt to finance your breaks. You shouldn’t be digging a deeper hole to climb out of, only stop climbing for a short time and then get back on your path.
Don’t Forget To Play Today
It is a liberating feeling working towards being debt free. I will get there, but it isn’t my goal. My goal is to live a fulfilling and happy life. Being debt free is an aspect of that, but it isn’t the only driver. I will continue to review and reflect my life to ensure I am working towards my ultimate goal, which is purposely a moving target.
I don’t plan on forgetting to play today, even though I am purposing a comfortable financial future.