I know someone who is doing very well in life. This person has had great success both personally and professionally, largely in part because of their hard work ethic.
In recent years I’ve noticed that he has begun to spend more freely on things.
For many, it might be your first thought that I might frown upon this extra spending. But I’ve actually begun to consider that it might be a good thing, to a certain extent.
Why? You might ask.
Let me give you a bit of background before I get into that.
EARLY MAKINGS OF A SUCCESS STORY
My friend comes from a great family. They are a close-knit group of good people who I feel very fortunate to know.
My friend’s parents are very humble individuals. They live a very frugal lifestyle, and have done a great job of building up wealth without any need to show it, outwardly. One could say, it’s in large part because they haven’t flaunted it that they’ve been able to build up wealth.
After all, if you aren’t spending all of your money, you get to save a lot more of it!
Their parents also did a great job of instilling a hard work ethic in my friend, and a sense of understanding what to truly value in life (i.e. – Family, Friendships, Experiences, etc.). One could say that my friend was raised right!
A CHANGE FROM THE OLD
As my friend has continued to progress in his career, he has made it a big focus of his to build wealth. He has a family to take care of, so it is very important to him to provide safety and security for his loved ones.
He’s saved a very high percentage of his earnings, invested it wisely, and spent large amounts of time making sure that he continues to progress on his path.
In recent years, he’s begun to buy nicer and nicer things for his family.
I first noticed it when he bought a higher-end vehicle a few years ago.
It wasn’t something outrageous, like a Ferrari, but it had all of the bells and whistles. He made it a point to talk about how it was one of the highest rated vehicles when it comes to safety. Once again, staying in line with his values.
And then, not too long ago, he and his wife purchased a beautiful home.
Their family has rapidly grown over the last few years and is now about to hit 6! So, he opted for a larger home to fit his growing family.
Is this wrong? I don’t think so.
Another thing they do frequently is splurge on family trips when they have relatives visiting.
For example, if they are traveling to NYC to spend a holiday with some relatives from out-of-town, they will cash in on credit card miles and get a really nice hotel suite for everyone.
So, the question now becomes, “when is it alright to spend freely?”
FINDING A BALANCE
This isn’t an easy question to answer.
In fact, balancing your spending and savings is something that most people struggle with for the majority of their lives. Not until you reach financial freedom can you truly stop this balancing act.
For every dollar you spend, you miss out on growing wealth and reaching financial freedom quicker.
But, for every dollar you save, you also take away some amount of joy and pleasure from today.
So, where is the balance?
This question can be answered in a million different ways, and it’s probably different for everyone.
For my friend, he spent a good portion of his younger years focused on growing his earnings potential, saving his money, and investing it.
He hasn’t reached financial freedom, but he is certainly moving toward that goal at a rapid pace. And he is much further along that path than most.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM A FRIEND
So, what can we learn from my friend?
Here are my takeaways.
1 – The Early Years Are Crucial
The more focus you can have in the early years, the faster you’ll progress in your wealth-building. This isn’t just for investing; it can be for career development and savings rates, as well.
2 – Spend on the things you truly value, and don’t feel bad about it.
My friend spends, but he does it on the things that matter to him and his family. What he doesn’t do is buy useless crap that they don’t need or want.
3 – Mercilessly Cut The Expenses You Don’t Value
This is the flip side of #2. Just like you want to feel good about spending on the things you care about, you want to be ruthless with cutting out the expenses you don’t value.
4 – Reward Yourself For Your Hard Work
Building wealth shouldn’t be all about holding back your urge to spend money. You should feel good about the progress you are marking, and feel even better about rewarding yourself for your hard work.
If you’ve accomplished a big wealth-building goal, feel free to splurge on something you have been meaning to. Even better if it’s something that aligns with your values.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
The point I’m trying to make is that we can often be too hard on ourselves, and try to enforce unreasonable expectations.
If you are doing a poor job of saving and investing, you need to reassess and make some changes.
But if you are doing a great job, you shouldn’t feel bad about spending your money.
After all, someone has to eventually spend all of that money you’re saving!