Friday, October 31, 2014

What Are You Working For?

I had a very interesting chat with a fellow dog owner, yesterday morning while at a dog park in my neighborhood. 

The conversation started with us discussing dogs, but somehow, took a U-turn, to us discussing the economy in our province.  Which, quite frankly, is not so good. 

Let me rephrase that.  The province that I live in is pretty darn close to bankrupt.  Weekly, I hear of someone else leaving the province. 

That conversation led to home values in my neighborhood.  They are dropping.  And there are a LOT of military houses soon to go on the market.  All at the same time.  Ouch!

This led to me asking what this gentleman did for a living.  He said he was semi retired.  My guess is he would be around 28 years old.  That's right.  A very young man!  So, of course, I asked him what  did for a living. 

He said he is a musician.  Lead singer and he plays the guitar.  He said his band has travelled all across North America.  I thought that was pretty cool, I must say!

But back to the topic of his being semi retired.  I asked him how he could be semi retired at such a young age.  He told me that he and his girlfriend (this post is not about moral values, just stay with me for a sec.) bought a house with a basement apartment.  He told me the area he lives in, which ironically, is just around the corner from the Y that I go to.    

He went on to say that since they purchased their house for a low amount (houses there are fairly modest, around $120,000.), they have rental income, and they made certain choices in life, he doesn't need that much money to live on.

Do you get it?  He would be less than 30 years old, and with living modestly, he has options

How did we get to the point in our society where we don't feel we've "made it" until we have:

l.  The large home we can't afford. 
2.  The 1, 2, or possibly even 3 car garage...
3.  Closet full of brand name clothing.
4.  Monthly restaurant bills that would rival some people's mortgage payments.
5.  A myriad of electronic devices
6.  Children's bedrooms that are overwhelmed with toys they don't play with.

And the list goes on...

The large home - Just how much space does a family need?  This becomes where our possessions are costing us more money than just the price we paid.  That large home isn't heating itself.  Do you get what I'm saying, here?!

The double or triple car garage - There are people that are unfortunate enough not to even have a roof over their heads, and we give our cars a home?  

Closet full of brand name clothing - I have now officially paired my clothing down to roughly a week's worth of clothing.  And I can honestly say that I have never hand nothing to wear!  I usually do a load of laundry a day, and the ship runs smoothly!

As well, since each item in my closet (minus two or three dressier outfits/business attire for fall/ winter and spring/summer) gets worn regularly, I don't end up having clothing that is out of style long before it is worn.  And no, I don't have any clothing in my closet with the price tag still attached, lol!

Monthly restaurant bills - We are not a family that eats out often.  We actually prefer our own cooking to eating out at a restaurant.  We eat out, on average, once every month to month and a half.  My husband, through his job, eats out more regularly, simply because he is on the road a lot.  And he gets a meal allowance, which is always more than he orders.

The Myriad of electronic devices - Good Heavens, what are we doing to ourselves?!  People are spending themselves into the poor house with all their payment plan commitments!  And then they turn around and say they need a vacation to "get away from it all". 

Children's toys - I have now given away/sold, approx. 2/3 of our daughter's toys.  And, what do you know, she doesn't miss them!  Actually, she was just telling me yesterday that she is ready to get rid of more of her toys.  She prefers experiences to toys.  And less stuff means it takes less time to clean up!

We, as a society, are living life at record speed, buying all the latest and greatest, to keep up with the Joneses.  Well, I have some news for you.  The Joneses are flat broke, lol!

We need to slow down, catch our breath, and decide what we truly value in life.  And then take the necessary steps to reach that goal.

How high of a priority is financial freedom to you?  What sacrifices would you be willing to make to be able to afford to work less?