Not caring too much equals happiness?!? Road to FIRE (financial independence retire early)

 

Beaufort Waterfront, North Carolina 

Lao Tzu:  “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

My wife and I have been traveling with our Pomeranian, Toby, since our early retirement last August.  Since retiring, we’ve spent time in various destinations on the eastern parts of the United States, and we look forward to exploring more destinations in our foreseeable future.

In this post, I’d like to share my thoughts on the notion of ‘not caring’ to see how this helps achieve the goal of financial independence and retiring early.

Growing up, I was always a bit different.  I didn’t like following a trend or buy something just because everyone said I should.  I, not anyone else, have to really like something for me to pursue that.  No one else could make me like something...

When Sony Walkman (Google that if you’re younger than 40) came out in the early 80’s, my best friend bought one (actually, his mom bought it for him).  It was expensive at the time, costing $200 and up in the early 80’s!  

I knew I couldn’t afford that, so I did the second best thing.  That was to buy a similar tape player (Google that as well if you’re under 40), with am/fm functions for about 1/10th of the Walkman’s price.  Similar thing happened with Air Jordan sneakers when it came out in the early 80’s.  Some of my friends bought them, but I knew I couldn’t afford them, so I bought much cheaper Converse or New Balance sneakers...

On my last job, my first supervisor used to joke about the car I was driving, which was a Honda Fit.  He always joked about the length of the car.  He used to say, “Where’s the rest of the car?”  I enjoyed a little ribbing from time to time.  I knew it was coming from a good place... I also knew that was the exact car I could AFFORD at the time.

The moral of this story is to do things your way and not care about what others think about you.

This concept is going to be so simple yet hard to truly grasp.  Most of it is believing your own decision was the best decision under the circumstances.  

When friends or family jokes about your car, smartphone, fill in the blank item, you can either do one of two things:

  1. You can feel sorry for yourself that you can’t afford the latest hype driven and heavily marketed whatchamacallit, then try to make yourself feel better by buying it.
  2. You can choose to say ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks because at the end of the day, they’re not going to buy that whatchamacallit for me’, then say ‘whatever..., I just don’t care...’
When you choose the first option, you’ll be doing exactly what most people are doing every single day.  That is, to buy things with money we don’t have to please someone we don’t even like!

Stop this madness!  If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it on credit!!!  This is the beginning of the end for most people.  This madness unfortunately does not automatically stop on its own until you change your thinking.  You have to say ‘I don’t care what others think!’

This short sentence above is how you’ll find your bearing and reach your financial goals.  The moment you break from this mad consumerism, the quicker you can reach financial independence.

Once you accept this way of thinking, your life will be happier.  You’ll stop comparing yourself to others when it comes to their appearance or material things they possess.  This allows you to plan a different path  where your financial goals are now within reach.  

It’s sort of like a snowballing effect.  This acceptance of this idea to not care leads to you liking yourself/respecting yourself more.  It leads you to break the pattern of mindless consumption that makes it impossible to reach financial independence.

When I sold cars for about 5 years, this is how I figured out which potential clients had good credit or bad credit.  Generally, the ones with good credit showed these characteristics:  dressed casual but clean, no fancy name brand clothes or accessories, well-spoken, knowledgeable about cars and financing terms, not flashy.

Compare that to ones with bad credit: brand name sneakers, watches, clothes, flashy, not very knowledgeable about financing terms.

A pattern emerges where someone that cares about fancy accessories and clothing are usually the ones that either do not understand their finances or choose not to.  I’ve seen some doctors get turned down for leases due to their bad credit.  A doctor had too many debt, too many liabilities.  They were making $100k per year, but were spending $120k per year...

Like anything in life, to get to where you want to be, you have to want to change your thinking, then act on it.  Only after acting on the changed attitude can you start to see a positive change...

No one said achieving financial independence and retiring early is easy.  It cannot be attained without changing your way of thinking, acting on it, then sticking to it.  It requires sacrifice to get to where you want to go...

Like Michael Jordan who practiced countless hours practicing the fadeaway jump shot, it requires sacrifice and practice to get better.  It’s the same thing to change your way of thinking.

In conclusion:

  • Don’t care what or how someone thinks about you.  
  • Be strong mentally to say, “I don’t care what you think about me!”
  • It’s ok not to buy the latest ‘fill in the blank’.  Use the money saved by investing that.  The money you invest now will yield greater returns later whereas buying something does not...
  • Believe in what you’re doing.  You’re trying to be financially independent and to retire early.  This goal should be the reason why you’re sacrificing now.  Work towards this goal and psyche yourself into believing why you’re doing what you’re doing.
  • Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t always work like you planned.   We’re only human.  No one is perfect.  Do best you can to stay on the path to financial freedom.
I hope someone can get to this point in their lives to not care what others think about them.  This allows money to be freed up to invest for the future.  Thank you all for reading!


Jake

Wandering Money Pig 



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Please check out our YouTube channel ‘Wandering Money Pig’ showcasing our travels and our Pomeranian dog! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3kl9f4W9sfNG5h1l-x6nHw


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