‘Settle in El Paso’ has this post about achieving financial freedom. I understand how it makes a whole lot of sense to so many people. It talks about using the 50-15-5 rule. Saving for the future is a huge part of it, but spending below your means is the heart of it, I suppose. The post carries an unquestionable truth… except that it doesn’t fit in my world.
Here was what came out of my opinionated self.
I am a little skeptic about saving or not spending money. I often tell my saver friend that I am an earner. I am one of those most people probably laugh at because I believe in the law of attraction. Holding back to me signals the mentality of scarcity. But, that’s just me. I don’t squander, but I buy Jimmy Choo because no matter how superficial, those shoes make me happy. When I am happy, I attract more happiness. When I live in luxury, I welcome more luxury, but that’s because I am not afraid to work hard or work over and above normal work. From a religious perspective, I am reminded by Matthew that even the birds don’t worry. God provides. Savings is like worrying about the future that may or may not happen.
I also believe in living life to the fullest. It bugs me to think that some people would die, not having “lived” but denied themselves of “luxury” in the name of saving for the future. They worked hard, earned the money, saved for the future, they died without having traveled or enjoyed the fruits of their labor, and the hard work was enjoyed by those left behind, possibly not as hard-working as them.
If I happen to grow old and my financial situation changes for the worse, I don’t think it’s not a bad thing to live simply, back in the island, where I was born. “From dust and to dust we shall return.” Something like that. I didn’t always have what I have now and should I return to less, I should manage. 🙂
HOWEVER, I do have life insurance, disability cover, medical aid (insurance) and pension (provident) fund ( qualifies as savings, but this is forced [by employer]).
I have lived many years of my adult life like this and I have been blessed to not have lack. I have debts. I have no savings. But, I have a home that is valued almost double what I still owe, and I have just bought another property (funded by the bank). My financial records might show a nil net asset or even negative but my lifestyle welcomes more good stuff. But, I do know that it doesn’t work for everyone. It helps to have a profession/job that pays well but does not consume life completely.
This reminded me about some nagging thoughts that I sometimes entertain in my head but mostly ignore.
- I know I am blessed. However, I consciously refuse to verbally acknowledge (or express) my status using the word ‘blessed’. I use ‘fortunate’ instead. I am convinced that one must not brag about blessings. After all, it tends to invite negative feelings from others. I would not want to show off my blessings so I can be hated, out of jealousy. It does happen. We are only human.
- I am a Catholic. We are on a guilt-trip that has no final destination. I feel guilty for my blessings. What makes me a favorite? That’s a question I cannot seem to ignore. I am not better than others who don’t seem to have the same material blessings I have. (Of course, I recognize that they might be blessed in other ways and I have my own misfortunes… but, we will get to that.)
- I am grateful for all the wonderful things I enjoy in my world, but I am never showy about my gratitude. I feel that it is a private matter between my God and me. I roll my eyes on every single social media post that shares how blessed and grateful one is. I silently shout out to the person to get over himself already. If I have to show off, it comes with haughtiness, self-importance, and vanity even. I refuse to dress up my strong desire to brag by displaying pretentious “gratitude for blessings”.
Then, I stop playing games, or playing the fool, or whatever else I may what to call it. I stop pretending about certain things in my life. I acknowledge that I have my own share of misfortunes and woes sometimes. I go out there with a happy face. I smile, even when nursing despair deep inside. I live in a make-believe world. It is ridiculous that an independent, supposed successful and strong woman (on the surface, apparently), cannot speak up about her sporadic unhappiness, and instead accepts that which is devoid of a heart.
I realize why God blesses me so much with all that I have. I suffer no hemorrhage of the brain but at times, I cannot say the same with confidence about my heart. I understand none of us can have it all at all times. Some of us are “lucky” with everything else, but… The likes of me have all that we need and most of what we want, not necessarily riches, save for a constant happy heart.
But, I cannot complain; there is enough to be grateful for.
Life, after all, is a trade-off.