In most of my earlier posts (and even outside it), I have have consistently advocated few things – such as living below your means, avoiding debt as far as possible, and saving money among other things. At the same time I have also been offered counter points like – we live only once, why should we not enjoy life and so on. Can both of these school of thoughts reconcile?
I am not offering any answers. Neither does a single right answer exist. To each their own. Lifestyle is a choice and all that matters is your goals and priorities, and understanding what works for you in this scheme of things!
Here are few (random) thoughts on these lifestyle choices:
- It is about prioritizing what is more important to you. Eventually everything you own comes at a cost. What is the cost you are willing to pay – is a question you need to ask. If you are chasing financial independence or partial financial independence, it comes at a cost – cost of delaying gratification and having a disciplined approach over a good enough time horizon. If you are chasing lifestyle which is not commensurate with your income, it comes at a cost of your future financial security. You need to decide – what are the costs you are ready to bear?
- If you are living a life fueled by debt – consumer debt, credit card outstanding, expenses funded by personal loans and so on, you are borrowing from future self. You may well pay that off and not bother about it. At the same time, subsequent pay rises & job shifts may increase your cash in hand. This may make your debts seem like non-issue. Fair enough. Again your choice and assumptions. No?
- Your life may turn out to be fairly smooth where things go well as per script. So you indulge yourself, take loans, pay your EMIs on time, get raises and occasional good bonuses, make decent money over time and retire. You probably don’t face major issues or financial emergencies like major health issues. It’s great if it is all smooth going like this. Of course, you may not really be able to achieve financial independence,but how does it matter if it was never really your objective!?
At the cost of repeating myself – to reiterate, lifestyle is a choice.
Anyone needs to make a choice based upon the available constraints. These choices depend upon the goals you hope to achieve. There may be nothing right or wrong as long as your approach aligns with your goal.