Have Your $4 Latte. Saving Money Was Never About That Anyway.
For the longest time I've preached the Stoic's path to building massive wealth.
The common script goes some like, if you give up that $4 latte you'll save $1000 in 5 years and be able to build wealth, and so on...
The fact is, giving up that $4 latte and other luxuries isn't the way building wealth is going to work for some people.
For in this game of wealth building — designing a beautiful life — there is no one path that is best for everyone.
I am coming to terms with that.
Someone may truly want that $4.50 latte from Starbucks every weekday morning. Another person may deeply want the new $150 Nike's every time a new pair comes out. And another person may absolutely love purchasing a brand new BMW roadster to mob around town in.
All that is completely okay as so far as each act is done with complete consciousness.
By that I mean the person has given time and thought to the decision. They have played with the alternatives and decided that "Yes, this is what I want."
For maybe the morning lattes remind that person of a special time with their mother before school. Maybe the shoe collection reminds that person of their days balling out on the court. And maybe the cherry roadster brings that person back to a time cruising around town with their father on a Sunday morning.
Cherishing those memories is beautiful.
The problem arises when those decisions impact our future abilities in constrictive unforeseen ways.
The operational costs of the car (monthly payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.) overtake that person's ability to use that money to free themselves to work on projects they really want to work on.
The monthly sneaker purchases may not hit as hard and fast as the car, but over time the $300/mo action may steal away the freedom to spend Mondays on the court actually playing the game that person loves.
And those daily lattes will hit even slower than the sneakers, but they too, in the time of life, have their impact.
Over 10 years the five $4 latte each week will steal $15,040 that instead could have been used as a runway to start a business or as a down payment to lift the burden of contributing to a child's college fund.
But again, there is no one way to build wealth.
If you want the latte-lifestyle and have a high paying career, then these acts may be very well able to be a part of your strategic wealth building years.
Your ability to maintain a savings ratio of 30-50% while buying such luxuries won't take away from building your foundation of wealth. To be in this group, you'll likely need an income of +$100,000 after tax.
If you have an income of anything less you'll need a different strategy.
The issue for most of American society is this different strategy is hidden behind the ever apparent media's portrayal of glitz and glam being our culture's definition of a successful life.
Your strategy needs to look deeper than that surface layer.
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The silver lining is your strategy must actually force you toward where life's true beauty is actually held.
What will enable your dreams, with money as a lubricant to make it all easier, is your unconditional appreciation for the beauty and awesomeness that exists in your life right now.
The simple things, like — that sun on my shoulders feels so good; another day to move my legs and bike over to a friend's house, I'm so lucky; the art of honing in my own delicious morning lattes, how fun!
If you learn to live through gratefulness of the often dismissed, unseen small things you'll live your life off of the hedonic treadmill, and instead among the depths of what truly matters — your health, your community and your time on this amazing planet.
Those things are the true currencies of our lives. Those are our goals here.
So to you, my friend, I encourage you to spend every last dollar just how you want.
The truth is that skipping that $4 latte won't build you massive wealth. But in the end, that's not the point.
The point is where you'll find life's hidden green. And that's in the ongoing discovery of living true to "how you want."
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Keep reading. You won't regret it.