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When a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Posted by kdadmin on June 19th, 2015.

When a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

There are times when only a picture will do. This shot over the Loire River in Amboise, France, marks one of them. If a sunset over the river where the lovers stroll, with my favorite glass of wine, doesn’t encapsulate the spirit of Live the Life You Love, I don’t know what does.

I bring this up to illustrate a key component of financial happiness.

Simplicity. Or, more specifically, living the simple life. Now stay with me, you Americans. Our culture, more than most others on the planet, rewards the concept of endless, workaholic consumption. More time at work, to have more money, to buy more stuff, that requires more money to maintain, and more work to earn that more money. It’s a hamster wheel. A pointless cycle that separates us from what really matters, and prevents us from being able to live the life we love.

It’s also impossible to maintain. It will most likely destroy any sort of financial security you achieve, putting off experiences you really value until you work forever. Consider the people you know who make $200,000 per year, but manage to spend all of it and then some, while their peers enjoy a full lifestyle at less than $150,000.

The point of life isn’t to own more stuff. The point is to experience life to the fullest. The more baggage you have to drag along with you, the more it dilutes your ability to actually experience life. More stuff equals more distraction. Over and over the happiest people I meet are those who have the least stuff, live easily within their means, and embrace the joy of experience over the responsibility of possession.

James Bond has this figured out. He doesn’t OWN fancy cars, yachts, or planes, he EXPERIENCES them. Consider the 007 movie, A Quantum of Solace. Remember that Aston Martin DBS he drove during the opening scene? It’s arguably the most beautiful car on the planet. It also costs north of $300,000 and gets 11mpg. Now, like any man, I obsessed about owning that car after I saw that movie. I studied its development, its lineage, read reviews, and eventually figured out that I liked the “cheaper,” $190,000 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante S, best. You can find a link here.

But instead of figuring out how to mortgage my house, or eat bread and water for a year, to possess the Aston, I found a way to experience the car, first hand, on a closed course for less than 1/100th of the cost. I will forever remember the day I spent in the UK hammering that car around a racetrack, getting tips from the retired professsional race car driver next to me. I’ll remember learning to drive around the circular, banked track, being told to take my hands off the wheel at 100mph, and learning to use the accelerator to leverage the g-forces to steer around other cars. I’ll even remember the tour of the factory. But, I won’t have to own, maintain, repair, insure, or justify such an insane machine on a daily basis.

(As an aside, none of the pro drivers owned Astons. All of them drove the same Mini Cooper S that I have at home. Which costs less than $25,000, gets nearly 40mpg, and drives like a go cart rocket.)

Now, regardless of your feelings about Aston Martins, James Bond, Mini Coopers, or even sunsets in France, simply embracing the concept of spending your money on experiencees you can cherish instead of stuff you have to maintain has the potential to put you years ahead on your quest for financial freedom. Plus, it almost certainly ensures that you are already able to Live the Life You Love.

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