Generally I pass along my personal significant learning points in sporadic posts titled Lean-Life- Learn. When you are poking around the internet, reading papers and always with a non-fiction book in hand, it is hard not to be enlightened periodically.
On occasion however, I run into something that introduces me to new knowledge or forever changes my perspective. This was the case with a post by Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme.
If you are not aware of Jacob, be prepared for something very different. “Extreme” is an understatement. Relatively speaking, when it comes to personal finance, this guy comes from a parallel universe.
Recently, Jacob was answering a list of frequently asked questions from his readers. One of which was: Q: How do you deal with all your sacrifices?
For the unfamiliar, I think it is important that you understand what “sacrifice” in the inquirers mind reflects. Jacob retired (“he might say achieved financial freedom”) in his early 30’s. As Jacob completed his formal education and began his short career he lived a lifestyle that makes a frugalist look like a spendthrift.
Jacob currently lives in a RV somewhere near San Francisco California and spends only about $7,000 each year.
For some, you may think this is like living a life of poverty, but I am beginning to see it is a matter of perspective. For Jacob, it is a unique perspective, but it has merit. Here was Jacobs response to the question: Q: How do you deal with all your sacrifices?
A: How do you deal with yours? A sacrifice does not mean giving up something. A sacrifice means exchanging something for something better. I have given up shopping, credit cards, expensive cars, large houses, season tickets, and vacations in exchange for the joy of not having to work, the ability to spend all my time as I want, and the lack of stress from never having to struggle to make ends meet. If you know the answer to how you can sacrifice 60 hours of your life a week for the next 40 years, you know the answer to how I can sacrifice not eating out or buying stuff without thinking about the cost.
When most of us think of money and personal finance we know that much of our population have lived the life of the conspicuous consumer, a few of us have lived as frugalists but all of us have sacrificed at least some, financially. We have chosen between the ball tickets and a new bicycle or a night on the town and a new shirt.
Jacob has simply taken this to the extreme. He has turned the argument from expenses and money to experience and lifestyle.
It might take me about a nanosecond to consider his choice of lifestyle and know that it is not one that I would choose. But these few words, his perspective, have made me seriously consider many of the life choices I have made in the past and will definitely be with me during future decisions. I have the feeling my wife is not going to like it as much as me!
Readers: We all enjoy our luxuries and occasional splurge. For all the joy they bring us, have you ever reconsidered your decisions? If you could go back and do it all again, would you do it differently and if so, how so?
photo by cogdogblog
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