Are You Saving Too Much Money?

saving too much money

About six months before my dentist died in a motorcycle accident, he gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. 

I’ve been going to the same dentist all my life, so we knew each other well. Every time I went to him for a checkup, we talked more than he spent time checking my teeth. 

In recent years, we’ve been talking more and more about investing and wealth. He didn’t only have his dental practice, he also did well in the stock market.

He started investing in his thirties and acquired substantial wealth in his life. He was only 57 years old when he passed. Here’s the advice he shared with me (as I remember it):

“Don’t worry too much about saving so much money at your age. I know you want to be financially independent. But you have your best earning years ahead of you. In general, your best earning years are often in your 40s and 50s. So why too much now? When you earn more later, you’ll be able to save and invest more. It’s good to start and learn now. But you don’t have to save all your money. Enjoy your life.”

The man truly practiced what he preached. He took a two-year sabbatical when his kids were very young. They traveled the world and spent a lot of time sailing. He owned a restaurant. He collected vintage Citroën cars. The guy lived a good life. 

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If You’re Not Skipping Some Tasks, You’re Making Life Harder

skipping tasks

Sometimes you run into a challenge that stops you in your tracks. And you have this voice in your head that says, “I NEED to solve this thing. Otherwise, I can’t move on.”

Remember when you had to take tests in school, and you would run into a question you didn’t have the answer to? 

What do you do when you run into a challenge like that? Do you keep trying hard to remember the answer or to solve the problem?

Or do you skip the question and finish the test first before you come back to it? For many years, I did the former. I always assumed you needed to complete a test from start to finish

I used to be pretty anxious before taking tests. But one time, a teacher told me, “Just skip a question you don’t have the answer to.” This advice was golden to me as a kid. 

Previously, I thought things like, “What if I get stuck?”

Now, I think, “So what if I get stuck? I’ll just skip it!”

I still apply that advice in my adult life. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I get so much done.

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Detachment vs Non-attachment: Eastern Wisdom for Inner Peace

non-attachment

In Eastern philosophy, particularly in Buddhism, there’s a powerful concept called Nekkhamma.

This Pali word is usually translated in English as “renunciation,” in relation to desires. When people talk about Nekkhamma, they usually talk about giving up desires so you can live free from that type of pull. 

It’s an extremely subtle concept that you can interpret in many ways. To me, it’s all about non-attachment—not to be confused with detachment. I learned about this distinction from the writer and teacher, Joseph Goldstein, who is one of the first Mindfulness meditation teachers in the US.

He has a series of lectures on the Waking Up app, based on his meditation retreats. In a lesson called “Wisdom of Impermanence,” he talks about non-attachment, and why you want to aim for that over detachment. 

The way Goldstein describes it, non-attachment is about not holding on to anything that happens in life, whether those are experiences, events, or thoughts. That’s the difference with detachment, which means you pull away from something. Applying this concept in your life will have a huge difference in the way you live.

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Why Rich People Avoid Consumerism

consumerism

In the inflationary world of 2021, some new cars are sold ten to thirty percent over their asking price. This is the primary example most media outlets use when they cover inflation.

It’s so telling of the time we’re living in. People would rather pay more for a new car than drive their existing one for another year. Consumerism at its height. 

One of our family friends is a very wealthy man. His net worth is in the high eight-figure range. His favorite car brand is Mercedes because his father and grandfather always had one. So he and his brother are also Mercedes fans.

When I was in college, he always had an E-class. He once told me a story about how he and his brother upgraded their cars. “Once every four to five years, we go to the dealership and buy the exact same car, but the latest edition. The people there also know exactly what we want so we just go there to sign.” 

It’s been a ritual for them. Same model, same color (he buys silver metallic, his brother black), same configuration, just newer. About eight or nine years ago, they switched things up. They went for the S-class. A great luxury vehicle. 

It’s about time for them to go to the dealership again. But last time I heard from him (a few weeks ago), he was still driving his 2017 model. Buying a new car is not at the top of his list. My dad asked him, “When are you getting the new model?” 

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