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Break Retirement Savings Rules?

@some_spectre had an interesting list about rules to break and on his list was saving for retirement because tomorrow is not guaranteed. He is quick to point out he is not calling for reckless spending. I agree, there is a balance to be struck. My list has some thoughts about how to strike that balance successfully.

    1. Live below your means

    Having a smaller mortgage than you can afford and no car payments gives you more options for whatever you want to do; save more, spend more....or both at the same time.

    2. Give yourself optionality

    Building on financial optionality in number 1 on this list, building something of a retirement fund at a younger age also gives you optionality with your time in your future. This is important because we have no idea how our plans might change either by our choice or by having our hand forced.

    3. Invest in convenience

    If something will make your life easier or better and you can afford it, make the investment. The easiest example is tools. An example of what not to buy is extra clothing you don't need or the most expensive espresso machine in the store.

    4. Carefully spend money on fun

    The all to familiar addage of spending on experiences not stuff but life is meant to be experienced. That picture is from Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico at just over 13,000 feet taken last August. It was a great hike. It would not have been better if I'd been wearing a $300 hiking shirt versus the $65 shirt I had on.


    5. Don't buy stuff

    Building on a theme here. Stuff weighs us down emotionally, physically and most relevant to this post, financially. I talked about having a small collection of cheap baseball cards. I see people on baseball card Twitter who spend hundreds if not thousands on cards every week. Their idea of an expensive card is $1000-$1500 versus my idea of expensive at $50 which I almost never do.

    6. Except tools

    Again a repeat but having the right tool for the job is a matter of self-sufficiency which is high on my priority list versus a $2000 Wander Franco baseball card which has zero priority for me.

    7. And adequate footwear

    Take care of your feet, even at a young age. Here I mean shoes for walking and/or hiking and doing stuff, not dress shoes and not a collection of $400 retro Air Jordans.

    8. A solution if you do want stuff.

    Have a collection of one or two. The picture is a Pete Maravich jersey. I have a Julius Erving jersey from when he was in the ABA hanging in my office and that's it, a collection of two. While I love the Maravich jersey, there's no room to hang it up. It's one too many. I've used the example of retro Air Jordans on my blog before. If you have to have a pair, go for it but a closet full is a bad idea on multiple levels.


    9. Play the long game

    Part of the adult maturation process is learning about what you value and what you don't. I place value on independence (possible opportunity cost by earning a lower wage?), giving my future self as much optionality as possible, self-sufficiency and seeing things (like the world from the top of a mountain) all while not having to worry about money.

    The easiest path for my wife and me to our priorities is living below our means which allows us to save for the future and do things now.

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