Recently, a few of my family members expressed some concern over my spending habits. They said to me, in essence, that I was spending too much.
Honestly, to the outside observer, I can’t really say that I blame them.
They see the new car (a used Tesla), the vacations, the conference trips, and they wonder how we’re doing it. They must be racking up that credit card balance, they think. They must be hemorrhaging cash. We never did it that way.
I get where they’re coming from. But what they don’t see is far more telling. They don’t see the years of nights and weekends I’ve worked to build up capital in order to create passive income streams.
They don’t see the late-night hours devoted to my businesses and all the moments I spend educating myself by listening to podcasts, reading other blogs, books.
They don’t see the calculated risks I’ve made (or the fear that preceded making them), all of which have helped me move closer to my goals.
They don’t know that we pay off our credit card balance every month.
We also can't hide these trips because we have to ask them to watch our other little ones (our dogs).
But what they don’t see are all the moments of joy on our faces or all the memories we make on these trips.
They’re not there for the times when one of those memories pops into my mind, while I’m sitting there at work in my call room, or in my car. They definitely don’t see the smile or that inner sense of gratitude that comes with looking back on time and experiences spent with my family.
Those little moments of gratitude and enjoyment aren’t derived from grinding away at work. Sure, there are some amazing times I’ve been a part of, but when it comes down to it, I cherish the times with my wife, kids, and closest friends the most.
So yes. I’ll spend money on those things and spend less on things that I don't care very much about. To that point, my wife remarked just yesterday that I seem to wear the same clothes in every picture. Well, that’s true for the most part. I just like to wear plaid shirts, what can I say?
I don’t really care about clothes. I wear the same shoes until they’re falling apart, and I often find holes in my socks. I’m using the same carryon luggage that I’ve used since medical school. In fact, a bunch of my t-shirts are still from that era.
Sure, I have a few more gadgets now – iPads, AirPods, and laptops – but I get crazy use out of them and I fully enjoy them.
So I’ve made a decision. I’m going to spend money on the things that I love – without fear of judgment. If I want to make a splash and take an all-out vacation with my family a few times a year, I’m gonna do it.
I’m resourceful. I’m keeping track of my monthly passive cash flow, and I know that I’m on track and actually exceeding where I thought I’d be at this point. I’m trying to create my ideal life today, not for some point in the future that might not ever come.
I’m healthy, my family is healthy, we’re going to enjoy time now. If there’s anything I learned from my dad’s sudden health issues last year, it’s that you just never know. So that trip I’ve been waiting to take my parents on, or a bucket list trip with my father? Yeah, I’m going to take that too.
But what about the future, what situation will I be in when I’m 65 years old? Well, I know I’ll be good. That’s because I’m constantly course correcting, and again, I do whatever is necessary to make it happen. I will figure it out. Plus again, I refuse to hold back everything for something that might not arrive.
That doesn't mean I'm reckless. Look, I could always work more. That’s my ripcord… something to fall back on. But I will do everything in my power to never find myself in that full-time situation again, and to never be totally dependent on a system that isn't too friendly to physicians these days.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a physician. I love being there for patients in some of the best moments of their lives. But I want to do it with a smile. I’m able to do that now, and it’s passive income that has given me choices.
So, I’ll continue to spend money on the things I love and that bring value to those around me and the less fortunate.
At the end of the day, I know my family's remarks are just their way of showing true concern, and I appreciate that. It's challenged me to make sure I know where I'm at and what I truly want. So I'm so thankful for them.
Maybe you get some of the same comments thrown your way. Well, my hope is that you’ll figure out what you love and are in a position where you can freely spend money on it.
After all, what’s the point of money anyway, if not a tool to improve your life and the lives of the ones you love?
What are some things that you won't apologize for spending money on?