Can you pick out the person in the crowd that is not like the others? Is there a person in the crowd that thinks nothing like the masses they’re surrounded by? What specific thoughts am I talking about? I believe people who are SUPER financially responsible must be 1 in 100, maybe just 1 in 50. So, if you are surrounded by a small crowd, or in a large group, and you are actually super financially responsible, you may be the only one. Yes, these abnormal creatures do exist, but I feel we are extremely rare.
Of course, there are people who will tell you they are good with money. They’ll say they pay their bills on time (mortgage, car loan(s), credit cards) without worry. Many will be in a “retirement savings plan” at work and save every paycheck, maybe even $100 per check, umm. Those who truly believe they are crushing it, may even have an “investment account.”
I definitely believe all three of the above positions are extremely valid toward financial responsibility. What I feel makes some of us abnormal creatures is the fact that we plan ahead, WAY ahead. We set goals with targets along the way. We track and measure how we’re doing. We consider our purchases with respect to our plan. If we are smart, we make enough purchases to enjoy life, while staying on track. No need to become so frugal you waste your youth—“youth” being your previous younger self.
One major characteristic defining these abnormal beings is delayed gratification. By waiting for something, you increase the desire, you possibly think through various usage/spending scenarios better, and may even get better pricing.
I didn’t realize that I grew up with this strange concept. The concept of waiting for Christmas or my birthday for a gift seemed normal in my family. Thinking back, I saw many friends get “stuff” whenever they went to the mall with their parents, or when they wanted something. I usually picked out what I wanted and waited. I can tell you I know many people who are in debt, or worse have filed bankruptcy. I don’t know all the facts, but they definitely have/had more/nicer “stuff” than I do. I just feel there should be a balance, not deprivation.
Recently I’ve heard multiple podcasts and read blogs about delayed gratification. These creators make me feel great knowing I’ve lived a smart path, and that others are sharing this foreign concept to help new people pick up on this amazing idea for financial positioning.
Be strong in yourself when surrounded by commoners. Be proud that you’re probably the only alien in the group. Be aware that you may be in the 1% of financial wisdom. Be sure to find balance and enjoy your life through working/earning and in FIRE.