Money is more important than you think it is.
Now, when I was a kid, all I heard was that money wasn't that important. That's what people told me all the time. They’d say it was who you are as a person that was more important.
My parents said it a little bit, but I mostly heard it in school. Teachers would say it all the time. You’d hear it in church too. Basically, everyone in my town said it.
“Money is not important”—I heard it from everyone around me. And while it's true that money is not the most important thing in the world, it’s still essential.
Because you want enough money to have a basic standard of living that’s comfortable, right?
Comfort means different things to different people. Some people are comfortable in a tiny apartment; other people are comfortable in a 10,000-square-foot house.
What “comfortable” really means is that you don't have to think about money all the time.
If you're someone who lies in bed, can't sleep, and constantly thinks about how you’re going to pay the rent, I would not characterize that as comfortable.
Anytime you are forced to make an economic choice like that, then you are not comfortable within reason. I'm not talking about flying on private jets, but you lack comfort if you're deciding between getting your car fixed or going on vacation.
That's hardship. You're being forced to choose between two things that you need. What you want to do is get to a point where you’ve mastered your personal finances. So, you want to be able to fix the car and go on vacation. That’s comfort.
The fewer economic choices like these that you need to make, the more comfortable you are. It's as simple as that.
One of the things I used to talk about on the radio is that when you're younger, you make investments of your time so you can make more money when you're older.
I did not have any fun in my 20s. I was working all the time. I'm still working all the time, but I'm doing things that I want to do, like earning my MFA in creative writing without having to worry about student loans.
Some people get this backward: They screw around when they're younger, and then they get to age 50 and they're stuck.
I'm at the point in my life where I don't have to make a lot of economic choices. If I want to buy a pair of boots, I can buy a pair of boots. I don't have to think about how I can't afford something else.
The best thing about reaching this point is that you are dealing from a position of strength. If the car dirtnaps and costs three grand to fix, it's no big deal. Sure, it sucks… but you pay it and life goes on. It's no longer a crisis, and unexpected expenses no longer have an effect on you.
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