I don’t care that much about money.
That’s an odd thing for an accountant and a personal finance blogger to say, but bear with me.
Your goal is not to die with the highest net worth possible. It’s not about accumulating money in the bank or in the stock market. It’s not about material wealth.
It’s about living a life that I’m proud of.
That means a lot of things, but mostly it’s about doing work I find meaningful, and having great relationships with the people that I love.
So where does money come into all this? Why bother to try to become financially independent?
Because money — and more importantly, the freedom, flexibility and options that money gives you — is a tool to help me achieve those aims. By accumulating wealth — not Rockefeller-level wealth, but comfortable, “don’t need to worry how I’m going to pay my bills”-level wealth, unlocks the ability to live life on your terms. To only seek out and accept work you find meaningful. To spend time with your loved ones. To seek out the experiences and memories that make a meaningful life.
Entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly puts it another way. Money is like petrol when you’re heading out on a road trip. Here’s Tim:
Say you want to travel America by the back roads. You need gas for your car, food and water for your body. Especially before heading across Death Valley or the Utah salt flats, you’d better be darn sure that you have enough gas in your tank. But you certainly don’t think of your trip as a tour of gas stations!Tim O’Reilly
And the goal of a road trip is not to accumulate as much petrol as possible. You want enough to allow you to do everything you want to do. If you want to do more, you’ll need more, but if you’re content with only going a short way, you’ll need less. You never want to stress about running out. And you don’t want to be taking unnecessary diversions, wasting valuable time, to go and get more, just because you drove stupidly and wasted fuel for no good reason. You want to manage it effectively and efficiently, and then get on with enjoying the rest of the trip.
Money is the fuel. Your life is the road trip. It’s up to you to make it count.