Money Matters: Why I care

If you've met me, I'm sure you've noticed I talk about money. Often. What I'm saving, how I'm spending, and especially-- when I'll retire (as of this week, age 48 at my current expense and contribution levels). To me, when I retire seems like the most fun, but the main question people have for me is, "But what on earth will you DO?"
Ummm... anything I want?
My favorite finance blogger, J$ (that's pronounced J. Money, for any not-so-savvy reader) at Budgets are $exy just wrote a post that I felt really conveyed my way of thinking on it all. He summed it up with this nice little formula "Freedom>Money>Stuff."
It's the idea that having the freedom to live life on his own terms was more important to him than money-- money is just a tool we use to get to where we want to be. And the money that lets him do that is more important than the stuff he could buy with it. He says this:
Whatever you do, just remember there’s a point to it all in the end: living a life on your own terms. You don’t have to work for the rest of your life if you don’t want to, and you certainly don’t need as much stuff as those around you seem to think. All you need is a reminder to keep pushing yourself and that you’re on the right track. And I know you are because you’re reading this blog :)
I don't really know what I want to do. I just want to be able to do it. Vacation annually in Yucatan? Sure! Why not monthly? Become the "Executive Creative Officer" -- a term I made up -- of my brother's hypothetical coffee shop, "Mugs for Thugs?" Definitely. Volunteer painting sets for a local theatre group? You bet. Design the menu for a friend's food truck? I'd give it a try.

Even if I decide I want to work in Halliburton more years than my father, rising slowly through the ranks, I never want money or stuff to be my driving force in decision making. That may just be why I talk about money and saving so much now. It's because I want to be able to forget it in the future.

By the way, I'll totally admit I feel super cool whenever he replies to a comment I've written. Definitely hit up his blog sometime!

And Darrell, I wish people were as enlightened as you, my friend. :)

- #hartzogswag