That leads to number four: value goes beyond a price tag. What do we mean by that, buddy?
Yeah, Brian, I love this one, and again, this is one I want to credit to your mentorship in my life. The things in life that we really love, that bring us a lot of happiness, aren't always the things that are the most expensive. They aren't always the things that require a seven-figure portfolio to be able to do. And when you can recognize that, when you can recognize that there is more to wealth than money, you'll also recognize that sometimes, maybe being simple can be satisfying.
Now, this is really hard for financial mutants. You know, many times, we get the question, somebody says, "Oh man, I guess I'm 21 years old, and I make $400 million a year, and I'm saving 98% of my income, and oh, I just don't know." Well, you're chasing something. You need to figure out what it is you're chasing, what are the things that you want to be doing? Because money is nothing more than a tool that allows us to achieve the goals that we have, but money's not the goal; it's the tool. And if you get that twisted, there's a really good chance you're missing out. So, the earlier you recognize that true value in your life is not monetarily dollar-related, I think the better off you're going to set yourself up. So, really, we're talking about happiness outside of material stuff.
And here's my experience here on this: I think it's very valuable, something that was tough for my parents. My dad got laid off when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, and it devastated us financially. We lost the company car, and it took us into a completely different financial situation. The weird thing for me, though, even though my parents were completely broke, we didn't get to do a lot of normal vacations and things like that, the happiest time of my life was awesome. I mean, hear me out on this: the poorest time of my life was the happiest time of my life. And the reason why is that my dad was around that entire summer that he was unemployed. He was just there. I know that financially they were struggling, but just the fact that he was there, there are so many memories. Just going to the grocery store on every Thursday when we went grocery shopping, which I'm sure was their own adventure financially, was just fun for me. And I still have that, and I carry that now when I go there. I went to the grocery store yesterday with the family, and I love it. And I think it is tied into those feel-good feelings of being with family where scarcity and just time together was so valuable, just like we say time in the market is more invaluable than timing the market. Time with your family is more valuable than anything that you could possibly give them in the material realm. Just hear me on that, because I otherwise, how could the poorest time of my life be the happiest time of my life? I love it.
You know, I found, as I've now had success in life, I'll find the things that I love the most really aren't all that expensive. I love exercising. I love being—I love going to work out. You know, you can spend money on gym membership and athleisure, yeah, you can spend money on that stuff. But, you know, getting your body moving and starting to sweat, that's a great thing. I love watching movies with my wife. I mean, I love going to the theater, but when she and I—we put the kids down, and we just go hang out on the couch, and maybe get a bowl of ice cream and watch a movie, it's like one of my favorite things in the world. I love it. It's summertime; I love taking my kids to the pool, right? Like, it doesn't cost anything for me, literally, just to take them to the pool and play with them for a few hours. And, like, this past week, you know, we went on this lake trip with four families. We all split a house. One of the dudes had a boat, so that cost money. But, like, we're just hanging out at the lake, doing lake stuff. It wasn't like just hanging out with friends was amazing.
So, when you can figure out, okay, what are the things in this life that really bring me happiness, that really bring me joy, and start leaning into those things, even as you make your financial decisions, notice, none of the things that I said involve driving a Ferrari or a Lamborghini or a Range Rover. Maybe where you are placing a lot of your effort and attention isn't actually towards those things that actually bring you happiness and fulfillment. So, if you can reframe yourself and recognize what is truly valuable and where you truly find your joy, I think it's going to change things for you.
So here's our takeaways on this: I want to encourage you to lean into the simple life elements that bring extreme pleasure and happiness. I'm talking about just think about eating a meal with your family; that's great. I mean, that doesn't require a ton of money, but it will be something that everybody gets to remember for the rest of their life. Taking walks with loved ones—I mean, during the pandemic, I mean, I feel like that's single-handedly brought a lot of peace to my household. Reading books—I mean, I always think that this is something the sooner you can realize the skill set. I mean, that's what was quenching my curiosity when I read all the personal finance books. It was answering all my questions, coming from not having money, trying to figure out how money worked. But also, I know reading all those spy novels and the Robert Ludlum and all those things were taking me to places in the world that I had never been to. So reading can be very simple but also be tremendously valuable to opening up your horizons. I love it. And then, explain to your kids how you value and how you spend money. I mean, I have conversations with my kids all the time about this. But hey, baby, we're not going to do that because Mommy and Daddy have to work really hard for our money, and it doesn't make sense for us to just—because she'll say stuff like, "Oh, Daddy, it's only five dollars." I'm like, "Maybe it's hard to go out there and make five dollars. Like, that's a difficult proposition. Are you sure you want to pay for it?" And then she'll say, "Oh yeah." And I'll be like, "Alright, you recognize if you do that and you buy this, that means that you can't buy that." So I'm trying to reframe for her, my oldest, how she thinks about assigning value to things. And if I can do that well, there's a really good chance that she'll be able to carry that later on in life.
Yeah. The way I like to put this to my children is I like scarcity for stuff. That's why I'm very deliberate with talking to, especially my oldest, about why we're not upgrading our house, why we're not going swimming upstream anymore, even though we could afford a bigger house. We're not. And even on car purchases, you know, the journey from the beaters all the way up to nice cars, how does that all work? So, I've tried to put a mindset of scarcity for stuff but then abundance for experiences and memories.
Yeah, I love it, Brian. You say, "Hey, if you're going to travel, travel often, do it well, spend time." But I feel like so often people, when they talk about travel, they assume it has to be like this crazy expensive thing. You've done it, not the crazy expensive way, right? Like you've done it, whether it be the family trips or even trips early on with your wife, where you can really have amazing memories without breaking the bank to do so. You can do the bedazzled basic. I've talked to you guys; I went to Europe with my wife before we had children for dirt cheap. I mean, I'm talking a tenth of the cost that most people think for going to Europe. And yeah, it was a disaster in a lot of ways, but I look back, and it was incredible because memories blossom all the things between dragging luggage through cobblestones or getting ripped off in Venice by all the water, you know, getting buying tickets for the water taxis and other things. There were so many teachable moments that those have now blossomed into fun memories. So, guys, don't shortchange yourself. Remember, scarcity for stuff, abundance for memories and trips and other things that you get to keep with you forever. For more information, check out our free resources