I think Bo and I both were self-proclaimed tightwads. If you go talk to any of my high school friends, I had the George Costanza wallet before George Costanza, because I was a coupon guy. I love coupons. When they used to do fundraisers and people used to come sell those coupon books for five dollars, every time, I mean, I would just, like you talked about Sunday, I would tell my parents, "Buy this thing," and then I'd figure out all the fun activities we were going to do out of the coupon book. So, I am, you and I are cut from the same cloth on that.
But I will tell you, I don't know what has happened, and we even had this thing called "Tightwad Nation," where we thought we were going to have this thing where people are going to take pictures, put them on the website of all their ways they've saved money with coupons and stuff. But then I realized there was a day that I woke up and I was like, "I'm a hypocrite," because now when I travel, um, like this most recent trip, more than my entire first year salary out of college was. And I was like, you can't call yourself a tightwad if you're spending so... I've watched this progression from tightwad to now somebody who's good with money but I'm spending lavishly on things that really give me purpose and I feel a lot of happiness from.
Do you have any tinges? Do you feel yourself going through any metamorphosis? Or do you think this will be George? Because there are exceptions. I'll take Clark Howard, one of my heroes. Clark is legitimately loaded but still super cheap, super tight. I don't think he is, I think... I think his wife, you know, it's kind of the same situation that you shared. But he is legitimately just as tight as he says. Do you think you'll stay in that train of thought or behavior, or do you think you will progress on like I have and then be mad, not mad but just know that you've changed?
I think because I'm married to my wife, I can't give her this life of just like, "We're gonna live like we're broke forever," and I want to spend money like... I've actually struggled with this idea. You guys maybe have some good framework for this, but how much do you leave your kids? If you have a five million dollar net worth, four million in retirement, a million-dollar house, I'm like, they're good. Just take the house, let's spend that four million in our lifetime and enjoy it versus like, we have to spend only two percent of this money every year. So, that... I want to actually enjoy it, and that might mean some taking the entire family on vacation. So, what has changed for us is instead of focusing on more ways to cut expenses, it's been, "Hey, let's maximize now. Let's figure out what our investing goals are, let's have some big giving goals," because that's something I've wanted to do. We haven't been in a place to do so, we are now. Going like, more bucket list stuff, like, how cool would it be to just buy a single mom a car? Yeah, how cool would it be to just fund someone's adoption and just write them a check? That's amazing. So, that's the kind of stuff that gets me way more excited now than trying to save two dollars at a restaurant. So, that's the thing that has changed, is I'm thinking more future-focused versus living in the present. Going like, "Hey, the house is not on fire anymore. We're not broke anymore. What can we do?" And so, that's what I love about the Ramsey plan, and a lot of people, they'll call in and they go, "Dave Ramsey, Baby Step Seven. We haven't paid for a house, but we're still tightwads." And that is a hard thing to let go, to go like, "Go on the vacation you haven't been on in a decade. Go on a ten thousand dollar vacation. You guys have a net worth of three million dollars, and you refuse to go on this vacation." So, that's a hard thing to shift, and I think we're kind of both in that phase now where I don't want to live like that. I want to enjoy my money in a smart way. And as long as I do it on a budget with cash, it's not a huge portion of my net worth or my world. That's how you kind of know you're on the right track. For more information, check out our free resources