The philosophical basis of frugality

The word frugality brings in many emotions and many reactions. Most people think that frugality is the denial of good life. The image of a frugal person is the one that denies himself or herself the pleasures of life just to make future life secure. With that image, most of the people feel repulsive at the idea of implementing frugality in their lives.

Frugality actually is far away from mindless stacking away money at the cost of day to day happiness. Frugality is “conscious spending”. It is the realization that there is a cost to spending. It may mean working harder for longer period of time doing things that one does not like. The key trade off for a spending decision is the bang-for-the-buck that you are getting in spending that amount of money. Whether it is the “life energy” as defined in the book Your Money or Your Life or some such measure that you evolve for yourself, ultimately a frugal lifestyle would mean becoming more conscious or intentional in spending your money do that your enjoyment of that pleasure justifies the pain required to earn that money.

That is probably why Thomas Stanleys study of the millionaires showed that they are amazingly frugal yet spent a lot of money on children’s education and their own health. That is the power of intentional spending. It can let you enjoy regular life while becoming a millionaire in the process. I hope you enjoy the journey and accept the philosophy.

The retiree with six incomes

An inspirational story about a retiree who has taken care of his retirement not by saving cash but by creating avenues to earn passive and part time active income.

The retiree with six incomes.

This guy has nothing in the bank, but you don’t have to feel sorry for him.

Americans fall disastrously short with their retirement planning. They should put away much more of their paychecks. They should hold off collecting Social Security as long as possible.

That’s the gospel preached by 401(k) operators, financial planners and the government. I, too, have chimed in with the scolds. But recently I came across an interesting counterexample of retirement readiness. It tells me that people aren’t as ill-prepared as they appear to be in economic studies.

Ways he earns his income:

  1. Monthly payout when he was made redundant.
  2. Working part time in a retail chain.
  3. Collecting social security check.
  4. Independent contract for cobol programming.
  5. Rental income from apartments he helped to build.
  6. Handyman work and tax waivers for tool expenses and insurance.

This is a very good lesson for all of us interested in building a sustainable retirement that does not put pressure on our time and still earns us a reasonable income.