Simplicity does not mean you have to abandon material wealth. I’m still a firm believer in the idea that money is important when you earn it and use it correctly. Having more money than you need is a wonderful thing, if you understand what it is good for and what it is not.
Here are a few things I would like money for:
- Living in a nice home. It doesn’t have to be big and ostentatious – but comfortable, warm, homely and not in danger of being repossessed. Preferably in a nice neighbourhood which is lively, safe and fun – it doesn’t have to be a posh neighbourhood, one with a strong community bond is best. I’ve always enjoyed my neighbourhoods when they’ve been less wealthy, offering a mix of people from different backgrounds.
- For starting up ventures and projects that help people
- To enable you to do what you are passionate about
- Good, healthy food
- Experiences – the arts, festivals, city breaks, and interacting with nature
- Freedom – to be spontaneous, or not to earn for a while if needed.
- Learning and courses – from language to yoga, acrobatics to therapy. To afford the time, materials and lessons to learn.
- Health – to have enough money to afford healthcare when needed.
- Buying time – for love, for friends, for sharing, and for being generous when people need your help
- Going to see people who you love
- Books, music and films
What money is not for…
- Showing off and ostentation
- Watches, personalized number plates – items of zero utility
- Labels – purchases whose only means of differentiation is the brand name, rather than the quality of the material
- Club / First class travel – if you can’t last a few hours without creature comforts, you’ve lost your freedom to explore the world as it is, rather than as you’d like it to be
- Expensive bars and eating in expensive places with people you don’t like – when the experience is more about being somewhere, than with someone, you’re missing a trick
- Magazines, newspapers, and subscriptions.
- Unnecessary gadgets and applications
- Hit men
Think back to periods of your life when you had much and when you had little. Do you remember your possessions, or what you were able to do with them? Do you remember the car you drove or the journeys you went on?
Can you remember your best holiday ever – did you travel executive class (club or first) to get there? Given what a wonderful holiday it was, would you have rather spent an extra two to three days in a great hotel/bnb on arrival and taken some unpaid leave than have spent the additional £2k+?
I was once given the opportunity to live in an $8 million house in San Francisco with seven people in the nicest neighbourhood – instead, I went to live with three people in a $500k apartment. I’m reasonably sure I had a better time in the latter than I would have in the former, purely because of the neighbourhood, the experience and the people.