It’s Not About The Money, It’s About The *Lifestyle*

I don’t know if you caught it, but in our last net worth update I slipped in something pretty nonchalantly that really should have been more chalant ;)

We’ll see if we reach [a million dollars] before the downturn, but either way it really doesn’t matter as it’s not the *amount* that counts, but the *lifestyle* it gives you.

It took me a good 6 or 7 years to finally come to this realization, but when you figure out that this is the whole point of chasing all that money, it really puts things in better perspective. Especially when you realize that there are parts to your lifestyle you can start implementing RIGHT NOW to improve it that doesn’t even cost a cent! (Walks, naps, Adventure Tuesdays! (see below))

I think we get so caught up in wanting more all the time that we don’t step back to see the overall picture. Or even realize that we have it in our power ALREADY to craft a life we love before hitting our financial goals!

I was reminded of this again after reading an excellent email from Cait Flanders, posted below (highly recommend her newsletter – it always makes you think!!):

Three years ago, almost to this day, I went on my first Adventure Tuesday. I was newly self-employed and realized that, while I had bitten off more than I could chew and was still working too much, I really wanted to make spending time with friends in the outdoors a priority. After years of working full-time for a startup + blogging and freelancing on the side, I was done hustling. I wanted to spend more time with the people I loved doing the things we loved. And since one of the benefits of self-employment is that you’re able to set your own hours, that’s exactly what I did.

I made my friends + the outdoors a priority, and pencilled in a standing date to explore a new town or trail with someone every Tuesday.

Approximately 156 Tuesday’s have passed, since then, and I can’t say I’ve gone on an adventure for each one. However, the intention behind Adventure Tuesday has stuck with me. To this day, I make sure there is breathing room in my calendar so I can say yes to walk/hike requests. This summer, I also made a bucket list of things I wanted to do and see in and around Squamish, and crossed most things off. I explored new areas, stepped on new trails, swam in new lakes. I made my friends + the outdoors a priority, because it makes my life a little bit better.

I’m not telling you this so you will lace up your shoes and head out. And this newsletter isn’t going to be filled with hiking tips or recaps of mine. Adventure Tuesday isn’t really about the outdoors at all. It’s about paying attention to your thoughts about how you want to be spending your time, and figuring out how you can turn them into realities. It’s also about setting healthier boundaries in your life, so you can show up for yourself and for others.

I’ve made a lot of big changes in my life, over the past eight years. But putting Adventure Tuesday in the calendar felt like the first (tiny) step towards actively creating the life I wanted, rather than passively consuming the one I thought I should have.

That’s what I want to talk about in this season of Adventure Tuesday: the idea of creating vs. consuming. I want to talk about how we, as humans, are consumers. We consume non-stop around the clock, and it impacts our mindsets, our health, our money and our relationships.

But we, as humans, are also creators. You might not think you create anything physical (and maybe you don’t really, aside from the meals you eat). However, you are a creative problem-solving human being, and that means you have a little more control over your life than you might currently believe.

So beautiful on so many levels…

First, going back to my original point, it doesn’t cost any money to start your own Adventure Tuesday! Or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, weekend! At any given moment of time you can decide to slip in a little more ‘living’ into your weekly lives, no costs required.

Second, we really do consume way too much with the onslaught of technology and the addictive pace of society. So just sitting back and taking stock of our desires itself could do most of us a world of good.

Lastly, it all comes back to what you TRULY VALUE and find important in life. Whether that’s the outdoors, more family time, volunteer work, chasing a passion, or anything else that MOVES YOU in the morning that you wish you could be doing more of.

Not everything can be accomplished without a good foundation of finances, but if you can take the time to incorporate small tweaks now – no matter where you are in the journey – you can start living a lot closer to your dream lifestyle before you even cross the finish line.

Which is both exciting and empowering!!!

Do keep hustling and paying attention to your money, but just realize it’s not “all or nothing” as you’re going along. And please don’t think having millions in the bank will automatically give you your perfect life either – that all comes from INSIDE YOU, which again you have the power to start working on now.

Just wanted to throw this all out there while it’s brewing on my mind…

I’ve started a new personal challenge wrapped around all this, and will fill you in as soon as I can tell whether it’s working or not ;)

Happy living!!

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  1. whiskey September 21, 2018 at 6:30 AM

    Its a funny thing the way my morning reads and thoughts are headed. The most valuable thing we have is time. We should take time to do the things that make us happy. Money can afford us that time which equates to a lifestyle.
    I was reading another article and it was about the working guy and why we dont make as much $$ as we used.
    “In 1971, you could buy a new Ford F-150 for $2,500. At $4 an hour, it took 625 hours to buy the truck.Today’s model costs $30,000, and the average hourly wage is $26. So the wage earner has to work for 1,154 hours to get a standard F-150. Put another way, he has to sell almost twice as much of his time to get a set of wheels. You can do the same calculation for housing. An average man paid about $24,000 for the average house in 1971. Today, he pays $371,000. Priced in time, the house cost 6,000 hours in 1971 and 14,269 hours today.
    Is that progress? Not in our book. Time is life. It’s all we have. It takes more than seven years of work for the average guy to buy the average house today – four years more than it took in 1971”
    And some wonder why Im tired…. Think Ill go on walkabout….

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:22 AM

      Oh damn… that’s some perspective!

    2. Jen September 21, 2018 at 10:25 AM

      Thank you for sharing this. I usually run across comparisons where an item’s cost in the past is inflated and compared to today’s cost, but I have never seen the undiscounted cost converted to time energy (which includes an even more relevant type of “inflation”). For the average consumer I think it is a better way of analyzing our wants and needs.

  2. Accidental FIRE September 21, 2018 at 6:33 AM

    My passion is for the outdoors and with cooler temperature finally on the horizon and less humidity I’m psyched to spend more time outside!

  3. Bryan September 21, 2018 at 7:03 AM

    I consume your posts every day. ;-)

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:24 AM

      Some things are healthy for you :)

  4. daniella flores September 21, 2018 at 8:49 AM

    I this quote right here. It is 100% true! ‘First, going back to my original point, it doesn’t cost any money to start your own Adventure Tuesday! Or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, weekend! At any given moment of time you can decide to slip in a little more ‘living’ into your weekly lives, no costs required.’

  5. Mr. Pop September 21, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    DW and I are just exiting the accumulation phase of our FI journey. Looking back on it, we were probably too focused on hitting our goals, and not focused enough on enjoying the ride. We could have had more adventure Tuesdays in our lives and still ended up in about the same place. Can’t wait to see what Cait does next…

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:33 AM

      Fortunately you can always start incorporating more Adventure Tuesdays in your life at any time! Try it on this next Tuesday coming up! :)

  6. Chris September 21, 2018 at 9:23 AM

    That was deep J…

    It’s easy to get wrapped up in chasing numbers believing that once we reach them our lives will be better. Maybe there’s some sort of balance? But, I agree that we have more control than we sometimes believe.

    The trick is enjoying the journey. Success isn’t our destination, it’s a never ending process. So, it’s important that we take the time to define what success is for us and take action with what we can control.

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:34 AM

      You know it, man… The second you accomplish something you just raise the bar higher and the process begins again… It’s a sickness, haha… Maybe we need to pay more attention to what the monks are doing??

      1. Bryan September 21, 2018 at 4:38 PM

        Yes! When they spend hundreds of hours constructing those stunning sand Mandalas and then destroy them to symbolize the transitory nature of material life. They truly are amazing.

  7. Francis Bach September 21, 2018 at 9:24 AM

    Want what you have is a concept that is lost in the consumerism trap that was set and sprung since the very first TV commercial. (circa July 1, 1941)

    Newly self-employed, I like that, and I’m going to borrow that for a while.
    When I tell people I am retired, I get the comment that you’re way too young.
    I switched to saying that I was between jobs and that made them uncomfortable. It’s almost like they were thinking “better you than me, as that would really put a crimp in my lifestyle”.
    Most neglect to notice how happy and upbeat I am for being “between jobs.”

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM

      It’s a fantastic problem to have to deal with :)

  8. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto September 21, 2018 at 9:36 AM

    Since I FIRE’d 100 Days ago, we’ve been alternating between “Connected” and “Unconnected” (e.g., 5-day camping trips). Funny how addicting we become to being “Connected”, it’s good for the soul to disconnect from time to time and think about what’s really important.

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 10:37 AM

      Well get ready to be CONNECTED all over again next week!!! To all us $$$$ nerds who hopefully are away from their computer and enjoying each other’s company! :)

  9. Joe September 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    This is a great idea. We all need adventure time. This is usually neglected because our lives are too busy. Even the weekend is too busy these days. Then we cram in a vacation and try to do too much. Summer has been great for us that way. We’ve been exploring locally on Saturday. Now it’s time to hunker down for the fall and winter.

  10. ImmigrantFinances September 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    Great post J. It’s not about the money but the freedom the money allows you to have so you can do whatever you want to do. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I do agree with engineering your life to start practicing some of the things you want to do when you get to FIRE even before you get to FIRE. It will make for a smooth transition when you eventually get to that status.

  11. Bernz JP September 21, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Yes, having millions in your bank account doesn’t guarantee a perfect life. It’s all about creating and living a balanced and meaningful life. It’s about enjoying life’s adventures and journeys and making the most of life’s precious time. What a beautiful reminder post.

  12. Chad September 21, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    Great article, but what about the nonchalant part of “before the downturn”??? Would you care to expand on this? I assume you may be implying the end of our stock market’s current bull run.

    1. J. Money September 21, 2018 at 3:05 PM

      I was actually referring to the “it’s not about the money” part of that quote, but yes – I do think the market’s run will end at some point for sure. It has to :) But I’ll never guess *when* as I’d never be right! Haha… Very smart to be thinking about how it’ll affect your plans/money though, as well as how you’ll feel *emotionally* about it all. I plan to just stick tight and keep plowing money in while stocks go on sale, but easier to say when things are going well than the opposite!

  13. spiffi September 21, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    This is timely, as I recently read something that said that reason time seems to fly by so much faster as we get older is that we generally find ourselves doing fewer and fewer new things, as compared to when we were kids/younger.

    It’s easy to get into habits of doing the same things every day, week in, week out – especially if you are also being frugal and focusing on saving for early retirement. Our brains are efficient at storing memories – if you drive the same route to work every day for a year, it sort of collapses all those events into one blob of “driving to work” – and so our sense of time also collapses.

    But it’s important to have new experiences – not only is it a good way to spend your time, but it forces your brain to write new, different memories instead of just adding another layer of “did the same thing” – which helps build a timeline in your brain and stops the years from blurring together.

    I think it’s important to carve out time to do new things and to do the things that are important to us, even if they mean that our path toward our ultimate financial goals may take a bit longer.

    1. J. Money September 24, 2018 at 7:22 AM

      Fascinating!!! Never heard about that re-writing stuff – makes sense!

  14. Joel September 21, 2018 at 5:17 PM

    Great post! I like the whole “Adventure Tuesday” idea, I think i’ll try to implement something similar in my life. I sort of already have without knowing it, I guess ill call it “fitness wednesdays” lol.

  15. Dora September 21, 2018 at 5:17 PM

    It’s all about having choices.

    There’s nothing worse than having no choices, or two bad choices, because of a lack of money. This hits every area of life.

    It’s about not being bound to anyone else’s meager offerings because there are no other options. I equate this to being told what to do everyday of my life when growing up. My life drastically changed when I had my own money and could make my own decisions, whether someone else liked it or not.

    1. J. Money September 24, 2018 at 7:24 AM


      Choice is so empowering.

  16. Meghan September 21, 2018 at 5:34 PM

    Love this! I’m about to leave work a little early to take my kids on a Friday adventure. We are making a tradition of going to the library every 3 weeks (when books are due) to return books and pick up some more. My young kids love the library and love that they get new books every few weeks. Then we’ll head to Costco, because that zoo is always an adventure! Thanks for the reminder to build in fun along the way to FIRE.

    1. J. Money September 24, 2018 at 7:25 AM

      Yayyy!!! Excellent way to spend time with the kids! We used to go to Costco all the time too, mainly for the free samples and then going into “the cold place” (aka huge freezer) and see how long we can stay in there until having to run out :) It really is the small things that kids love so much, haha…

  17. Eric @ Flip N' Finances September 21, 2018 at 8:04 PM

    I often say I hate money, largely because of how it controls people. But when we control it and look past it, then we can find where our true priorities sit.

    Money is simply a means to an end. This end is what 99% spend 99% of their lives chasing. Not for me though. Thank you for sharing the “end” part of it J. This is the stuff that really matters.

  18. Erik September 22, 2018 at 5:16 AM

    This is why I’m moving to a 36 hour workweek. Yes, I’ll lose about 10% income which is significant especially over time if it was invested, but not being stuck in the office from 8.30 to 17.00 every Monday to Friday is worth it.

    1. J. Money September 24, 2018 at 7:26 AM

      I’ll agree with that! Super easy to say vs DO too – so good for you for actually pulling the trigger on it!

  19. Cubert September 25, 2018 at 7:00 AM

    Just the tonic I needed at the start of another workaday week. Thank you! (and thanks, Cait!) Love the premise of Adventure Tuesdays. And you’re right J., the million bucks of net worth is a worthy goal, but so much of how your life is fashioned today has little to do with your bank roll.

  20. Ms. Fiology November 5, 2018 at 12:17 AM

    Yesss!! We cannot put off living today for a tomorrow that may never come. I mean don’t go out and start making poor financial choices just to live it up today. Do start taking time each day to enjoy the beautiful world around us. Nature is basically free.

    Great stuff here, J $.