I want to discuss the choices that having money brings.
Of course, when I say “having money,” it is all relative. I can remember when having an extra $20 meant having money and having the choice to skip ramen noodles and go for the Chinese take-out. Just creating a little extra money in my personal economy allowed for more choices, which is why I take saving and investing so seriously.
Today, I’m writing this post from my guest bedroom. I recently ordered a new mattress but my crazy work schedule has made the delivery a nightmare. I had my old mattress taken away before I realized I couldn’t make the delivery date of the new one.
I’ve never slept in my own guest bedroom before…because I NEVER had a guest bedroom.
In the past, I’ve used any extra space as an office. But this home happens to be big enough for both an office and spare bedroom. I definitely had a moment, when I realized that I had a second bedroom with all the comforts of my master bedroom.
I say none of this to brag but to acknowledge and compare it to whence I’ve come. Growing up, my life was nearly void of choice. Where I lived, where I went to school seemed were limited to my socio-economic status in my neighborhood. My choices as a kid were connected to my mother’s choices or lack of choices.
Have you heard the saying, “Our lives are the sum of all our choices”? Choices, in my opinion, seem to be spiritual currency that eventually manifests in the physical realm. Choices, like currency, compounds (positively, in savings and investments or negatively, in debt) until the growth is out of control, bad or good.
The Birth of a New Choice:
In 2017, I noticed a pattern in my professional life. Working in an office sucked. But if you have no money and live paycheck to paycheck, the way I did, the misery is exponential because you have no choice but to stay if you want to continue having a roof over your head and eat.
I realized if I had no debt and a little money saved I could weather the storm of quitting before finding a new job. At the very least, I had the choice of staying or leaving immediately.
I made a choice. I would do everything in my power to not have to stay at a job I hated.
Currently, I’m in a new job (I was laid off, which stripped me of all choices). Every decision I make is about acquiring an asset that pays me so I can leave under my own power next time. My goal: Earn the same amount from my passive income (savings and investments) that I earn from my active paycheck (my job).
If I’m ever a victim of corporate whims, I don’t want my only choice to be a new job search even if I can take my time searching. I want to have the choice of not needing to replace my job at all unless I want to.
To get there, I have to make choices. Mine are small, like bringing my lunch to work every day instead of buying it, and I’ve raised my automatic savings rate until it’s uncomfortable. I am in a fight to build wealth, and it’s a choice I’m making daily.
I wonder what kind of choices people who are constantly broke are making. Do they see their condition as a sum total of their choices? Do they see if they make different choices that they would have a different outcome?
Everything around us seems to conspire to take money out of our hands. But we must be conscious of that and make better choices.
Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton)!