$3 And $300,000 Things

© Can Stock Photo / Pinkcandy

Having two abodes has given me perspective.

In either home I can sleep well, wake up and fry eggs, go out the door to take a walk, do some work, relax, read, have company for dinner, watch a movie. Both homes keep me warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry the year ‘round.

The homes are quite different. One has three times the interior space, twice the number of bedrooms, a much larger garage. A single-family home, it has amenities the smaller duplex lacks. But I am the same person, living pretty much the same life, no matter where I am.

The largest impact is financial. Should I decide to live in one home or the other, my options and outcomes would be quite different depending on the choice.

If the smaller place is sufficient, I could retire tomorrow. My expenses are within range of my current resources, including Social Security benefits. On the other hand, if I chose the larger place, retirement at age 70 might be a possibility – but probably no sooner. If you are keeping score at home, that’s a seven year difference in retirement dates.

(Clients, you know this is theoretical: I am having way too much fun to retire. I intend to work to age 92 no matter where I live.)

There is no prescription about housing for you or me in this story. It only illustrates the consequences of our big decisions. We believe we should invest wisely and spend well, and we each figure out what that means for ourselves.

Meanwhile, the financial press seems to be full of stories hectoring and lecturing people about $3 coffees and other small outlays, as if the key to financial independence is to enjoy no small luxury. We are here to tell you, the $300,000 decisions are the ones to focus on—not the $3 ones.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.