Have you ever wondered why people who earn a fuck load of money still carry on working, and in a lot of cases work fucking longer hours (not necessarily harder) but longer fucking hours than most people?
Why aren’t people who make massive amounts of money just quitting in droves to just gain back their mental health and time to focus on family and friends and pursuing what they want to in life rather than continuing to work?
It’s fucking lifestyle creep.
Lifestyle creep is basically when you keep increasing your spending as you start earning more and more money. As people get richer, they want bigger houses, in more expensive neighbourhoods, new car(s) and clothes to go along with that.
Like all parents, they want the best for their children and so they decide to send them to private school and get private tutors and coaches.
It very quickly turns into a vicious circle, the more you earn, the more you spend and you end up still, working paycheck to paycheck – still in fucking servitude, petrified of losing your job and with it your lifestyle.
I let lifestyle creep set my own FIRE journey back a lot. I worked as a consultant for 5 years, that meant that I travelled from client site to client site in different parts of the country, staying in a different town or city for months or sometimes years at a time.
This meant that the company covered all my costs, accommodation, food and travel – so I had basically no costs for all this time and I should have been able to save a fuckload of my salary.
But I let myself get carried away, spending money on new clothes and multiple nights out at bars drinking expensive drinks (fuck sake) and buying the latest phone each year.
We’re bombarded with fucking marketing from one side and the social media of friends and family and influencers living their “best life” enticing us to spend money on all kinds of crap and get that short burst of satisfaction.
One thing that helps me to avoid lifestyle creep is thinking about any significant purchase I make in it’s long term invested value. So for example, the £7000 I spent on leasing a new car down payment 7 years ago, and the further 400 a month I paid for 5 years would have been worth around £60,000 now if I’d invested it in an index fund – even better if it was in a tax advantaged wrapper.
Not only that, but I’m not going to use that £60k anytime soon, using the rule of 72, I know that if I continue getting around 10% annual return on it, it’ll be worth £120k in 7 years and £240k in 14 years – well, you get the picture. Yeah, looking back the car really wasn’t fucking worth it.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this parable that changed my perspective, it’s called ‘The Monk and the Minister’.
“Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king. Years later they meet. As they catch up, the portly minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin and shabby monk. Seeking to help, he says: “You know, if you could learn to cater to the king, you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.” To which the monk replies: “If you could learn to live on rice and beans, you wouldn’t have to cater to the king.” Most all of us fall somewhere between the two. As for me, it is better to be closer to the monk.”J.L. Collins, The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life
It’s up to you to find out what’s right for you. Personally, I want out of this soul-crushing madness.