Why I’m in no hurry to become a millionaire

Budgets Are Sexy has started a worthy club with the goal of making millionaires.

Crunching the numbers with modest assumptions about growth, we could become millionaires in 10 years without changing our lifestyle (but we may want to change our lifestyle, so it will probably take longer).  We don’t buy a whole lot of stuff outside of grocery stores.

If we wanted a million dollar net worth sooner than that, we would have to make a lot of sacrifices that I’m just not willing to make.

1.  Getting rid of impulse spending.  Moderate impulse spending is one of the great joys in my life.  Trying out a new cheese or an unheard of author at the used bookstore… or a new ice cream shop or fancy restaurant etc.  These happy serendipities are the most exciting thing that happens to me and I’m good with that.  They’re not planned, but without them I wouldn’t spend on anything fun at all ever.  (DH still would– he’s good with his allowance, but the way he treats his allowance seems like work to me.  All that planning.)

2.  Taking on extra contract work and grants.  I could probably earn an extra 10K to 30K per year doing extra contract work.  Stuff that I’m not necessarily all that interested in that may or may not further my career that takes a lot of time to apply for.  I tend to do the grants that fall into my lap, but if I really wanted to make big bucks, with more time and effort I could.

3.  Get a higher salary by moving jobs.  The best way to get a big annual raise is by leaving for greener pastures, or at least threatening to.  I like my job and my colleagues.  Going on the market, even though it makes sense to try from time to time takes time and effort and I just don’t feel like doing it any time soon.  Even though I’m potentially throwing away tens of thousands of dollars per year.  It just isn’t worth it to me.

4.  Chase higher interest rates.  I’ve had large lump sums sitting in very low interest accounts while they wait to be used or moved for better purposes.  But the higher interest rates never last forever and there’s always different hurdles you have to jump to get them.  I just don’t have the mental power to keep up.

5.  Shop around for cheaper insurances etc.  We’re about average for our insurances according to online calculators, so there may not be much of a better deal out there, but we don’t periodically check so we don’t know.

6.  Not have a second child.  This is going to be a big expense at some point in the future.  How expensive depends on a lot of factors, but suffice to say it will put a crimp in our savings.

7.  Not allow my DH to quit his job if he wants/needs to in a year or so.   Until then we’re banking 100% of his salary and a bit more of mine.

8.  Cut back on the charitable giving, especially the education subsidies to family.

What do I spend my time doing instead?

1.  Research.  Feeding my ambition.  Exploring how the world works.

2.  Teaching.  This is my public service– teaching people to think critically about important issues.

3.  Enjoying my family.  I have the best family on the face of the planet.

4.  Reading novels, watching netflix, cooking, and surfing the ‘net (includes this blog).  I would rather blog to you all about random things than I would do more work for big monetary payoffs.  You all (or my ego) must be worth a lot!

Still, we are doing some things to save up rather than spend.

1.  We’re paying down the mortgage early.

2.  We’re living on less than one salary.

3.  We’re investing a LOT in tax deferred retirement funds and DC’s 529.  (After all, if we do quit someday that channel will be cut down to the IRAs and 529s alone.)  Though not all 76K that we could be putting away into retirement accounts.

4.  Reinvesting dividends in our non tax-advantaged accounts.  Though part of me wonders if we shouldn’t tax advantage the whole shebang.  Still, it feels like having a little extra security blanket on top of our regular emergency fund.  A goal is to replace DH’s salary with dividends alone.

You’re not going to find me feeling guilty about our purchases.  I won’t be doing much examining of the little stuff.  I think we’re at a happy equilibrium right now, though we’ll re-examine that from time to time.  We didn’t have this freedom when we had high interest debt out of college and we didn’t have it when we were living on graduate stipends (paying off said debt).  But now that we’re at a comfortable point I don’t want to suffer or stress about money anymore.  We won’t go crazy… but I like having and spending enough and a little bit more.

I’m not willing to sacrifice what I have right now for what I could have in the future.   Getting to some arbitrary number just isn’t worth it to me.   I’m not willing to make deep sacrifices for something that isn’t going to change my quality of life that much in the future.  When I had no money and debt and so on, I was willing to make those sacrifices for big gains in the future, and I’m glad I did.  But not now.  Now is too precious and the future gains too small.

At what point will you be more interested in balance than saving to hit a number? Debt freedom except mortgage? Complete debt freedom and an emergency fund? Automatic savings on track? 1 million? 10 million? Never?

24 Responses to “Why I’m in no hurry to become a millionaire”

  1. Nick Says:

    Great post. And it makes a fantastic point that “mathies” often fail to mention. You may not be “rich” by their definition (assuming $1 million is rich…). But you live a rich life. And you’ll slowly build up your net worth. I love it. You’re doing what you want and are responsible with your money while you’re young. Love it.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:

    Hey, I think you are doing great already. I totally agree- life is to be enjoyed. I love a good book or trying a new food. Also, why give up everything for a nebulous goal? It’s one thing if you are at risk of losing your home. It’s another to deprive yourself entirely just to retire a little early.

  3. frugalscholar Says:

    You really have it all figured out! Very impressive.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Thanks! I don’t really feel particularly impressive, but I’m definitely ok with getting rich slowly instead of having a clear more immediate goal.

  5. Donna Freedman Says:

    If life is the currency, then I’m rich right now. It’s precisely *because* I’m not chasing wealth that I have been able to complete my college degree at age 52 and to visit friends and relatives in three different areas of the country. Six of the past nine months have been spent this way; two of those trips occurred due to serious illness of family members, i.e., I could go for a visit rather than a funeral.
    If I had a regular job, I couldn’t have done that. But because I have chosen to remain a freelance writer, I can work from wherever I want. Right now I’m typing from an upstairs bedroom at my dad’s house. My aunt is very ill so I moved my planned October trip up to late August. I’ve been able to see her and another very elderly relative. I’ve been able to help my dad on his Christmas tree farm. I spent some time listening to an old friend, who has a chronic illness of her own, pour out her fears and anguish (what is this doing to my family, how can I live with this). I’ve been able to hang out with my brother and his family. I’ve seen a niece and her baby. I’ve eaten really good sweet corn, tomatoes and peaches. I’ve driven around the area where I grew up and ruminated on who I was then vs. who I am now. I’m planning side trips to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. before I go back to Seattle on Sept. 30.
    Couldn’t do that if I were a regular working stiff. And I’m 52 years old; when am I going to allow myself the luxury of life’s surprises if I don’t do it now?
    So yes, I plan to live the freelance life as long as I can get away with it. I do have some retirement monies from my newspapering days and I’m funding a Roth IRA. I live simply, saving where I can so I can spend where I want. And I’m very happy.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    And you bring happiness to millions of Americans, Donna. :)

    Your comment definitely put a smile on my face this morning. Though I’m jealous on the corn, tomatoes, and peaches.

  7. Money Reasons Says:

    First thanks for the link love :)

    I’m in J. Money’s millionaire club but I still believe in living life well :) It’s all about balance!!!

    Most of the people in J. Money’s club has a time horizon of ten years to try and make it to the million dollar level mark. I don’t think that’s too bad. :)

    Fun read as always!!! :)

  8. Rumpus Says:

    I think “Your Money or Your Life” is a good introduction to the long term view on happiness. Before I read it I don’t think I had a concrete idea of how I wanted to spend my time. Even now, I have a hard time fitting consulting into my schedule or chasing lower insurance premiums. Where does the time go? I guess I need to pay people to free up my time.

  9. Little House Says:

    It sounds like you’re living well below your means to begin with. I also am not on board with the millionaire club; only because it’s so far off for me and I’m still paying off my debt! But I like your take, there’s no need to be in a hurry!

  10. Revanche Says:

    It’s funny how much your outlook is similar to PiC’s and mine is not. As much as I love enjoying life, and am learning to little by little, I’m still incredibly focused on wanting to amass a great deal of assets in a very short period of time because I just don’t feel secure without some kind of plan to do that. It might even be that the pursuit of wealth is what gives me that sense of security, that sense of doing something to secure my future.

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    MR– Yeah, but you were thinking about going back to changing your own oil in pursuit of the goal!

    Rumpus– I totally agree with you. Time is so precious. (And YMoYL is a great book.)

    Little House– Life gets a LOT easier once the debt is gone and you start earning interest rather than having it drain from you. Good luck!

    Revanche– That’s really interesting. It’ll be something to keep working through, figuring out how much is enough and when to relax. I definitely love having a lot of security savings and I’m glad for the sacrifices I made in the past. Spending for the sake of spending has never made much sense to me (which is partly why living on one salary isn’t too much of a hardship), but easing up on wants, especially time wants, is nice.

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  14. Broke by Choice Says:

    I hope to one day be a millionare, but at the same time I have not stopped living my life. Over the past 3 years I have made some sacrifice and learned alot about the value of things and experiences.

    I am a nerd so I do crunch numbers, but don’t let that fool you. If you take the time to talk to the nerd you may find that they are about more than just cost cutting and living by the numbers.

    Forecast are always wrong!

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  16. Tara Says:

    I think this is a point that a lot of PF bloggers miss, in my opinion. Life is about the journey, not the destination. I just did a quick calculation and if life continues as it is right now, I’d be a millionaire just be age 50. That assumes NO dividends, portfolio growth, or pay raises though, which are all fairly unlikely. I am not interested in spending more time to earn more money when I earn plenty of money as it is and I’m saving about 40% of my net income. (The other 60% goes towards monthly spending and planned spending like bills and fees that only come out once a year or vacations.)

  17. Meg Says:

    I am impressed, but also a little jealous. There is no way that hubby and I will be able to save any more than $250,000 in the next 10 years let alone be able to save a million! We are working on paying down the debts, and paying off the mortgage early, but our time will come. I dont necessarily want/need a million to feel secure. I want to be able to get to the point that hubby and i can find jobs with insurance – and do something we love. We arent quite doing that right now. But until we can get our debts paid off and get a chunk of the mortgage paid off…we wont be able to.

    And I am with you – it’s all about the experience and living.
    Keep us updated!

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