Tis the Season of Thankfulness
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US, so I’d like to take a moment to briefly reflect on what I’m most thankful for.
We are days away from hosting almost 30 people for Thanksgiving at our house. I’m very thankful we have ample wealth to pay for all the food and fixings without putting a dent in our budget. I’m also thankful we don’t have to work so that we have plenty of time to cook all the good food we’ll be enjoying. I’m thankful that both of our immediate families live in town, making getting together a lot easier and less stressful for all.
Last year I posted about all the things I’m thankful for, and some of those things merit mentioning again.
I know I mentioned this last year, but I’m still amazed at all the inexpensive electronics available today. Smartphones under $100, tablets at $50, computers for $300 or less, and high definition TVs for a few hundred dollars. There’s so much free content to watch and read that it’s hard to justify paying for anything. But for $8-9 per month, you can get a half dozen lifetimes’ worth of high quality content streamed in HD to whatever device you’re on from Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
Our library offers free e-books for tens of thousands of titles. When I’m too lazy to physically go to the library, I can access a huge selection of free books instantly wherever I am.
This stuff is amazing. Having all this entertainment and intellectual stimulation at my fingertips means it’s not hard to fight off boredom.
We were fortunate to have solid incomes for a decade, and the foresight to save most of those incomes over the years. Just ten years after college we crossed into millionaire territory, which brought us financial independence.
Along the path to financial independence, we enjoyed increasing levels of freedom and flexibility. Now that we are financially independent, we have the ultimate freedom to do whatever we want all day.
We have plenty of food, a cozy house, more cars than we need, and all the material possessions we want. There’s enough money in our budget to fund crazy adventures like our seven week trip to Mexico, a 2,500 mile road trip to Canada, and a cruise about once per year (with another one planned for January 2016!).
This year, we transferred some cash from savings and sold a little stock to pay off the last bit of our mortgage. Now that we are mortgage free, we know we’ll at least have a house to live in even if our investment portfolio disappears (which it most likely won’t).
On the investing front, it’s so easy to invest in low cost investments on your own that you don’t need to pay an expensive money manager. Transact your business online any time you want and get instant information on the entire universe of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. How can you not manage your own money these days?
Since we are financially independent now, Mrs. RoG has a lot of flexibility to ask for crazy stuff at work. First, she snagged a three month paid sabbatical last summer. Then when she tried (but failed) to quit, she negotiated a four day workweek out of our house while keeping her full time salary.
Economic and political stability
It’s hard to realize how fortunate we are in the US (and most of the rest of the developed world). We take economic and political stability for granted. But it’s truly something to be thankful for. It affords us the opportunity to earn high wages. After we pay for our living expenses, any extra income goes to accounts at banks and investment companies that will be there for us tomorrow, next year, and next decade.
Even though the 2016 elections season is rearing it’s ugly head right now, in general life is pretty good (regardless of which candidate you support). The fact that we get to choose who we vote for in an open and free election isn’t a privilege enjoyed everywhere (I’m looking at you, Venezuela).
Unlike Syria, we don’t have warring factions fighting for control of our country with millions of refugees fleeing with not much more than the clothes on their backs.
That could be our fate, but it’s not. And for that, I’m thankful.
What are you thankful for this year?