I must admit….growing up poor has it’s advantages…

Depending on the individual, it can teach you to be frugal and how to appreciate the things that you have.

But it also has it’s downsides when living in the land of the wealthy.  It can leave you with a hint of resentment toward others that have money, wealth or power.

That’s a tough one to overcome and it can severely limit your prospects for future or continued growth.  I’ve written a little bit about my own “enlightenment” about money in some previous posts.

I know people that, no matter how much they have, they still want another tax break or something for free, or worse, they want to exploit others to make money.

They just can’t seem to see beyond their own greed.

No matter what, you can only go so far.  Most people are only willing to “evolve” to a certain point and then they plateau.  That’s one of the things that pisses me off about people with money….they rarely look down.

They never consider that if one small variable in their life had been different, they might not be on their perch.

I’ve found that I don’t talk to people about money so much as I listen to them.  That’s become one of my best tools for reigning in the cowboy inside of me.  The cowboy that thinks he can time the market.  The cowboy that forgets to be grateful for everything. So what I do is listen.

I listen to my bartender who used to work on Wall Street and laments the 500K that he lost on Y2K investments and other riskier bets.  Now in his early 60s, he says his entire life would be different if had preserved that capital.

I listen to the Post office worker who says that when he retires, he’s going to go to every Yankee and Met’s opening day.  I mean, that’s it.  That was at the TOP of this guys list, along with some other things.  I was fascinated that he feels like he’s been missing out all these years and couldn’t participate because he was chained to full time employment.

Stories like these help keep me grounded and provide a benchmark for my own goals and dreams for how I might spend more free time.

At mid-life, unfortunately, there are a LOT of dead people piling up in my life. From my 4 high school friends to losing my first sibling a year ago.  Things get weird as you age.  They get weird in a way that you weren’t quite anticipating.

When we really reach financial independence what will you do?  How do you envision interacting with others?  Like family members that you only hear from when they want to borrow money?  Or bosses that don’t understand that you really don’t “need” this job?  I never liked the term “FU money”, so for me, it needs to go beyond that type of zero sum game rebellion.  It’s about digging deep to find what satisfies you in a way that you can also help others.

I’ve been taking some time to reflect upon the answers to some of these questions and they’re still not obvious.   There is no real “finish line”, there is just, “what’s next?”.