Mar 30, 2009

Money Well Spent Part I

There's an oft cited example of personal finance that revolves around the issue of a $4 latte. The typical theory is that if one was to stop buying a daily latte, and instead invest the money, they would be rich. The math and the logic behind that argument is generally hard to refute, but as it is so often with life, the "right" choice is not always the best choice.

While I am in pursuit of financial freedom, I am attempting to rearrange how I think and view money. I have already begun to prioritize, address my ignorance and my fears, and determine for myself what kind of money I want. Along that path I have begun to realize one of the purposes that money serves. For me, money opens up the possibility of experiences.

This issue arose just yesterday as some friends and I went on a cafe crawl across Vancouver. We started at my apartment, where I made breakfast for six people. From there, we went to six different cafes around Vancouver and the North Shore, tasting espresso, taking pictures, and driving around in the drizzling rain. This type of experience is not a cheap one, but I feel as though it is worth the money. Breakfast for six people is not the most efficient way of saving money for a wedding, but it was worth it. It created an experience that I will likely remember and cherish for years to come.

Money in and of itself is worthless. It's only value is the value that we place on it, in exchange for other things. We give up our time and energy for money. We give up our money for food, a place to sleep, and sometimes, for good experiences. Sometimes an experience is worth the money. Sometimes, a latte is worth four dollars. So sure, if I choose to not buy a $4 latte, I'm four dollars closer to financial freedom, or retirement, or getting out of debt. But when I get there, will I be rich?

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