Zen and the Art of Being Frugal (From An Investor’s Perspective)

Zen and the Art of Being Frugal (From An Investor’s Perspective)

Most people I know would like to have more money; to go on epic vacations, to travel abroad, to buy a nice car, or even to just make sure all their debts are paid off. But is it such an evil thing to consider ‘wealth building’ as a viable goal?

I’d been contemplating about what an old high school aquaintance said about money being ‘the root to all evil’, and to be honest I found that statement to be a bit offensive. Let me explain…

I came from a poor family. My parents are retired now and have done well for themselves and enjoying their retirement. But back when us kids were small (there were five of us siblings), I remember a special Sunday treat was to go to Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. I just remember getting their basic hamburger and that was it. And while eating in the family station wagon, I remember relishing the pickle in that hamburger… Relish! (no pun intended).

But back to money being ‘the root to all evil’…. I disagree. I think you have to already have a greedy soul, or somehow developed a greedy persona… and you can still be greedy and still be poor. It is a mindset. And money is just an exchange of currency, a barter system, a means of exchanging one flow of energy for another. And the system, by itself, is not evil.

Case in point. Warren Buffett is a multi-billionaire investor who is typically within the top 4 richest people in the world. And he has a reputation for being uber rich AND uber frugal. He has lived in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska since 1958, I think. And his typical day is driving himself in his station wagon to get his breakfast from McDonald’s, then goes to his office to work, which is mostly reading the financial news. He likes Dairy Queen. Well, he owns Dairy Queen. But the point is that he lives a simple, frugal lifestyle, even though he’s one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Now, this is an extreme example of wealth and frugality. But I hope the point has gotten across.

Let’s look at myself…

I do want to enjoy life by traveling, living well, eating organic foods, do some fine dining here and there, and live under a decent roof (not a gianormous mansion, but a nice house). But, I also want to be comfortable financially. Maybe financial independence, retire early (FIRE) but at my age I’m already past that… but, like many, I wish to build wealth because I know how hard it can be to live being poor.

So, I personally would follow Warren Buffett’s lifestyle but not to that extreme. And there IS a thing called ‘stealth wealth’ in which people out there are rich, but they don’t show it and they don’t flaunt it. And there are practical reasons for this as well that I could go into another post to write about… maybe another time.

But building wealth is one of the big reasons any person would want to achieve: Being able to retire early. Not being tied down to a 9 to 5 job. Money can equate to freedom to do what you want to do for the rest of your life. Money equals freedom! Financial freedom! And that’s pretty much what I’m getting at…

Money is the root to all evil, only if the person has a greedy mind. Otherwise, money is the start of financial independence!

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Portfolio Manager & Musician

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