I am an easy going person who bites her tongue a lot when people give their opinions of things that I don't agree with because after all we each have free speech and a right to our own opinion.
However there is one phrase that I hate and that is:
"You are lucky." Over the years I have heard that over and over again. I have always bit my tongue until this last time. It was used shall we say "by a friend". This friend was talking about "her friend" and told me that we were so much "luckier" than "her friend" because we traveled cross country whenever we wanted to. That her friend was never able to spend a holiday with her because she didn't have "our kind of money". The conversation got even worse than those phrases. For expediency to get to my point, I won't repeat the entire conversation. But the insinuation that somehow this was our FAULT was in the conversation. I was beyond ticked! I definitely went a little over board in my response even though I did try to measure it. Anyhow it is now done and over with and my "friend" and I have let it go. However I want to make a point.
First of all, "my friend" has no idea what " our kind of money" means because I do not share our net worth openly with any friend. Secondly, we were "lucky" that we have that "kind of money" hit below the belt.
Luck has nothing to do with our financial situation today. It never has. Building a net worth that can sustain financial independence isn't about luck. It is about "your choices" and all of your "hard work". Lots of choices were made over these many years to get us to where we are today. Hubby had many career choices to make. We scrimped and saved so that he was able to graduate with three college degrees. Without those college degrees, we would not be where we are today. They led to his first job, his second job and his last job. No one handed those degrees to him. They were expensive and we paid for all of them. Was he lucky? No. He had made a career choice many years ago that got us to where we are today. The choice to change jobs twice was not an easy one because he worked for two major corporations where he could rise quickly in the ranks. He chose to leave those for a job that would not pay as well but that he considered a challenge and would love. However, the benefits were better and they weighed heavily in his decision. Without the graduate degrees he would not have risen as quickly in his last job as he did. But we never made money that would make us rich quickly. We made good choices over many years that made us a healthy net worth. We are not perfect, we make mistakes and we have made plenty of them. But we always kept our eye on our goals.
We made everyday choices for over 30 years that brought us to where we are today. We decided how we would spend our money and how we would invest it. We decided most importantly how much we would spend and how much we would invest. We never let envy of "the Joneses" make our decisions. And NONE of it was luck! It took hard work and dedication to reach our goals. And as you all know from reading this blog, we continue to make those choices every day. Inflation hits retirees hard if they don't plan for it. I don't have a clue as to how long Hubby and I will live but we have to plan for many more years. We have to save in order to keep up with inflation and to get us through bad economic times in our country. We have never relied on anyone but ourselves and we don't plan on it any time soon.
We had what we considered a normal middle class life. Our children lacked for nothing. We chose private schools for them for junior high and high school. One child chose a private college and the other a state college. They didn't graduate with a boat load of college loans. We paid for most of college. They were our choices as to how we spent our money.
We spent according to what we thought was important and invested to what our goals were. We didn't waste our money on frivolous purchases that would sink our goals. We did all of our own work around the house. Everything with the house, lawn care, and maintenance of the car was DIY. We educated ourselves on how to do these things. No one taught us. There was a lot of hard work and sweat that went into our decisions. We regret none of our decisions in life. We have loved all of the sweat and planning that went into it. We have loved all of the self-learning that has gone into it. No one taught us about investing. We educated ourselves. We watched what people who were rich did and learned from them. It took hard work and dedication. So don't tell me we were lucky!
One of the reasons I got so angry with the comments that were made by my friend is that "her friend" and hubby have worked two jobs for 30 years. The income has been from two careers, one from each of them. I was a SAHM and wife for 25 years. I worked a part time job for 1 year and full time jobs for 10+ years total. Don't try to tell me that we made more money than they did. Besides they are still working.
The reason that they don't have "our kind of money" is because of the choices they made in their life that have brought them to where they are today. They are not my fault. They are their decisions. Whether right for them or not, they made them and now they have to own them.
We have been financially independent for almost 15 years. So don't tell me that where we are today is because we were lucky! It is because of good planning and solid decisions that helped us build our net worth not sink it.
So the next time that you see someone who seems to be well off, don't think "how lucky they are". Remember, that they worked hard and made choices to get to where they are today. Don't be envious of them; learn from them. You don't have to ask them about money just look at what they do and how they live. It may teach you a lot.
To change the subject..... I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We certainly did. But it is back to normal today. The winds are howling and the house is creaking. It is wet and rainy. I was going to go out to UPS to ship something to my DIL that she left here. I think I will wait until tomorrow.
While my family from the east side of NY was here, we surprised them and celebrated their wedding anniversary. They will be married 19 years tomorrow. We took all of us out to dinner at our local Italian restaurant on Friday evening. We enjoyed good food...appetizers, drinks, French onion soup, Italian dinner entrees and a great bottle of wine to toast to the occasion. We were so full that there wasn't room for dessert. They loved it all.
Hubby and I will be eating leftover ham and twice baked potato casserole a lot this week. I will also be making bean and ham soup, one of our very favorites. This morning I spent some time freezing leftover muffins, rolls and cinnamon buns so that they won't go bad before we can eat them. I hope you all have a great day and evening.