Chapter 4 - “Meditation, Consumerism, & The Simple Things” - The Incompetent Investor

Monday, December 3, 2018

Chapter 4 - “Meditation, Consumerism, & The Simple Things”

Meditation, Consumerism & the Simple Things
Introduction
Quick shout out for International Day of People with Disability, which was on the 3rd of December 2018. Start spreading the message, just because somebody has a disability does not mean they cannot contribute significantly to your organisation or community. Some of the brightest minds on the planet, past and current have some form of disability! The Disability sector is an untapped sector of the workforce that will empower the individual, the economy, and the organisation! 



I am heading back to Melbourne this week to visit the family. I must say, I do not miss the weather down south. I came into work Monday morning, and one of my colleagues proclaimed how hot it was over the weekend. It was a consistent scorching 35+ degrees over the weekend. I responded how pleasant it was. The horror in my colleagues face was rather amusing. She asked why I had not moved up to Darwin earlier. She made a very compelling point. Hot climates is the fundamental prerequisite for my utopia. I am also curious why I left the move so late.

In my mind, the only hesitation that held me back is my attachment to my family. It is the subtle family traditions that I miss most. Sunday night Curry Nights at the parents’ house was always amazing. Leaving your family behind is always the hardest part of relocating to a new place. Fortunately, in the present age, we are blessed with technology and logistical advancements that allow us to travel and communicate very easily. We are a fortunate generation that is for sure. In any case, I have finally made it to my paradise. If not Darwin down the road, it will be somewhere hot! 

Subjective Definition of FI & Fixating on Financial Independence


I often ask myself why I need financial independence. Since High School, it often entered my mind. I have been transparent in terms of the journey thus far; the ride has not been a steady one. I have met many people who are quite happy to allocate the minimum consistent allocations towards superannuation, take on enormous debt and just see what happens when they reach preservation age. Most of them appear happy and do not complain. Pending no health setbacks and a smooth working history, majority can retire comfortably in Australia. You see, financial independence is very subjective. 

For the mainstream Financial Independence advocate, it is generating adequate passive income to fund their lifestyle and expenses should they decide not work. On the other hand, for me, it is being able to support my son, my wife, myself AND my parents should they face some challenges in life. For instance, if my sibling/dad/mum was to lose their job because of their health for example, guess what, I have $150,000 of income coming in every year. I would not even hesitate to support them. 

I suppose what I am trying to say is, financial independence is a wonderful luxury to obtain, but it is not for everybody. FI extends beyond self-serving needs. While some of the above principles are not preached throughout the FIRE community, I would be confident that many, if not all, would also not hesitate to assist their family when in need. Speaking for myself, I believe it is important to remind ourselves of the finer points of life (family, being joyful & living in the present) to ensure we do not become too fanatical about reaching Financial Independence. While it is a huge priority of mine, I have learnt to take a deep breath and not fixate on it as often. 

Unfortunately, having lived with chronic nerve pain for 7+ years now, Financial Independence is certainly triggered more frequently when I have a rough day. Thoughts such as, “if I was FI, I could just stay at home and not endure the expectations of my working commitments alongside this pain”. While you may not endure chronic pain, perhaps you fixate on Financial Independence for others reasons. For instance, perhaps you have a tough working environment, or you often compare yourself to others through Facebook (which we are all guilty of from time to time), or maybe you are eager to travel the world to broaden your interpretations of the world. We all have different reasons as to why at times we can fixate on Financial Independence. I have found some great tools to ensure you remain balanced and down to earth on the journey to Financial Independence. 

Meditation

You are probably thinking what the heck does meditation have to do with financial independence. Well, for some context, growing up in a Hindu household, I always went to Pujas (Indian cultural celebrations) and would regularly meditate. The problem was though; I did not meditate because I wanted to, I meditated because my parents would always drag me along. Fast forward circa 25 years, and I can finally say I have been enlightened on the benefits of meditation. You certainly will not see me meditating for 30 minutes; no way, stuff that, I prefer ‘quality over quantity’.  10 minutes is more than enough. I highly recommend downloading the application called “Insight Timer”. It is great for beginners and you will be amazed how you feel afterwards. This application encourages thoughtless awareness. That simply means not thinking. Just for a brief period of the day, you do not have to think about FI, the stock market, real estate, personal problems, relationships, needs and wants, and everything else in-between. Not thinking is actually really difficult. 

There is a lot of research that argues the benefits of meditation. Take a quick read at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858 to get an overview of some of the benefits of meditation. Having started meditating each night before bed has definitely helped with the journey to Financial Independence. It has also helped me appreciate the finer qualities of life. For instance, simply waking up and walking is a blessing in disguise. Sure, you may be many years of FI, or perhaps you do not have your dream job, have a long-term injury, but you need to recognise some people were never given the opportunity to even make it to their adult-life. I find that reminding yourself to be grateful to be alive, having employment and having access to free healthcare if needed as a great strategy to become more grateful for the life we lead.

When I worked in a call centre, in a complaints environment, I found it extremely difficult to be rationale on how lucky I was. However, each time I hit a wall, I reminded myself that millions of people, maybe even billions of people O/S would dream to have the same job I did, in the call centre, being paid $30 bucks an hour. Had I not reminded myself frequently, I am not sure I would have stuck with the job. In the end, my resilience grew significantly. In addition, having got through a complaints role being on the phone, talking, up to 7 hours a day, I now know I can get through any job. I cannot help but notice that we all have a sense of entitlement. It is a tough world out there. No wonder the developed world has high rates of mental illness. Reminding ourselves of the luxuries we have in a development country is a great tool that aligns well with Financial Independence.

In summary, be grateful to be alive, live each day at a time and remain resilient towards setbacks financially. You may obtain FI latter than your peers, that is okay, as long as you remain joyful and healthy, disciplined, and humble. You will reach it one day, and when you do, you will truly appreciate it! Most importantly, do not forget to enjoy life along the way! 
Consumerism & Finer Points of Life 

When I say enjoy life along the way, I do not mean go out and buy shit loads of depreciating assets ha ha. You cannot buy happiness I reckon. Going to the local park with the family and the dogs is free! That being said, I am a bit of a hypocrite. I have been fighting my inner-demon (consumerism monster) for weeks. I’ve recently moved to Darwin and with any move, it takes time to build a network of friends. On top of that, I have a meniscus tear, so playing basketball on the weekends is also not an option unfortunately. I am a long time proud serving gamer. Is it time to buy a gaming computer? I do not technically need a gaming computer, but I would love one so I can hibernate on weekends and fight glorious battles for the virtual empire. Having meditated over the last few weeks (lol), my mind is clear and I have made peace with the decision to invest in a depreciating asset. Sometimes you just need to detach from the justification from providing rationale on every buy. Although, this mind-set is dangerous, the purchases could spiral out of control delaying Financial Independence for years, even decades! I suppose the point I am making is, sometimes it is okay to just go and make a purchase. What good is all the money in the world if you are six feet under? The key is be reasonable, intelligent, and responsible.

When we purchased a 2008 Honda Accord Euro for $23,000, looking back this was not an intelligent decision for the position my family was in at the time. I recently had my vehicle valued; my mechanic advised I would be lucky to get $3000. That is a $20,000 loss not including opportunity costs! Was this a smart purchase? Definitely not and I am happy to acknowledge that mistake. I was hyped by the idea of the vehicle having leather seats. It did not even matter in the end; the dogs destroyed the leather seats! Mechanically, the car has been awesome. Therefore, I can walk away with a small victory. Impulsive decisions can be a curse, so if you are like me, sit on it for a day, and then make the decision. This is something I continue to work on. To conclude this segment, I believe it is okay to make purchases that you value (in moderation).

I also believe that you do not need to spend large amounts of money to enjoy a good life. Make some fresh rolls, throw it in the bag and then head to the cinemas with the family. Head down to the local park with the dogs and have a picnic. Go for a bicycle ride as a family followed by a movie at home with home cooked food! Always a good reminder to be grateful. There is normally 99 great things going on, and 1 bad thing, and the 1 bad thing normally takes up 90% of our brain space. 
I am interested to know, what is Financial Independence to you? What have you been thinking about buying recently? Have you tried meditation, and if so, has it helped you with your journey to Financial Independence? Next Portfolio update will be on coming soon..


Disclaimer: The information on this website is general information and should not be taken as financial advise. I am simply documenting my journey and experience. I am also not a licensed Financial Adviser. You should always seek independent legal, financial, taxation and other advise that relates to your unique circumstances. The Incompetent Investor is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this website.

5 comments:

  1. I first tried meditation a few months ago using a free app called Headspace. I can't say that I'm very good at meditating, and to be honest the main thing which I think I'm getting out of it is just focussing on my breathing and relaxing. I do this just before I go to sleep and it definitely helps me with that at least, although that's probably not how it's actually supposed to work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How is the app? It is hard I agree. It's funny you say that, last night I also fell asleep. Felt awesome. Woke up struggling to get out of bed. Felt like i was in a ultra deep sleep. It was great.

    I think from what you are saying you are getting exactly what you want out of a short meditation session. Relaxing & breathing is a awesome start, and if that is all you end up getting, that within itself is awesome. Some of us cant even relax throughout the day. It is a great tool to have. I reckon at the end of a stressful week of all the drama, 10 mins of meditation helps significantly!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really enjoying reading your blog.
    I'm currently endeavouring NOT to lash out $6000 on the new Sony A9F TV. So reading some of your wisdoms has steered this ship back on track.

    Looking forward to next month's update.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there mate,
    Sounds like a pretty hectic TV! Imagine watching a Science-Fiction move on that thing.
    I like you, love electronics.
    Our future self will surely thank us!
    Cheers for reading, it is much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This blog is so valuable. A present for the blog perusers.
    Benefits of meditation

    ReplyDelete