Thankful Thursday – A Mountain of Mentors

Ever since that time I bought the big house in Toronto and found myself waist-deep in a much higher cost of living, I’ve been seeking out ways to make it all smaller. The big house coincided with the big job so the bills were manageable. But as fun as it was to decorate the place, the whole lifestyle went against my core values. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live in a big house. It just wasn’t what I wanted. It bugged me to pay a premium for everything simply because of my postal code. (It didn’t help that the move didn’t save any time on my early morning commute, either!) After a complete gutting and remodeling of the kitchen, the two of us still only used about 2/3 of the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home. It was ridiculous.

Derek and I live in a modest bungalow which he bought on the cheap when it needed almost everything replaced or redone. Most of that work has been completed, although there’s always something to do when you own a house. Still, I find myself wanting to simplify even further. It’s not only about money. It’s about reducing responsibilities and concentrating precious time on what matters.

This article from CNN Money is something I wish was available back when I started thinking about this.  A couple came to a realization earlier in life that they were putting priorities on the wrong things – wrong for them.  They made significant changes to their lifestyle and are on track to retire for good before they’re 40 years old. They’re inspirational!

I find that the best financial mentorship comes from those who are younger than we are. They’ve figured it out earlier. They’re bravely taking leaps without being shackled by conventional thinking. Retiring at 40 didn’t happen for us and I’m not sure we will ever, truly retire anyway. Not from freelance work. But learning about those who have said to society, to heck with you ’cause we’re going to do things our way, always gives me a little lift and reminds me that the only limitations in life exist between our ears.

Another couple I follow on Instagram offer an even smaller lifestyle; Paging Adventure.  They live in a converted school bus and hit the road every three months. Living like nomads isn’t without its own set of problems but they solve them together and document them for the world to see. I also read a blog post this week – and I’m paraphrasing – that there comes a time when you realize that a $300 watch and a $30 watch keep the same time. I like nice things. But I don’t like wasting money. And a long walk along a river doesn’t cost a thing.



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