This past week I attended a full day of volleyball tournaments for my daughter’s team. These tend to be pretty long days and we end up becoming good friends with the other parents. At one point, I was talking to a few of the other Dads about yard work and happened to catch myself saying, “Buying a bigger house is the last thing I would ever do.”
This seems so crazy to me now, because having a McMansion was one of my BIG goals twenty years ago. Back in 2007, I was one initial away from buying my dream 8,500 square foot home with 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. It was amazing, but would have been a major mistake.
If I dig a little into why I wanted the big house, it is easy to see that I wanted to impress everyone. I wanted to impress my family, my wife’s family, and all of my friends. Buying this big house would have eliminated a significant portion of my time freedom, as I would have had to work more to furnish, heat, cool, and maintain the home. I would have been stressed out all of the time and would have ended up hating my life. In essence, I was about to trade away my time and peace of mind for a larger home. The crazy part is it was way too big for our family of four!
Today, I absolutely love my 2,300 square foot home with it’s smaller yard. We’ve owned this home the last 15 years and have no plans to ever sell it. I’m the Cashflownaire next door!
I’m sure you’ve heard this song:
This is really a great way to arrange life, isn’t it? Living like a millionaire without trading your life away to become a millionaire.
There is actually a cool book written by Mark Ford titled, “Living Rich: How to Live As Well As a Billionaire on a Middle Class Budget!” detailing how to do this. It’s available on Amazon for 45 bucks. You may be able to download this book for free at this link. (You’ll have to opt-in to get it . You’ll also be offered a wealth building program and other products, which I’m not endorsing. This is not an affiliate link. I just really liked the book. Also, Mark Ford uses the pen name: Michael Masterson and has written several great books!)
One of my favorite strategies from this book is what he wrote about our homes.
“Keeping a home for a long period of time gives you the best chance of saving a great deal of money. There are utilities, insurance, taxes, ext. that typically increase in direct proportion to the dollar value of the house. There are also less obvious costs – call them social costs – such as what sort of car you drive, what sort of furniture you buy, whether you send your kids to private school, and what schools you choose. These costs can be huge, yet most people do not consider them when thinking about “moving up” as their income increases.”
Mark suggests making your present (smaller) home more enjoyable instead of moving up.
“Even though the $20,000 you may spend renovating a kitchen is not money you’d get back later if you sold, the pleasure it will give you – in terms of a rich life – could be enormous. Meanwhile, the extra $100,000 you spend on a bigger house could easily cost you more than $1 million in social costs over twenty years.”
Mark went on to explain that he and his wife decided to stay in their home instead of buying a larger home. Each year they make a different improvement and they’ve ended up having a home they absolutely love.
“Your home should be a place that gives you constant pleasure. You should love everything about it – from its architecture and landscaping to its interior spaces and furnishings. You should enjoy spending time in every part of your garden and in every room – in the kitchen and living areas, in every bedroom, and even in the bathrooms and closets. The maintenance and upkeep of your home should not be, as it is for many, nothing but an expense and a hassle. It should be a happy, ongoing project for you – a work of art that you continue to refine and reshape.”
Notice none of this refers to the size of the home, or the size of the yard? It’s about making your home, whatever size it may be, into something you love. Mark applies this same idea to every area of our lives including clothing, cars, food, and travel in his Living Rich book.
I found the ideas in this book to be helpful, because it allowed me to see I could have an amazing life without having to rebuild my 7 figure net worth.
Who knows, it may be helpful for you, too.