"We have enough money to do whatever we want; we just don't have enough money to do everything we want." ~Ruth Somers
What is the first thing you think when you hear that a friend is doing something unique, exotic, grand or fun? "Boy, I'd love to do that!" is normally what comes to mind. The next thought that flashes through your mind? "How much did that cost?" Yup, my friends, for many of us it always comes back to the dollars and cents. Paying the mundane bills takes everything we have so figuring out how to finance our goals and dreams is top of mind.
During my talks with Annie and Irene the issue of money came up and they pretty much came from the same place. They did not let money dictate what they wanted to do but it did frame their options. Irene is committed to giving back to her community through volunteer work. She began in her local community and when the time was right she expanded her horizons to include the international community. She found programs in countries that allowed her to travel, interact with international cultures and make a difference in those countries within her retirement budget. As Irene told me, "These aren't 5-Star hotels but they are clean and safe and allow me to do the work I want to do."
Annie's first comment about money was, "I hesitate to say what Michael and I spent because I don't want people to think they have to do it the way we did. We saw people backpacking and spending less than twenty dollars a day in some countries. Others would work a while in one country to earn money before heading on to the next country." Annie's point was if you want to take a trip, there are many ways to go about it. To get a sense of Annie and Michael's trip, check out Dear Burglar...
Not that Annie doesn't live in the real world of electric payments and mortgages. She went through the exercise of "scrubbing" their bills the year before the trip. She went line-by-line with the phone company representative to see where they could cut. She reviewed every bill from their insurance coverage to their dinning out budget, making cuts were it made sense. Annie was surprised at the amount of money she and Michael saved the following year after that exercise.
Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying that "Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the 'gotta have it' scale." and I don't disagree. I don't discount the importance of money particularly in our society but I have found that it is more about setting priorities in life than the amount of money you have in your bank account. Do you want the biggest house in the neighborhood or the freedom to travel? Do you need three walk-in closets full of clothes or do you want the time to volunteer at the local school? Do you need to stay in a 5-Star hotel in Brazil or could you sign-up for an international home exchange program? I make no judgment on the validity of each choice and maybe you are able to do it all.
But if you are longing to do something and you believe money is what is stopping you, I suggest you think again. Look at your priorities, scrub your bills and be creative in your solutions. You may find that it is not money that is stopping you at all.