Posts tagged money
"Follow Your Heart & Enjoy Your Life" - Talking Money with a Care-Free Balinese
Estimated reading time: 2'

Estimated reading time: 2'

 

I met Miloone on my last day on Gili Trawangan island, Indonesia, he was the friend of the hotel manager.

I had not been able to take out cash from multiple ATMs the previous night and it was time to check-out.

Like most places out there, they don’t accept debit cards, and I was slightly panicking at the idea of being stranded on an island with no money, and the embarrassment of not being able to pay for my room. Every backpacker’s nightmare.

Miloone offered to walk me to the bank. He was walking barefoot on the concrete, serene.

On the way, he insisted on getting me water.

 

“Don’t stress, just relax. Think about the moment. You are in beautiful Bali, look around you!

Personally, I am an introvert, and I like to observe what is happening around me and take it all in. 

I’ve lived in New Zealand and in Lombok (i.e. the closest big city in Indonesia). 

Over there, people worried about money too much.

It was all about competition, and making money, but they didn’t enjoy the moment, they barely spent them with their family, or in nature. 

It was too intense for me.

I moved back because I was looking for freedom. I found my freedom here.”

 

I asked how he defined freedom.

 

“It’s a peace of mind. I can be free to be me. Without caring about having people judge me. Without caring about what my salary is.

Without feeling the pressure of being better than the person next to me.

Here, we do not worry about money as much. At least, less people do.

If a friend or family member needs help, we’ll support him. 

We are all in this together, different but the same.

And if I ever feel the need to unwind, I can walk to the beach and look at the sea. It’s the most relaxing thing I know.

So for your situation, don’t be scared, let life happen, don’t let the ego take control, follow your heart instead. You’ll figure it out, you always do”.

 

I knew he was right, but I also was starting to think of the different ways to solve my situation and could not really focus on anything else.

 

We arrived at the bank. The bills came out.

 

I offered to pay back the water.

“Next time. You’ll be back. You know… Bali is dangerous”, he said.

“Why?”

“Because when people leave, they remember. He pocks at his temple.

They remember our mindset”.

Quality Over Quantity
Estimated reading time: 3'30

Estimated reading time: 3'30

I've always admired Minimalists. Those people who flip the bird to our materialistic society and are satisfied with the bare minimum.

So I was curious to know how my roommate Mark had become one.

"It was back in 2010. I was a typical Investment Banker in NYC at the time. Roughless, ultra ambitious, liberate materialistic. In the world I lived in, the very rich wanted to be ultra rich and show that they had the good life. Money had become an ego thing.

To feel very happy for the rest of their lives, they felt that they had to be known, rich and powerful. Their lives were all about status, wanting more. First having a house in the Hampton, then in Saint Tropez, then becoming a millionaire, a billionaire etc. And I was on the fast track to becoming one of them.

My Managing Director at the time was deep into that lifestyle. He was spending 250 000 dollars a month on rent for different apartments. He used to eat brunch at Saint Ambrose, the kind of places that would gather the creme of the Upper East Side, where the table where you sit matters and displays your social status. He was also fascinated by models, young blonde Russians bimbos, which would eventually cause the end of his marriage.

One night, while I was celebrating Christmas Eve with my family, he asked to come over to his place. He asked me to stop by and have dinner with him because he had no one around him (his wife had left him and his daughter hated him), so I showed up. He cried.

That night, he said 'you remind me of myself when I was young'. At the time, I took it as a compliment, but looking back at it, I'd do anything to not end up like him. He was not happy."

"Two months after that night, the seed had sprouted in my head. I completely changed my lifestyle.

I quit my job, moved out of NYC, applied for Business school, somehow got accepted. I also got involved in a serious relationship, which was easier now that I had a 9 to 5 schedule and was free on the weekends.

Eventually, I decided to travel and had to get rid of all of the stuff that I could not carry around in a bag: I left them in a storage room and ended up forgetting about them.

When I got back home a year later, my things had been auctioned. Surprisingly, I was not upset, I actually felt relieved. I got forced to become a minimalist, but then I liked it. 

Here is how it works:

I only buy what I really need. I do not feel the urge to spend money on things anymore as much, and I'd rather buy one expensive thing than 10 cheap crap. 

For example for clothes, there's an app that I use called Stitch fix. They follow me on Pinterest, analyse my style and send me minimalist clothes, and I send back what I do not like.

2. I'd rather spend money on experiences anyways: travels, festivals, drinks with good friends etc... I'm a lot more content this way. 

3. Same goes with people, I'd rather have 5 reliable friends than 100 fake ones.

4. I have not become a hippy that does not care about money, but I do not rely on external factors (wether it is money, things, love in fact) to make me happy, it comes from inside.

5. I know that I have to take care of myself (watch my sleep, diet, health in general), be self-aware, know myself really well to make decisions that truly make me happy.  One tip to get to know yourself better is to start figuring out why you get angry: dig deep on the source of your anger (it could go as far as childhood). Once you understand yourself better, you also understand others and develop empathy. And as a result, you'll get less annoyed by others, happier.

6. I still want to be successful, but not to prove anything to other people. I do not care about other people's opinions anymore. I ignore their power games, the gossips, the politics. It is like poison.

7. Now I create value (I am a Product Manager), and it feels more fulfilling because I have a meaning.

Having money and being happy is not contradictory, as long as you have a purpose, I think.

Look at Warren Buffet. He is a minimalist, he is the ultimate role model, the second richest man in the planet, he lives a very simple life and he is happy."

One week later, as I was about to move to a different city, I got rid of 75% of my things so that everything could fit into one luggage. 

A first step towards the Minimalist lifestyle.

Anybody else has given Minimalism a try?
What Are You Working Hard For?
Estimated reading time: 2'20

Estimated reading time: 2'20

Last Friday night, I stumbled upon an old friend in a bar in Stockholm. It was quite a surprise because he hasn’t gone out much since he’s had children.

In Sweden, having children is a much smoother process than in many other parts of the world. As a parent, you get plenty of paid time off (480 days per child at 80–100% of your salary, to be precise), you get to work from home, finish earlier, etc, so you can fully relax and embrace parenthood.

Being myself in my late 20s, more and more of my friends are having families, and I’ve heard a few times that before you have children, you had better enjoy going out and travel as much as you can. So unsurprisingly, my first question was:

"- Don’t you miss this life, though?

- Not really, actually I can’t wait to go home".

Oh, OK. As I tried to not take this comment personally, he continued.

"- It’s fun going out, but I’ve had my time. I used to party a lot, be selfish, go after the money, buy things like clothes and cars for my own pleasure. But I didn’t know what I was working hard for, I had no purpose. Now I do.

- It sounds like you were a zombie and woke up from the dead!

- Yeah, pretty much. One day, my girlfriend brought me a napkin on which was written “Baby onboard”. I didn’t get why she showed me that at first since we weren’t trying to conceive, but once I understood she was carrying my child, I was over the moon. That day, it felt like God came to me and said: “Burre, from now on, you are a different person”. And I became a better person.

I started to treat my girlfriend like a princess. I wanted to know how she was doing, what she was thinking about at any time, I had to make sure that she was safe, that the baby was safe. And whatever we used to fight about did not matter anymore. There’s been a switch: I now have a purpose, I know why I wake up in the morning, why I work hard. My family is everything for me and I’d do anything for them.

There’s just no way to describe the feeling you have when you hold your baby for the first time and he looks at you in the eyes. And when your child smiles at you, it is the best sensation in the world. This is when life begins.

It is interesting to see that, when you have not experienced this, you think that your life will end. But when you are on the other side, it begins. it’s just different chapters.

- I can’t wait for you to have your own, you’ll understand, ended Burre, confident. 

- I will… One day. But first, more parties and more traveling :)".