During the past three years, I've been plotting my future. Conceiving it, researching approaches and scoping out options. I'm pretty clear now on what I want to do with the next thirty years. I just need to pull the cord and set plans in motion. That will hopefully happen in 2022.
The process involves several transitions. Some I've talked about, some I haven't (yet). They include: (1) public gender identity/presentation; (2) shifting from my work as a lawyer to playing with art (broadly defined); (3) diving into subjects that interest me, like anthropology, archaeology and the past; (4) contemplating and writing about intellectual issues and philosophy.
One transition which affects many others is money. Not just the use of it but my mental relation to it.
Money is a complex subject for all of us. We're taught an attitude in childhood which becomes deeply ingrained. Some of us revise or change that attitude in adulthood, but most of us keep the attitude constant throughout our lives.
I was raised by immigrants who were highly anxious about survival. Money was a huge topic because it often meant the difference between comfort and disaster. My family was lower-middle class all of its existence. My parents strove to raise kids with limited funds. They succeeded but not without stress and persistent effort.
I inherited that anxiety. I was taught to be frugal, not to waste money and to be minutely concerned with its presence or absence. During my four decades in the workforce, I managed a reasonable life on a middle class income. I live in a modest home in an ordinary suburb. I've enjoyed few indulgences and even my passions (e.g., motorcycling) have been done cheap. In short, I'm like most people -- a struggling worker who puts in full-time hours 51 weeks a year. I can't remember ever taking more than a week off for vacation.
So my plan for the future involves precisely that. All my activities will be within my financial means. I won't have to worry about paying for old age. I've stockpiled enough cash to last me the rest of my life no matter how long I live or what happens to my health. I'm set.
I achieved this position by saving money during the last decade of my career (when I was earning the most) and investing it very wisely. I took a chunk of cash (roughly equal to one year's income) and multiplied it forty times, turning it into several millions. When I start the next phase of my life, I'll convert 80% of that fortune into cash which will protect me from any fluctuations in the stock market or crypto-currency world. I'll sit on top of a pile of cash that will enable me to draw from and not worry about disappearing. Again, the paramount goal is to be financially situated so I don't have to worry any more.
The challenge now is to adapt my thinking to my reality. To not scrimp by habit. To stop depriving myself of small luxuries I can actually afford. I'm working on that. It isn't as easy as it sounds but I'm conscious of the problem and committed to making necessary change.
How do you relate to money?