Okay, we are absolutely swimming in it this month – bonuses for both my wife and I finally got rolled into our bank accounts recently, leaving us with an additional $6+k (before taxes) in cash – beautiful cold hard cash. And I love the smell of money. I’m practically hearing the wonderful clinging sound of coins bouncing off of each other as they literally fall from the sky out of some invisible caldron of money!
Imagine the amount of bacteria, though, that gets onto our money supply. How disgusting.
But, I digress. Focus, Steve.
Okay, back to the topic at hand. We have several thousand dollars of additional income sitting in our bank account. So, what in the hell do we do with all this beautiful money?
Maybe my wife and I feel like we deserve a treat. Hell, we both work hard all year long, so what’s wrong with spending some (or all!) of our bonus money on shit that we probably won’t use, but we still buy to bring us that tempting temporary happiness? Maybe we should live a little.
But no, that’s not the smart thing to do with our money. The smart thing is to save. Forgo current happiness for the benefit of our futures. Right?
Well hell, an E* Trade survey apparently found that less than 28% of those surveyed use their bonus money to save for retirement. Less than 28%? What are they thinking? Why would people blow through additional cash so recklessly and without a second thought?
Oh crap, wait a minute. I was one of those people too. Steve, get off of your high horse, pal.
There was once a time in the not-so-distant past that I would have, well, spent that shit. I mean, almost all of it. Maybe a new camera or lens, new wheels for my (now sold) Corvette – that freaking money-pit of a car.
I remember one year I blew through the majority of my bonuses paying a landscaping guy to remove all the weeds (I’m talking man-sized mutant weeds) from my backyard, filling the area with decorative rock and building a little elevated grilling area with brick. Okay, maybe this added value to the home, but nothing that I couldn’t have done myself…if I wasn’t so damn lazy at the time.
A new computer here. A ungodly-huge flat screen monitor there. Oh hey, that new Chromebook looks totally badass, let’s buy it! Fuck, I was a mess.
But hey, you live and learn, right?
This time, I’m being boring with my bonuses. Boring to my current self, but damn generous to my future self. Both my wife and I are saving 100% of this additional beautiful cash, and will do likewise with any other bonuses that we get throughout the year.
We’re saving it all. Every damn penny.
You probably know by now that my wife and I have a dream. We have a dream of picking up our lives and moving up to Sedona, AZ in the near future to live out the rest of our lives surrounded by red rocks in northern Arizona. Gawd, beautiful country up there.
A part of that plan includes a town house purchase next year, and we are contributing a portion of our savings to the eventual down payment. Half of our bonus money will be plopped directly into our down payment fund and the other half directly into our long term savings account.
How boring. Totally boring. No new television. No upgrade to my Chromebook computer, monitors or photography equipment.
But come retirement time, this apparent boring use of our bonus money will be magically transformed into one of the best decisions that we’ve made – over and over again. Neither my wife or I want more crap around the house to maintain. We want northern Arizona.
Priorities, ladies and gentlemen. Jobless bliss in the very near future, coupled with stunning beauty in 360-degrees, is our priority.
Let’s make it happen, one bonus at a time!
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.