You’ve decided that you no longer want to save any of your income toward FIRE each month. Instead, you’re going to spend it. How would you use your new disposable income? This is a thought experiment proposed by The Saving Ninja.

Realistically, the chances of me not wanting to save for financial independence or FIRE today are non-existent. As I grew up as a poor kid, for me, saving money every month and keeping my monthly cash flow positive is an unalterable rule.

Having said that, imagining myself spending all my money isn’t as easy as it may first seem. I think the best way to reflect on this is by imagining myself being “someone else” or by putting myself in situations where something that happened made me change my priorities. 

What these could be?

1.  I’ve reached my one million goal

It could well be that after reaching one million, I decide to not save any more money for at least some time. According to my last update on my projected plan, that could happen in the next eight years. As a celebration, I would love to spend one year travelling around the world with my future wife, however, I will quite likely have kids by that time (or hope so), so it would probably have to be reduced with fewer months. 

To be honest, given the current inflation outlook and despite originally adding “margin of safety” to my numbers, I am not sure if I will feel enough financially secured to forget about saving money after one million, but if I were, I would definitely spend on my own and my future kids’ education, on enjoying more experiences that would make me happy, on donating a bit more, and on anti-ageing kits!

2. Terminal illness

A terminal illness would change my saving priorities immediately. Words such as compounding, saving, investing for the future, or investing in yourself would be removed from my dictionary. I would instead try to live my life to the limit. If my illness allowed me, I would travel the world, try as many cuisines as possible and try any experience that looks worth having. If my energy levels go south, I would try to compensate by trying some drugs to see whether that could keep me going until the time of saying goodbye arrives (if possible and considering I had no kids!).

3. Career change

A career change is something I’ve been pondering for a while now. Although it’s unlikely to happen abruptly, it’s never too late to change your career. If I had a clear opportunity, e.g I’d lose my job amid a lockdown, then I would go for pushing towards web development. That means I would have to live off my passive income, which is not enough to cover all my expenses. In this situation, I’d spend it all on food and basic needs.

4. Brain injury

Another situation could be that I would suffer from a brain injury after an accident. Although I think saving money is one of the last things I would probably forget about, it is still a possibility. Your guess on how I’d spend my money in that situation is as good as mine, though! Maybe on doctors trying to recover my memory? 🙂

5. Becoming a father

I am around that age when many of my close friends became or have recently become parents. They all say the same thing — having a kid changes your life completely.

How could becoming a father affect my saving priorities? Will I still be able to set aside any money for FIRE? Our combined household income isn’t something extraordinary, so I could be put in the situation in which I need to choose between side hustling like crazy or deciding to not save (much) in exchange for spending more time with my family. Knowing myself, I know I’ll decide on the second one. So in this situation, I would spend it all in making sure my family is the happiest family on the planet or nearly as close to as possible. I guess I am after all still Spanish, and our culture says that family stays above everything else.

Final Words

These are the situations in which my saving for FIRE goals could be put “at-risk”. The main conclusion and reflection of this thought experiment are that spending on having experiences is more important to me than spending on materialistic possessions. I don’t fear not having, I fear missing out on great experiences or personal achievements. However, life is long (or I expect so) and my desires can change someday as I grow older, there may be a time when I crave owning a Porsche if I manage to afford it? 🙂

Check these other thoughts experiments to read about other points of view: