The other day the tire pressure warning light came on when I was driving to work. After checking pressure in each tire and filled them up, I thought that would be the end of it. A few days later, the light came on again while I was driving to work.
Oh no, does this mean a slow leak in one of the tires?
When I got to work, I checked the pressure and found out that one of the tires was much lower than a few days prior. I knew I had to go into a shop to get it checked. After a few meetings at work, I drove to Kal Tire to see if they could repair the tire.
The Unexpected Expense
The technician did a quick check and confirmed that there was indeed a hole in the tire caused by a small nail.
Unfortunately, the location of the hole was on the sidewall, so the tire was not repairable.
The ~1 year old tire was no good. I had to replace it.
I was not happy when I received the news. Because it meant spending money to place the tire.
Then the Kal Tire technician explained I couldn’t just replace one tire. I had to replace 2 tires minimum to make sure the car would stay balanced. He also asked if we drove in mountain areas in the winter time. He then went on saying if we didn’t have tires with the snowflake symbol, technically we wouldn’t be insured by ICBC if we had an accident while driving in mountain areas during winter. Therefore, he recommended getting all-weather tires.
This meant replacing all four tires.
So my options were either getting 2 new 3-season tires, or getting 4 new all-weather tires.
Whichever my decision was, this was a rather large unexpected expense.
Given that we had a couple of unexpected expenses in 2017 already, I was not happy to see yet another unexpected expense.
Then it hit me…
Earlier that day I found out some terrible, heart breaking news.
A co-worker’s wife passed away after battling cancer for 10 months.
Another co-worker’s mother-in-law had a serious stroke. After spending a day in coma, the doctors were taking away her life support.
Death vs. unexpected expense…
At that moment, reflecting on the news, the unexpected expense seemed so insignificant compared to a life or death situation.
Was it more important making sure that our monthly budget came out balanced, or staying alive?
So what if I had to buy 2 new 3-season tires that would cost me $500?
So what if I had to buy 4 new all-weather tires that would cost me $900?
Hearing these terrible news earlier in the day forced me to have a different perspective when I was standing at Kal Tire.
Was it smart to spend $900 for all-weather tires that would provide better traction all year, or go with 2 new tires and having to worry about my family’s safety during winter time?
The decision was an easy one.
Looking money from a different perspective
A while ago I asked a rhetorical question – What happens if we do not have a past? Imagine who you are right now at this very moment. Imagine that you still have all the knowledge that you have accumulated in your lifetime so far but without having any past experience, past judgments, past belief system, and past limitations. What would you do differently tomorrow?
None of your decision or belief system will be based on your past experience.
You will base all your decisions on your current belief system.
You will be living as if you are a new person without any past.
Given this new opportunity, what would you do about your personal finance? What would you do with your retirement planning or financial independence journey?
Does this fresh and new outlook greatly change how you view your future?
There is no doubt that your past has great influence to your personal finance, retirement planning, and financial independence journey.
I also wrote about why I practice being financially independence despite not FI yet on the rationale that I think it’s very important to practice this lifestyle that we are trying to achieve.
Here’s another rhetorical question… what if you know when you will die?
How would this affect how you experience your life and how you treat your finance?
What if we look at money from a different perspective?
What if you know when you will die?
What is you know that you will die exactly 100 days from today?
What if you know that you will die exactly 2 years from today?
What if you know that you will die on your 67th birthday?
What if you know that you will die in 2060 at precise 4:43 PM?
There are a lot of uncertainties in life but death isn’t one of them. We all know that we will die at one point. But even with death, there’s uncertainty, because we have no idea when we will die (let’s exclude suicide here).
Imagine that you know precisely when you will die. Would you change your daily routine and how you view your life?
My guess is that you will.
You probably would prioritize what you deem important in your life. First thing you would do is probably cutting back on your 9-5 job, or even quitting your job. You probably would spend more time with your family and friend. Many would probably come up with a bucket list and try to complete it.
For example, what if I know I would die 15 years and 5 days from today? Would I do anything differently than what I am doing today?
- I would quit my work
- I would go traveling and live at places for extended period of time
- I would spend more time with my parents and brother
- I would record videos on parental advises for my kids so they can watch when they are older
- I would continue live life without any regrets
- I would do more charity work and donate money to charities
- And many many more…
Essentially I would do a lot of the things I plan to do once we are financially independent but at a faster timeline.
Isn’t it funny that when we are faced with death, we re-prioritize our life? Rather than worrying when we will die and such, I believe we all need to focus on making today the best day of our life.
Today is the best day of my life
Forget about what happened in the past because you can’t change them. Stop worry about what will happen tomorrow because if you can’t control these things, why waste time worrying about them? Focus on this very moment and how you can make the best of the present moment
Time is too precious
Say this to yourself everyday, best if you can look at yourself in the eyes in front of a mirror.
Today is the best day of my life.
Learn to say this to yourself everyday and believe in it.
Because today is indeed the best day of your life. You have all the power to make things happen.
Stop regretting the past.
Start focusing on the now.
So what if you are faced with an unexpected expense today.
In the grant scheme of things, if will not matter.
Perhaps it means you will need to use your opportunity/emergency fund.
Perhaps it means you will need to cut back on some expenses later.
Perhaps it means you will be in debt for a few months.
But you are still alive.
You are not laying in a grave.
Today is indeed the best day of your life. Make it happen. Make it so.
Enjoy your life.
Find the right balance between spending and saving for yourself. Because this balance is different for me, and different for you, and different for your best friend.