Focus On Money Issues: How Much is Too Much?

A while ago, Girlfriend and I were discussing money related issues. Not in a fight-type of discussion, but just talking about it. At one moment she says to me: “You know, you are a little Scrooge McDuck, they way you focus on money.” Do I put too much emphasis on money related issues in my life?

Money On My Mind

Yes, I do think a lot about money and money related issues, like investing. Whether that is too much, and if that makes me a Scrooge McDuck, I don’t know. Of course, Girlfriend was making a joke, but every joke has a grain of truth in it. How much should you be thinking about money as a personal finance blogger, nerd, enthusiast?

Of course, you shouldn’t be obsessed with money. That will make you overshoot your target. For me, money is all about freedom. The more money I can acquire, the more freedom I will be able to purchase. By obsessing over money, I will never be free.

I know how difficult it can be. When I started investing in ETFs, I checked the value of my portfolio multiple times per day! The DEGIRO app on my iPhone was there, it was too easy to just check the numbers every time I looked at my phone. Since I started trading cryptocurrencies, I can check those numbers too every single moment of the day. That proves to be even more addicting than checking my ETF portfolio.

My Thoughts Default To Money

During the day, I work as a business consultant. That job takes a lot of time and it drains mental energy from me. However, I feel that every time there is an idle moment in my brains, it starts thinking about money. When I go out for a run, I clear my mind, and start thinking about ways to make more money. During a walk to the supermarket, my mind has its focus on money, on slashing those final costs from my portfolio. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m constantly able to look at my personal finance dashboards.

When I’m all alone, and not being eaten by my job, my mind wanders freely. It defaults to thoughts about personal finance, financial independence strategies, investment opportunities. But that stays with me. Nobody else can be bother by my thoughts. It is different when you talk about money.

Talking About Money

When I was busy changing jobs this January, I talked a lot about it with Girlfriend. Because changing jobs impacts your financial situation as well, some of the discussions were about money. For example, about salary negotiations. Negotiating your starting salary might be the most important thing to do when you switch jobs.

But also about cars. In The Netherlands it’s common practice for professionals on the road (consultants, sales people) to be given a company car. Usually you are allowed to drive that car in your personal time as well.  However, the government will see that as a form of hidden income and tax you on that. The taxation depends on the fuel economy of the car. That means there is a financial incentive for people to drive smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. Electric cars are super cheap in this scheme.

My old employer was looking to charge me an early termination fee for leaving behind my old company car. So I took out the calculator, and tried to calculate the return on investment of paying the termination fee to my old employer, leaving my old car there, and getting a brand new, electric company car. Turns out, with all the tax benefits, I would be making that money back within a year!

Talk To Your Significant Other About Money

During the conversation about the electric vehicle Girlfriend asked me why I even bothered calculating. She knew my salary would take a significant jump upwards, so why try for even more money?

Because that’s who I am. I’m an optimizer, in everything I do. And I happen to be a personal finance nerd, a blogger about financial independence. So yeah, optimizing my life is a lot about finances. There’s just a lot of focus on money related issues, and this happens to be one of them.

That certainly makes me a little Scrooge McDuck. But hey, who doesn’t dream of a warehouse filled with cash?