Mind & Money

The ultimate freedom


Life is about choices you are making

In a perfect world, there would be unlimited resources to accommodate our desire and wants. As I was traveling to see a client in San Francisco with my wife and 2-year-old son, we decided to call an “Uber” driver to get to our hotel. At the time, Uber was fairly new and the idea of ride-sharing did not quite hit the fad yet as going to grab a latte at Starbucks. 

The Uber app was prompt and the car was clean. The driver was a middle-aged male who was quite friendly and personable. The typical small talk of when you meet someone for the first time began. Questions like: Where are you from? What are you in town for? What do you do? I was intentionally vague with my response as it was later on the evening and I was exhausted from the flight and going through TSA. I explained to the driver that we were here to see a client and the trip was a mix of both business and pleasure. 

I paused. As I was listening to the driver talks about his background, I could immediately get a feel of what his finances were like as he talked more in-depth about where he lived in the Bay area, why he was an Uber driver, where he worked full-time, and what types of decisions he made financially. The driver shared personal information about the cost of living in the Bay Area and how he would drive 45 minutes to get to his job and how he sacrificed living in high poverty neighborhood to purchase a home. 

In one segment of the conversation, he began talking about how his family enjoys taking a road trip down to Los Angeles every year to go to Disneyland with a season pass. My wife chimed in and asked, “Isn’t a season pass to Disneyland expensive?” He proceeded to explain nowadays that you can purchase an annual pass to Disneyland based on installments. I was not surprised at his response as I had been keen to profile people already financially in a non-judgmental way. After listening to him explain his rationale behind installments, the financial consultant in me wanted to tell and show him that the power was within him to make better choices and that he did not have to keep up with Joneses or conform to what society dictates. I couldn’t help but nudge my wife throughout the entire conversation and try to have her listen to his story so that she can open her eyes and see why the typical American is unable to save and see what choices they are actually making to keep up with an overextended lifestyle. 

We began to reflect on the following questions: Why should this hard-working man have to work two jobs and sacrifice living in a less than desirable neighborhood to pay for his family’s annual passes to Disneyland? Was he aware that the annual pass at Disneyland was basically like charging your credit card? Was the driver able to see that his choices have a direct impact on his family, lifestyle, and well-being? 

The solution is evident but yet many people do not see it or are simply not open to hearing it. Live a simpler life, make better decisions that align with your core values, and stop running the rat race. This of course comes with a lot of self-discipline and the will power to sacrifice the materialistic needs perpetuated by the media. 

Tax Planning