|Rebirth by Hannah Yata|
Right then I knew I needed a vacation. It has been about 2 years since I've taken a "real" vacation. I've had some smaller few day trips but they weren't really trips about escaping for a while and really unwinding. That dream happened a few weeks ago and immediately after I started thinking about vacation, it took me a little time to decide where and when I wanted to go but today I booked my flight and on November 27th I will be flying to Japan for 24 days to truly recharge for a while.
This is one of the main reasons that I save a large portion of my income, so that I have financial flexibility.
Financial flexibility is basically the precursor to financial independence. When you finally reach financial independence you are free to live life without feeling restricted by having to exchange your time and efforts for money (within reason, if you decide to start buying yachts and planes then you will probably not be financially independent for very long). But financial flexibility is like the younger brother to financial independence, you have money stashed away so that if something comes up you won't feel as stressed about the money aspect of a situation. You can even take risks like changing careers to something more agreeable to your lifestyle because you have a financial cushion to fall back on.
Imagine a life where any monetary related stress is relieved. For example if you were in a car accident and had to buy a new car to replace it, or a medical emergency suddenly caused you to need to pay the maximum for your health benefits for the year (let's just say 10k). All of those situations suck, they are terrible to have to deal with, but if you didn't have to worry about the financial side of things it would make them significantly easier.
The other day a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how their refrigerator died and that they could not afford to purchase a new one. They started looking online for used/refurbished ones but weren't having a lot of luck there either. I feel bad for them since they are struggling when an unexpected expense comes up, having to pay possibly close to an extra months rent to replace a large appliance is not something you really want to deal with. If they had some financial flexibility in their savings/monthly spending then this might not be as difficult of a time for them. Sure the situation still sucks, no one wants to pay for a new large appliance, but things like that happen. In the end, the more financial flexibility you have the easier these unexpected events become.
On the other hand, I don't feel too badly for them since I know that just a few weeks ago they went to Burningman where they probably spent a few thousand dollars to hang out in a giant dust ball, so I know they can get by, it's just a matter of allocating their money to what they think is important.
Some people might call what I described an emergency fund, something stashed away for when the unexpected occurs and in my friends case I would agree with them. But in the end, isn't having money stashed away just building up some financial flexibility?
Since I've been diligently squirrelling away money for a number of years I've reached a place where I can have a lot of financial flexibility in case something comes up. In my case it was a bad dream that made me realize that I had been neglecting a part of my life that I think is very important to people, the part where you disconnect and unwind from it all.
Do you have financial flexibility? When was the last time you took a vacation? And more importantly do you have any advise for travelling to Japan?