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Creating Freedom Through Financial Independence


Podcast: Spending, Happiness and FIRE

August 11, 2020

In this episode…

We discuss how spending, happiness and FIRE are all inter-related (and not in the way you might think).

When we understand the connection between these three things, lifestyle changes are easier, saving becomes effortless, and the path to financial independence will not feel like a sacrifice.


Listen to the show…

(you can also download the mp3 file here)


Discussion points…

  • How and why we spend money and does it make us happier?  (01:58)
  • Maslow’s Heirarchy of needs and how it affects us  (05:21)
  • What makes humans happy vs unhappy?  (13:06)
  • How much do good relationships cost (we talk about kids again!)  (15:08)
  • Does Financial Independence really help us live a better life?  (18:19)
  • The hedonic treadmill and our ability to adapt to new circumstances  (19:51)
  • Tying it all together – where does FIRE come in?  (26:23)


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Do you have something to add to this discussion?  Share your thoughts in the comments below…


9 Replies to “Podcast: Spending, Happiness and FIRE”

  1. Another good podcast guys, I enjoyed it.
    I think the school issue is one where there are a bunch of different scenarios. I agree that in general you want to be thinking about what you’re spending your money on and deciding if it’s worthwhile rather than sending your kid off to a private school for the sake of it.
    Having said that it doesn’t have to be either the local public school or $30k a year at an elite private one. There are plenty of private schools around that are well under $10k a year or even $5k a year, and if your child is going to be a lot happier there or less unhappy than at a public one, it is a lot less of a tradeoff to have to make than a $30k a year decision would be.
    I’ve also had a lot of friends with kids that have some special needs that the public system where they live is absolutely useless for helping their kid, but the private school is much better and their child is now thriving whereas previously they were coming home miserable every day.
    Similarly if you have a child who is interested in a particular sport or subject and it’s not possible through the public school but the private school offers it, that might be worth paying extra for.
    Then there’s also the issue of will your child benefit from a private school down the track, and that to some extent will depend on their career. In some professions it’s all about who you know. Going to the right school or the right type of school helps you get your foot in the door, as well as helping you do the job if it’s a sales or network based job. For other jobs, not so much.
    So I think you need to make a conscious decision about why you’re considering private school, and deciding if it’s worth the tradeoff.

    1. Thanks for the input mate! Again we found ourselves stumbling into the slippery area of kids lol and an area where we knew there had to be some common sense applicable, but we aren’t able to offer detail.

      I’m not sure if you can comment generally, but are we wrong in assuming that (just like most other areas) people simply extrapolate that more expensive = better and don’t really think too hard about the trade-off? After all, well reasoned and thoughtful decision making is hardly the standard approach in society 😉

      1. I think you get a real mix of reasons as to why, but in general people do probably assume (and not necessarily without reason) that more expensive equals better.

        My experience with public high school is a very long time ago, but back then the focus of teachers was very much on making sure everyone passed, so it was mostly teaching to a C level. If you were getting C’s or B’s but with a bit of effort could have been getting B’s or A’s, too bad so sad, nobody was going to push you. The perception seems to be that in a private high school you would have actually been pushed, probably through a combination of the teacher actually doing so and the teaching being done at a B or higher level. If nothing else you probably have a lot less disruptive kids who don’t want to be there in the classroom which tends to make for a better learning environment, and it’s going to be worth it for a lot of parents to pay up a bit for that.

        There’s also a lot of people who are willing to pay extra money to send their kids to a religious school, Catholic schools for example apparently have just under 20% of all students, although that probably includes some people who think it’s a better school for non religious reasons as well. Plus all of the other reasons I mentioned above.

        So I think most people are thinking to some extent at least about the tradeoff, and in a lot of cases it isn’t purely a financial one. I do agree that most of them probably haven’t actually done the math on it over time though, and tend to underestimate the financial impact.

        Having said that, there are certainly lots of people who absolutely associate more expensive with better/more prestigious and send their kids to expensive private schools on that basis. I know that in the city where I grew up as the son of a doctor it was considered a bit strange that I and my siblings weren’t going to a private school!

  2. Good ep guys!
    We are wanting to reach FIRE so we don’t have to worry about having to send our future kids to daycare which can sometimes cost one half of a couples wage in Australia. Especially in capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
    Also to have no stress about weekend work, when that should be family time!

    I disagree that a view of the beach will not always bring me happiness – but I will get back to you once we have lived somewhere with a sea view.

    Looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks! Sounds like a good plan, having kids after FI is perfect for those young enough to start their journey early 🙂

  3. G’day Boys ,
    Love you boys ( Yes !!!! …LOVE) !!!….enjoying the wisdom and honesty!!
    I have to say , If I were to work 3 days a week and 4 days off , I would say yes , I really LOVE my job . At present ( minus reduced hours of work due to our current environment) …I really , really enjoy my job !!

    Quote from Peter Thornhill;

    “ As far as investment decisions are concerned, think beyond your lifespan and that of your spouse ; think of your children, your children’s children and eternity “.

    Brilliant!! ….even if you are single ( like myself) and don’t have children ( like myself ) , others in your life ( family , friends , pets etc) ….having a life’s purpose, being kind to oneself and others , your health and connectivity is the Utopia , the Nirvana !!! ….

    Never stop learning, being grateful and looking at the big picture ( regardless of life’s challenges and obstacles) there’s always a tomorrow and a betterment.

    Keep up the good vibes boys and be true to you !!


  4. Great discussion. Another point that would have been interesting to discuss is about how *much* you choose to spend in order to ‘buy happiness’. Simply swapping to less expensive versions of the things that you choose to spend money on can help reduce your spending and so how much time you need to spend at work in order to purchase them – e.g. eating at a cheaper restaurant and BYO rather than going to a swanky expensive place and buying your booze there. You will have just as a nice a time because after all its the company you are with that matters, but it will cost a fraction of the price.

    The point about ‘would you do this job for free’ was also a great but brief discussion. For 17 years I worked in a job where absolutely yes I would still have gone in even if I wasn’t being paid – and used to think that to myself frequently as I sat at my desk – but despite that I still chose to walk away when they wouldn’t allow me to go part-time so that I had a better work-life balance. The biggest pay check or the most meaningful job in the world is worth nothing if you don’t have time
    to do other things in life such as look after your health, spend time with loved ones, and simply enjoy the fact that you are alive. And because I only eat in cheap (but delicious) restaurants where you can take your own wine, I could afford to walk away and not look back 🙂

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