There’s more to life than a spreadsheet

Screen shot 2009-12-06 at Dec 6, 2009, 9.41.49 PMI was having a conversation with my financial analyst buddy about saving/investing. He’s the person that convinced me to start a Roth IRA and ultimately is responsible for my PF addiction. I wrote a post a couple months back that laid out my retirement game plan. I essentially calculated I should easily be able to have a cool $6,000,000 waiting for me. As my buddy and I were talking, he said something profound: “I’m starting to realize there is more to life than a spreadsheet.”

WTF! More to life than a spreadsheet? Forgive him PF god, for my financial analyst friend has sinned. How could there be life outside of a spreadsheet? Microsoft Excel defines my goals and ambitions in a few simple calculations. Surely my friend had to be under the influence of some mind altering drug. Right?

Wrong. Even though Friend Ninja loves excel much more than I, he is learning that plans change, which means his spreadsheet/retirement/life will also change. In the world of PF we rely on spreadsheets, budgets, and calculators to determine exactly what kind of life we are going to live, and even how to go about getting there. Shoot, I’d be willing to bet most of you also share some type of crush on excel.

But, through my friend’s wisdom, I’m realizing there is more to life than being loaded. Sure, I have a goal to have $6,000,000 at retirement, but would I be bummed about having $2,000,000 waiting for me? Heck no I wouldn’t. Especially if it meant I got to have a higher quality of life for the 40 years preceding retirement.

My spreadsheet was focused on 65 and older. I completely forgot one day I will be 35. You know what happens when you are 35? You have two and a half kids, a mortgage payment, and a dog named Larry (wouldn’t Larry be a funny dog name?). I want to have an awesome life my whole life, not just when it comes time to retire. How am I gonna be able to afford to ‘live the dream’ pre-retirement? You guessed it, live outside of my spreadsheet.

I might have to sacrifice a retirement contribution here and there, so I can take a vacation to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Wales (I don’t know how to pronounce it, but it’s a real place). Or maybe I’ll give up a million at retirement, for a 2nd home in the mountains when I’m 40. I get so focused on saving and investing, that I forget to spend. I guess it is a good problem to have, but it IS still a problem. Sometimes my frugal side possesses me and it takes a little common sense from my friends to slap me back in to reality.

Do you live your life according to a spreadsheet? Do you have defined goals for the ‘short term’ (10 yrs from now)? Were you once obsessed with saving for retirement, but now realize you wish you had used some of that cash for other purposes? Do tell, ’cause I’m very curious if you live inside or outside the spreadsheet.