I have no illusions about the relative affluence of the upbringing I had and the lifestyle I continue to have. I’m not sure when I became ‘aware’ of the fact that I had a distinctly above-average childhood. It might have been around the time I realized that it was possible for me to know things that my teachers did not know. (By this, I mean analysis and not the memorization of some random factoid). I peg that realization at fifth grade and a problem involving permutations of outfits from different pant, shirts and hats. What the mind remembers is so strange.
Combined with this realization, I also learned that money does not buy happiness. It buys things. And things can enable paths to happiness, or perhaps can take away paths to misery. Or maybe it just buys peace of mind, which is a far cry from happiness, but much better than misery. But things don’t answer all the big questions in life like who are we and where are we going. (Answers: people, forward through time on a preciously small marble that we need to take better care of).
As someone who does not suffer from fiduciary distress (hey, I like my euphemisms), I don’t give it a lot of thought. I should clarify that since I track my financial inflows and outflows with great detail (or at least used to and am trying to decide the best way to resume). I track it because I find it interesting because it tells me things about myself, my habits, and my relationship with money (which is something everyone should know about himself or herself). It’s certainly not about being some miserly cheap-ass or achieving some highly specific goal. Financial planners (and panthers [Simpsons reference]) are probably distressed to hear there is no well-defined fiscal goal, but at this point, general financial principles are in play like strong savings, capital preservation, and mostly not buying lots of fancy toys that don’t help happiness (see previous paragraph) and that I don’t have the luggage space for anyway. For now, money comes in, less than that amount goes out and all that’s about it.