The Tiny Intersection Between Luxury & Wealth

LuxuryFor many, luxury begets financial ruin.

But we all have a few “teeny tiny” luxurious rewards that can motivate us to keep at our task into the wee hours of the morning.

Perhaps its a backyard swimming pool, a rustic mansion with a vineyard, or a Mercedes Benz.

Take a minute and thoughtfully and indulgently dream up your top three luxury items should you have the money. It’s usually not a very difficult task.

Let me guess: a plasma tv, 500 cable channels, and a lifetime supply of cigarettes? Unlikely. Unfortunately, many of us blow our cash on that crap instead.

Back to the point, what are your secret luxury longings?

I would go for daily full body massages in my home. That’s the cat’s meow for me. I also have a thing for gourmet food and travel.

At times it seems that the equation looks like this:

Fleeting indulgent luxury = Broke a few years into retirement

But the new fad is “hacking” these seemingly firm formulas to find ways to have your cake and eat it, too (while you still have the tastebuds).

My Lazy Day of Luxury:

Soak in the spa with zen music – $10 spa add-on

60-min full-body massage – $80 + $16 tip

Gourmet meal at fancy pants restaurant – $70 + $14 tip

Shared bottle of wine at a quaint bar with a view – $32 + $6 tip

Total: $228 (or $485.76 missed investment opportunity at 8% over 10 years)


My Intelligent Day of Luxury:

Draw a hot bath, turn on the Pandora spa channel, and light a candle – $0 (I don’t pay by the gallon for water and the internet is a business expense)

60-min full-body massage by significant other – favor swap

Gourmet meal at home – $16

Shared bottle of wine from deck (with a better view) – $9

Total: $25 and a favor (or $53.97 missed investment opportunity)


We could take it further and add in the foreign travel.

We could pay retail for a trip to Europe for a week (the typical foreign trip for Americans) and spend at least $2000, or around $286 per day.

Conversely we could spend the same amount and live it up in luxury on the coast in Panama for three weeks, roughly $95 per day.

Enjoying a bit of luxury while working toward sustainable financial independence just requires a little creativity.

If your significant other sucks at massage, befriend a massage therapist and get some tips. You love going out for Thai food? Learn to make it at home and delight guests.

Add up the frivolous luxuries in your life that were not on that original list of real indulgences and run the annual cost through a compound interest calculator.

If a big number pops out, it’s time to start cutting back intelligently and appreciating the more fulfilling luxury all around you that’s free: nature, that glow after exercise, talking to a great friend, staying up to watch a meteor shower…the list goes on and on and is conducive to becoming truly wealthy in more ways than one.

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