Top 8 Reasons to Buy Forever Items

In the pursuit of financial independence many of us try to save, save, save. That means forgoing almost all purchases in the hopes that one day we will have enough money to leave the workforce and enjoy the atypical life of freedom.

But I am here to tell you, it is NOT ALL ABOUT SAVING.

Every item we buy has a purpose, or at least it should have a purpose. If we buy something with no purpose, then why did we buy it in the first place?

Without further ado, here are the top 10 reasons that you should buy forever items.

1. You will only have to buy the item once.

This should be obvious from the name, forever items. However, many of us on the path towards financial freedom are extremely frugal and are trying our best to find the cheapest way there. The cheaper we can be the sooner we can leave the rat race, right?

Most of the time, this is true. But when you buy a forever item, it may be more expensive, but you will likely never have to buy it again. This far outweighs the downsides of paying more for the item upfront.

2. Resale value stays high.

When we buy our forever items, they are  items of high value, but they also allow us to resell them in the future. A good example of forever items is camera lenses. We buy them because we enjoy photography and to help us achieve financial and personal freedom sooner, despite them being expensive items. Sometimes they cost $500+ each, which seems outrageous. However, camera lenses, as long as you take care of them never wear out. You can keep one for 10 years and then resell it for nearly the cost you paid for it.

We are getting ready to sell our Nikon camera system because we switched to Olympus. Our favorite wide angle lens, a Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8, sells for around $400 new. We bought it for $330 used, and I expect to sell it for the same amount I bought it for after having it for an additional 4 years. This is the true power of forever items. Value lasts!

3. Quality is second to none.

When we buy a forever item, we know we have done our research and have found the best item available. A forever item is expected to last forever, thus it requires the quality to be second to none. A forever tool, like a set of Snap-on wrenches for your workshop, have a lasting quality to them that can be used over and over again without ever wearing out.

4. Forever items are in the eye of the beholder.

Not every forever item needs to be the top of the line purchase. Does the hobbyist really need industrial grade tools to work on cars or are the regular Craftsman tools sufficient? Obviously, if you are not going to use your tools on a regular basis, then the cheaper ones will last a lifetime and that makes them a forever item for you.

5. Most forever items come with spectacular warranties.

Back before I started my journey towards financial independence, I just wanted to buy things. And buy things I did. I needed a blender, and after doing hours of research, I landed on the Blendtec Blender. You may have seen the youtube videos from “Will it Blend“. I decided that this was the blender that I needed, and $400 later I had my very own Blendtec blender. Now, I have had it for over 4 years, and this past week, the blade’s seal wore out and we got rubber seal in our smoothies. This was very disappointing coming from such an expensive piece of equipment. I remembered though, Blendtec has an 8 year warranty on their blenders, so I filled out the  warranty information on their website, and the next thing I know, I have a confirmation of shipment for a new jar. No haggling, no complaining, just great customer service. This is what you can expect from top-end forever items.

6. You will save money.

Because a forever item lasts forever, you will save money on the purchase. The upfront purchase price may be high, but the fact that you will not buy another one in your lifetime means that the cost is averaged over your remaining lifetime. My Blendtec blender, bought in 2013, now cost approximately $100 per year. By the time the warranty on it runs out in 4 more years, it will be at $50 per year. I was going through $30 and $40 blenders once or twice per year, so in the end, it is cheaper for me to have purchased the high quality forever item.

Another way to look at the cost of ownership is when you plan on reselling it. If you buy a forever item for $500, own it for 4 years, and then resell it for $400, then your cost was only $100, or $25 per year. Because of the high resale value, your cost of ownership of forever items comes way down. The caveat here, is that you must be willing to resell it. But because I know you are all pursuing financial independence and minimalism is a value held by us, I know all of us are willing to let go of items.

7. You can buy forever items used and still have a long life expectancy from it.

Because the quality of forever items is so good, you are able to buy them off the used market. Ebay and Craigslist are 2 of my favorite places to buy items in the US. If you are patient, you can score great deals on these sites for forever items. If the original MSRP cost is $1,000, like our new camera the Olympus E-M1, but you get it used a couple years later for $500, then you can enjoy the item for a lifetime well without the cost of it new.

One of my favorite methods to save money on the journey to financial independence is to let someone else take the initial value out an item before we buy it used. The first 30% or more of an items cost is markup, so we might as well let someone with money to burn take that cost out for us, especially on forever items that last a lifetime.

camera

8. You can pass on your forever items.

Everybody likes to get things for free. Your kids and later your grand kids will appreciate acquiring quality forever items. One of the most common forever items to pass on is quality cookware, currently from the 1930s and 40s, however the idea continues to apply. A forever item can be passed on and appreciated for generations to come. No one wants to receive garbage hoarded for years, but will genuinely appreciate a lower number of quality items.

Conclusion

As you can see, buying forever items does make sense even for a frugal family pursuing financial independence and freedom. By spending more upfront, you save money in the long run and cost over a lifetime is what really matters. Spending money to save money is a concept that is normally passed over, but there are times, when it can make sense. Buying forever items is one of those times, and I encourage all of us to consider purchasing forever items when the option is available. Not everything we buy needs to last forever, just always keep in mind lifetime cost.

By keeping an eye towards the end goal, financial independence, and we can guide ourselves to the right decisions. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree.

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 buy forever items, top reasons

Is College the Only Path?

Why does society push us towards pursuing college?

Is college really the only path to freedom out there?

Society pushes college as the answer to everything. Yes, I went to college and got an engineering degree. After college, I got this big fancy engineering job with an international manufacturing company before moving to China on the expat package with the same company.

As an engineer, the skills I use most from day-to-day are those skills learned in the first year of engineering courses if not in high school. Were all 4 years really necessary to get to where I am today.

A degree is really nothing, but proof to employers that you can commit to something for four years. ~Anonymous

Mrs. Atypical came across this quote yesterday, and I immediately loved it!

It seems most employers don’t really care about what you learned in college. They are just looking for a check mark on your resume to say, yes, you went to college. The job requirement says BS degree in something. You are qualified!

Since I learned all of the essentials to my degree in one class, the introductory class, did I really need 4 years? I could have started working 4 years earlier (I went to college for 5 years because of a co-op job for one year), had way less student loan debt and already been retired at 28. Because society and employers value that piece of paper so much, I had to remain in school for the 4 years of classes, not to learn about engineering, but to demonstrate my persistence.

So after 4 years or more at an influential college, you now have a pretty piece of paper that you can show prospective employers. That pretty piece of paper proves nothing other than your ability to persist through 4 years of classes. It is the same paper regardless of your grades and regardless of your knowledge.

diploma

Hiring Young

Employers are scared to hire someone young. I hear the young bias on almost a daily basis. We are bringing in a 3rd party contractor to evaluate some equipment at work. He is my age, 28. My co-workers are scared. Since he isn’t 40+, he must be an inexperienced idiot. Being young must mean that you don’t know anything! I was ecstatic that our hired help is young because he has less of a chance of bias from too much experience.

Employers are scared to hire someone out of high school because there is no proof that they can stick with something. Just finishing high school is not proof because it is nearly required these days. By spending 4 years grinding your gears away, paying a college so that you can study and work for them, “proves” that you have what it takes to make it in the real world.

When we take a job in the real world, we are making the 2nd biggest commitment of our lives. Second only to marriage. As the employee, we know that we are going to help out our employer the best that we can, but employers don’t seem to believe it without proof from that piece of paper called a diploma. It shows that we can persist, and perhaps, that we have matured from our naive high school days.

What else is out there?

Despite society’s leaning towards college, there are other options out there for moving though life without a college degree. Sure a college degree, in an employable field, makes it easy to get a “good” job and make the big bucks, but it is not the end all.

Remember,

In the pursuit of freedom, less is more.

In this spirit, how can we get by without college?

The trades offer an excellent bypass of college and also a ticket to freedom. Going into the trades takes less time from your life to get certified and the pay is excellent. It also is applicable to almost anywhere you want to go because everyone needs an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, etc. Learning to work with your hands and build practical things is a surefire way to bypass college and start pursuing your freedom earlier.

Starting your own business is another way to bypass the HR requirement of needing college. For those of us that are pursuing freedom, there is no better way than self-employment. It allows us to set our own schedule and live our own life instead of being beholden to our employer. There are a near infinite set of possibilities for self-employment that I will not list here. Suffice it to say, if you have the passion and the patience, self-employment can be the answer to bypassing college.

Can we change corporate requirements for college?

At this point in 2017, probably not. College has been driven home for too long and promoted too well, to be able to convince corporations that we are qualified despite no college degree.

Even though the probability is low, we should still do our part to convince corporations that college is not necessary to prove our worth. We go to college for 4 years, yet our future employers still require nearly 6 months of training and possibly 2 years of working experience before they find you beneficial to the company. If it takes 2 years of training after you just completed 4 years of training (college), why do we need the initial 4 years? Bringing this kind of solid argument to the table can help to influence change.

The transition to more reasonable requirements at work and better work-life balance has already started. The millennial generation has been hard at work getting flex-time schedules, more flexible vacation, remote working, and many other amenities. If we keep pushing our employers to focus on our potential and not on our qualifications, then we will be able to move towards a society where capability is king, not education.

Conclusion

College will always have its place in society, especially for knowledge for the sake of knowledge. However, we should not believe that it is the only path in life after high school. There are other ways to progress towards freedom.

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Company Loyalty and Financial Independence

Quote of the Week:

You can never, ever forget — people may be loyal to companies but companies are loyal only to the bottom line.

This quote is from a response on Quora to a question posed about the cutthroat company culture of Cisco Systems. The response is by Jay and is linked here.

Loyalty means a strong feeling of support or allegiance to an organization, cause, government, etc. Loyalty is a mutual matter and should be reciprocated. When a person is loyal to another entity, be it another person or organization, it is generally accepted that the recipient of the loyalty will show loyalty back. This is how most bonds of trust are born and why society in the world works. Most people will show loyalty to their respective governments and show nationalistic pride because they feel that the loyalty will be reciprocated. The government has their best interests in mind and works to provide value to the loyal citizens for their taxes. This may not always be true, as can be seen from the news with the uproar that happens after any new decision for or against change. There will always be an unhappy party, but by and large, the majority will be content with the knowledge that the government is working in their best interests and is being loyal to the citizens its governs.

Now, a public company on the other hand, is beholden to the shareholders. I have worked only for publicly traded companies, so can only speak to them. Every move a company makes is towards the benefit of the shareholders. We, the employees, work for them tirelessly, or tiredly, and put in lots of prime time hours for the benefit of the company. The company, in return, pays us a salary and some number of benefits. However, as time progresses, this benefit package seems to get chipped away at, so the company can make larger and larger profits. The “bottom line” is the end goal of the company. Make the largest profit possible without losing too many of their valuable employees. When a company becomes publicly traded, their loyalty moves from inside to outside. Their loyalty now lies primarily to the shareholders and the shareholders show their loyalty back to the company in the form of buying and owning stock in the company. In a private company, the company can be more loyal to their employees, as their employees are the ones that generate the revenue and drive the profits for the company to be successful, but once a company becomes publicly traded, loyalties change.

So why do we have employees that are loyal to publicly traded companies? The company is not in return loyal to us. I believe the answer lies in bygone times. In the past, many companies showed loyalty to their employees even as a publicly traded company. Companies offered and supplied a very good pension and a secure retirement future to retain valuable employees. My company had one, however, as the division I worked for was spun off and became publicly traded themselves, that was the first thing to get cut. When a company showed loyalty to the employees through their actions, offering secure retirement pensions, affordable health care, competitive salaries, the employees in return showed their loyalty to the company. Companies no longer care for the longevity of the employees, only to maximize the employees value to the company for as long as possible before they lose them to burnout or to the competition.

Since we are on the path to financial independence, we have no loyalty to the company. Our loyalty lies to ourselves and our pursuit of freedom from the working life. We strive for the atypical life that allows us to live free of worries from money and be able to decide for ourselves where our loyalties lie. Many employees are loyal to the company because they are not confident in their ability to support themselves without the “guaranteed” pay of a steady salary. Leading the atypical life gives you the ability to not worry so much if the job were to end, as your savings rate is so high, you know everything will be okay while you look for a new job until reaching the pinnacle of atypical life, financial independence.

Striving for financial independence is all about your savings rate. The higher your savings rate the sooner freedom arrives. This is the same idea that drives companies to look only at the bottom line. They are also trying to maximize their savings rate (profit/bottom line), which seemingly makes the FIRE community and companies similar. Our striving towards higher savings rate does not affect the company, besides fringe benefits like allowing lower medical costs, since we are also a healthy community. However, the company striving for the bottom line affects us, because easy savings come from cutting benefits.

Think back to your working career if you are already free, or on your current working career if you are still a slave to the man, and see if you can think of when the company announced: we are now lowering your health insurance premium, we are raising your retirement benefits, we are giving everybody an extra week of vacation, etc. I can’t think of a single time in my short career this has happened. I still hold out hope that one day, all of the companies promises to be about the employees comes true, but I am prepared to pursue my freedom as is. Freedom is paramount and that is what we all should seek!

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.

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company loyalty vs financial independence