A Vacation to London as a Metaphor for our Financial Lives

Last week’s post illustrated how important it is for our long-term financial well-being to live beneath our means and not care about keeping up with the Kardashians in the car department. But that doesn’t mean we have to rinse out our sandwich baggies so we can use them again the next day. (Apologies to my environmentalist friends) The journey to financial freedom shouldn’t be painful! No, our financial lives, like our lives in general, should be a good balance between saving for our futures and enjoying our lives now.

An apt metaphor for this balance can be found in the premise of a new travel blog, Deal, Steal, Splurge – A New Approach to Travel, that is a good model for our financial lives too.

My friend and former colleague at UK, Amy Jones-Timoney, has created this fresh, new travel blog – find it at http://traveldealsstealssplurges.blogspot.com/. As the title implies, her blog identifies deals (values), steals (freebies) and splurges (worth the extra money) for destinations where she has traveled. While I can’t do this as well as Amy, here are my recommendations for a Deal, a Steal and a Splurge for London………..England, not Laurel County, Kentucky, after a recent trip there with my wife for our 30th wedding anniversary:

Deal: Pre-load an Oyster card for all of London public transportation. It works just like a debit card. You purchase a card at a machine at a Tube (subway) station and it gives you a plastic card that you “tap” on a reader whenever you enter or exit a Tube station. You can use it for the Tube or the famous double-decker buses that are ubiquitous around London. Travel this way is very inexpensive, much cheaper than a cab; quite convenient and fast; and surprisingly comfortable. We routinely traveled from our flat in Holland Park to central London – where Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc. is – for 1.75 GBP. (Great Britain Pound) That’s about $2.25. A Deal.

Steal: Many travel sites recommend riding the London Eye when in London, and it is fun. A large ferris wheel that takes about 30 minutes to rotate once, it offers amazing views of the Thames, Parliament, the city center and more. It costs about $42 for fast-track tickets where you don’t have to wait in line. Fun, but expensive. For a Steal? Go to the Tate Modern Museum nearby and enter – for FREE – and go to the 10th floor viewing platform. From there you get amazing, 360-degree views of the entire city and beyond…For FREE! Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/travel/tate-modern-london-museum-city-evolution.html?hpw&rref=travel&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0.

• Splurge: This recommendation may not be for everyone but we splurged and went to Wimbledon for The Championships. I don’t say this lightly but this was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Wimbledon will remind you of Keeneland – the same manicured grounds, the same wonderful hospitality exhibited by everyone, the joy that everybody seems to feel by being there – if you can picture 18 races going on at the same time. That’s the number of courts hosting matches concurrently. Tickets, afternoon tea and scones with clotted cream and jam plus the requisite Wimbledon clothing to prove to everyone that you were actually there can add up – but worth it.

So, “pay yourself first” by contributing to your retirement funds, then find some guilt-free splurges along the way along with a few deals and steals too.

Next Friday’s Post will explain why you should care about Kentucky’s public employee pension crisis even if you don’t have a pension.

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