Can We Ever Not Worry About Money?

As I was making my way home yesterday, Baby FAF’s teacher texted me and asked if he was teething.

Baby FAF had been well-behaved and not fussy at home, so I didn’t think that he was.

When I picked him up, however, the teacher told me Baby FAF had been having stomach issues the whole day.

I started to get really worried. It could be a sign that he’s teething or that something we cooked at home didn’t sit well with his stomach.

I started feeling guilty that my son had to go through all the pain without me knowing why, and I just didn’t know what to do to help.

While walking home, I started feeling out of sync with my normal life. Something was off.

My son wasn’t feeling well, so I wasn’t in a good mood either.

Baby FAF is the most beautiful gift life has given me thus far.

But when he gets sick, has a diaper rash, or goes through something that’s not normal, I would feel like my life has been turned upside down.

Maybe I just worry too much, but then I started thinking about what are the nice things in life we can have that don’t cause us to worry or stress out.

Related: Why We Sent Our Baby To China

Kids

Having children is something many married couples aim for, and we’re no exception.

We’re preparing to welcome our second child in about 6 months.

Raising Baby FAF is a lot of work. Any parents will tell you that you might age faster due to sleep deprivation after you have a baby. I never understood how a tiny baby can turn upside down the lives of two grown adults until I had one.

Our son has brought us so much joy but also tired us out on countless days. After talking to Baby FAF’s teacher about his stomach problem that day, I wondered if I could handle twice the amount of worries that I was going through.

I know it might sound like a minor problem to a lot of parents, and that many are going through a much tougher time. But the fact that other people have more serious problems doesn’t necessarily make our own issues go away.

I know many of our neighbors have 3, 4, and even 5 kids. How they can handle the care and stress is beyond me. I admire them for being able to juggle their work and family. I just don’t know how they can do it.

Maybe we will automatically adapt when we are put into a particular situation. I never thought I could function on 3-4 hours of sleep a day for a month straight. But I did after our son was born. I survived. And I thrived.

I love the joy of seeing our children grow, watching them play and learn their first few words, and helping them explore the world around them. However, with all of that joy comes a great sense of responsibility and constant care.

We need to take good care of them when they are sick, make financial plans to pay for their future, and continue to worry about their happiness even after they get married and have their own family.

If I have 2 or 3 kids, my happiness is likely to double or triple. But it will also double the amount of work and responsibility that I need to undertake. Am I ready for that challenge? I’m not so sure at this point.

Related: Boy Or Girl & How Many Kids Should We Have?

Marriage

Marriage might not be everyone’s dream. But I know it is for many people.

I used to not want to get married before I met the first guy that I used to date. Growing up poor and seeing my parents fight constantly about money was not my ideal marriage dream.

In fact, I knew it was the norm for a lot of families and wondered why someone would even get themselves in that situation in the first place. It just sounded miserable to me. You can be so unhappy in a marriage but still have to stay because of the kids, the house, money, or whatever the reason is.

I know that one of the best things my parents have and are proud of are my sister and I. At least, that’s the impression that I got. Without enduring all those years of financial trouble, arguments, and reconciliation, my parents wouldn’t be better-off financially than they are now and still manage to keep our family together.

For Mr. FAF and me, we have had our fair share of challenges. With four years of long distance, monthly 20-hour drives, multiple arguments, and an unhealthy level of uncertainty, we’re still together.

Even when all the financial trouble seems to have gone away after Mr. FAF got a job, we’re still trying to reconcile our differences and agree on a financial plan that works in our family’s best interests.

Home ownership

Many of us dream of having our own home. Right before and after Mr. FAF got married, owning a home was something that not only we but also our parents wanted for us.

It is a financial expectation in Asian families that the man should be financially secure (i.e. owning a home, having a stable job) before he gets marries.

Sometimes we’re so enamored by the thought of owning our own place that we only think about the positive side of it. We can build equity, buy the furniture that we like, decorate the house as we wish, have as many guests and parties as we want, and even turn it into a rental property to earn extra income if we need to.

Home ownership seems like a great investment and a sound decision until for whatever reason we can’t make a monthly mortgage payment, something breaks and needs thousands of dollars in repairs, or a tenant stops paying rent and even sues us.

Real estate investment is one of the best ways to generate passive income and build long-term wealth. We can be hands-off and start collecting rent checks from our tenants.

However, it can also push us further down the rabbit hole of debt and misery when the cash flow stops coming in. And we’re left wondering what’s the best way to sell of those properties quick to pay off the dangling mortgage.

Related: A Landlord’s Worst Nightmare Comes True

Job

Do you remember those days when you were in college and your goal was to land a job offer? I still remember that vividly. I wanted a job badly. I was tired of taking exams and writing papers.

I wanted to have a 9-5 job where I can work hard during the day and just do what I like in the evening and on the weekends. I wouldn’t have to do homework all the time, try to stay ahead of schedule, and not fall behind my peers.

I wanted to have a life outside of school and got paid real money for my work. Getting a job to make money and not be unemployed was my dream.

Unfortunately, I graduated in 2009 right after the 2008 financial crisis hit, and the job market didn’t look so good, especially for the degree that I had at the time (Economics).

I felt lost and decided to go to graduate school to figure out what I wanted out of life. It didn’t work out so well. After a long journey of trial and error, I finally landed a full-time job with good benefits.

But life isn’t so simple. Nothing is perfect, no matter if it’s something you’ve long yearned for or not. There are good days. And there are also bad days. There are things that I enjoy doing at work and things that I just want to get over with to move on to the next tasks.

I wonder if there’s anything out there who loves their job so much that they don’t see anything cons to what they do. I have never met anyone like that, but I would love to know what it’s like one day.

Related: The Poor Life of A PhD Student

Retirement

I wrote a post about early retirement when I started my blog. At that time I had just discovered financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) and was fascinated by the concept.

I like the idea of us not having to work for a paycheck and just doing what we love. Mr. FAF and I dream about a day when we can retire early and have the flexibility to travel the world and pursue our passion projects without having to worry about paying the bills.

Mr. FAF wants to be a historian or a lecturer in History. He thinks that there’s nothing more powerful or enriching than influencing the minds of other people.

As for me, my passion projects seem to change from time to time. But for now, I want to become a Youtuber who can vlog about what I eat, how I live, or simply what I think and be able to reach out to millions of people online.

I want to keep growing Frugal Asian Finance and generate a passive stream of income from it. I also want to dabble in real estate and become a landlord who can be totally hands-off and generate passive income from my rental properties.

Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like when we do have millions of dollars and can do whatever it is that our heart desires. It would be such a wonderful and relaxing lifestyle.

Related: Our Pledge For The Million Dollar Club

But what if our children or extended family need financial help from us? What if our kids have trouble making ends meet? Will we just let them be or step in to help them?

What if our tenant sues us for millions of dollars – everything we’ve worked so hard for our whole lives? Will we be back to square one?

What if we or someone in our family has a serious health issue that needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to rectify? Will we have enough money to cover such expenses and still be able to retire comfortably?

Those questions drive me crazy sometimes. I just can’t stop thinking, analyzing, and extrapolating. Early retirement is great.

But is it all perfect and rosy as I believe it to be? I’m not sure what the answers to those questions are, but I just can’t stop thinking about the what-ifs.

Conclusion

I realized that many of the worries or doubtful thoughts above are just me overthinking and blowing things out of proportion. But many of my doubts do have a foundation.

I see firsthand what it’s like to take care of an infant and see them grow every day. I know what it’s like to lose sleep over marital conflict and what it takes for a couple to work out their differences and stay happy together as a family.

I own a home and know what how much a big repair can cost us. I have a job and know that even a dream job with stability can be stressful. And I have read about the concerns of some early retirees about their healthcare coverage and the possible increases in the costs of living.

I can try to forget all of my doubt and live in the happy present. But I wouldn’t be myself anymore. After all, worry is one of the things that keeps me motivated about frugality the most.

I do, however, wonder if I will ever be worry-free and not have to stress about anything one day, especially it it has to do with money.

The answer might be that I just need to continue accumulating wealth to the point where I don’t have to think about money anymore. Or it might be that I just need to stop worrying and start enjoying the present.

Related:

Our Biggest Fight & 4th Anniversary Celebration

How Our Lives Have Changed With A 128% Increase In Income

The Pros & Cons of Our Long-distance Marriage

Why I Love & Don’t Care About Money At The Same Time

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23 thoughts on “Can We Ever Not Worry About Money?”

    • I can’t imagine that either. Even when I have millions, I feel like someone can sue me for that amount, and I’ll be broke >_< But I'll try to enjoy the present. 😀

    • Oh my I’m super paranoid about everything, especially safety and lawsuits. I feel like you can sue anyone for anything in America. -_-

  • I feel like I have a finite amount of anxiety in me. When everything’s going well, I worry about abstract dangers and theoretical maladies. When everything’s going wrong, I only worry about the top couple– everything else falls away because I don’t have the energy.

    But, as my life and financial footing continue to improve, I at least get to worry about “better” problems. “Can I afford to buy a house?” turns into “Do we want to update the kitchen?” “Ack, I’m a college student without a job?” turns into “Now that I have an income, how do I amass enough to take care of my family?” Progress is hard and feels scary, because it often means the piling on of ever more responsibilities– unless you’re able to figure out a way to get rid of stress entirely, in which case sign me up! Barring that, though, the best thing I feel like I can do is manage my feelings of stress and direct them as productively as I can.

    • I feel the same way. I worry when things go well and I stress even more when things dont @_@

      I agree with you that changing our mindset and way of thinking can help put our minds at ease 🙂

  • Just about everyone has to deal with worries and stress, albeit potentially at different levels. It depends greatly also on the individual. Those who are married worry about their marriage and children. Those who are single might worry if they will ever get married and have children. The poor and middle class worry about how they will get more money. The rich may worry about how they will manage and grow it, or how they’ll apply it the right way and help the right people. At the same time, married, unmarried, rich, poor, middle class have good times as well. Granted, some have it better than others. But there will always be stress, worries, and happiness as long as you are alive, regardless of your situation.

    • Nicely put! I have most of the worries you mentioned above except for the ones for the rich. Everyone does have good times if we think on the positive side for sure 🙂

  • Everyone has worries no matter how much money they have. Hopefully you arrive at your “enough” and that the feeling of wanting subsides over time.

    More money can sometimes make things worse. I somehow ended up hanging with the rich Asian crowd, quite a few times then talked about how they couldn’t talk about their own worries because “you have money, you don’t have problems”. It was no wonder they stuck together, they could just be “guilt free” together. I was the only outsider to join the group because I was generally interested with who they were, instead of being guarded from everyone all the time.

    I think having enough money to cover most of your wants, but not all, is the optimum balance.

    • I’m glad you got to know new people. I too wonder what the rich think sometimes. It all adds to life lessons and experience 😉

  • I find that my money worries have changed the longer I’ve been learning about it. At the start of my FIRE journey, I obsessively watched my net worth climb. That was probably due to the fact that the money I saved what what helped it grow most. Now market turns impact it substantially, and are completely out of my control.
    I mostly worry about figuring out a side hustle and making money from it now. I don’t want to stay in the standard W2 world for forever, and I’d like to not have to be a part time consultant either. I’d love to work for myself. This is a much more fulfilling worry for me than watching my net worth grow.
    And, like you, I think I’ve embraced that I’m naturally a worrier, so worry is a part of my complete self.

  • Yes. It’s possible to not worry about money. It will happen to everyone when they are old or sick enough to know their money will not run our or that’s it’s no longer worth worrying about. Hopefully, we will all have a great some way sooner than that and not have to worry about it. I’m not talking about a 4% rule. I’m talking about a 1% rule or something. The super rich may try and make more money but they don’t worry about running out. At some point your net worth becomes a score and not something needed to live the life you want.

    On the other hand, not worrying about money does not mean you won’t worry about anything. From what I can tell, I’ll always worry about my kids. Health is the other big one that I worry about. It’s much less in our control than money is.

  • I’m sorry to hear your kid is not feeling well. I hope he’s better soon. That was one of the hardest thing for me. I felt powerless when our kid was sick. Now, I know to let the sickness runs its course and I don’t stress out as much.
    I think that’s the same with money. I used to stress more, but now I don’t worry about money as much. I’m a lot more optimistic and I’m pretty sure it will all work out.

    • Thank you, Joe! Our son is feeling much better now. I think I will soon get used to having sick kids around the house. I just feel sad when our son is sick, and we can’t do much to help. Every time like that, I just wish I could be sick for him instead.

  • I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop stressing about money. I’m going through planning a wedding and also house hunting. I had to stop contributing to my 401(k) because I felt our cash reserves aren’t big enough, like an extra $1,500 per month will make that large of an impact.

    I’m not sure, I’m just always stressed by money, and it kinda sucks.

  • Ms.FAF,

    I hear you about worrying about your money constantly. Sometimes it can feel like it is an all-consuming fear and concern that never ends.

    Two things I’ve found that help:

    1) put a plan in place that is well thought out, comprehensive yet simple. The simpler it is, the less you’ve got to worry about. With your plan in place, trust it. Things will never be perfect and some of the bad things you mentioned in your piece may happen, but you’ll be prepared to weather the storm.

    2) work on contentment. This is something I’m really working on. For me, an active way to build contentment is gratitude for everything we DO have…and I have TONS to be thankful for. This is a daily discipline I’m working on. I try to start the day by being grateful for at least one thing. It’s an an active process, bc I know myself, and I’m not naturally grateful.

    Those are a couple of things I’m using to reduce my money worries and to build contentment!!

    Thanks for the great post and your honesty!!

  • Man, anxiety. I think we are wired for it, some of us more than others. We live in a society that is alarmist anyway, so I think it’s harder now than it was. It’s helpful to me to think of a point when I won’t have to worry anymore, but I know it’s just a pipe dream. 🙂 But for me, simplifying life has helped me manage my worries, and I do think I have less now, at 38, than I did at 28. So that’s something. Congratulations on Baby #2! I worried less with mine, because I knew what was serious and what wasn’t at that point. Hopefully that will be the case for you, too!

  • Life can be full of anxieties and you can always create “what if “scenarios that will cause you to worry. For me, I have learned to cope with all that by having faith in God. I truly believe He is in control of my life and guides and leads me because I have given him my life. Therefore He is there to help me in life’s crises. I turn to Him and pray to Him for solutions and wisdom especially when making decisions. This gives me immense peace in my daily life and keeps me mainly worry free. If something bad does happen, I turn to Him and to my family at church who will pray for me and support me. I remember one Christmas the department I was working for was potentially going to be taken over by another department, which meant our jobs could be at risk, as the other department may not have wanted to fund our small team. My colleagues were very anxious about it and I also started to worry, as we really needed my salary. I prayed about it and asked God if we were going to be laid off. After my prayer, I just felt full of peace, like everything would be okay. So I didn’t worry anymore. And sure enough, after the take over we were informed that the new department would keep funding our team. I was saved from lots of angst because of the way I felt God had answered me and showed me it was all going to be okay.

  • I don’t think it’s realistic to be totally worry-free, but I definitely strive for it. There are things you can eliminate or reduce your worrying on for sure.

    We have a fully stocked emergency fund. I used to worry about things like not having money to cover if my car needs a major repair. Now, that’s not the case. I sleep well knowing my emergency fund is stocked and ready to go if needed.

    But my worry has shifted to other things. Am I saving enough for retirement? Am I saving TOO much and not enjoying the ‘here and now’?

    Are we donating to the right things? Are we donating enough?

    Regardless of how much money you have, there are going to be worries and concerns. I think that over time, depending on what’s going on in your life and what your money situation looks like, those concerns and worries simply evolve and change.

  • Congratulations on your second baby! How old is your son to be teething?

    We just had our second baby girl 8 months ago and she is also teething. She hasn’t been regular 💩 and we feel horrible.

    From one frugal person to another, I don’t think you will ever not think about money. It is in our DNA to save save save.

    • Thank you, Mr. MFC! My son is almost 3. He started teething at around 5 months I think. He did get sick during that time, but I’m not sure it was because of the teething. My cousins, however, also had horrible diahrea and fevers when they were teething >_< I think you're right. Money will always on my mind since I'm wired to think about money on a daily basis as a frugal person 😉

  • I think money is always a constant thing to worry about no matter your situation. It’s like all the other parts in your life you worry about. I think even if you build a good amount of wealth, you worry about trying to make more because you think it may never be enough.

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