“Right Gear Right Time Right Place” these words are almost biblical in the Marine Corps. All it simply means is to have the right gear you need for the task at hand at the right time and finally be at the right place.
I think there is something deeper I have learned from these words on my journey to FI. I’m the type of guy that likes to do a lot of things. I’d call myself an adventure seeker. Sometimes an adventure can be as simple as a hike on a new trail near your house or as complicated as a road trip to a new destination.
I often see people in general over hype the gear they need in life.
I’m currently writing this post from a picnic table in the middle of nowhere in CA. We are at a Hot Springs park in the desert in the RV with our Great Danes. There are hills with rocks and a few nice trails to explore here. The people I see here going on hikes are for better words all decked out. They have the fancy hiking boots, polls and are even wearing backpacks carrying water. Then there is me and my partner in flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts. We are literally hiking the same trails yet have none of this fancy gear. I can only imagine the cost they paid for this gear that is arguably not needed. That is right this gear is not needed for any of the trails here. I’d bet 99% of the trails they go on this expensive gear is not needed. But maybe they got in on sale you say. I don’t care it’s still not needed and a waste of money.
I see it far too often people having high-end gear for activities that are never needed.
I have friends who say they want to start getting in better shape and want to start running more. Just like that they go out and buy the $400 GPS watch, new gym clothes and the $150 running shoes. Time after time these people fall off the bandwagon and don’t keep up with getting in better shape nor get better at running. Really there was no need for all that fancy gear. They could have accomplished their goals without extra expenses. Maybe some will say it could motivate them to do better. I would agree it could do just that. To be frank I’m a firm believer that to fully commit you to have to motivate yourself and items or stuff rarely will keep you motivated.
Even now living full-time in the RV I see others fall into this trap. Looking around at this Hot Springs park I see so many people with big expensive trucks pulling trailers much smaller than mine. These people are weekend warriors as I like to call them. They camp in these trailers for short periods of time and back to their normal lifestyle. Yet here I am living in my RV full-time with a much smaller truck. Now I will admit having taken this first trip outside of San Diego with the RV and truck has me wanting a bigger truck. My 2003 F-150 does pull my 32’ trailer very nicely in the city to our different sites. But pulling it long-distance threw the mountains like I did to reach these Hot Springs left me desiring a little bit more power.
I have friends that have even spent $40K on things like a Toyota 4-Runner and say they now can start going out and enjoying camping. Yet, on the other hand, I know people who own a used Prius and go camping often. I went camping in the 2006 Scion xB that I paid $8,000 for in 2009.
People just fall into the consumer trap of thinking they need fancy gear and stuff to enjoy, improve, and get out and partake in activities.
I still lean on my old saying of less is more and more action is needed. At a certain point, I think upgraded gear and even high-end gear is needed for the right enthusiast with doing the right activity. I would arguably say that is less than 10% of people though. Even me in my activities I fall into for the most part the 90% of people. I do value quality things and even often spend more money on a better quality product so that my things last a long time. Because I buy fewer things I value them more and thus want them to last a long time.
I do pride myself on this mindset and owning less stuff and doing more with less. I do struggle with when to upgrade gear or things I use with something newer or even better. A small example of this is my GPS watch. I bought it for $99 about 4-5 years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s been closer to five years but who is counting. It is a great GPS watch that is just that a basic GPS watch that will track my running distance, pace, time and calories burned. I have been wanting something that will track all my activities to get a better visualization of my activity, especially when working out in the gym. I have been looking at a few newer GPS watches. It’s crazy the features these watches have even ones like the Apple Watch that can text, call and get on the internet while tracking all my activity. I have thought about buying an Apple Watch but it’s hard when my current GPS watch still works. It’s funny because money is not even an issue with my cash flow and investments I’m doing very well in my journey. My struggle is “I like to get great value out of my items”. I feel that breaking down the cost of my GPS watch that I did not get a great value out of it yet. At five years old it would have cost me about $1.65 a month to own it. While some may say that is good I’m really not so sure.
That has to be the biggest recent struggle in my FI journey is when is it worth to upgrade the things I value.
It’s a small problem to have but one I am working on tackling. I think a big part of it is understanding how the upgrade affects your bottom line, is the upgrade going to create more maintenance, is the upgrade going to bring more joy or usefulness to your life. For me, I’m still slowly learning where that sweet spot is.
I think after writing this post I will go purchase the Apple Watch and put it to use.
I’m all about people buying the right gear for the right activity at the right time. I just see too many people over hype the gear they need for the activity they want to do. I only can hope that more people will challenge their purchases by reading this post. Maybe this way I can positively affect their bottom line.
The ultimate goal is happier, healthier and wealthier.
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