Over the past three weeks I’ve been secretly working with an artist I discovered on reddit to commission a series of images to present to my future wife as a wedding gift. They are done in the style of a cartoon we both enjoy, and depict us doing many of the activities that we enjoy together. The process was smooth and simple: I described what I wanted, approved some concept sketches, evaluated previews of the final work, and paid for the high-res image files. The entire time I was very excited to see the project to completion, and was not disappointed by my fiance’s reaction.
Although I didn’t create the artwork myself, the images are very personal. Art is a personal thing, and different pieces speak to different people. It is the kind of thing that is hard to put a price on. Perhaps this explains why some are willing to spend millions on a Picasso. My position is that when you’ve cut out all of your frivolous expenditures it is very easy to justify spending hundreds of dollars on art, if it makes you happy and if you are not spending more than you are making.
I talk about accumulating wealth; after all, that is the subject of this blog. But wealth is more than money. Money is merely a tool, a means to an end, an end which to me is ensured security and happiness. It is important not to lose sight of that. Maybe I could have had a higher savings rate this month (it will still be high), or retire a year or two earlier than I am planning (which is still early), but only at the cost of forfeiting experiences that I would not give up for the world. You can recognize the rich man by the smile on his face.
Then again, if I had any artistic ability of my own, that would be even better. My fiance and I are of the same mind on these topics, although she is often better in the execution, having recently completed two oil canvases of her own (and the discounts she finds on her supplies amazes me).