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Jonathan Clements Exits: The Essence of Money

This article was written by in Saving. 10 comments.


Jonathan Clements, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is leaving journalism. He published his last article on Wednesday, a reflection on fourteen years at the Journal and 26 years writing professionally about money.

In the article, he looks at the essence of saving and investing. Why bother? A number of visitors touched on these points on yesterday’s post on Consumerism Commentary about frugality and compromises. Here’s what Jonathan Clements has to offer for his final word to readers.

If you have money, you don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to worry about it, but many people do. Growing your money requires paying attention to your finances, and when you’re aware of problems, you’re more likely to worry about it. But if you’re earning enough from your pay check or investments to cover your expenses, save, and invest for the future, then you have the flexibility to turn your attention to other things.

Money can give you the freedom to pursue your passions. This is what inspires me to continue being vigilant about my own finances. There have always been a number of things I’ve passionate about, including music, technology, building communities, and inspiring other people whenever possible. For a long time I was able to combine these passions, but the real world was calling and I needed to stop going deeper into debt. Once I’m financially independent, no longer needing to trade my time to earn a living, I can pursue these activities further.

Money can buy you time with friends and family. For most people, this probably falls under the “passions” category. Jonathan writes about the ability to spend when socializing with people who make you happy, but even those who are struggling financially can find happiness through making time for those who are important. It doesn’t take expensive dinners and traveling to find happiness.

Clements ends his final article with a reminder that a rich life isn’t always about the money.

I’ve cited Jonathan Clements‘ articles a number of times on Consumerism Commentary, and I’ve almost always agreed with his points of view. Thanks for the excellent articles over the years.

Published or updated April 11, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jesse

From a comment I left on another blog that sort of speaks to #2:

“I actually would love to win the lottery and not so I could have “nothing to do” but focus on all of the things I would like to improve if I had the time and money. I would love to improve myself (I would spend hours in the gym every day if I had the time), work more on my blog, run a fitness blog, restore an old Z, oh man, the list is endless. I saw a show the other day on people that had won the lottery and self destructed…interestingly a lot of them seemed the type that might self destruct anyway.”

That applies to money in general, thats why I work and save…hopefully I can do those things in retirement.

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avatar Ramit Sethi

Jesse, why not start doing that stuff today? You may not be able to spend “hours” at the gym, but what about an hour/day?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,373 (Platinum)

Ramit has a good point, one that I need to take to heart, as well. If I could just get motivate myself to start with 20 pushups and 20 crunches a day, I could put myself on the path to better health.

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avatar AJC

… I always wonder what ‘qualifies’ somebody to write about a subject? Presumably, it’s because they have already done it, or are simply writing about their journey.

Having said that, J Clements seems on the ball with ideas #2, and #3. Idea #1 ["If you have money, you don’t have to worry about it"] is rubbish.

BTW: instead of writing a ‘to do list’ for retirement, focus on your ‘must achieve for your life’ list – might be only one or two things … aim your financial strategy at that [how much? In how many years?] … it made ALL the difference to me!

Thanks for posting on this … AJC.

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