The myth of the fat wallet analogy

A fat wallet is supposed to represent having a lot of money, right? It’s a metaphor for having a big stash of cash, for being wealthy. A fat wallet is better than a slim wallet. Cash is king! Blah blah blah.

When we moved from Australia to South Korea this year we simplified our life in so many ways. We sold our home, sold or gave away 90% of our stuff and stored the rest in a 1.5 metre x 1.5 metre storage shed. There was so much stuff we didn’t need and I kept wondering how we allowed this stuff to creep into our life. Because creep it did, like a silent disease filling our cupboards with objects we never needed. Twenty-eight pairs of runners and hiking shoes and I’m not even a runner! Some still brand new in their original box.

When we moved to Melbourne in 2004 we started in a small, two-bedroom flat. We outgrew that and moved to a two-bedroom terrace home, then a three bedroom home, then a home with a massive shed, then finally, our stupidly large suburban house with rooms we never went into, except to clean or or store more stuff.

Hindsight shows me the pattern.

Selling our house was terrifying and liberating. Terrifying because part of me loved that house, felt that I deserved that beautiful house. Terrified because once we are out of the housing market, how will we ever get back in? Liberating because I no longer have a mortgage to serve. Liberating because I am no longer making fat cat banks, utility and insurance companies, and my local government wealthier with their extortionate rates while we struggled to feed them the thousands of dollars they demanded each month. Thousands just to live a modest life in a comfortable house. The cost of living in Melbourne is crazy!

Read about how a $15 bag of potatoes was the catalyst for selling our house and changing our lives:

Now that we’re in Korea, I’ve downsized my old Australian wallet (the red one on the left) to this new little cutie (the slim little blue one on the right).

This little wallet represents a richer life in more ways than one. It holds a credit card or two, my Alien Registration Card (I’m a legal alien!), and a small amount of cash. Simple. Minimal. It’s all I want or need.

It’s my new metaphor for living a simpler life where everything in my life and my home is of value to me and my family. I don’t want a fat wallet and what it represents. I choose a different kind of wealth.


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