I love beer – all different styles, from stouts to sours, from double IPAs to doppelbocks. So naturally, I started thinking about how different beers can represent different parts of personal finance. I hear you scoffing, but let me explain:
Light Beer – The Entertainment Fund
Sometimes, we are embarrassed to admit that we drink it, but man, does it make life fun! A lot of frugal people tend to cut their entertainment budget down to next to nothing. There are plenty of great free/almost-free entertainment options in NYC, from walking around attractions and neighborhoods to having friends over for dinner. However, sometimes it’s ok to spend a little money on entertainment. Be proud of your light beer!
Leftover Beer – The Emergency Fund
You know that beer that sits in the back of your fridge forever? Somebody brought it over to your apartment months ago and nobody ever wants to drink it. But that one day, when you really need that nice, cold refreshment, you are thankful you have that beer waiting for you. Just like your emergency fund, dipping into it isn’t as satisfying as if you had other options, but it is important in a pinch.
Barrel Aged Stout – The Retirement Fund
This beer ferments and ages longer than most. Sure, you have to wait a while before you can pop it open, but it sure does taste good once you do. Your retirement fund is the same. It sits and it grows. That extra boost you get from employer contributions and tax-free earnings? That’s like the oaky flavor that really gives it something extra.
Exploded Freezer Beer – Debt
You didn’t want to wait. You wanted the instant gratification of having an ice cold beer almost instantly. But somehow, it got away from you. Just like your debt, you put off dealing with it for too long and now you have a mess on your hands. Debt is dangerous, but don’t worry, you can always clean it up.
IPA – The Debt Payments
Newer beer drinkers tend to dislike IPAs. They taste bitter and are unappealing at first. However, as you continue to drink them, you get used to the bitter hop taste and actually start to love it. Many beer aficionados crave the hoppiest of IPAs – there are NEVER enough hops for them. Taking a chunk of your income and putting it towards debt can be a bitter experience at first. But as debt bloggers like Student Debt Survivor, Red Debted Stepchild, and Debt BLAG will tell you, paying off debt becomes addicting and so satisfying!
Homebrew – The “Play” Fund
Brewing your own beer takes work, but it is so rewarding to drink the fruits of your labor. You get to tinker with recipes and the final product can end up being amazing, or not so great. But at least you can always grab your favorite beer from the fridge if your homebrew turns out gross. Whether you have a funds set aside for picking individual stocks, investing in Lending Club, or playing around with Bitcoin, your “play” fund allows you to mess around with a small portion of your portfolio. Just like homebrewing, this type of investing isn’t necessary to meet your financial goals. It’s just for the hobbyists. Oh, and if you actually want to try your hand at homebrewing beer, the Mr. Beer kit is extremely easy.
Last Beer of the Night – The Budget
You had your fun. You drank some beers. But you’ve had too many nights in the past where you blacked out and did something regrettable. Now, you’re older and wiser! You know exactly when to stop to maximize your fun and minimize tomorrow’s pain. Making conscious decisions about how much money you spend and what you spend it on each month is no different. Good for you, you’ve optimized your enjoyment!
Your Beer List – Net Worth
I’m cheating a little as this is not just one beer, but as you travel deeper and deeper into the beer lover’s world, you often start to take note of which beers you have tried and how you felt about those beers. As your list grows, you want to try even MORE beers. You also want to diversify the types of beers you have tried, and build your overall knowledge base. In the same way, tracking your net worth can be motivation to continue building your wealth. The free online service, Personal Capital, is a great way to track your net worth.
There you have it. Man, all this talk about beer has made me thirsty. I’m gonna go grab a cold one. What types of beers (or alcohol in general) remind you of personal finance?
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