Perhaps among the best stories ever written were those of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Aside from the daring and heart-pounding adventures are lessons one can keep on friendship, love, and life.
One can also draw values on courage, determination, and resilience.
In these stories, the Hobbiton was a significant location. It is part of the Shire — Tolkien’s region of fictional Middle-earth where the Hobbits settled. TolkienGateway describes it as “a small but beautiful, idyllic and fruitful land, beloved by its inhabitants.” Most importantly, the Hobbiton is the place where the famous Bilbo and Frodo Baggins came from.
It is truly picturesque. Having had the privilege to visit the place, I realized how the Hobbiton and the Shire in general have a lot in common with the Ultimate Goal of achieving financial sustainability. As we journey through attaining our financial goals, a Hobbiton-like image appears. Who doesn’t want peace, comfort and happy living?
The day I understood the importance of peace in my life, was the day I wrote my financial goals.
I was 22 years old. To achieve my goals, I focused on five things and still continue to do so. I call it my Five Money Pillars, which, after vising the Hobbiton, made me realize that the word SHIRE represents it perfectly. The following pillars are:
- Sunny Day Fund. If there is one thing we dearly anticipate, it is going on a holiday, being with our family, visiting a new destination — basking in happy memories while off from work. Saving for the Sunny Days mean you do not have to spend your month’s salary or end up borrowing money. Key secret: allocate an amount every month so when the Sun has finally arrived, you are well prepared to enjoy every minute of it.
- Health Fund. This is perhaps the most important fund you should save up for. Encompassing protection of your health and your life, this will enable you to soundly sleep at night knowing that come what may, you and your family are secured for any unexpected circumstances. Key secret: ensure you get the right insurance that will suit you and your family’s needs.
- Investment Fund. Grow your money. Create passive income. Sooner or later, you will have to stop working. Your investment fund is your vehicle to ensuring that when that time comes, you will have a sustainable flow of income stream. Key Secret: Apart from your regular monthly savings for this fund, every time you get a raise or a bonus, pour it all in here. The more money you invest now, the more you will benefit from it in the future.
- Retirement Fund. Now is the time to save up for the older you. No one is going to take care of yourself the best way but you. When the body is not as able as it was, this Fund will enable you to still enjoy life’s pleasures. Key secret: Instead of putting this in a savings account with near to zero interest, put it in investment vehicles that will give you more. However, choose something that is in accordance to your age and your status in life.
- Emergency Fund. There are things we cannot control such as being laid off from a job or getting affected by calamities. Consider your Emergency Fund as your Kevlar – your bullet proof to lessening any unpleasant impacts that will come your way. Key secret: Save at least six-months of your monthly expenses. This will enable you to function normally until the tides have settled again.
As I left Hobbiton that day, I will always remember the significance it has imprinted on me. More than a touristic destination, it is guidepost for all who wants to reach the Shire-like state – a state where where you are at peace knowing you are financially secured; a state where you are comfortable and able to enjoy life’s pleasures; and state where you live happily knowing you have done your very best to achieve it.