During the talk Lu Linvega spoke about their approach to dealing with broken systems on the boat—water pump, fridge, etc.—and how they often opt not to repair them:
Over time, we were like, we – we could pay, we could work more to get more money so we can repair, to address that issue, or not, and try to live without. And a lot of the situation that we encountered, it turns out it is a lot healthier for both of us to optimize, to need less, than trying to optimize to make more money. And this lifestyle forced us into that mindset.
It struck me that this notion—the “negawatts” approach to personal finance—is completely missing from mainstream financial planning advice.
When I consulted a financial advisor earlier in the year, his schtick was, understandably given his role, all about maximizing growth—optimizing to make more money. Every time I enter that world, I end up feeling dirty all over, as it inevitably means balancing two evils, risk (and the evils of anxiety) vs. reward (and the evils of supporting various degrees of capitalism).
Optimizing for less seems like a breath of fresh air by comparison. Indeed not only does it seem like a solid, ethical personal finance philosophy, it seems like a solid, ethical political framework too.