Is minimalism a philosophy for rich bachelors?

I've been lured by the siren call of minimalism several times over the last few years. There is an attractiveness to the philosophy - that "less (stuff) is more" - that's hard to deny.

Recently I stumbled upon a fascinating article on The Art of Manliness blog, titled "The Problem with Minimalism". It cites another well-written article, "Wealth, risk and stuff", by Charlie Loyd. 

In short, minimalism at its extreme is only suitable for people who are well-off. If you're well-off and need something you don't have, no problem! You can just buy it. 

Loyd makes this point especially well when he says: "Wealth is not a number of dollars. It is not a number of material possessions. It’s having options and the ability to take on risk" (emphasis added).

I can certainly vouch for this. Over the course of my life, the poorer I've been the more reluctant I've been to throw anything out. The relationship between my level of financial comfort and my willingness to throw things out is almost linear.

Minimalism is also only suitable for those with simple needs. Bachelors (who are the philosophy's main evangelists) are the prime example. If you're a bachelor you can get away with a spartan life. 

If you've got young children, can you really live with just 100 items? Maybe you could make minimalism work. If you were prepared to have a terrifying quality of life. 

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.