Stop wrapping your furniture in plastic
I have memories of an elderly aunt of mine wrapping her couch in plastic, which was quite common in the 50’s and 60’s. To me, this has always been a reminder of the value that people put on things, to the detriment of actually enjoying those things. Was it really worth preserving that piece of furniture to the point of being uncomfortable sitting on it?
On the other hand, there’s a particular person I know, a retired woman with six grandchildren, who is always spending her money on them: clothing, toys, school supplies. When I asked her about it, she said that she’d rather spend their inheritance on them and enjoy seeing them benefit from it, than wait until she’s dead for the inheritance money to be passed on.
It’s a wonderful sentiment and one that I constantly find myself reinforcing to clients. After you get past the point of self-sustenance, money is just a tool to use to create positive experiences in life.
At the end of the day, we only have so much time here. When we look back, it is never the “things” we accumulate: multiple properties, vehicle collections, jewelry, or boats. It’s the memories that happened in our lives, delivered in part by our decision to invest our money in those experiences.
Shiny objects will inevitable grow dull over time, but endearing moments will be resilient indefinitely. Never let the quest for “more” distract you from the beauty of “enough” – being content is the only way to true freedom. An abundance of physical possessions can begin to take over your life and own you (instead of the other way around.)
Just to be clear, as a wealth advisor I would never advise anyone to make imprudent financial decisions. But strangely, amongst the ultrawealthy I frequent see it go the other way. People get so wrapped up in saving what they have or investing it in possessions that the true deliverers of joy and happiness – positive experiences – fall to the wayside.
We should take a hard look at our spending history and ask ourselves these questions:
- Were there any truly meaningful experiences I haven’t had yet, that I wish to have and that are within my means to afford?
- Which experiences am I depriving myself of, and is it truly necessary to abstain from them?
- Are there people that I should be spending more time with, but am not, and would this potentially cause me regret at some point down the line?
- What is it that I keep telling myself I should do more of, yet never seem to get around to doing so?
Positive experiences are the aim of life. Make a list to reflect upon. We are here for guidance if you need some help figuring out how to make it work financially
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