You get up out of bed on Monday morning and head out for a new week of work. As you feverishly make your way through the to do list, get ready for the big sales meeting in the conference room, and manage the office politics, a question arises in your head. Is this all really worth it? It's that question that pops up in your mind because as hard as you work it doesn't seem like you are really making any financial progress. You just finished a Sunday evening capped off by paying bills and watching your bank account go down the drain like it was a whirlpool in the middle of the ocean.
There two types of dollars to understand in this world. Loanership dollars and ownership dollars. Loanership dollars are those dollars that allow us to purchase something more than we can likely afford at the time that we actually purchase the item we buy. For example, if you had to buy your home in cash would you be able to afford the home you have today? Of course not. Invariably, you have to borrow dollars to be able to make that purchase. Ownership dollars are items that you generally buy outright with current assets. This can be as large as a new car to a small as a bottle of shampoo you get at the pharmacy. What's interesting to me is that both of these types of dollars can make you a slave to your possessions. While loanership dollars can be a great deal more dangerous due to the leveraging effect, even ownership dollars can cause you a great deal of stress even after making the purchase.
Most people today don't realize how much pressure society puts on you to own things that are bigger and better. Who ever thought you would be having a conversation on who has a nicer kitchen or a better movie theater in their own house? Or who thought you would really care about what type of brand your jeans were? Or what type destination vacation you took this summer that might be cooler than your neighbor's vacation? Since we are human begins, we are susceptible to the simple emotion of wanting to be part of the 'in' crowd. This means making sure that none of our friends, colleagues, or co-workers gets anything better than us. It means that we can stick our chest out that we can have the best in life like all of the people with lots of money are able to afford.
When you look at your own rising debt and shifting bank balances, it makes you wonder . . . how are they doing it? How can these people possibly afford all of these purchases they are making? I mean, are they part of some family money or did they get some type of recent inheritance? Surely they don't really make much more money than I do, and it seems like they are getting new stuff all the time. To answer your question, the truth is that they aren't doing it. All of the people around you are feeling tons of pressure and stress every Monday morning because they now have become a slave to the things they own. What's interesting about it is that many of possessions you own that cost you tons of money you end up hardly using at all. How many times do you really entertain on that $30,000 deck? How many people have come over for the Super Bowl to watch your 80 inch television? How many times have you eaten in that finely decorated dining room that cost an arm and a leg to design?
I'm here to tell you that most freedom you'll ever feel is when you have no debt and lots of money in the bank. Who cares what other people really think? At the end of the day they don't pay your bills and certainly don't pay mine. Cut yourself free of this trap in the future and ask yourself serious questions about how much you want your next purchase versus how much you really need it. Doing that will get your rid of your financial ball and chain, and you won't become a slave to your possessions.
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc
oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice and Smart Money Moves to the X and Y Generation.
Phone 1.800.355.9318 or 770.777.0427
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