When You Realize The Best Things In Life Are Free

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When You Realize The Best Things In Life Are Free


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May 21, 2017

Sometimes, people will make fun of me for driving a car with 204,000 miles of wear and tear on it.    There isn’t a month that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “Ted, when are you going to get a new car?”  On top it, I’m not the kind of person who buys myself much anymore.  I don’t spend a lot money on clothes, I don’t have an expensive hobby, and I don’t even wear a watch anymore.   You’d think I was bunkering up for a financial Armageddon, but in reality a few years ago I realized that no matter how much money you make the best things in life are free.

Growing up as a child, we would have NEVER even thought about going to a four star hotel.  Now, for most families it isn’t even about taking a vacation.  It’s about the style points associated with the vacation.   “Hey, have you gone to the Ritz Carlton in …..?” or “Hey, have you even stayed at the Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld?”  or “Hey, have you tried the Four Season in Vail?”   While there is no doubt these kinds of vacations are nice once in a while, when you start doing them two, three, or four times per year your expectations become so high that you actually start to become disappointed when a four star resort doesn’t meet your expectations.

With the world of fine cuisine today, our expectations of a GREAT meal have gone off the charts.   When two or three new restaurants open up in your neighborhood, you’d think that we all inherited some part of Anthony Bourdain’s personality in the way we critique these restaurants.  I can remember so vividly as a child that when Mom and Dad took me out to the local diner that just the fact that I was not eating a home cooked meal made that diner so special.  Now, it is a piece of cake to go out and spend $100 on a fine dining experience only to tell yourself that you would have been better off just eating at home.

When Sam Cooke sang The Best Things In Life Are Free, the lyrics went like this…

Ah the moon belongs to everyone
The best things in life they’re free
Stars belong to everyone
They cling there for you and for me

Flowers in spring
The robins that sing
The sunbeams that shine
They’re yours and their mine

Love can come to everyone
The best things in life they’re free

The expectations even for the college experience are even through the roof.  When I was on a recent college tour, the school boasted how their indoor track was the largest in the nation (by a few hundred feet) and there were 10 different exercise studios, steam showers, and even a zen area to just sit and relax.   The dorms are now state of the art and the meal plans tie in with 30 or 40 restaurants in the local town.  It’s no wonder that schools are so expensive because today’s college experience is just swipe away from getting just about anything.

Some of you are millionaires.  Some of you are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.   Some of you are struggling to pay off credit card debt and are living paycheck to paycheck.  Remember this…no matter how much money you have in the bank, the best things in life are free.

  • A hug or a kiss from your loved ones
  • Getting a hand written card when you least expect it
  • Enjoyed the sun shining on you during a beautiful spring day
  • Taking a walk in the park with your dog
  • Smelling the beauty of the flowers or trees around you
  • Watching your children doing something great
  • Check out the local attractions
  • And much, much, more

Since I am in the money business, you would think all I care about is money.   In reality, I’ve learned that money can give you financial security and it can buy you a bunch of stuff, but still the best things in life are free.


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