An observation that I am trying to pass along to my kids.
My never ending desires are rooted in a false idea of what will make me happy. I have a clear idea about the structure of the days that are “better.” Achieving better is easier, and more rewarding, than chasing pleasure from purchases.
To help me achieve “better”, I have a series of principles.
1/ Visible spending for wife, first // This works on a number of levels.
- Don’t buy something for yourself that you wouldn’t buy for your entire family.
- It easier to be value conscious when I remove myself from the purchase equation.
- It’s just good policy.
2/ The minimum outlay to meet the underlying need
Strangely, I got this via Joe Friel on coaching masters athletes => the minimum, and the most specific, training to get the desired physiological adaption.
Capital takes time to acquire and is easily squandered (spendthrift heirs and lottery winners are common examples).
A default to the minimum reduces the scale of my (inevitable) errors and increases the ability to change my mind later.
3/ Do not sweat the small stuff – set a Give A Hoot threshold (links to Marriage Money article)
Set an annual plan, track the cash quarterly and promise you will not sweat the small stuff. Good people are made miserable by tracking every nickel.
Stay out of the weeds so your mind is able to think and get the big things right.
4/ Avoid Choices That Have A Material Cost to Hold => this applies across domains (assets, leases, friends, family, commitments, Facebook/eMail). The math from yesterday.
There are many ways to find yourself over-extended… debt service, cash flow, emotion & time.
Exit bad decisions => they crush you on all levels.
Mark Allen on pacing…
just because you’ve made a bad decision, doesn’t mean you have to continue it
Combine these principles and you’ll find the sum is worth more than the parts.
My son asked about the last big purchase I made, other than real estate.
My off-the-cuff answer was “we don’t spend much money” but that didn’t line up with what I know about our cash flow statement.
So I spent January thinking about it. Next time, the best financial choices I’ve made across my marriage (16 years this summer).