We all know about those things. Most of us are conscientious about trying to get them right, I would think.
And many of us find that that resolve leads, at times, to considerable stress: difficult decisions, choosing the less attractive alternative, feeling pressure, making sacrifices.
This summer, faced with a massive reno job at a condo just as we entered summer season—and make no mistake, I live for that short but delightful 6+ weeks of near perfect weather that we get in these parts—I was faced with that dilemma.
“I’m not going to let this project ruin my summer!” I determined. “If it takes a little longer, so be it. There are only so many of these summers in one’s lifetime!”
I worked hard on the renos but I also took plenty of time to enjoy the season: camping, hiking, paddle-boarding, attending outdoor concerts, enjoying short road trips, relaxing in my hammock or lawn chair.
The project likely took a week or two longer than it might have. And perhaps caused some lost opportunity costs.
But, so what? In the big scheme of one’s lifetime, the memories of this fabulous summer (hey, we didn’t even get smoke in these parts until this past weekend) will mean much more than the few extra dollars the delay may have cost me.
I’m not saying I always get my priorities right but, for this one, I have no regrets. And the 6+ weeks has turned into 8+, with still no end in sight. I am most blessed!
Juggling priorities is such a big part of life.
And I find that it is priorities, bad ones, that hamstring so many people from reaching their goals.
It’s never more obvious than when I work with rent-2-own applicants.
Often the issue is poor decisions regarding credit; short-term decisions that never considered the long-term consequences.
Priority decisions like refusing to pay a cell phone bill that they didn’t agree with, buying the latest shiny object instead of making the credit card payment on time, or using a credit card as a loan, never intending to pay it off fully every month. (Talk about an expensive loan!) Or, even worse, accessing payday loans.
Another big priority issue is having too much debt, usually stemming from decisions to take on debt for depreciating liabilities. The biggest is vehicle debt. (Hey guys, who came up with the crazy idea that you are defined by the truck you drive? and that you should take on debt to finance that dream? If there ever was evidence of a devil . . . but I digress.) It’s vehicle debt that often keeps people from owning their own property.
It’s a severe violation of the golden rule of finance: use debt to pay for assets and cash to pay for liabilities. A vehicle (need I say it?) is one of the biggest liabilities known to humans.
Okay, if you already own your home (which, itself, barely sneaks into the “asset” category, some experts disagreeing that even a home is an asset—but that is a bigger discussion than this post), and you can comfortably pay the additional monthly debt, then go ahead and finance doodads like vehicles, boats, motorhomes, furniture.
Another issue is never having prioritized financial education in the first place. Admittedly, that doesn’t come naturally; certainly, you were never taught much about that in school. It means you have to do it on your own, and many prioritize fun endeavors over financial education. And pay dearly for that decision later.
Which leads to another priority problem: planning from paycheque to paycheque rather than month to month, year to year and even over one’s whole life horizon.
You’d be shocked at how many applications I get from people who have no idea how much money they earn; they only know how much they take home every two weeks! . . . I’m forced to question whether they should ever take on the responsibility of a mortgage.
Well, I’m starting to preach. But I can also hear some of you saying, “Here, here! . . .”
Sometime preaching may be necessary.
Oh, and by the way, you may have noticed that these posts have been less frequent this summer.
Priorities: condo renos and enjoying this fine weather! I feel no guilt.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .