It’s hard to take one’s own advice

It’s hard to take one’s own advice

About a year back, I was helping a friend through some difficult issues he was facing in his personal relationships. At the core of his problems was money. No, it wasn’t the mismanagement of money, but rather the “over-management” of it that was creating conflict in his personal life. His desire for financial security had ended up as the primary objective rather than the well-being of his family. Ironically, he wanted financial security for the welfare of his family.

His wife believed that the should spend less time worrying about money and more time with the family.

So I was staring at a classic case of both sides doing what they did with the best of intentions for the family. Both good people, with good intentions. But amid those good intentions lay the conflict.

Now I’ve never been crazy about money to this extent. Everybody is different and that’s the way I like myself to be. So I counseled him from my point of view and urged him to give up control of the money… I urged him to make some decisions that are simply fun – without any regard to whether they make financial sense or not. He listened intently and promised to think things through.

OK, so that chapter finished there. And then after a couple of days, I was called upon to take my own advice…

My wife wanted to buy some family room furniture on Boxing day. Now when we bought the house, we both decided that we won’t spend any money on new furniture for a year. But she’s been wistfully looking at the empty rooms and speaking about how good they’d look once there was furniture there.

Now buying a house isn’t a trip to Walmart. And the recent purchase has left our bank account with a rather empty feeling. And any future, immediate purchases would need to come out of the credit lines (something I detest diving into).

So the question confronting me was – just how much emphasis should I place on this desire of hers? Here were my options:

  1. I can say “We had an agreement. Lets honor it and buy the furniture next year instead of this year”
  2. I can delay the matter by saying “Lets think about it”
  3. I can take the big financial hit and howl while I go berserk trying to pay it off.

But then, I recalled the lengthy discussions I had with my friend and realized that money is simply… well… money. I have to look at what it means to me compared to what’s really important in my life. I mean what will bring me more happiness? Looking at my bank statement or looking at my wife’s face when she enters the family room each evening?

The answer was clear.

The next day, we spent $5,000 on some gorgeous family room furniture. There were no compromises made on quality, especially when it came to selecting the recliners. After all, it’s my tushy that’ll be spending the most time in those chairs for the next 10 years and damned if I’m going to compromise on those 🙂

Looking back, I made the right decision. I still wince at the thought of paying the debt down, but you know what? I’ll pay if off eventually… it’s just money.

Someone once said “Money is nothing but paper with an attitude”.

I believe that.

The Warrior

2 comments

  1. I like to think of money as a form of energy, a tool that you can use to be/do/have what’s truly important to you in life. It’s a supporter, not more, not less.

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