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Monday, May 1, 2017

Affording Everything

Posted by Tim Stobbs on December 4, 2014

My wife and I were chatting the other day and it hit me during our conversation on when to do something that in fact we have cease to ask the question “can I afford this?”.

In general terms the question is now basically irrelevant from our typical conversations because I can bloody well buy just about anything that I want.  I make a good income, we have lots of savings and I even have a $100,000 line of credit available should I suddenly have the desire to remodel the entire house, buy a new car,  and take a month long trip all in the same year.

So the question isn’t can we afford it? But rather, why do we want to this and is there something else we would prefer more instead?  Now that is an interesting set of questions because it forces us to consider our priorities and desires.  We also tend to find we have different ideas on what to do so we tend to discuss them to understand what the other person want and where is the common ground.

For example, my wife has some interest in taking the kids to either Disneyland or Disneyworld.  I have less of an interest in going since my previous visit as a child didn’t leave that much of a lasting impression on me.  This isn’t to say we won’t go, but rather it makes us discuss our ideas on it and perhaps some up with some kind of compromise.  Perhaps do it for a few days and then head over to something else near by.  Or talk with the kids about it and what they would be interested in.  Perhaps we end up in Legoland instead…I really don’t know.

The reality becomes as you save more and grow more comfortable in your financial security your options to what to do with your time and money keep increasing.  So you can take that big trip if you want.  Or stay at home and do odd jobs around the house.  The debate turns more into an exercise in finding balance in your life between spending and savings and which priorities matter more to your family and yourself.  In this case, there are no hard and firm answers but instead a endless buffet of compromises to choose from.

It is interesting as your choices go up the ability to make a decision become easily compromised.  It gets so easy to get lost in talking about options you never get around to making a decision.   So to help make a decision we will often artificially reduce the number of variables to reduce the number of choices.  For example, we might decide we will only consider going to California and therefore eliminate some options.  Or we might choose to drive down to see the country and therefore limit our time at the end location.  The limits are just in your head, but it can often help drive  you towards a decision.

So I don’t know where we will end up going for our next big vacation, but I do know I won’t worry about paying off my Visa for months afterward on it.  The joy of being able to afford anything.  So how you deal with lots of choices?  Any other tips that work for you?

Comments

5 Responses to “Affording Everything”
  1. RICARDO says:

    “CAN I AFFORD THIS?” IRRELEVANT? Hardly!
    And “Do we want to do this?” Well we would probably all want to do more than we are doing and it is closely tied in to whether or not you can pay for it, out of pocket, without the line of credit.
    Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we are not all blessed with a s**tload of dinaro to wantonly spend on th efirst time that comes to mind.
    Probably more impostantly to ask is if it will enrich your and or your children’s lives either physically or mentally. And then how you can pay for it without pissing off the IMF on the Canadian debt levels.
    As Mr. Jean Beliveau said “money does not make you happy”

  2. Gerard says:

    Nice post. As I get better at managing both my money and my time, I realize I’m getting to the same place as you: I have to actually make choices now. When I was broke or over-committed, then “circumstances” made my choices for me. And by “circumstances” of course I mean the pressures that come from earlier (stupid?) choices, or because occasionally you really do have to do everything at once.

  3. Joe says:

    When I was 25 I was making $2 million a year I retired when I was 28. I had so much money that I’d never go broke. I also sold a dot come biz for $50 million. Your problem is that you need to keep working. Good luck.

  4. Wow, comments.

    We live on a pretty strict budget. But each year we choose what to put on there. 2015 might even include a trip to Disney (it will be my first)(parents might do the snow bird thing so we’d have a place to stay)

    Changing from can we afford this to do we want to spend on this is a big change. We’ve found we naturally just spend less now, which is nice.

  5. Jacq says:

    FWIW – we went to whichever Disney is in FL for Xmas a number of years ago. Neither of the kids liked it. I asked them about 2 days in if they wanted to continue and they said “mom, we’re willing to keep going because we don’t want you to waste your money – but no, we don’t like it here.” I considered it a sunk cost / lesson learned and we ditched the place. We did enjoy the NASA tours (had already been to the one outside Houston a few times when we lived there.) I loved going down to Key West and doing the tour of Hemingway’s home and the Ripley’s place – those are always a big hit with us. Also Everglades park is neat.

    One reason why I enjoy RV-ing (or car trips) is because I don’t have to choose really. You just head in a general direction and stop when you get tired of driving and stop longer when you want to stay longer at a place.

    We’re headed to an all inclusive in Feb. I limited the choice by picking one of the top reviewed resorts on tripadvisor with unlimited non-motorized water sports. Took about 15 minutes to research and book. Doesn’t really matter if it’s the ultimate holiday. Generally I enjoy wherever we go (except Disney apparently.) :-)

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