I’ve been happier lately, so I’ve laid off the ranting. This doesn’t mean that I can’t still get angry every once in a while…
How often do you hear nonsense disguised as wisdom that makes you want to run for the exit? Maybe on Thanksgiving, your Uncle Larry has three drinks too many and starts unloading his worldly “wisdom” on the family.
Been there, seen it.
Or domineering relatives think they know what’s best for you and aren’t afraid to regale you with their “knowledge.”
And unwanted wisdom isn’t confined to politics or world events. I hear personal finance “wisdom” (is my sarcasm coming through?) almost every day that makes me cringe. Here are some of my favorites:
“It’s only $xxx per month!”
Car dealerships, mattress stores, and home builders all use this trickery:
The reason is simple: $289 is easier to swallow than the price of the car. How many folks can afford to buy a new car outright?
Don’t fall for the trap.
Do this instead: Always consider the total cost of an item. Also, think about the long-term potential of the money. Even if you can afford to unload $30,000 for a new car, you need to think about what that money would be worth 30 years later if you invested it instead. Hint: Lots. Also note that the car will be worth $0 in 30 years.
“Treat yourself!” or “You deserve it!”
Why do you deserve anything? And if you do deserve it, why must you buy yourself <insert one: shoes, a purse, a car, sports tickets, gadgets,> because of it. You don’t need a shiny new object just because you accomplished something.
Do this instead: Take the money and invest it. Strive for financial freedom. Time is the ultimate reward and you do deserve it after you’ve worked hard and invested diligently. If you want a fancy toy (I’m raising my hand because I’m guilty), wait until you’re financially free to get it. My NSX is a lot of fun, but nothing feels as good as financial freedom.
“Let’s go shopping!”
Shopping is a horrible word. Roaming stores at a local mall isn’t a pastime or hobby. If you don’t know you need it, you don’t need it.
Do this instead: Make a list of what you need at the store and stick to it. And find other ways to have fun. Instead of looking for stuff to buy, go to the playground with your kids, swim at the beach or have a potluck with the neighbors.
“You only live once (YOLO)!”
People say this when they’re naughty and know it:
The purse is $800, but YOLO!
Do this instead: It’s true, you do only live once. I’m glad we agree on that. Now, let’s agree that since life is short and you should enjoy your limited time by living on your own terms. Find your Enough and step off the hedonic treadmill.
“I’ll buy it now and figure out how to pay for it later!”
No. No! NO!!! This is wrong, bad and borderline batsh*t crazy. Just don’t.
Do this instead: Save your money now so it’s there when you need it. Repeat after me:
I’ll save it now and figure out how to spend it later.
“Oooh, the Joneses have a new car!”
Shiny new things bring envy. However, I have something to tell you:
The Joneses are living check to check.
They’re 3 months away from bankruptcy should Mr. or Mrs. Jones lose his/her job.
Do this instead: Forget the Joneses. Don’t follow the herd. Know that no one ever did anything great by looking at someone’s butt. Be confident. March to your own voice and carve your own path.
Oh wow! If you can’t tell, I’m all worked up. I’m getting off my bossy soapbox now before my head explodes or I go all T-rex on the next person who utters one of these phrases.
How about you? What ridiculous wisdom drives you nuts?
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