There is nothing the matter with rewarding yourself with fancier gadgets, vehicles, apparel, boats, or increasing your lifestyle. However, many people do not consider the deeper consequences of owning them until there is irreparable trouble. When a new item begins taking up your time, Money, and effort, then these limited resources must be taken from where you used to place them: someone or something else. These “others” could be your spouse, kids, work, business, relatives, retirement savings, friends, and personal goals. Can these prior relationships or activities survive with your diminished time, money, and effort? As an example, I know someone who was divorced after he began spending big on several exotic cars plus driving trips with buddies. That may not have been the primary reason for the divorce; however, it was the last straw that the relationship could not survive. (It is also a classic move to short a stock once the CEO starts spending more time on his yacht or court-side seats than working; because the company performance will soon tank from the CEO’s lack of attention).
Once we have acquired something new and expensive, we feel like we have to use it a lot or the purchase was a waste; whether it is an Xbox console or a $750 pair of Louboutin shoes.
What are some of these items with sink-holes of consequences of time, money, and effort?
- A large screen TV – more hours per week on movies and television, holding parties for watching
- Buying a horse, or even a dog – exercising them for hours each week plus potential medical bills
- Any boat, let alone one that has sleeping berths for overnight stays – current boat owners keep the old joke fresh, “A boat is a hole in the water that you throw your money into”
- Hobbies – your own pilot’s license, yacht captain’s license, racing bicycles
- Apparel and accessories – you cannot stay home alone or dine at Taco Bell if your closet is filled with the latest high-end designer goods
- Any kind of club: country club, book club, shooting club, dance club, garden club, etc.
- Collecting: watches, antiques, cars, art (a friend spends a fortune on Persian rugs every year)
- A second home – requiring twice the home maintenance plus the added travel
There is nothing wrong with taking up a musical instrument or buying 2 mega yachts. The critical question is: Have you considered where the time, money, and effort will come from to support and maintain all of it? Is everyone else in agreement with you about the new lifestyle – or will it strain and break the relationship? Will you lose or job or business in the process? For example, I know someone who lost his job and doomed his career because he didn’t realize how much time he needed to devote (during work hours) on the build-out of his spectacular trophy home for weekends in a distant coastal town. So before you begin adding new elements to your lifestyle, carefully evaluate all of their costs, over time, to the parts of your life that are most important to you.