My daughter is working at the pool this summer because she wants to take a school trip to Costa Rica next spring break. We told her we’d pay half, and she needed to earn half. This is the first regular job she’s had, and it’s been eye opening and a lot of work, not all of it exciting and interesting. But she’s loved making money. Recently my son asked her whether she regretted working so hard for money with nothing to show for it. I smiled when I heard her say, “No, because I value experiences more than things.” That is a value I hold for myself, and it’s definitely one I want to pass to my kids.
I develop software products for financial advisors and as a result, I spend a lot of time reading financial literature to understand trends. A trend that’s been in play for a while is the idea of advisors seeking to help clients self actualize (harken back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, now) by making use of money that reflects one’s values. For example, making charitable bequests that produce a legacy. I don’t have the resources for any financial advisor to want to spend time on my self actualization, but it has made me think differently about spending. I’ve never been particularly materialistic, but this idea of making spending choices based on what I most value has had a real impact. And I do value experiences more than stuff….. Exception being material spending that produces a desired experience, such as all the services and gadgetry I’ve purchased to maximize Arsenal viewing (cable, HD TV, smart phone, etc.). This philosophy also extends to my use of time. Within reason, I want to spend it consistent with my values.
Still, sometimes it’s clear even to me that I’ve taken this thinking outside the bounds of reason. I submit my current hall of shame for your judgement. Things that would take money or time…that I’m spending on Arsenal experiences instead.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s easy for me to trade solutions for all of those problems for a season frequently in the presence of my Arsenal. But it bears remembering when I look at those problems: that’s the trade I have made.
Except for the tree. That one we just have to take care of.