July 24, 2012

Being "Rich" in Life

Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A few weeks ago I got to spend a fun evening with my wife and her family attending the “Brothers of the Sun" concert tour at the Georgia Dome, featuring Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. While I wouldn’t say I’m a country music enthusiast, I must admit that I do enjoy listening to the genre from time to time when I’m driving, camping, or having a rough day. One of my favorite country songs (that Tim McGraw was kind enough to perform during the show) is "Live Like You Were Dying."

"Live Like You Were Dying" is a former number one that was released in 2004. The song focuses on the relationship between Tim McGraw and his father, former baseball player Tug McGraw, after Tug was diagnosed with brain cancer. I’d like to share a brief excerpt of the lyrics below:

I went sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I've been denying,
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin'.

Now, I by no means am recommending that you sky dive or ride a bull named after facial hair, but I do want to take a break from repeatedly telling you to spend less and save more, and offer a few thoughts on making sure you are being "rich" in life.

Many of my friends, readers, and clients are becoming financially stronger at a very impressive rate as they save more and more. They are saving for retirement, planning their children’s education, and growing their checking accounts and nest eggs. I am very happy for them and very proud of them, but in some cases, I believe it is possible to save too much and too fast. By that, I mean if you are too focused on saving a certain amount, paying off a large debt quickly, or maintaining a certain net worth, you could miss out on that dream vacation with your spouse, the World Series game your college friends invited you to, or the chance to play golf at that one course you’ve always wanted to play while you still have your best swing. You are mortal. We are all eventually going to die. You should keep your financial house in order, and always save whenever you can, but live your life like you know it will not last forever. Don't fall into this category of saving too much and living too little.

On the other hand, some of my friends, readers, and clients, who I am trying to help, are spending everything and saving nothing. They are living like they are currently dying. In the long run (assuming they continue to live), that financial strategy is not going to work for them, or their loved ones. Taking exotic vacations, buying 4-figure watches or purses, and purchasing the latest and greatest electronics are fun to do from time to time, but expenses like these should not be the norm if you are not substantially saving. Don't fall into this category of living too much and saving too little.

Finally, some of my friends, readers, and clients, who I am desperately trying to help, are quickly using up what they have previously saved and are living at a higher standard of living than they can afford. The financial strategy they are employing could very well be equated to financial and future quality-of-life suicide. They simply don’t realize that leaving a little to your heirs is a lot better than running out of money while you're still alive. Don't fall into this category of spending your savings too fast.

I assure you that I will be back to my old self soon with more reasons to save, financial planning ideas, and investment tips, but I felt like I needed to share with you why I believe that if you can afford it, precious life opportunities should sometimes, and within reason, trump financial implications. As the great American showman P.T. Barnum once said, “Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience.”

Keep saving all you can. Just make sure you are becoming “rich” in your life experiences - not just dollars.


1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to take your advice, Tom. But, I guess I will give up on that really special purse I had my eye on! Keep up the good work!