Several friends of mine camp, boat and waterski regularly at a nearby lake and invited me to accompany them one weekend not too long ago. They all have large, fancy recreational vehicles (RVs) that cost from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Beautiful, amazing vehicles.
I rented a 14 foot pop-up camper.
It made me a little defensive when someone asked me, “You’re the financial planner, why aren’t you in the biggest vehicle here?” My gut reaction was to say, “Yes. I should get something to keep up with these guys. After all, I think these big RVs are amazing and hope to own one someday.”
But for now, I have a retirement to plan, children to put through college, charities to support, investments to accumulate…you get the picture.
I’ll keep renting my camper.
Is there something wrong with purchasing items you enjoy? Absolutely not. Do I sit in judgment if someone doesn’t feel the same way I do? No, in fact one of the things I like best about life is that we each get to make our own decisions – and live with the consequences.
But before making a large purchase, here are the questions I ask myself:
Will I go into debt?
Is this large expenditure a depreciating asset?
How much will it cost me to insure, maintain, store, or otherwise keep this asset?
Am I buying this item because it’s my dream? Or someone else’s?
What am I giving up if I make this purchase?
Will I have buyer’s remorse?
Many years ago, a financially successful friend said to me, “Kevin, people don’t like money.” This made no sense to me until he followed up with, “You can tell they don’t like money because as soon as they get some of it, they trade it for stuff.”
Wow, what a revelation. So before that next purchase of a big screen TV, an expensive car or something similar, ask yourself, “Am I just trading my money for stuff?” I encourage you to look carefully before you leap.
If you have any questions about this or other financial questions, please call me at 805.966.2122. I welcome your questions and comments.