That is one of my favorite sayings. While I may look like I have my financial sh*t together, I have had way more occasions than I care to admit to say it. Last time? When I had to spend over $1,500 on a flight back to Europe because the $150 offer I had seen was sold out and I wanted to go to Europe on a whim. Did it hurt? Hell yes! Especially when in normal life you try to avoid unnecessary spending, and you live in a cheap country like Guatemala where $1,500 could cover all your expenses for a couple of months. But…
After all, it’s just money
Unlike time, you can get the money back. You can work harder, make more money, and it is only a minor setback. In a month, in a year, you’ll be back to where you were. Mistakes aside, money can fix so many things. All my frustration with the crooked politicians of my village could go away with a nice check stack of cash. Hiring the maid full time would mean marital bliss. Money could buy comfort, when you are too tired to ride the bus home and get a cab instead. Money could buy convenience when you are too lazy to cook and prefer to enjoy your friends and a ready made platter of appetizers.
Should you indulge every day? Not if you want to build wealth and get ahead. But for once, treating yourself won’t result in a major financial drop.
Moving on with your life
I remember losing quite a chunk of money trading a few years back. It was all online, and even though it was multiple times the biggest amount I’ve ever lost or had stolen in cash, the cash hurt much, much more. That’s weird! Online the number dropped, you couldn’t grab it or do anything, and that was about it. I guess I would feel the same if my house lost 99% of equity like the ones in Detroit. It it too big an amount to realize the magnitude of the blow. What can you do anyway? You have to move on with your life. Rip the bandage and keep going. If you have $100 and lose 50% trading, making back $50 with the $50 you have left means getting a 100% return. Suddenly things are much harder. But not impossible.
While I care a great deal about preserving my wealth and making smart money choices, I don’t care so much about losing money or stuff because I know I have the means to replace the stuff and the ability to make the money back. I prefer to live freely than having the stuff take some mental space, even if that means that once a year on average, I have to replace my cellphone, passport or other items.
A few years ago I was traveling and had managed to have a company sponsor a nice video camera, worth about $2,000. My friend had the previous model that he had paid for himself. We were using mine and his was in my backpack, which got stolen while we were hiking up a volcano. I told him it was my fault and I would give him my camera. I thought he’d be happy as it was a nicer one but he just yelled at me that I had no idea how much effort he put into saving for his camera, and throwing a better one at him wouldn’t solve the problem.
To me, there is little money can’t fix. It can’t fix health if you are terminal, and it can’t bring your loved ones back to life. But for almost everything else, even to buy time, money is there. And that’s why it is important to have a nice pad of savings so when a problem arises you can just get over it quickly and move on with your life.
I don’t mean to sound arrogant “let’s throw money at the problem” style, but think about it for a second. Before you agonize for weeks over a small money mistake, how about letting it go for once? Your sanity is worth more than that.