Part of Oak Street Advisors’ 10 Financial Commandments for Millennials series, we discuss how lifestyle creep can lead to poor financial decisions and possibly ruin; and how keeping what really matters to us in life in the forefront of our financial lives can steer you away from conspicuous consumption.
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”- Benjamin Franklin
I agree with the last sentence, but there is no doubt that money can buy some happiness. Studies show that earning $75,000 annually buys happy; and $95,000 annually buys really happy.
Taking that into account, the final financial commandment to conquer is a self-assessment of the way you spend your money. Do you spend more on the things that really matter in life-- providing protection for your family, ensuring you have enough assets in retirement, and making memories with the ones you love? Or do you spend more on that new car payment, credit card debt or eating out every night?
Keeping up with the newest trends, cars, boats—you name it, is expensive. You need a safe car your family can rely on, but does it need to have 8 temperature-controlled zones, leather seats with warmers and a sporty trim package? Your family will always need clothes on their backs, but a shirt from Target or Costco provides the same warmth as the one in the mall that costs over $200.
Some of the wealthiest families somehow find a way to spend every penny earned with little to show for it in the end. When you reach the final commandment it’s time to take an honest introspective look at yourself and your household to make sure you’re spending your money in a deliberate way, on things that really matter and build your wealth into the future.
You can control your money, or your money can control you.