Bigger is Better vs. Less is More
"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy."
Frequently, both individually and as a society, we are obsessed with having more. More is often viewed as superior to having less, but is it really? And here is where the lesson of context comes in. True, more is sometimes preferable to less, yet there are times when less is better than more. Please allow me to make an example, to avoid doublespeak.
Imagine you are married and your grown children have moved out of the house. You and your spouse both work. Each one of you has your own car. Yet, imagine that you have three cars. Perhaps, you had the extra car because you let your kids borrow it when they lived at home. Now your kids are grown and gone, but you are used to having an extra car, so you kept it.
Do you really need three cars? Upon reflection, isn’t the added cost of maintenance an unneeded drain on your time and your wallet? Only you can decide. However, how many times do we maintain more of something because we are caught up in a status quo that has been sold to us by someone else? Does having more in this case make you happier? Again, only you can decide.
I have heard it said that the diet industry rakes in billions of dollars a year. I find that interesting since, at the end of the day, virtually all routes to healthy weight loss that I know of boil down to the same thing. We are told to move a bit more and eat a bit less. Sure, there are different formulas for this, but in the end, if we want to have healthy, sustainable weight loss, moving more and eating less seems to be the formula.
With that said, how many of us fighting the battle of the bulge have gone out and bought multiple weight loss books? How many of us have an exercise bike, or some such, which we hang clothes on in the basement or garage? Or feel the need to acquire more tools to lose weight, when the formula remains the same? What we are really doing is lightening our wallets but not our bodies. Think about it.
How many of us stuff ourselves so much at Thanksgiving that we are sick by evening? And go out to dinner frequently, only to come home feeling beaten up from repeated bouts of food that is too much and too rich?
How many of us, when confronted by a doctor about our health, secretly want what ails us to be remedied by more medicines so as to alleviate us from having to eat less, move more, etc.? We live at a time where there is, as a friend of mine puts it, “a pill for every ill”. More frighteningly, we seem to be entering a time where there is a pill for every ill that is caused by a pill.
How many of us own a boat that we only get to use a couple of times during the summer but all year long we must deal with issues of maintenance, dry docking, etc.?
How many of us have given our kids more and more only to see them less and less motivated?
And what on earth does all this have to do with finances you might ask. Well, if we truly are able to learn that in many cases less is more – particularly when it comes to consumer goods – the more money we are likely to save.
The more money we can save consistently, the bigger our investment portfolios can become, all things being equal. The bigger our investment portfolio the greater the possibility that we might be able to earn more money from our investments while taking less risk, again, all things being equal.
Oh, and then there is this. If we learn to stop spending money needlessly, if we learn to cut out waste in our personal budgets, if we remove ourselves from the clutches of marketing mavens working to get us to depart with our hard-earned dollars buying things we do not need and that will not make us happier, we will need less money to live in the long run.
Which would you prefer, having lots of stuff cluttering your closets, basement and garage, stuff you barely use and feel foolish for ever having purchased or working toward sustainable financial security so, that over the course of your lifetime, you can go out and find what truly makes you happy? Or living with the grinding fear of not having enough money to live a peaceful and long life? Only you can decide.
Make your decisions. Then take responsible action.
Scott R. McGimpsey February 8th, 2017
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC