Being a PF blogger, I feel it’s only fitting to take those quotes and pervert them into personal finance lessons. I’m sure it’s what he would have wanted.
1. “Insufficient facts always invite danger.”
If you don’t know what your expenses are, you don’t know what you can afford. Meaning that each purchase is flirting with disaster, whether you define that as overdraft fees, more debt or simply living paycheck to paycheck.
Even after you have your budget squared away, you still need to know what to do with your money. Should you invest in stocks or annuities? What about CDs, bonds and T-bills? Are you even saving enough for retirement?
If you don’t know the answer to those, you’re in danger of a very miserable future.
2. “Change is the essential process of all existence.”
Nothing is static in this life. You have to be flexible — including your approach to personal finance.
Circumstances will change, for better or worse, imperceptibly or radically. You must be able to evolve your habits and goals to match your new situation, or you’ll never succeed for long.
3. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
There’s a good chance that your finances won’t be just about you forever. You may find a partner, have children and/or need to support family members.
And even if you’re a solitary orphan, you still can’t escape the truth in this quote. The “many” can just as easily refer to the years you have left, which need to be planned for.
In short, the things you want today shouldn’t come at the expense of what you (or others) will need in the future.
4. “In critical moments, men sometimes see exactly what they wish to see.”
We find something we want — I mean reeaaally, reeaaally want — and our brain goes into rationalization overdrive. We ignore the voice of logic, which is busy shouting that we don’t have the money or that we simply don’t need it.
Instead, all we can think about is how much happier and more fulfilled we’ll be with the item in our life. Not to mention how unhappy and envious we’d be without it.
So we paint ourselves a picture in which there are plenty of ways to find money in the budget. Or perhaps the picture just shows us that the enjoyment will outweigh any credit card interest. Whatever it takes to rationalize the purchase.
Which we may regret when you consider the next point:
5. “You may find after a time that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.”
Let’s face it, humans tend to romanticize things: situations, people, etc. So when we want something, it becomes to us the be-all and end-all, the route to our supreme happiness.
And really, what can live up to that hype?
In fact, studies have found that the anticipation of the purchase can be more enjoyable than actually owning the item. In which case, all you’re left with is the bill. Definitely not so pleasing.
6. “As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.”
Building financial safety requires time, attention and discipline. Destroying your financial safety just takes a few really good shopping sprees.
Destruction is certainly easier, but creation is usually far more rewarding. Unless you’re Godzilla. And I don’t think he had a very solid retirement plan.
7. “Live long and prosper.”
An excellent goal for everyone, to be sure. And something you simply cannot do without careful financial planning.
Do any of these sayings resonate with you? Do you have any favorite Spock or Leonard Nimoy quotes?