Being a personal finance blogger and someone who is working toward financial independence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I regularly discuss money related topics with Mrs. T. Unlike many households, money isn’t a tabooed topic in our household. I believe it will be very important that we continue this practice once Baby T1.0 and T2.0 are older. Since we are staying with Mrs. T’s parents while we are in Denmark and they know about this little blog of mine, they have been very curious about the blog itself. Naturally this has given us a number of opportunities to discuss about money and investment. The other night my father-in-law came up with a quote which I thought was simply brilliant.
Boys will be boys. All it changes through time is the size and price of their toys.
(Sorry the quote is perhaps a bit sexist but please allow me to go on…)
If you think for a moment about the quote you will realize that it is very accurate.
The progression of boys and their toys
When we are young some of these toys that we play with are…
Most of them do not cost a lot of money and are small in size. Often we get these toys as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Then we grow out of childhood and become teenagers. Toys that we play with become more complex, slightly bigger, and slightly more expensive.
- More elaborate Lego blocks
- Playstation or XBox games
- Radio controlled cars
- Dirt bikes
- Nerf super blaster
We play with these toys by ourselves and with other teenagers; we learn how to share and how to play with other people. Quickly we learn the concept of asking for more toys to satisfy our wants.
Eventually we grow out of teenage years and we enter adulthood. As we start working and start figuring how to be an adult our tastes for toys change. Most of us no longer play with “childish” toys. We now have our man-toys to play with.
- Motor bikes
- Laptops or computers
- Electronic gadgets
- Golf clubs
- Art collections
Once we get closer to 40’s or 50’s, some of us begin to feel stressed and worried. Because it seemed that we have not done anything with our lives. Therefore, mid-lief crisis sets in and we are wired to buy uber-expensive toys to distract ourselves from reality. This resulted in the purchase of
- Uber expensive sports cars
- High end expensive sports bikes
- Expensive recreational boats
- A McMansion (if that counts as a toy)
Like my father-in-law said. Boys will be boys. All it changes through time is the size and price of their toys. The size and price of the toys get bigger and more expensive. It’s like a never-ending game that we are playing with ourselves.
How to avoid buying more and more expensive stuff?
Luckily I am here to help you avoid this fallacy of buying more and more expensive stuff as you get older. The solution?
- Separate wants and needs. Does purchasing this item satisfy a need or a want? When you can differentiate the two this is when you can start avoid buying unnecessary and expensive stuff.
- Learn to give. Rather than consuming and buying simply to satisfy your wants, learn to use giving as a way to fulfill your wants. Giving those in need like donating food, time, and money will create more satisfactions than the mindless purchasing of more expensive stuff.
- List non-material things in your life that make you happy. There are non-material things in your life that can’t be bought that will make you happy. It’s a great idea to list them out and figure out what’s important to you in life. When you have a list it is easy to realize that happiness doesn’t rely on materialist things.
- Spend time away from your toys. Spending time away from your toys will give you perspectives that you don’t need your toys to enjoy life. Happiness is not a fish you can catch, it comes from within.
It is totally fine to remain a boy at heart. But don’t let the desire of wanting more toys to cause you any financial burden or hardship. Controlling your wants is a vital learning process in the quest for better personal finance and eventually financial Independence. There is so much more to life than the never-ending-mindless-spending-and-consumption.