Humans have a hard time properly recognizing value. For instance, I have to fill out about an hours worth of paperwork to receive a $100 rebate on my glasses through my health insurance. This seems like a tremendous hassle to me, but on the flip side, if someone walked into my office and offered me $100 to fill out an hour of paperwork, and I could do it whenever I wanted, I would happily do it, thinking to myself “oh, wow, $100 to sit in a robe on a sunday morning and fill out papers, what a deal.” We think we’re rational creatures, but we aren’t, and sometimes we are very, very bad at knowing how much we need to spend to make ourselves happy.
We would all love to know ahead of time about upcoming bills. It would be the easiest thing in the world to plan or save for things if we knew every single expense that was coming down the pike. While some of us wouldn’t save for a known future, most would. It’s the unknown that gets you. And it can be, frankly, terrifying to know how little control we ultimately have. For example, an unexpected job loss because the whole company gets sold. Something like that generally has almost nothing to do with your performance (unless you’re in the C-suite, and then you have a whole other set of stresses), but it can have a big impact on your day to day finances.
The sun is going to someday expand to swallow the earth. Literally everything we’ve ever known will disappear. I try and remember this when I’m considering a purchase.
There’s an old saying about arguments that if you are in one, you’ve already lost. By the time tempers are flared and positions are chosen, both sides tend to dig in, and it’s too late to find any meaningful compromise.
While “family planning” is a surprisingly controversial term in America, there is one aspect of planning for a family that shouldn’t be controversial at all but sometimes is, and that’s talking about money, specifically how it is handled.
When we are children, it’s one of the most common questions we are asked: what do we want to be when we grow up?
I raised my hand without a moment’s hesitation. I was eight at the oldest, new to the school after a move, and unfamiliar with the unspoken rules of career day. There was a visiting speaker for the day, there to talk about their life as a commercial electrician, and during the question and answer I asked what seemed like the most natural question in the world: “How much money do you make?” And the whole class laughed.