That was the subject line of an email I found in my drafts this morning :) Pretty catchy right?
I like to rummage through my inbox every now and then when I have a fit of writer’s block, and that line stole my attention right away and got me to open up the rest of the email to see what words I had dropped… And, not shockingly, they weren’t even mine! (A funny bit of trivia for you: most articles that get picked up by the media on this blog are usually not posts I write, but rather those my guest posters do, haha… that probably says something about me ;))
These words came from fellow reader, Slinky, who had left a fantastic comment on my post back in October about whether or not it was smart of me to pay down my mortgage last year (the answer: Yes, at the time it did make sense, but if I could go back and change it I would).
Here was the rest of the draft:
It is illogical to work towards something that is meaningless while ignoring things that are important to you just because the math says one is “better” than the other. The best answer is to marry logic with emotion.
Take all that emotional stuff (hopes, dreams, goals, lifestyle) and use logic to make it happen. Every question of “Should I do X or Y?” boils down to this in the end. I should invest my money because that’s where I’d get the best return. But that’s not the most direct route to accomplishing my most important goals.
Right now, my number one goal is to get my husband into a new, self-employed career. To do that, we need to restore and establish his workshop and prepare for a reduction in income. That too goes against the “best” thing to do, but health and happiness dictate otherwise. So my number one priority right now is cash, cash and more cash, regardless of interest rates or investment returns or anything else. It’s not the “correct” answer, but it is the “right” one.
Most of you who’ve been here for a while know I lean way more emotionally than maybe I should. It’s not that I don’t respect the financial *facts* of the game, it’s just that I don’t want any chances of burning out and losing motivation whatsoever. When I get excited about something it’s all in or nothing, baby! And if the numbers aren’t doing it for me, chances are I won’t even start.
Take, for example, the whole debt debate. Is it REALLY better to pay down the debts with the highest interest rate over the smallest amounts first? To me, the only thing that matters is whatever will get you to actually DO IT. I.E. – Pay them off. If you get motivated by the amount saved in the long run and nothing else, then you’re probably best going that route. But if you’re like me and your first instinct is to vomit trying to knock away $30,000 vs. $2,000, then chances are you’ll have better luck completing the mission by starting w/ the smaller loan first. It may be mathematically dumb, but you’re not setting out to win any nerd awards anytime soon now are you?
The same goes with deciding on whether to pay off your mortgage early or invest it into the stock market instead (or any other places you desire). The numbers people will take investing all day every day, while the more emotional ones will probably go the mortgage-killing route as it offers more peace of mind and stability. Now is one way much better than the other? Yes, of course. The one that works best for YOU ;) (Lame answer, sorry, but it’s still true!)
And that’s really the takeaway here today: It’s great to research and read others’ opinions on all the ways to handle your money, but when it comes down to making a decision you gotta go with the one that offers you the best chance of *staying motivated*.
Everyone KNOWS what the “right” answers are out there (“save more than you spend,” “invest for retirement,” “don’t watch tv – it rots your brain!”) but taking action is a whole other ball game. If you pick a route that you want to quit from day 1, none of it really matters to begin with…
Happy last day of 2013 :)
[Photo cred: katerha]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!