Friday, July 13, 2007

Your Gucci or Mine?

After attempting the challenging read of Malkiel's investment classic, I opted for some light personal finance reading by David Bach. In Smart Couples Finish Rich, he stresses a very important principle:
"Money is a vehicle for our values and the goals that help us live those values."
I'm sure we all couldn't agree more. But am I the only one who finds it hard to adhere to that principle when you can't help but run into at least 7 Gucci's or Kate Spade's within a half hour on Broadway in SoHo? Trust me, I was there two nights ago - I counted. (And I was standing in a fixed spot, not trolling for luxe bags!) There's no harm in admiring a nice long as I haven't sacrificed $67k in retirement savings to own it, right?

What Does It Take to Be Rich (link):
"In the end, of course, what it takes to feel 'rich' today, or even merely comfortable, is largely a matter of personal perception.

"Kathy Shoeny is a single mother in El Monte whose income drops her squarely into the ranks of the working poor by government standards. But she owns a small home, a car, two TVs, a VCR and a computer. Her two children have health insurance and decent schools. She has a job decorating cakes at a bakery. "She occasionally dreams about what her life would be like if she won the lottery--an impossibility, she says, because she never plays--but has concluded she’s already pretty rich. " 'I’ll admit to feeling some pangs of jealousy when I read about 'wealthy' people and their 'problems,' " Shoeny said. 'However, what I mostly feel is incredulity.' "
Jealousy? Sometimes. But it's easier to overcome those few moments when I know that I will be able to reach my financial goal of supporting myself adequately later in life. And it always feels way better to simply admire someone else's arm candy than to get one for myself & fret about how much buying a bag has cost my retirement!

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