The best way to spend your money

Dear Daughter,

I don’t know right now whether or not you will be wealthy as an adult. If you’re going to be an artist, as you now proclaim, I do hope you’re not the starving kind. At best, I hope you will earn enough to live a life that is comfortable and free of financial burden. If not, then I hope you’ll find innovative ways to get to that point. And if you earn beyond the level of comfortability and into the level of luxury, I hope that you never lose yourself to materialism.

I like nice things. I love buying clothes, jewelry, shoes… pretty much anything that makes me look good. (Yes, your mother struggles a bit with vanity. We’ll talk about that another time.) But the older I get, the less I want to spend money on those things and the more I want to spend it on experiences. Financial experts might frown upon that because experiences, unlike tangible goods, do not have a resale value. But they do make life a whole lot richer in the relational sense.

Experiences include family vacations, going out to dinner, trips to the water park, etc.— anything that brings people together to do something fun or enjoyable. Or it could be an experience you need to rejuvenate yourself, like a massage or pedicure. If what comes from the experience is fun, laughter, rest, peace of mind, joy, or all of the above… then it’s money well spent.

Clothes don’t make lifelong memories; a family vacation does. Jewelry doesn’t bring one closer to their spouse; a romantic dinner does. Shoes don’t make a parent laugh with their kids; watching a funny movie does. While buying nice things might make you happy at first because they’re bright and shiny and new, that feeling quickly fades and the item becomes just another thing that you own. But memories last forever, and relationships are built and made stronger by time spent together. So the emotional profit gained by investing in experiences rather than things will always surpass that of the alternative.

Remember this when you’re fabulously wealthy and contemplating taking your mother on a tropical vacation. I promise you that doing so will only improve and elevate your relationship with her. *wink*



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie Brown
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 08:22:26

    Good Letter Julia. I totally agree. Even if you don’t have alot of $$, you can still make memories. 🙂


  2. unknownjim
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 10:04:58

    Really enjoyed the honesty in this post. It was very refreshing.


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