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7 Deadly Sins of Personal Finance: Don’t Enjoy Life

Posted By Jim On 08/28/2008 @ 3:01 pm In Personal Finance | 8 Comments

We’ve reached the last of the deadly sins of personal finance and this one probably caught you off guard, right? All the others were your standard bits of personal finance advice: be sure to budget, have an emergency fund, ensure you’re adequately insured; this deadly sin is of the softer variety. It’s important that, while you’re following the standard personal finance advice, you remember to enjoy life while you’re living it. That’s why the seventh and final deadly sin of personal finance is…

Don’t Enjoy Life

Life, especially the personal finance aspects of your life, is all about balance. Don’t spend more than you earn, but don’t starve yourself of life’s pleasures. You don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy life but you don’t have to starve yourself of all fun in order to save more for a new house or your retirement. While all those goals are important, it’s also important that you enjoy life now so that you don’t burn yourself out.

I had a friend who was extremely diligent about saving money during the week. He’d bring in his lunches, he’d skip out on happy hours after work, and would otherwise live a pretty austere and frugal lifestyle. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, whenever he would go on vacations with his girlfriends, he’d go all out. As you probably know, anytime you visit a vacation destination, there will be ample opportunities for you to spend a lot of money. If you ask him, he’d tell you that he was saving his money during the week so that he could go crazy on vacations without worrying about how much he spent. If you ask me, I thought his pendulum was just swinging the other way from austere to lavish. I never judge how other people spend their money, that’s their own business, but a small part of me wondered if his “average spend” would be lower if he just enjoyed life a little more on a daily basis (you can go out with friends without spending a lot).

Let’s be honest, you don’t need me to tell you to enjoy life, right?

Finally and hopefully fittingly, as you work those long hours at the office or the shop or while you’re hitting the books at the library, remember also to spend time with your loved ones doing the things that make you happy. Be sure that you’re working to live, rather than living to work. Promotions and more pay are great, but there’s more to life than money and those things are free.


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