Newton’s law of motion says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That works great in physics but when it comes to real life it doesn’t always work that way in real life. Or in money management.
In real life the reaction of our action isn’t always equal nor opposite. We get curve balls, underhanded pitches, things way over our heads and of course those things that blindside us. Ugh! And in money management and budgeting, how many times have you had to outlay more money than what seemed reasonable?
But one thing that is consistent is that for every choice there is a consequence. Some consequences are better than others. For others, well, we’d like to call a do-over. Hindsight is the most awesome thing ever invented! I wish there was some way to make hindsight foresight. Except then I’d be clairvoyant and that could be freaky.
So back to this whole idea of our choices having consequences. If you’re a parent you talk about this all the time with the kids. You probably remember being asked ‘are you sure?’. This is code for ‘if you make this choice something is going to happen that you might not like but you’ll be stuck with it so you might want to really, really, really think about your choice and whatever you are going to choose then you should choose the opposite’.
I’m constantly teaching this concept to BabyGirl. I want her to know that if she decides to do something that it will have an effect on something else. Because rarely is a choice without consequence. I want her to think about making choices and know that they don’t exist in a vacuum. Things like if you don’t brush your teeth then you’ll have bad breath or yucky teeth or dental problems. I don’t want her making some cosmic leap like, if I don’t brush my teeth all my teeth will have to be pulled out and I’ll have no teeth’. But I do want to teach her to think beyond the NOW.
I read so many blogs and posts about how people are trying to get out of debt. The current economic problems came about because many felt that they needed stuff NOW or because professionals failed to outline the real consequences of the choices being made. We are consumers with conspicuous consumption. And we don’t like to wait and we’ve been told for years that we can have all these things for just dollars a day. Our friends buy stuff and go on fabulous trips and drive great cars. And we want that too!
And we want it without having to think about the consequences. We don’t want to be reminded that the credit card bill will be here next month. Who cares if that great skirt needs to be dry cleaned to the tune of $10+ each wear. And really, it would be best not to be reminded that we don’t really need 296 channels plus HD when it costs more than we can really afford.
The reality of life, though, is that there are consequences for our choices. Some will be small or even insignificant. But it’s those more significant consequences that should make us think twice. Except who really wants to think about consequences when something seems so perfect.
What are the consequences of my choices?
1. Do I need this or do I want this?
2. Can I afford this now or will I need to finance it? Is financing this a good option?
3. Is there a more practical (financially or otherwise) option?
4. Are there better alternatives?
5. Do I want this because it will make people like me more?
6. Am I teaching my child a good lesson?
7. What would really happen if I buy it/don’t buy it?
8. Am I buying/getting this for emotional reasons? Am I trying to satisfy some other need?
9. Why do I want this?
10. If I don’t get/do this, what will happen?
We’ve all made decisions that have proven not to be the best. Emotions often drive us to make decisions without thinking it through. Maybe in the future, we’ll stop and think twice. Or three time or even four. We can’t be paralyzed by the various consequences, but we can be informed. Right?