In “The Financial Benefits of Buying What You Love,” Carl Richards offers advice that he thinks may go against the grain: If you really love something and know you will get a lot of use out it, it is okay to buy something rather expensive. As you agonize over a pricey item, consider that if you love it and you’ll use it, you’ll save not only money but retain the cognitive and emotional energy you would have used to replace the thing once a year.
We would add the caveat: if you can afford it. Richards does advise readers to “buy” and not “charge” or “put on installment.”
As an example, Richards tells about deciding to buy a rather expensive bicycle. He bikes regularly and has kept that bicycle for 11 years. He contrasts this with people in his biking group who have purchased newer or better models in the same time that he has held onto the expensive bicycle that he loves.
Richards’ advice may seem to be the opposite of the idea that one will get more fulfillment out of spending money on experiences than on things…but perhaps it doesn’t. While the bicycle is a thing, Richards used it for bike riding experiences that he enjoyed. When we discussed the book Happy Money, we noted, “The authors point out that we are often happy with objects…until we see something that seems better.” This is what happened with Richards’ friends that continually want to get better bicycles. Richards himself spent big on one bicycle that he really loves. Part of the key to better spending is also knowing yourself.
Working with a professional may give you some perspective. A Fee-Only financial advisor knows that while the numbers need to add up, there is more to your life than facts and figures. Claire Emory, MBA, CFA, CFP, of Clarity Financial Planning is an advocate for your financial future and takes a holistic approach to your needs and goals. With strategic financial planning, you will be in a position to consider an expensive item that will serve you well.