False Sense of Security
Posted on 3/27/2007 by Jason
We are told that money won’t buy lots of things. For instance, money can’t buy you happiness. Or love. Or a second chance at your secret crush in high school.
Somewhere along the line, however, we fall into the trap of believing that money WILL buy you security. Sure, that job you have may not be a dream job, or even something that makes you spring out of bed in the morning, but it pays the bills. It covers the mortgage, helps you pay off your loans, inflates your retirement fund, and provides the all-important holy grail known as Benefits.
So what happens if the stock — and your 401k — plummets (it happened to the Enron folks), you get downsized (it happened to my brother’s father-in-law), or if the company cuts those great benefits (it happened to my dad)?
Oops. I guess money, although helpful and quite important, really CAN’T buy you security. Nor can it buy you your dreams or the years spent not pursuing them.
I found a great post by Sarah Winfrey entitled, “Can you afford to follow your dreams? Can you afford NOT to?” Sarah talks about things money does and doesn’t buy, and shares the decision she and her husband made about going after a dream, even thought it would mean making some big sacrifices and carrying some loans a little while longer. Here is the rationale that pushed them over the edge:
In the end, the decision hinged on what we want to be able to say at the end of our lives. When I’m dying I don’t think I’ll care much about the size of my house (or even if I owned one), the make and model of my car, or even how nicely I was able to dress my children. I’ll care a lot more about who I am and who Dave is, who we helped each other become and how we got there. I’ll care about what we tried just because we loved it and how many times we were able to bankrupt ourselves traveling (that’s the only thing I ever totally and completely bankrupt myself for, but that’s another post). I’ll care about whether or not we took the risks our dreams required, whether we were willing to put it all on the line for something we believed in. When I looked at it that way, I couldn’t bear to walk the safe road just for the sake of safety any longer.
Good for you, Sarah. Sometimes we can be lulled into taking the easy, safe, traditional path in life because it’s deemed responsible, wise, and promises heaping piles of security. And it also doesn’t scare the crap out of us (which is a reason that can’t be underestimated).
When you make decisions as you go through life, be sure to examine the whole picture. Certainly consider the things money can buy, but be sure to also keep in mind the things money can’t buy. Like love, happiness, and the years spent not pursuing your dreams.