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Jerry Citarella: Living the dream now or preparing for the future

Financial Truth

Posted: June 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

At a charity event recently, a conversation with a friend brought up an interesting question. Is a Corvette an asset?

I can already hear car buffs screaming out specific years and models that have appreciated or are true classics, but let’s look at the question more generically by breaking it down into two questions: 1. What does the Corvette represent, and 2.

can it help or hurt your future? When is a toy just a toy, and is it OK to quit making excuses to buy them?

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker — “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”

There are some people who should have that tattooed on their foreheads. They live their entire lives based on this philosophy, and live every day as if it were their last. Their favorite saying is, “I can’t worry about the future; I might not even be here.”

Then, there’s the exact opposite side of the proverbial tracks: people who save every dime they can, always concerned about their futures.

Every thought is about how their actions will affect their security. When they do decide to buy something, it could take weeks or even months of research.

Their favorite saying is, “I don’t need all of that ‘stuff.’ As long as I have my health, and I know I’ll be comfortable in the future, I’m happy.”

Who’s right?

I hate to answer this question — not because I’m afraid of what people will think or because I’m not sure of the correct response, but because I have to give a very generic, “default-type” answer.

Here it is: Both are probably wrong.

We need balance. So many dilemmas we’re faced with are actually fairly simple. It’s how we handle them that matters most.

We all know that toys are assets, but they’d have to be considered depreciating assets in most cases. Call it what you want and do whatever you need to do to convince yourself something makes sense, but let’s accept reality.

It’s OK to have toys and enjoy life; just do it in moderation and not at the expense of your future financial security.

Whether it’s a Corvette, a boat, jewelry or even just another expensive purse or pair of shoes; first, accept that you don’t need them. You want them.

Next, determine if this want is something you’re able to purchase without affecting something in your life that’s truly more important. If you’re not able to purchase without an adverse effect, then you have to decide whether it’s worthwhile. This I cannot decide for you, I can only guide you.

Here’s my advice. Stop making excuses and accept reality. It’s a neverending cycle that can only get worse. Say this with me: “I will never again try to convince myself or anyone else that I need something that’s truly just a toy or luxury item. I will not make excuses or claims that allow me to do something that I know is not right.”

If you want something and can truly afford it, go get it. Have fun! If you can’t afford it, accept reality. You still have two choices: Put your energy into creating a plan to get what you want, or revise your dreams to be more in line with what you can comfortably afford.

Never stop striving for more, but find contentment in what you do have. We all “want it all,” but at the same time, we have to accept that there are limitations. Here’s what I always say — “I don’t need all of the great stuff, I just need generous friends with great stuff.”

By the way, I’m currently interviewing for friends with a beach house. A Corvette would be acceptable, as well. Please apply via email.

Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management www.InfinityGoals.com. 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, (661) 255-9555, ext. 11.  He is also the author of “The Truth Helps” series of financial planning books. Mr. Citarella’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to: jcitarella@nextfinancial.com.  Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.  Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group Inc.

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