MY CONFESSION

I have to confess that I only blog, post, and tweet when I am inspired to. But today my EA ordered me to make a public pledge. The pledge is that I will start sharing my journal with you at least twice a week – One for the workweek ahead and one for the weekend. So here is my weekend journal entry.

It’s personal. It’s about family. I remind myself of this important lesson every Friday.

LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS

This is something I usually share with my closest friends. But with your permission I would like to journal it today because this is something that is very important. It is frankly where most families go wrong.

In my early career as a lawyer I handled many divorce cases. It was heart breaking to see couples that once adored each other break-up simply because they did not know how to manage their finances. And the biggest mistake they made was not living within their means. I especially came across many executives that bought a big house in a fancy neighbourhood and a flash car – this was their idea of wealth.

There is of course nothing wrong with having a nice home and a nice car. The problem however comes if you borrow too much money to be able to afford it. To me true wealth is about having the freedom to do what you want when you want. So where’s the freedom in working hard to pay off things that you do not get to enjoy because you are too busy working to pay them off?

So, my message here is that we should all aim to keep it simple. Our children don’t care whether they sit on a $20 Ikea chair or a $500 designer chair when enjoying the evening meal. Instead of going to a restaurant to have dinner, why not go to a farmers market and buy produce that you can prepare yourself as a family team. You will be developing a bond, having fun and learning how to cook.

There are many other ways to live a frugal life without compromising your lifestyle. It’s true; the simple and most delightful things in life are in fact free. You just have to be creative and make a conscious effort to think of them. You must be just as efficient in managing this aspect of your life as keenly as you would your career.

You know, I have heard that in some religions a couple must get spiritual advice before they get married. Well I think that couples should also get financial advice before they commit to building a future together. Finance is something we cannot ignore in our life. I have witnessed that the families that manage it well are often the most successful.