Dump the Either Or Mentality
The debates rage on throughout the personal finance world, and everyone has their opinion. Questions like these are not at all uncommon:
- Should I pay off debt or invest?
- Spend money on stuff or experiences?
- Work less or make more money?
- Become self-employed or stick with my job?
Announce that you’re going to pay off your mortgage, and chances are good that someone will tell you you should be investing instead, especially with today’s low interest rates on mortgages. Why not put that money to work for you earning money instead, they say. Well, I say…who says I’m not investing?
Why not dump that either or mentality?
In many cases, you can do both. Life is not a pie with 8 little slices.
Sure, we could pay off our mortgage a lot faster if we stopped investing too, or we could invest a lot more if we kept our mortgage (or travel more, or whatever else struck our fancy) but we don’t have to pick just one.
And you don’t either, unless you want to.
Focusing and embracing
There’s no question at all that the power of focus is amazing. You can do a LOT by focusing, and if you’ve got a goal that’s important to you, that’s so the way to go.
But at the same time, you can embrace the fact that maybe you’re ok with, say, starting a business on a shoestring while you keep your job for another year. Maybe it’s even smart to see shades of grey.
And maybe there are alternatives out there that you weren’t considering back when you thought it was an either-or world.
Maybe you can work less and make more money. Maybe you can travel 3-4 times a year, go out and do things you enjoy, and have a fully-funded emergency fund, investments, and a paid-for house that you sit at home and relax in sometimes.
Maybe you can’t do it all at once, but you can start with what’s most important to you and then make sure those things stay in your life in some (possibly reduced) form while you work away at the other things.
It’s a matter of what’s important to you, of course. Just remember that there are often more alternatives than you might imagine.