You know that “Pick Three” thing, about the areas of our lives that compete for our time and attention? It goes like this:
My high school had kind of an unusual schedule—or at least I think it was unusual, but maybe you can tell me. There was no such thing as a lunch period or study hall. Instead, each class only met four days per week instead of five: for example, maybe your French class didn’t meet on Tuesdays, your Geometry class didn’t meet on Thursdays, your Biology and P.E. classes didn’t meet on Fridays, and so on. This meant that you usually had one or two free periods—or “X periods”, as they were called—built into your schedule each day, and during these periods you were allowed to do whatever you wanted. You could eat lunch, work on your homework, wander the halls, check your email at the email station (I went to high school in the late 90s, guys), or simply walk out through the front doors of the school and go off-campus.
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time thinking back on decisions I made five or ten or fifteen years ago and wondering where I’d be today if I’d done things differently. Especially decisions related to money and career. What if I hadn’t gone to grad school? What if I hadn’t taken out any student loans? What if I’d put $100—or more—into my Roth IRA every month consistently for the past ten years?
So, I’ve graduated. There’s no graduation ceremony in January, which is fine because I’m not too big on graduation ceremonies anyway, but as of a couple of days ago I do officially have a PhD. All I have to do at this point is watch the mail for my diploma. And to mark the occasion, I thought I would tackle a question here on the blog that I’ve been attempting to answer for years:
Before I get started with today’s post, just a quick reminder about #pfmessages – if you would like your contribution to be included in the wrap-up post at the end of this month, make sure to post it or email it to me by December 27th. Anyone and everyone is welcome to contribute! If you don’t have a blog, just send your contribution (ideally 1-3 paragraphs) to me directly at: theyachtless [at] gmail [dot]com. Thanks to those who have contributed thus far!
Let’s talk about Ebenezer Scrooge, being that it’s December and all. I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve read A Christmas Carol (or watched the 1992 Muppet movie version of it, which by the way is fantastic), but Scrooge is actually a pretty complex guy. He experiences fear and regret and loneliness, just like anyone. He has memories of love—and of heartbreak. And most importantly, he courageously allows himself to undergo a deep and genuine transformation in a very short period of time, becoming a much kinder, more generous, and more caring person.
Know who’s awesome? Albus Dumbledore. Clearly. For many reasons. But this observation of his is one of my favorite quotations, something I think about a lot:
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
This could be applied to a lot of things, but since this is a personal finance blog, let’s go right ahead and apply it to personal finance.
Choosing to be financially conscious is a relatively new thing for me. And this week I decided that it’s time for a reevaluation of this still-evolving aspect of my life. Specifically, I want to ask myself: what is the impact—on myself as well as on others—of my ongoing choice to be more financially conscious?