"You can have anything you want, but not everything you want."
I clearly remember the first time my dad told me this. I was a high school senior, working as a teller at our family business — the Bank of Highwood. I was always working. My parents covered my essentials but anything extra was my responsibility.
I was a very frugal kid who faced an agonizing decision. I went to my dad for advice. "There is an stunning pair of Frye boots I have my eye on! And Bruce Springsteen is coming to town! What should I do?"
Each had a big price tag. Maybe I could afford both, but I would be left with precious little in my savings account. I talked it over with my dad. Well, maybe I talked while he listened.
"How can I not buy those boots? How can I not see the Boss? But what about college next year? I'll need some money for extras. But those boots! Four of my friends are going to the concert. How can I miss all the fun? What if the boots sell out? What if Bruce doesn't come back to Chicago for years? What should I do?"
When I finally ran out steam, my dad said, "It’s up to you. You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."
At that moment I realized there would always be another pair of boots, but seeing Bruce in concert with my friends would be priceless.
The concert was amazing. The memories have lasted a lifetime. Did I mention he opened with Born to Run? My dad’s advice was spot on. I knew I made the right decision.
His wisdom has impacted me, my children and my clients for many years since the concert. When deciding how to spend my own money, I think about his words. Looking back at some of my big purchases, I realize that I do spend money on experiences more often than on things.
When my kids want to purchase new clothes or jewelry, I often hear them mumble my dad’s words while making the decision.
Well, it’s time for an update. The Boss wins again! Last week I went to his concert at Wrigley Field. It was like seeing old friends, with Bruce and the E Street Band doing what they do and love best. Playing music and entertaining the crowd. Almost three hours and no breaks!
As I listened to the music, I thought a lot about my dad. He passed away in 1997. So many memories. Wrigley was his favorite place. A true Cubs fan. I also thought about the decision I made, with his help, back in high school.
As a financial advisor, I often discuss my dad’s philosophy with clients, especially when preparing financial plans that have difficult spending decisions. Recently a client called to discuss a major purchase and quoted my dad back to me: “I know I can have anything I want, but not everything, and this is what I really want.”
How about you? How do you make decisions like this today? If you need some help, just think of my dad's advice!
Shari Greco Reiches
Shari co-founded Rappaport Reiches Capital Management with one goal - to maximize the return on life for her clients. Please connect with Shari below. She loves to talk about investing, financial planning, and Barry Manilow.
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