Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Budgets and Goldfish

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Jeff Karst, Associate Planner

My wife and I sat down the other day to work on our budget. Since we are now paying for daycare (we have 7 month old twin girls) we needed to figure out where exactly the money would come from. As we went through the totals we were both surprised by the final number. (Actually, I only feigned surprise because I know where she spends all the money.) We both started to wonder how we spend so much. Not too long ago, we made about half of what we do today and yet at that time we didn’t spend like we do today. As our paychecks grew, so did our spending habits. You may wonder what this has to do with goldfish. Read on.

When you think of goldfish you think of a tiny little fish swimming in a small bowl, right? Did you know that goldfish can actually grow upwards of 18 inches long? The reason they don’t usually get this large is because their growth is stunted by being in a small bowl. If you have a large tank, they can easily grow up to 8-10 inches, but in a large pond, a goldfish can reach 18 inches. For a goldfish to get that big they have to live a very long time. The record age for a goldfish is 43 years.

My budget (like most people’s budget) was given a larger bowl each time we started to make more money. Every time one of us received a raise or bonus we thought “Hey we can buy a new TV” or “I think it’s time for a new washer and dryer”. It happens to everyone. If you are rewarded at work, you feel like you should reward yourself.

I am not implying that you shouldn’t reward yourself a little bit. The next time you receive a raise and you want a larger bowl, just go with the next size up instead of two sizes bigger. The extra money should be invested. If you can save a little bit extra now, you’ll be thanking yourself in thirty years. Oops!! Got to go. The cat just ate the goldfish!

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