“You do not need to make personal finance your new hobby.”
-Bruce Sellery, author of Moolala.
It is easy to get carried away with just about anything these days. I’m not going to list any specific examples, just in case you happen to be an enthusiastic member of the Society for the Appreciation of Historical Romanian Luggage (oops) but you know what I mean. Personal finance is certainly a subject that lots of people get very into. It’s hard to say that these people have gotten carried away because, well, most of them are richer than I am, so I would just sound bitter. But it is indeed easy to lose perspective and have wealth accumulation become an end unto itself, instead of a means to the end of a full, stable, satisfying life. Being able to provide this kid of life for myself and my family was, and still is, my ultimate reason for becoming involved with personal finance.
Getting carried away with just about anything takes most of the fun out of it for me. There is a certain columnist in my local paper who illustrates this point perfectly, although through his obsession with hockey, rather than money. First, I should tell you that I am, and always have been a fan of the game. I grew up wanting to play in the NHL, I’ve sacrificed one of my front teeth to the game, and one of my most prized possessions is the Wayne Gretzky autograph that I got from the man himself at an Oilers game when I was about 10 years old. All that having been said, at the end of the day, hockey is a game. Nothing less, and nothing more. The columnist of whom I speak has not only mastered every conceivable way of keeping statistics on every player in the game (he writes about them ad nauseum even in the summer(!)) but has also literally invented a few of his own. Puh-lease! When I watch a hockey game, I want a beer in my hand, not a pencil, let alone a calculator.
So it is with personal finance. If you want to make personal finance your life’s work, then by all means, I wish you good luck. If, on the other hand, you want to use your knowledge of the subject simply to enhance your life, then I think your and my life philosophies are more closely aligned. The takeaway is this: You do not need to let the study of personal finance take over your life in order to benefit from it. Once you grasp and put to use some of the basic tenets of managing money, you can go back to enjoying your real life. So learn about managing money – that’s the raison d’être of Loonie Lover after all – but keep it in perspective.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a game on TV, and a beer is calling my name.