The ancient and wise king Solomon famously lamented that there is nothing new under the sun. Obviously he never owned a cell phone. In our modern world we have become obsessed with that which is new.
Recently I was reviewing some of the modern airplane technologies and found myself dreaming about how I would love to have some of the new gear. After spending about 20 minutes lost in my dreams of a better system, I remembered that the current technology in my airplane was installed a mere 4 years ago, and at the time it was “state of the art.” Yet here I was dreaming of replacing it with the next new thing. The truth is, the new tech was not substantially different from what I already had, but it was a bit prettier.
We seem to face the same emotional challenge with our cell phones, or other gadgets. As soon as the next version is announced with all of its “gotta have” new features, suddenly whatever we currently own no longer satisfies our needs. How many teens have last year’s dream game console sitting in a pile with all the prior years’ models? How many boxes of functioning cell phones sit in our closets? Constant technological advancements have made us a wasteful society.
I visited with a friend who sells real estate and he commented how modern home buyers are so much different than ones of the past he used to work with. “Everyone now wants a new home,” he said.
Oddly this same behavior is exhibited by some investors. Some fail to recognize that “new” or “different” does not always mean better, yet we have become a bit of a disposable society and this expensive attitude has crept into many areas of our lives.
In a twist on this topic an older couple was in my office when the husband’s phone rang. He promptly pulled out his cellular flip phone and silenced the call. Judging my thoughts by the grin on my face the man said, “Hey, it’s a phone and it works.” This experience got me thinking about the level of waste we have become accustomed to.
I am not suggesting we shouldn’t enjoy nice new things, but am more reflecting on whether this tendency has gotten a little out of control. People come to a financial advisor largely for help with investing. In short, they want to protect and increase their wealth. It doesn’t take long for an advisor to learn that making a lot of money does no good if basic principles of resource management are not understood and practiced. Too many fail to recognize that one of the first and fastest steps to increasing your personal wealth is to reduce your level of personal waste; to manage better what you already have. Only then will we have the wisdom to determine if that “new thing under the sun” is something we need to spend our resources on.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
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