More Than Money
Issue #8

To Spend Or Not To Spend

Table of Contents

“The Hidden Costs”

For many people with wealth, financial trade-offs don't seem to exist. You don't have to choose between buying a sailboat or loaning a friend money to start a business--you can do both. So why not do both? There are costs to spending which people sometimes overlook--in business terms, these are called 'opportunity costs.' For example, if the owner of a manufacturing plant spends $50 million upgrading equipment, the foregone option of hiring more workers or investing the money in real estate are two opportunity costs.

As a wealthy individual, your opportunity costs may not be measurable in dollars, but rather in the cumulative mental, emotional, and physical energy it takes to manage all your spending choices. Buying a sailboat involves much more than writing a check; it requires maintaining it (or managing someone to do that work for you). Loaning money to a friend also takes work--negotiating terms, overseeing the payback, making sure the friendship stays intact.

You can't "have it all"--because no matter how wealthy you are, you are still a human being with finite time, attention, and energy. Facing these limits means reconciling with your humanity and ultimately, your mortality.

--Allen Hancock

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