Thursday, February 26, 2009

Emotional Costs

I recently wrote on this article on Get Rich Slowly that "This is the cost of emotion - if you didn’t have that reaction, you could save money." In retrospect, I think that sounded more negative than it should have. In my article last week, Making the Most of Productivity, I put forth that we might want to look at our productivity in financial, emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical areas.

So let's look at the other side: FESMP (an abbreviation of the areas above) costs. As I said, emotion has a cost - in the example, people were willing to give the government an interest-free loan (paying extra taxes for a big refund) because they knew wouldn't manage the money as well. So because of this emotional soft spot (not being able to stay firm in saving that money), they paid in lost interest.
Another example, from the Seven Laws of Money: the author(!!!), a financial planner and author, saved $2,000 by borrowing $2,000 from another bank, putting it in a CD, and paying the loan back. He only lost a little bit, on the spread between the rates, but he's a financial planner, and that's the best he can do??? Emotional cost.
Then I got to thinking about it... People pay for membership in a gym - physical cost. People give money to their church - spiritual cost. People get sick and take days off of work - physical cost. People take holidays to recharge - mental cost. By spending money, we save in other areas, by spending in other areas, we save money. Think of staying late to get extra work done - you make more, but you cost yourself physically and emotionally.

Looking at it now, I can't see an example where 'mind' and 'emotion' aren't being used interchangeably. Should I have two categories or just one?

It would be a good practice to sit back and look at your 'wealth' in each of these areas, and the 'exchange rate' between them. It's interesting that, as we get low in one area, we are often willing to buy it at a premium, and as we get high, we are willing to sell at a discount. Think of the rich man in poor health, and what he'll be willing to spend to be healthy again, or the other extreme - the poor young man willing to work 70 hours a week to make lots of money.

  • Where are you wealthy, and where are you poor?
  • Are you balanced?
  • If you made a pie chart with these five (four?) areas, what would it look like?

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