Don't be afraid to challenge "conventional wisdom". Don't be afraid to challenge everyone's expectations. Don't fall for their vision of what your life should be. "Buy a house". "Stop renting". "Don't buy that car". "Marry that person". "Be a doctor". "Do this". "Do that".
Sure, they do it with the best of intentions. They do it "for us", and because "they know what's best". But, do they, really?
Take, for instance, home buying. One friend was told (over and over) that renting didn't make sense, that by renting she was throwing money away, that she should buy a house. She was stressing over this. She was about to go talk with a mortgage broker when I told her that we should talk first.
So we did.
We talked about her goals and her plans and where buying may or may not fit into her life. We talked about her vision for her life and her future and what she really wanted. And then we looked at the numbers. How much would she pay in interest. How much she would pay in property taxes. How much the property could (potentially) appreciate in value. And so on.
And the numbers didn't lie. In this particular case, buying didn't match her financial goals. You could see the relief in her face. The surprise, even shock, when she realized what buying would actually cost her over the next few years.
At the end, a 20 minute discussion saved her over $70,000, and beyond that, she left the meeting with a clear path of what to do instead. Now she has clarity on what to do, and those actions clearly match her goals and dreams.
Good intentions and the "conventional wisdom" can only take you so far. As we saw, they can even be detrimental to your wealth (and even mental health). Knowing how your financial decisions can impact you gives you clarity and power, but only if you give yourself permission to do that review and challenge what everyone tells you because, at the end, only you know what's truly important to you and what you want for your life.
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash