First, I want to share a different Remember When moment than what I shared in the above referenced piece. A couple years ago, my wife and I took a vacation with our kids. We had not taken a real vacation since our honeymoon in 2002. We placed saving money and spending on tangible items higher than spending money on an experience.
On our vacation, we first attended a wedding on Hilton Head, and then travelled to a beach house my mother had rented in North Carolina. After some early learning pains (travelling with children is quite different than without), we all had a wonderful time. We enjoyed one another’s company, had a great experience teaching the kids about the beach and the ocean, and created an all-around wonderful experience.
This trip is something we continue to talk about today. My son, who was only 2 at the time, brings up going to the beach often and wanting to go back. My daughter, who was 4, still talks about the different beach animals she learned about and the great time she had. For my family, the memories created that week are Remember When memories. Often when talking about the trip we begin with the phrase “Remember when we…” and then continue with our story.
Using money on experiences is critical to long-term satisfaction and happiness, whereas purchasing stuff only provides fleeting happiness at best. As a financial planner, one of my most important duties to clients is to help them recognize that they have the freedom and space to pursue experiences important to them. We work to prioritize what tangible items are critical and then look to make experiences possible.
Take a moment to consider when you last had a Remember When moment. Was it recently or has it been a while? What’s keeping you from having more such experiences? Do you find yourself valuing stuff you can hold and use more than experiences?
I encourage you to share some of your own Remember When moments in the comments below.
Nathan Gehring, CFP® writes weekly in his Financial Friday column. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.