Stan's World - Living for Today

S.F. Ehrlich Associates |

June 30, 2022

As we move into summer, thoughts naturally turn to vacations. Living on the East Coast, one may think about a trip to the shore (if you’re in New Jersey) or the beach (the term for “sand” used by everyone else on the planet).

For the past 22 years, we’ve been fortunate to vacation in Rehoboth Beach, DE. My family enjoys it because of the beaches and recreation. My grandchildren especially enjoy it because I buy voluminous amounts of pastries, chips, and candy. I enjoy it because I get to bike, eat, read and ponder, though the pondering relates to which pastries, chips, and candy I should purchase next. (I’m aware this sounds gluttonous, but it’s actually worse in practice. A therapist would probably analyze me as a weak person until I handed her a Kilwin’s dark chocolate turtle. Then we would see who’s weak.)

In between our annual visits to Rehoboth Beach, we spend the rest of the year laughing about stories from the beach: house rentals gone awry; food excursions gone awry; unplanned visits to emergency rooms (because of other things that have gone awry). The memories are enduring, brought to life each month in the annual family calendar.

I share this story because I recall a former physician answering almost all of my questions by starting with the phrase: “As we get older…”  Suffice it to say, the answers that began with “As we get older” never seemed to end with uplifting commentary. Frankly, I never recall hearing the words: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” 

There are times when being frugal isn’t worth the savings. Regardless of your age, there are times when spending money is completely justified. Under the banner “You only live once,” there are situations that may present themselves that shouldn’t be missed, such as the aforementioned family vacation or a long-desired material good. (Of course, let’s be reasonable with the term ‘material good.’ My reference is more about a Nespresso coffee maker than a new Maserati.)

Over the years, I’ve witnessed both excessive spending and unnecessary frugality when working with clients (I admit to difficulty in corralling either).  Hearing about people who have missed out on activities that would have provided pure pleasure and lifelong memories – to save money that doesn’t have to be saved – saddens me. If you’re fortunate to have discretionary capital, spending a little of it for personal or family pleasure will reward you with your own wonderful memories. 

As my mother grew older, she often used the expression “We’re nearer than further,” which was her answer to those who continually waited to do things. Whether you’re nearer or further, if you’re not going to use a portion of your discretionary cash to bring you pleasure, then when will you use it?




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