This may not be the most popular article for a finance blog, but I think it's extremely important.
Money isn’t what really matters.
Sure, you need money to accomplish some of your goals or to make your life better…or at least you think you do.
We all think we need more money, more stuff.
But money is just money.
Stuff is just stuff.
We all know material items aren’t what’s really important.
That’s easy to say, but how do you actually live it out?
It’s hard to say “it’s just money” when your only car breaks down and you have to spend $2,000 on a new transmission.
It’s hard to say “it’s just money” when you might not have quite enough for the rent this month.
Likewise, it’s hard to say “it’s just stuff” when something valuable is stolen or when something you just bought gets messed up.
As I was preparing this article, an interesting thing happened that really challenged me on this…
How My Cat Helped Me Write This Article
A couple months ago, we took in a pregnant stray cat to avoid her being sent to the animal shelter.
Often times animal shelters will euthanize cats almost immediately when they come in, because so many come in.
After a quick phone call, I discovered that our local animal shelter does exactly that.
So…we have this cat.
As I was preparing to write this article about not being materialistic, I walked into my living room to find a hole in our leather couch.
Well not just one…about 1,000 holes in our leather couch.
And in our loveseat too.
The cat had been using our leather furniture as a scratching post, and for all aesthetic purposes, our furniture was ruined.
Nope…a few thousand dollars worth of high-quality real-leather furniture.
I got frustrated for about five minutes, until I called my wife to vent.
Her response was “it’s just stuff”.
And she’s right. It really doesn’t matter.
We’ve still saved the life of a cat and her kittens.
I’m not a cat person, but I do value life.
The Value of Things
Things are worth money.
And it’s important to take care of the things we’re blessed with.
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I firmly believe that you will reap what you sow.
If you take care of your car, you’ll be blessed in that area.
But we must be careful not to give things more value that they deserve.
The same goes for your home and everything else.
Have you ever scolded your child for breaking something of value?
I know, I know, you’ve got to instil discipline, and they need to know it was wrong to break it, but was that really your motivation?
Would you “instil” the same lesson if they broke something that didn’t matter to you?
I say this because I’ve been guilty of this before.
We have to know where the line is between taking care of our things and placing more value in them than we ought.
Andy Stanley, a popular pastor, has a rule for things like this.
He doesn’t buy anything he wouldn’t lend out.
That’s not a bad rule to follow.
Especially if you want to view things as they should be viewed.
How to Apply the 10 Year Rule in Your Life
So what am I saying here?
And what does this have to do with the 10 year rule?
What is the 10 year rule?
The 10 year rule is simply a question to ask yourself about material things.
“Will this matter in 10 years?”
When you’re dealing with a financial situation, whether it be a shortage of money or the replacement of an expensive item, ask yourself if it will matter in 10 years.
We love to stress out about things that won’t even matter in 10 minutes.
And the majority of the things we stress out about don’t ever actually happen anyways.
Let’s go a step further.
What if something happened that actually might matter in 10 years?
For example, what if the economy collapsed and your retirement was wiped out?
You would figure it out.
Anytime a material crisis hits, try to be grateful for the the non-material things.
This is just a subtle reminder that money isn’t everything.
Material items aren’t that important.
I have to remind myself of this from time to time, and I think it’s a a good [but not popular] thing to put on a finance blog.