You Can’t Spend The Same Dollar Twice

As a financial advisor, I often find myself having conversations about the delicate balance between current spending and saving for future financial goals. Recently, Crystal and I encountered this tension in our own lives when we considered using savings we had designated for a new car to instead finance a family trip to New York.

On one hand, the most prudent decision seemed clear. It’s widely recognized that investing in experiences that create lasting memories with loved ones often yields greater satisfaction than acquiring material possessions, such as automobiles. Exploring Central Park, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and indulging in New York’s world-famous pizza and bagels promised memories we’d enjoy for the rest of our lives.

However, despite our sentimental attachment to our dependable 2010 Acura MDX, we couldn’t ignore its aging condition. As we considered our potential adventure, I found myself grappling with a deteriorating interior handle on the driver’s side door—an obvious sign of the wear and tear accumulated over its 15 years of service. As I applied electrical tape to address the issue, I thought about the concept of opportunity cost—an important principle in both financial planning and personal decision-making. As a friend of mine used to say, “there’s only a dollar in a dollar; you can’t spend the same dollar twice.” Sacrificing our car fund would mean accepting the quirks, creaks, and minor inconveniences associated with owning an older vehicle for a while longer.

Ultimately, our commitment to prioritizing experiences over possessions prevailed. Choosing the family adventure in New York, even if it meant extending the lifespan of our trusty Acura, felt like the right decision. However, we were mindful that similar spending dilemmas will arise in the future. Eventually, our MDX will require repairs beyond what a few strips of tape can fix, and we’ll need something newer. After our New York adventure, we’ll need to focus on rebuilding our new car fund, so we’ll be ready when that time comes. It’s all about finding that delicate balance.

Let one of us, at Beacon, know if you’d like some guidance as you seek your own balance in spending and saving decisions. We’d be happy to chat. In the meantime, if you ever need a ride, please pay no attention to the black electrical tape on the driver’s side door handle of my car. Instead, feel free to ask about our family trip to New York.


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Geoff Hall, CFP®
[email protected]

My wife, Crystal, and I have been married for 11 years and have two kids, Cooper (10) and Rhodes (8.) When I’m not spending time with them you might find me downtown serving at our church, pushing my limits during a mountain bike ride or having coffee with a friend in the Five Points area. I've been a financial advisor for 29 years and I'm thankful for the privilege of shepherding my family of clients through the ups and down of the markets, and of life for that matter.