Money is a drug. Or it might as well be. If something acts a stimulant, if it’s coffee, nicotine, the ding of a new text message – it raises the alert of our receptors and our brain reacts in much the same way as “your brain on drugs.”
In this summary article from the Penny Hoarder, the effects of money on the brain are outlined in terms ranging from a cocaine high, to a salve for pain, or a substitute for love. It’s a premise, backed by science, that’s easy to swallow. After all, who among us hasn’t had empathic pangs of rolling around in a giant stack – Scrooge McDuck style, had money “burning a hole in our pocket”, or dreamed of being a “high” roller. Or simply asked the question: *When can I retire*? Or felt the equal crash of finding oneself scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Junkies are said to live from fix to fix. How many people have we heard – perhaps you are one – live from paycheck to paycheck. The interim agony is relieved, once the sweet needle of cash injection restores the bank balance. Living from fix to fix can be a dangerous proposition, without a proper plan in place. When the stash is full, things look more affordable, you’ve got the next round. But very rarely is the “high-you” looking out for “future-you”. And future-you will have the deep regret of being at the bottom of the pit, wondering how it got there.
So it’s an interesting analogy, but what do we do with it? If money is a drug, then the dangers of drug “abuse” need to be accounted for as the consequences are equally real. The fix is to have a real financial plan that prevents the high you from getting in the way of future-you. Don’t get in that car, don’t take that girl home, don’t punch that bouncer, don’t empty that 401K – or you’re walking into a situation completely blind.
Using OT, you can see now, what your high may do to you. Got a raise and feel like splurging on a new luxury car? Here’s what that that does to your retirement plan. Rather than crashing blindly after following your brain’s wiring on a whim, you can plot it out and see the implications ahead of time – long term financial planning.
You can see the tree to avoid and perhaps move to a different high. One of looking into the future, understanding the consequences and truly forecasting financial security, cashflow and the goals you desire. Because with perspective, it’s clear that the stable you is a better choice than the once high future-you who’s hit bottom.