If You Want a Well-Manicured Lawn, Don't Hire a Financial Advisor.

October 23, 2015
David Clarken

I'm frugal which can be a blessing and a curse. Maybe you can identify with someone who is vigilant about saving a dollar. I’ve been blinded to the consequences of prioritizing cost over quality many times and it took the wisdom of an avid spender to change my thinking.

The benefit we derive from an experience or an item is separate from the price we pay, but we often confuse value with cost.

Our front yard was the scourge of the neighborhood, and I was confident I could make it beautiful. Armed with You Tube videos, a 10% discount at Lowes and relentless determination, my short project began on a Wednesday evening. We had people coming over Sunday afternoon, so I had to be done on time.

After several setbacks that night, I was back at it early Thursday morning—confident it would be done before dinner. That Friday evening, I skipped dinner with friends, brought out some extra lights and worked until my body quit on me, around 10pm. Saturday morning, I bought more tools, rented some equipment and dug deep to find what fumes remained of my determination. It was buried under near heat exhaustion, patches of sunburned skin and hands full of blisters. Each day, my fiancé Sara was there to support me and gently encourage me to hire professionals. But I remained certain that I could do just as good a job as them.

It was late Saturday night when it finally hit me…I’m still not done and it’s possible that someone else might have done it much better—and quicker, with a lot less pain and frustration.

Sunday, when the alarm went off, I cursed that lawn but had to finish what I started. When I was done, just before our friends were to arrive, we had a Frankenstein-esque patchwork of a front lawn and I needed a long nap.

This experience forced me to learn some hard truths:

There are things I do very well.
There are things I can do well in my mind, but not in reality.
It’s Wise to leverage professionals to do what I should not do myself.

When is something worth paying for? When the sum of its tangible and intangible value to you and your family exceeds its cost.

Three questions to keep in mind: 
     What’s your time worth?
     How much would you pay to avoid or reduce stress to you or your spouse?
     What is your happiness worth?

     “A cynic is somebody who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.” –Oscar Wilde

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