We all have our blind spots. For some people, it might be relationships. For others, it might be how to succeed at work. Some people even miss out on bad decisions they might be making in terms of their health.
And yes, some people have financial blind spots as well.
A good example of this concept comes from a conversation I just had with someone very recently. This is a guy who’s very sharp, has a good head on his shoulders, and is a solid person as well. You could certainly say the same about his wife too. Really good people who have done quite well in life, and the type of people who would be seen as very capable by anyone who knows them.
We were going back and forth about money (yes, I know….big surprise there!), and he jumped in with a little comment on his wife’s spending habits. He told me that in a money-related discussing they were having, she made a comparison between her interest in shopping and his paying of a mortgage early. As in, if he spends money paying extra on the mortgage, why shouldn’t she spend extra on shopping?
Shoppping = Mortgage Repayment? Hmmm, interesting.
Now, I think you probably know what I think of the comparison. Obviously, we all should know that spending money on shopping (presumably for fun) does not have the same purpose as debt repayment. Expenses on consumer goods isn’t the same thing as improving your personal balance sheet by removing debt.
The idea that a person spending on shopping is the same as a person paying off debt is just not sound. But, a very intelligent person apparently made such a comparison.
I’d call this a financial blind spot. When an otherwise smart person just misses out on something that the rest of us can see. Debt repayment is not spending!
At first, I stopped right there with my view of that dialogue. But thinking about it more, I think that there is a second financial blind spot that could potentially be in play here.
That would be the otherwise smart husband who might be making too big of a deal about the wife’s spending. You know, when people work hard and bring in a solid level of income, they might want to enjoy spending some of it. While I’m not a big spender at all, I realize that we’re all different. If another person wants to splurge from time to time, and you’re in a relationship with that person, maybe we have to let go of our saver tendencies and meet the other person in the middle somewhere.
The blind spot in this case might be the guy focusing a lot on the details on perceived overspending but not seeing the big picture.
Two blind spots for the price of one in this story. Now, that’s a deal!
My Questions for You
Do you know anyone with financial blind spots? If so, what are they and how have you chosen to address them (or not)?
What are your thoughts on my assessment of the story above?