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Get Over It.....

A big house, lots of land, a fancy foreign car, a huge diamond ring, and more. You think you know what you want, but do you really know what it will require to get, maintain and hold on to it? Today is “Get Over IT Day”. This is a perfect opportunity for people to really think about what we perceive as the keys to our own personal happiness.

A house on the lake, If I only had a second home on the lake then I would be happy. An easy thought to have but lets break it down. Buying, furnishing and maintaining a second home may require you to work more to pay the additional bills. Taxes, utilities and expected entertaining would also be included. Would this excess work take more time? Yes. Does additional work make you (or your spouse) cranky, tired, irritable? Will you even have time to spend (awake) at either of your homes? How often, or rather how long would you truly enjoy that second home before it became a burden? Keep in mind this blog is not intended for people like Bill & Melinda Gates, this blog is for lower to middle-income people.

In early winter 2008 my family lost our entire house and garage in a fire. We lived in a lake town, but not on the lake, and the majority of the rentals at that time were lakeside and very expensive. A one-level large-yard lake house was available to us for the time period we required. The location was ideal only minutes from where we were rebuilding. We were getting a taste of life on the lake. We were thrilled to say the least.

The lake house rental was perfect. How beautiful the area was as we watched as the seasons change. Open water froze and the boys ice skated while I cross country skied. We roof raked and shoveled all winter long, which we oddly enjoy. In the spring we sat on the dock with friends and sipped wine. The kids splashed and played in the water. Dinner parties were held a few times a month. As time passed we realized for us to have a house on the lake it would be our only house. According to our calculations the mortgage would be around $3000.00 a month for 40 years and that would not include the $30,000.00-$40,000.00 annual taxes. The house was large and drafty. We found that it is always noticeably colder on the lake also. Utilities were included in the rental but I have an idea that the heating bills were very high.

To be honest the lake house just didn’t seem worth the time and expense. A third of the way into our stay my husband and I both said that it was nice to have the opportunity to see what the lake life was like although it wasn’t as great as we thought. Both of us realized we had some really distorted thoughts of grandeur regarding living on the lake.

Our delusional shock from lake side living has carried over into other parts of our lives. It would be nice to drive a Hummer or a shiny new Jag, as long as I don’t have to pay for it! I will continue to drive my Chrysler Pacifica. I will enjoy me little house - built low maintenance, energy efficient, easy to clean and very low taxes. I still live in a lake town but all those people who have lake houses, well, they pay big taxes so the rest of us enjoy low taxes.

Years back a good friend of my stated it was her twentieth wedding anniversary and she and he husband were looking at diamonds. I stole a glance at my own left hand and briefly longed for something sparkly to rest on my wedding band. A week later she displayed what looked like a close relative to the Hope Diamond. This ring was amazing! A big, sparkly, perfect diamond just over three-carats. I went home and cried with jealousy into my pillow. The following months our conversations consisted mainly about ring related difficulties. Money was tight because they bought the ring, she was always worried about losing the diamond or the entire ring slipping off her hand, or my favorite: the ring was hard to get used to because it was so heavy. I saw my friend recently and noticed she wasn’t wearing the ring. When I inquired on the whereabouts of the ring she said they decided to sell it and pay off some of their credit card debt. She also said “I don’t know what we were thinking when we bought that ring”. "I do," I said quietly to myself…and thanks.

Consider looking closely at the “things” you believe will make you happy. All the times you have said “if I only had ________then I would be happy”. Then look around and the “things” you do have, most of the happiness attached to tangible items is acquired during the planning process and maybe a little happiness during the early stages of ownership. That elation fades over time and what is the depreciation value? Is it worth it or should you just “get over it ?”

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Summer on the back porch

Summer on the back porch