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We’ve heard the debate (and the lecture) over and over again about whether the points and miles arena is right or wrong for you.
The main gist of this debate is always that you should only be playing with the big girls and boys if you are financially secure and can afford to pay your credit cards monthly, as otherwise the gains might be losses. Check. I’m financially secure. Check. I can afford this.
Similarly, they also say you should not enter the manufactured spend arena unless you are sufficiently comfortable with the activities, whether you know how to shimmy and dance to the MS dance. Check. I’ve got enough and I can dance just fine, thank you very much. In fact my main problems with manufactured spending are the limited ability to find opportunities in New York City (but I’ll save that topic for another post).
So, I can afford this, and I choose good credit card deals and I manufacture spend. So what exactly is the problem?
This is the problem: credit cards, travel, manufactured spend – it’s all very exciting. The rewards can often be seen somewhat instantaneously before your eyes be it with miles or money or trips. So, there’s the instant gratification factor too. I’m a busy person and only have so much time in a day. I’ve spread myself thin. This is too much fun, right? I’m dancing – can’t stop, won’t stop.
But perhaps I’ve blinded myself too? I keep promising myself that I’ll wisely invest my savings. But despite the calls from my brokers and others, including my dad (an astute investor), I seem to always be too busy working, running, blogging, reading blogs, Flyertalk, etc, you name it, and I never get around to wisely looking after my money that primarily sits in out-dated funds, bank checking accounts and money market accounts earning point zero zero something. I’m a bit scattered! I know I haven’t allocated my time properly – I’ve put some things in the wrong order – and yet I’m always too busy to take the time to really fix this because, after all… there’s a cool new airfare sale, another race, more work, a party, and a cash back deal all in front of that. And so another day goes by without me being financially responsible with the money I’ve worked so hard to save. One hand giveth, the other taketh?
So, where am I going with all of this? Playing with credit cards, points and miles, and manufactured spend will not put me bankruptcy or the poorhouse. But nevertheless, if I’ve been blindsided by points and miles to the exclusion of other things that also require some focus and time, then I could ultimately be doing a financial (or mental) disservice to myself.
Perhaps we all need to regularly review the entire process, including the costs and benefits, as they pertain to each of our lives?
I realize this post is not artfully composed, but I have to think that this is a real issue for many involved in this exciting world we live in. Don’t worry – on balance, I like my life and my world. I’m not leaving the game, and I’m not stopping blogging or traveling (a lot) or running (a lot) any time soon. But I need to promise myself (as I think we all do) that I will regularly reflect upon and examine all components of my life, that I will do the things I need to do, and that I won’t let things get (too) askew.
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