If one apple is good, he thought, then two must be better. In fact, he started eating apples religiously. He got Vitamin A poisoning. He stopped eating apples.
There is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’ 😉
I sent out the tweet in the graphic at the top of this page because too many Twitterers/Bloggers – and their followers – eat too many apples.
Here’s what I mean …
If you’re healthy you get to run and run and run, just like a puppy does. Fun!
If you’re financially-free you get to do pretty much whatever your ‘freedom’ allows, and you no longer need to spend 8 hours a day (or more) at work for The Man. Whoohee!
But, being healthy and being financially-free are ‘wishes’ – something that you want. Just wanting something doesn’t mean that you’ll get it.
So, you eat an apple a day because a doctor told you it’s good for you … or you start paying off debt because a blogger told you that’s it’s good for your financial well-being.
But, the problem with these proscriptions is that there’s no prescription [AJC: yet another bad pun] … you need to be told exactly how much of a good thing is really a good thing, before you keep going and overdose!
You see, eating apples – as my uncle found – and paying down debt – as many blog-readers find out too late – can be good or bad for you, depending on how much you under- or over-do things. Eating apples and paying down debt are just tactics promising to help you get you to where you want to go.
With debt-reduction – as with apples – there’s an optimal point: it’s the point where it contributes most to your real goal.
If your wish is to become financially-free then your goal should be able to be expressed as a specific Number and a specific Date; you should apply debt reduction in such a way that it maximizes your chances of reaching that Number by that Date.
I have a hypothesis that the Number/Date bell-curve for my reader population – nay, the entire personal finance blogosphere’s readership – is well and truly centered where paying down debt only makes:
– absolute sense in the double-digits i.e. where most credit card, personal, and (many) auto loans sit today
– no sense (nonsense?) in the low-to-mid single digits i.e. roughly where home mortgage rates and student loans sit today
And, the remaining debts (say, between 5% and 10%), they can be paid off, if you have low financial aspirations but if you are aiming for $7 million in 7 years, I’m suggesting that these, too, need to be set aside for a while in favor of funding your latest startup and/or active investment.