5 Financial lessons from Mr. Spock

As a  long time Trekker, I was saddened last week by the death of Leonard Nimoy. So in honor of Mr. Spock, here are a few of his more famous quotes from the series, with a little financial twist to each one.spock

“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.” – Star Trek:The Original Series, “Amok Time”

The problem with stuff is that it rarely provides real happiness. We think if we only had that this or that, then we’d be happy but it isn’t really true. We may be happy for a few days but the problem is there is always another thing we want just around the corner. It never ends.

This is also the problem with impulse purchases. We see something and we want it. Then two days later we see it sitting on the table at home and wonder what we were even thinking.

Next time you are tempted to make an impulse buy, I challenge you to wait at least 24 hours or better yet maybe even a week. If you still want it and it fits in your budget then go ahead and buy it. But I suspect more often than not you’ll find you didn’t really want it that much after all.

 

“Insufficient facts always invite danger.”  Star Trek: The Original Series, “Space Seed”

When it comes time to make a purchase, the person with the most facts almost always will come out ahead in the deal. This is another problem with impulse purchases, because usually by their very nature you will not have had time to do any real research.

If you are planning to make a purchase, especially larger ones, take the time to do a little investigation first. Shop around so you know what a fair price is. Search for reviews online. Amazon is a great place to do this, even if you choose not to buy it there. Ask friends or family.

Take your time. If you have done your research so that you have a good idea of a fair price and you know the quality of what you are buying, you are much more likely to get a great deal on an item that will serve you well.

 

“In critical moments, men sometimes see exactly what they wish to see.” – Star Trek: The Original Series “The Tholian Web”

This is true in so many areas of our lives. It can be especially true of financial matters.

On some level we kind of know we have a mess, but we’d really rather not face that. So we continue on with what we want to do. Retirement? We’ll worry about that later. New car? Well my neighbor just got a new one so I have to keep up. Had to buy this bigger new house, because there is a chance they might have a missionary come speak at church some day and well I could let them stay here since I have those extra bedrooms I never use.

And on and on it goes. We are very good at rationalizing our poor decisions. If we try hard enough we can find an excuse for almost anything.

The truth is for many we never really make lasting change until we reach the point where the pain of staying where we are is greater than the pain of changing.

 

“Live Long and Prosper” – Star Trek:The Original Series, “Amok Time”

This is the greeting from one Vulcan to another that perhaps became Mr. Spock’s most iconic phrase.

It is what I wish for you my readers as well. But how does one do that?

The secrets of financial success really aren’t that complex.

  • Have a plan. When you let life happen to you, you will always get to the end of the month and wonder where your money went. A spending plan or a budget is simply deciding ahead of time how you will spend your money so that you spend it on what matters most to you.
  • Live on less than you make. You can never reach prosperity by spending more than you have coming in.
  • Save. Little by little over a long period of time. There are no get rich quick schemes. You build wealth gradually over time by consistently saving and letting the power of compounding interest work for you.

 

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

If “live long and prosper” isn’t Mr. Spock’s most famous quote, this one probably is.

The bottom line is that it isn’t all about you. It is good to build wealth and there is nothing wrong with enjoying some of the blessings God has given you. Our Heavenly Father loves us and I think it gives Him joy to see His children enjoying the gifts He has given them.

But that is not the only reason He blesses His children. We are most often blessed so that we can be a blessing to those we come in contact with. After we have met our basic needs and a few wants within reason, the purpose of building wealth is it gives us the opportunity to help those who have been less fortunate.

It is very hard to lend a helping hand to one who is drowning when we are sinking up to our necks ourselves. And yet that is where so many people find themselves. If you see someone in need, but you are up to your eyeballs in debt and having difficulty paying your own bills, there is little you can do to help.

By making wise financial choices and building wealth over time we have the opportunity to look around, see the needs of the many, and lend a helping hand.

Photo credit: geraldford (Creative Commons)

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