If you are reading this, then you have spent some money to be able to do so. You have purchased a computer or a smart phone, some software, an internet service or phone plan and electricity at the bare minimum. For the next activity you engage in after reading this, unless it is a walk in the park with no clothes on, you have purchased something to engage in that too. In the culture we live in, everything you do in order to live your life requires you to purchase something in order to do it.
Far from decrying the material crassness of such a culture (as you would undoubtedly encounter from many commentators), I embrace this culture fully because of the immense freedom it provides to shape my own life. For the time being, nobody forces anyone to buy what they don’t want to buy. Given the admittedly dwindling freedom we still have, there remain an almost unlimited number of choices available on which to spend your money and your time.
The difficulty with such a world lies, then, in this tremendous number of choices, because everybody has only a limited amount of money available to use in pursuing them. In order to get the most out of your own life, it is incumbent on you to do the best thinking possible about what you value most in life and then figure out a way to acquire it. Amazingly enough, accounting is essential to this process.
If you don’t believe it, then consider how else you are going to keep track of the limited resources you have available so they are used in the manner you most want them to be used for. Accounting cannot tell you what your values are or how to organize their importance in your life– how to go about that process is the subject of a future blog post. But once you have decided what you want to accomplish, doing some kind of accounting is the only way you are going to know whether you are reaching your goals, whether your money is sufficient to achieve your goals, and whether your future plans are realistic or not. Without accounting you are truly swimming in the dark because you have no information about where your money is being spent, and therefore you have no information about whether you are achieving your goals or not.
Like it or not, and I very much do, you must earn and spend money in order to live a full, successful, happy life. Accounting is one very important part of making that happen. So, Accounting, who needs it? You do.
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