Do I Have To?

It’s a phrase every parent and school teacher hears a million times. I admit saying it more than my fair share of times as a child.

Do I have to?

I can still hear my 7th grade teacher’s voice as he would calmly reply: “The only thing you have to do in this life is die. But I strongly recommend you do it anyways.”

I admit I didn’t fully understand the statement at the time, but it would forever echo in my mind every time I would start to ask the question. As I get older, I realize how truly profound that statement is, and how much it’s changed the way I see the world and my situation.

Children constantly question if they have to do things. Do I have to eat my vegetables? Do I have to to turn off the TV? Do I have to go to bed now? As adults, “have to’s” stop being questions, and start becoming excuses. The world of Personal Finance is littered with people who can’t get ahead because they have to…

… make big car payments … live in a certain area … buy organic food/bottled water … spend large amounts on their children … dress in a certain way … live a certain lifestyle

The only thing you have to do in this life is die. The rest are all options. Granted, those options have consequences, and not all options are good. You don’t have to follow the law, but the consequence of not doing so could be jail. So I strongly recommend you do it anyways.

– Ms. W

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