If you have a positive net worth, no debt, and you are contributing sufficient savings toward your retirement, then you’ve earned a vacation. Enjoy! Take a vacation from reading this article, too. I don’t want to harsh your well-deserved mellow.
Sadly, the above statement describes a vast minority of Canadians.
Time to get out the no-tear shampoo again, folks.
I am sick of reading Personal Finance blogs about people who have debt taking vacations that cost thousands of dollars.
If you are wallowing in debt you don’t deserve a vacation.
You already had the vacation. In most cases, you literally went on at least one vacation to an exotic or culturally-significant or fun-in-the-sun destination.
If you never went on a single vacation, you still had a vacation from real life. You spent more than you earned. You acquired debt. You paid for consumables with future hypothetical earnings.
A vacation is a consumable. It is not an asset. It won’t even hold its value as well as a Toronto condo, and those are money down the drain.
Vacations are the new opiate of the masses, because they allow sad, stressed people to escape the stinging reality of their lives. People in debt are more likely to desire such escapes. It’s psychologically understandable but entirely money-stupid.
The mentality that one “deserves” a vacation is emblematic of North America’s consumerist, socialist, entitlement lifestyle. If you’re indebted and you’ve said anything similar to “I deserve a vacation” then congratulations. You’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. I diagnose you with a bad case of marketingitis.
Learn to defer gratification the same way that your grandparents did. I’d single out GenY for being devoid of patience, except that the Boomers and GenX are terrible at waiting, too. Failure to defer gratification is endemic to our society. It’s the exact same reason that people “rent-to-own” furniture and get regrettable tattoos.
If the stress of life, besides your crushing debt, has gotten you down then I understand why you want a break. Fine. Take a staycation. That’s all you’re entitled to. It’s more relaxing to lay on your couch than go on a trip that will add to your debt anyway.
“You only live once,” is a true statement (with apologies to believers in re-incarnation). Some people wrongly think this statement justifies eloping from real life to embrace more debt. Consider this:
Vacations fuel your debtor lifestyle. They create debt and are a form of unhealthy escapism. Debt makes your net worth lower. Poor people die younger. It’s a fact almost as established as the fact that obese people die younger. The negative psychological (and therefore physiological) impacts of debt are killing you quicker than your vacations are healing you.
The best way to deal with stress? Work toward its resolution.
Get a new job. Take more shifts. Work longer. Pay off your debt.
Don’t bury your head in the tropical sand. That’s why debtors love exotic vacations in the first place.
Does anybody want a souvenir for reading this article?
“I’m Money-Stupid and all I got was this t-shirt and more debt.”