Gimme What I Want, Now!

28 May 2014

We humans are a needy bunch. Ask Maslow. We need certain things for our survival but as life is to be lived, not survived; our needs go beyond the basics of food, water and shelter. Not to get all psychological on you (I will anyway), but do you think there is a clear marker between a need and a want?

The needs vs wants concept should be fairly easy to grasp, but it’s actually sometimes hard to remember in the heat of the moment. And sometimes both the heat and the moment extend so that it becomes hard to remember “throughout your daily life”.

For instance: you need a roof over your head and food on the table. You want that roof to cover a heated indoor pool and the table to host regular servings of steak and wine. While these wants often feel like needs, the truth is we can live without them. Not so? Don’t shake your head. It is so!

Well, the same goes for your portfolio. You may want to purchase the same financial product that your neighbour has chosen (and been bragging about, with its double-digit return). Or you may want the thrill of investing in the latest, most exciting stock. Some of these choices might be ideal for someone else – but are they right for you? Sometimes your wants can be detrimental to your financial goals.

Instead of focusing on wants, focusing on needs can help you make better sense of your money. You want to (happily)retire in your early 60s? You want to send your children off to top-ranking universities?  Thinking about what you need to achieve that goal can lead you to do what you need with your finances to get there. Truly acknowledging needs vs wants helps you to better manage your money. Really want that fancy new car? Ask yourself if the monthly payments could be better utilised elsewhere.

You’ll often find that what you really want right at one particular moment doesn’t actually help you further along on the path to what you truly want out of life. That’s all for today, I hope my couch has been comfortable!

Talk to your financial advisor about your life goals so you can formulate a Ready-Set-Go plan to secure your financial future. Here at Firstline we’re ready to help you achieve a healthy portfolio by confirming your needs and goals, reducing unnecessary risk, but also taking into consideration those wants that help you enjoy life, not just survive it. Call us at 628-1175, or email us at You can contact me directly at

Ihsan Slater

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