The Critical Question for 2010: Will You Be An Investor or Spender?

Two thousand and nine is almost behind us and no one seems to mind.  Most of the news was financial and it wasn’t good.  We all know the headlines and our retirement accounts continue to feel the pain.

So, at the dawn of 2010, I’m asking a question that, on its face, appears to be a financial one.  Will you be an investor or a spender in 2010?  But really, this question is much broader than your finances.  It’s really a question about your life.

Here’s what I mean.  How will you allocate your time, talent, and treasure in 2010?  Will you primarily invest or spend?

When you invest, you choose to allocate your time, talent, and treasure in life areas that have the promise of future growth for you or others.  For example, you invest time into children.  You invest talent into a calling.  And you invest treasure into a growing business or an effective non-profit.  All of these have the promise to meaningfully enhance your life and the lives of others well into the future.

On the other hand, when you spend, you choose to allocate your time, talent, and treasure in life areas that promise to add little to no future value for you or others.  For instance, you spend time watching sitcoms on tv.  You spend talent on a job.  You spend treasure on the “perks” of life – be that Starbucks or a luxury automobile  (both of which lose tremendous value at the precise moment you agree to purchase them).  All of these will not appreciably change your future – other than to possibly be a drain on it!

Don’t get me wrong.  Everyone invests some and spends some.  But, I’m convinced that a life well lived is one in which we slowly but surely move toward the investor side of the Investor-Spender continuum.

Ultimately, the investor allocates her time, talent, and treasure in ways which will provide the structure for a well lived life.  She can embrace a measure of satisfaction knowing she has created value not only for herself but also for her family and others.

So, how will you approach 2010?  Will you move further to the investor side of the continuum?  Will you spend your time, talent, and treasure in ways that promise some level of future appreciation?  Based on all the depreciation that occurred in 2009, perhaps the investor approach is needed.





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