Showing the Proper Ordering of Money by taking vacations to spend time with family. Blog image of father and daughter on vacation.

Musings from Vacation: The Importance of the Proper Ordering of Money

Last week my family and I had the wonderful opportunity to take a summer vacation up to the shores of Lake Michigan. While the drive made for a bit of a challenging trip, we really had a wonderful time and I have always enjoyed the change of pace and perspective that vacation can bring. In part due to the practicalities of our large family, and in part due to Liz and I just generally enjoying the outdoors, our vacations seem to revolve around outdoor activities (9 National Parks down with 2 more planned for this fall 😊). This allows for time to enjoy God’s beauty in nature as well as the opportunity to engage our children in conversation.

To me, these conversations are really where the magic happens on vacation; the opportunity to deepen relationships within my own family. We had some really enjoyable activities including cliff jumping, cherry picking, hiking, and swimming in Lake Michigan, however my personal favorite from this trip was kayaking. Our kayaking excursion from the outside did not look like much. We were on the much smaller (though still quite large) Lake Winnebago and the sights were mediocre, and even at that, we only had one tandem kayak, so we all had to take turns. What made it great is that once you paddled away from the beach it was just you and your partner on the kayak and there were only two things you could do: talk or paddle. Kayaking forced us into one-on-one time with each child, building each relationship, even if just a little.

On the way back home from our trip, Liz and I were talking about trips made in our childhood and the fact that it is really difficult to remember trips taken with our families when we were kids. In that moment, we couldn’t help but wonder if our children will remember any of the trips that we take now. As I thought about the question, I concluded that it isn’t about the specific things that we do on vacation or the memories that we make, but instead it is about the deepening of relationships along the way.

The Proper Ordering of Money

This is a personal finance blog after all, so on with the money lessons. My big takeaway in all of this is something that I am deeply passionate about: being intentional about your money serving you. The launch of QED has come with an interruption to our usual income stream as well as some big expenditures up front. We very easily could have chosen to simply not go on a vacation this summer, all to save a few bucks now, but miss out on sitting on that kayak, going on that hike, or any of the other myriad of opportunities we had to help build up our most meaningful relationships. Whatever money choices you make, make sure that you are putting it into the service of building up true riches…that is, in service of deepening relationships with those whom you care about most.

I think it is important to note here that there can be a fine line between spending money on relationships and creating a sense of entitlement. While fully paying for that car or that vacation may seem like it will bring you closer together, it may have an opposite effect where the receiver of the gift comes to expect these types of things because “you have the money” and in the end can create resentment if you do not continue to “support” them in the same way. While not perfect, clear communication can go a long way in keeping this from happening. If you can clearly communicate what you are doing, why you are doing it, and that it should not (necessarily) be expected to continue, this can go a long way in setting expectations that avoid the sense of entitlement creeping in.

While I certainly don’t advocate for frivolity in your money habits, I actually see significantly more people who underspend on these oh so important areas and keep their money stored away until they eventually die then give their money to their loved ones by bequest. So, if you have the means, take your family on that vacation, add that bigger dining room so you can host Christmas, or buy that boat. This life has a richness to it that can only be experienced in community and if you allow something so minute as money to get in the way, then you truly are living a poor life irrespective of how many zeros your investment account may have.

If you need help in creating the confidence to spend your money now on building relationships while still saving for the future, try our complimentary Retirement Assessment to get your money working for you.

This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing should be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice.

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