I was all set to write you guys a nice post on fixed income and RRSPs and whatnot, when I started thinking about the upcoming Canadian Personal Finance Bloggers Conference (or NAMBLA for short) and what my plans would be once I got to Toronto. I’m thinking of going to see Montreal and Ottawa while I’m down east, since heading from Alberta to Ontario isn’t exactly like driving to the corner store for some milk. I really want to go to some French part of Montreal and have some Quebecer be rude to me because I don’t speak their bastardized version of French. This will amuse me.
This may sound kind of stupid after the first paragraph, but I am really tired of the blogging community presenting traveling as the solution to all of life’s problems. If you read most PF blogs, traveling will open your mind, make you look at the world in a different way, massage your penis, make your farts not stink, and make you irresistible to the opposite sex. You will literally be sexually aroused the whole time you are there. Why do you think there are so many prostitutes in southeast Asia?
It’s not so much traveling I have a problem with. Traveling is fine. It’s fun to get away and to see other places. It’s nice to take a week away from cold Canadian winters. I get all this, and I agree with it. But what gets me is when it gets presented as so much more than what it is. Come on people. All you’re doing is getting on a plane and experiencing a new place.
But wait, these people get worse. Did you know what there are actually financial bloggers who advocate financing a vacation? I’m not talking in an indirect way either. I’m talking about taking the thing, plunking it down on your line of credit or credit card, and just having at it. It’s okay, assuming you can pay it off in a reasonable amount of time, they argue. As long as you’re not screwing your financial future, it’s okay.
People, a vacation isn’t a goddamn necessity. You can get by in life quite comfortably without jumping on a plane once a year. You know what else broadens your horizons? Reading a book. Talking to interesting people. Learning something. Taking a vacation to some faraway land doesn’t automatically make you smarter or better looking. It’s just a fun and interesting way to spend some time.
My dad has been to the following major cities: Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton. He does not care for travelling. I’m pretty sure he’s never been on an airplane. He hasn’t experienced the world. Does this make him a bad person? Does it make you better than he is? Or, does it just mean he’s got different priorities than you? Not better, not worse. Just different.
If you have credit card debt and yet still find a way to save up for a holiday, YOU ARE STILL FINANCING THAT HOLIDAY. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you. This is simple accounting people. You could have used those savings to pay down said credit card, earning yourself a guaranteed 18% return. Do you know what I would do for a guaranteed 18% return? I would strangle a hobo. I’m not even kidding. I would find a hobo and strangle him if it got me a guaranteed 18% return. I could end up a billionaire. And yet, there are people WHO WRITE ABOUT FINANCE who don’t get the least bit excited about such stellar returns. Jesus H.
I can’t believe I have to do this, but I’m going to have to make up a list of rules about being able to afford to travel. I wanted to give you guys the benefit of the doubt. But like an obese kid sneaking a candy bar into fat camp, I just can’t trust you to do the right thing.
1. If you can’t pay cash for it, don’t bother. I don’t care if you have a line of credit at some attractive interest rate. No. In fact, do us all a favor and hit yourself in the head with a tire iron so you can kill the few brain cells you have left.
2. If you have any consumer debt at all (exception: anything at 0%) you are not allowed to go on vacation. In fact, the only thing you’re allowed to do is work harder until your consumer debt goes away.
3. If you have a negative net worth, you are not allowed to go anywhere. Pull up your socks, Poory McPoorerson. Think about it. If your net worth is a negative number, you are worth less than nothing. This is bad, assuming you want to be worth something someday.
4. If you are not sitting on at least 3 months worth of living expenses, then the only place you will be sitting is on your couch.
Got those rules? I’d print out a copy to put on my fridge if I were you.
And then, the pro travel crowd uses stupid cliches to further push their point. Like, did you guys know that nobody has ever sat on their deathbed and wished they spent more time in the office? I know, this is the first I’m hearing of this too.
Except it’s all BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT.
Plenty of old people regret spending too much money. Plenty of old people end up running out of money and becoming a burden on their kids. People tend to regret the things they didn’t do, no matter what those things are. It is human nature to wonder what life would have been like if we took an alternate path. I’m sick of that horrible cliche and I henceforth decree that anyone who uses it is a moron.
And then, did you guys know that you can only travel when you’re in your 20s? Yeah, it’s true. You have to do it when you’re young and healthy, because apparently once you hit 30 a mysterious force comes along and breaks both your ankles. The fine folks from Control Your Cash travel all over the place, and their combined age is like a million. You will have time to travel once you get your finances in order.
Have you ever thought that maybe you like traveling so much because everyone else does? It’s all the rage to travel and experience the world these days. You hear other awesome travel adventures, so you decide traveling is great even before you pack your bags. It’s human nature to like the same things our peers like. Are you just blindly following the herd’s mentality on this one?
Look, I like traveling too. Can we just stop the giant hard-on over it?