Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My financial vice

Five Cent Nickel recently wrote a post identifying his biggest financial vice, and several bloggers have taken the challenge and posted their own vices.

Being in the midst of my debt elimination process, it's a bit hard to narrow down the habits and purchases that hold me back the most. I know I've managed to rein in a lot of bad habits over the past year, and my spending on things like lunch at work has dropped dramatically. I think there are really two "vices" that are tied for the number one spot:
  • Collecting - I am a rampant completist when it comes to music, movies and books. Once I have a few albums by a given artist, it becomes a mission for me to pick up their entire catalogue. Similarly, I've filled my bookshelves over the last few years with dozens of graphic novels, and hundreds of comic books (I'm sure J.D. can relate). I've managed to get myself on a strict budget for this sort of thing, but the urge is most definitely still there.

  • Tracking my investments - I confess that I keep Google Finance open in my web browser throughout the work day, and I check my investment account balances at least once a day. This is unhealthy, and dangerous, especially with respect to my retirement accounts. The more closely I watch these investments, the bigger the chance that I'll react emotionally to a market jump, and make a stupid decision that affects my long-term outlook. One of the differences between index funds and ETFs is that index fund prices only change once a day, whereas ETFs fluctuate throughout the day. To me, the real-time tracking of ETFs is one of the most appealing things about switching to an ETF portfolio, but it's also one of the dangers that's keeping me on the fence.
There you go. One spending problem, and one risky behaviour.

What's your biggest financial vice?

1 comment:

Shevy said...

I'll bite. I actually commented on a similar post over at Paid Twice, but there I was just thinking about things like bags of brownies and shelter mags (Canadian House & Home, Traditional Home, Renovation Style, The English Garden and the English Home to name the ones I buy the most).

But now I've thought about it from a different angle. I think my biggest financial vice is incurring unnecessary fees, like late fees or huge bank fees or whatever. It's not even something I derive enjoyment from, it's just because I'm not doing the things I need to do, when I need to do them for the most part. It seems easier at the time, but it gets me in the end.