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Why I work

March 13, 2011


Rock Stars for the 2-7 year old crowd

           It was a moment I wish I could have frozen time. I was standing, holding my 3-year-old daughter, Quincy, in the retro (a fancy name for outdated) Paramount Theatre in downtown Denver. Moments before, I was cursing to myself as we got stuck in the downtown traffic during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, wondering if we were going to make it to the show in time. After all, we had been promising the show to Quincy since we bought the tickets in November.

            After parking about a mile farther away from the theatre than I had hoped, I carried Quincy and dragged my pregnant wife, Kerri, six blocks to the 16th Street shuttle. We had only minutes to get to the 11:30 show, and amazingly, we arrived at 11:38. Fortunately for us, the opening act, Disney’s “Choo Choo Soul” was getting the crowd ready for the main performance when we walked in.

            After being in our seats for a few minutes, the main performers came on the stage. From the Disney channel on our television in our home, to being live on the stage in front of us, we saw the four members who make up the “Imagination Movers.” In the show, the band members hang out in their warehouse and solve “idea emergencies” as they arise. Along the way, they sing rock songs. They sang songs from their show during the concert, where children, parents and grandparents were out of their seats jumping, singing and dancing along.

            About halfway through the show, as I was standing and holding Quincy, I was watching her eyes the size of quarters staring in wonderment about what she was seeing. She had a huge smile and such a look of innocent joy on her face. It was an opportunity for her to see “rock stars.” It was an opportunity for pure fun. She was living in the moment.

            You may be wondering what all this has to do with personal finance. After the concert, it helped remind me why I work and try to be responsible with my money. The tickets for the concert for all three of us was about $120 and we had to pay for things such as food and gas, but it was something we had budgeted. The opportunity to have experiences like this will last all of us a lot longer than many of the toys Quincy has or the other items Kerri or I buy for ourselves. While I like to save my money, I also value the importance of great life experiences, such as this one we had on Saturday.

            When I go to events like this, I often see people who go to the extremes, buying $25 stuffed animals, popcorn that has been marked up about 10,000 percent and the V.I.P. package to meet the celebrities back stage. I wonder how many of them have a lot of debt or no savings, yet they continue to spend money they do not have.

While I know Quincy would have liked these extras, I do not allow myself to get caught up in the excitement and spend money outrageously. I would never want to be in a situation where I blew my money on things and could not pay my bills or build up my savings account.

            On the flip side of this, there are people who continually hoard wealth and never spend it. At a certain time, I think money becomes the boss of them and not the other way around. Even after some individuals amass an incredible wealth, they still do not want to spend a penny.

            It is important to save for the future and retirement. It also is important for some to be able to leave money behind to heirs. But, I think it is critical to enjoy some of the fruits of your labors. If you never take the opportunity to enjoy a great experience, what is the point of working and saving?

When you die, the money in your bank account is not going with you. It is going to get distributed to your heirs. This can provide you some joy while you are alive, but perhaps you may experience a little more joy by doing something with your family while you are still on this planet.

For me, I will continue to work hard and save hard, while also budgeting money each month to enjoy life. Quincy may be 3 today, but if what others tell me is true, she is going to be 18 and leaving home way too soon. We are not going to overdue our entertainment budget, but hopefully we can have more repeat performances from this weekend and I can be able to see the joy on my daughter’s face as we watch silly men wear silly costumes and do silly dances. I guess we had better start saving for the “Fresh Beat Band.”

On deck, The Fresh Beat Band

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