During the process of buying my first home, and first car, I became a big fan of what I like to call “the second sober thought.” Big purchases tend to involve a fair bit of emotion in the process, especially if it’s a house you’re going to be living and raising a family in. I like to think of myself as a fairly rational and logical person especially when it comes to my money. Turns out I was getting a little bit overconfident.
During my house inspection (the second one on the house I eventually bought) I brought along my parents. As we worked through the various structures of the house we ended the inspection upstairs, where almost all the floors are finished with parquet flooring. The floors in my house are a bit beat up, in some places they’ve lost their gloss and in other places there are gouges in the floor. Off handed I commented that the floors up stairs would have to be replaced. My father became the second sober thought. Why would you need to replace it? He asked. Though my floor is somewhat worn it is still in one piece and as long as I don’t pour water on the places that have lost their varnish (which I should be able to avoid) they should last a long while yet. Turns out the only reason I wanted new floor is that parquet is kind of old school, and after four months in the house I don’t even notice the type of floor I have. My money is better of spent elsewhere.
A couple of months later I lost the use of the car I was borrowing and was considering buying myself. I was back and forth on the issue, while I really didn’t want to go carless (how would I get around?) I wasn’t sure how to make it fit into my budget. Fortunately the first car I enquired about fell through and I was back at the drawing board. At this point my father mentioned that most people in our society don’t truly need a car. It is simply something that is socially acceptable to do. I wasn’t sure if I could get everywhere I wanted to go without a car but decided to try it and see what happened. It’s been two months and I love being carless. No payments, insurance, maintenance or gas and I don’t have to shovel my drive way.
So where do you go for a sober second thought? Try to find someone who you trust who has no stake in the purchase. Hopefully they will have a good bit of common sense and financial know how. For me it’s often my father. Who do you go to for a sober second thought?