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  • Writer's pictureRyan Frailich, CFP®

Money Lessons from Adam Sandler

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Becoming a parent provides endless reminders of how much you change. This hit deep for me when my son and I were listening to Sesame Street songs on Youtube, and came across Adam Sandler’s video for “This is a song about Elmo.” It’s like most children’s songs with the usual made up words and incessant repetition. Helps child development and all that jazz.

Me? I most associate Adam Sandler with the song “At a Medium Pace”. Before you listen, know it’s one of the most vile songs I have ever heard in my life. Seriously. Proceed with caution. I was maybe 12 when I heard it the first time. I laughed until I was crying and vomiting at the same time. I was, like many 12 year old boys, a disgusting person.

It’s unfathomable that those songs were written by the same person. If you told the Sandler who wrote “At a Medium Pace” that in the future he’d be performing on Sesame Street, he’d have responded that if he ever did so, he’d have to kick his own ass. (Deep cut for real Sandler fans.)

To harp on this even more, here’s a picture of me on the first day of 9th grade:

Yeah. It's...something. The longer you look, the more treats you'll find.

If you’d have told 14 year old goth/skater/rocker Ryan that at 32 I’d be a financial planner, I'd have scoffed. If you'd told me that at age 20, I’d remove all my piercings just before going to teach elementary school in Mississippi, I’d probably have told you I’d want to kick my own ass. But what people want and value changes. Not just angsty teens either.

The point here is one I probably harp on too often, but saving money and fighting lifestyle inflation is so hard because we just can’t wrap our brain around our future self wanting totally different things than our current self.

Our current self may think we will never want to leave our job. But our future self will appreciate having the option to leave in case that job doesn’t stay so great.

Our current self may want to buy the perfect house that stretches our budget. But our future self might have a kid who needs the $1,000+/month for childcare.

Our current self may think we can’t start that business because it’s too risky. But our future self may look back wishing we’d have tried.

Our current self may think the solution to our career woes is a fancy graduate degree. But our future self might not be so happy with the six figure debt that comes with the degree.

Our current self may think we deserve a new car every 4-5 years. But our future self may regret having a car payment for decades.

Our current self may be fine doing our own yard and home repair work. But our future self, with children, may want to pay someone else to do that stuff so we have more time.

Our current self might find the idea of paying a professional to help guide our finances ludicrous. But our future self may look back and wish we’d learned more about personal finance much earlier.

What’s a belief or value you held deeply 15 years ago that you don’t today? Got it in your head? Good.

So which of the things you believe or value today will you not care about at all in 15 years? That one’s a lot harder, isn’t it? But by consciously thinking about how you evolve over time, you’ll set yourself up to have many more choices of what to do in the future. Even if all that means is you end up making an endless string of horrendous Netflix movies.

*sorry again for the graphic language used to highlight this point*

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