Friday, August 8, 2008

Personal Assets

I'm trying to think of what I own that could be considered an "asset". Looking around, I see:

A new bike (ridden exactly once)
My laptop
300+ books (most of which are finally off the floor)
Three cats
A new digital camera, and
A truck older than the man I'm dating.

So. I'm not sure that anything on that list could be an "asset." At least, not in the financial sense. Not in the "important" sense...

Granted the new bike was, in retrospect, an impulse buy. I was really yearning to get back out and do some riding (I used to ride everywhere in Victoria when I first moved there), get fit, use the car less, etc. I went into the store to look and came out having put a deposit on a shiny new bike. I took it out for a spin and ended up spraining my knee! I haven't been on it since. The giant hills and the Alaska Highway that I would be riding every day are also a deterrent.

Regardless, I don't totally regret the purchase. We've had a pretty miserable summer all around and the only people out on bikes consistently are the hard-core riders. Like the ones who ride even during the winter. In -40. I.E. NOT me.

My laptop is my "window to the world". I keep in touch with my friends on it, I write on it, I play games on it, I watch movies on it...It's really my lifeline and I'm always on it. I'm trying to do more on it because I'm still tied to my cable and can't quite cut the cord. But I'm paying $60 a month to watch one channel and I'm finding it harder and harder to justify it. I think I need to implement the "bandaid" solution. Just do it.

My books. I'd read more of these if I didn't have cable. I'd probably also use my "Learn Italian" and "Learn French" books if I didn't have cable. There's so much I want to do, but don't because it's easier to turn on the television to entertain me than make the effort to entertain myself.

My cats Elmo, Dinah and Bylaw. My babies. I love them to pieces. They make me happy, keep me company and are worth every cent I spend on them. There is no monetary value on unconditional love.

My digital camera. This was a purchase I actually did think about. My family came into a small inheritance from a great-aunt in the UK whom we'd never actually met. We each got about $2K. Not a huge sum, but a welcome gift at Christmas time. I debated about what I wanted to do with this. I have student loans. I had a credit card balance, a stupid loan (one of those loans you get to get yourself out of debt and then end up further in), and an overdraft that all needed feeding.

However, instead of paying down my debt, I decided that I would buy myself "something nice." Along with that, I would set up two accounts that I considered important: a vet account and a travel account (a flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver costs about $600). I decided on the camera because I have always had one; I love to take pictures and it would be with me for years, as a reminder of this great-aunt who had gifted me this money. I knew myself well enough at the time that had I put it all onto my credit card, I may as well have just set a match to it.

Instead, I have this fabulous camera that lets me be creative and playful and see the world in a totally different way. I have far too many pictures of the cats, but I use it for "business" as well, as I'm a board member for the Humane Society here in Whitehorse and we have fundraising events that I like to record. I've elected myself the Official Photographer.

I did also set up the two accounts I mentioned above with starting amounts of $250 each. It was a good plan, as I've done far better with them than I imagined I would, but the peace of mind it gives me is worth 10 times that. Since then I've started one for a house, my car, an emergency fund and will now have to designate one for my new canal boat goal. Little bits at a time; some are needed later, some sooner, so the amount of money that goes into each one can vary a little, depending on what I feel needs a bit of a boost.

Last, my truck. A 27 year old Toyota. Small. The heater may not work anymore (I'll find out this winter). Runs reasonably well, but I think this will be my last winter with her. She's not as reliable or as safe as I need up here, but I'm unwilling to part with her just yet. A vehicle really is a necessity up here as the distances are so huge and the bus "service" really isn't.

All those are just a part of what I consider "assets" - there's also the fact that I live in a place where the air is pristine and clear - you feel good breathing it in -, the light is breathtaking all year round, the pace of life is a little slower, I have good friends and I feel more peace and contentment than I've ever felt. That's what makes some assets more valuable than the market or a bank or the media can assign to them.

1 comment:

notesfromthefrugaltrenches.com said...

Fabulous post!

Whitehorse? I've never been there! Ooh that canal boat ride holiday sounds great, I'm hoping for one in 2009 or 2010!

I struggle to define assets, I've decided on financial matters I have none apart from what money is in my accounts!