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You Deserve It, But Have You Earned It?

"You don't get what you deserve, you get what you earn."  -Tom Brands

As a financial advisor, there are times when I’m tasked with delivering a hard truth, and this concept happens to be one of them. This article might ruffle a few feathers, but recently I was struck with this concept after listening to my very responsible 10-year-old daughter proclaim, “Dad, I deserve a tablet.”

There is no doubt that my kids deserve such rewards. They work hard in school, in their activities and with their responsibilities around the house. I also have little doubt that they feel they deserve these items because their friends have them. Still, it is safe to say, they probably have earned most, if not all, of the things they ask for, and as a parent, I would try to do everything in my power to give them what they earned. 

Unfortunately for us adults, it’s a bit different, and this is a very tough pill to swallow at times. We work very hard in our careers, in our households or in our civic duties, and there are always things we want and feel we deserve. Sometimes we see our friends with these shiny new toys, and we think, “Wow, John got this new motorcycle, and I deserve one to.” Subconsciously, you might rationalize it by thinking, John works very hard in his job, and I work just as hard as he does, therefore, if he was able get this item, then I must deserve one also. That “shiny new toy” could be a small item like an iPad, a large item like a car, or even a certain lifestyle.

However, the sobering truth as adults is this: Just because we feel we deserve something does not mean we have earned it. As adults, the reality is that we must have the adequate funds to purchase these items. Adding it to your credit card balance does not qualify as having adequate funds. If we don’t have the money and cannot afford it, then we have not earned it, despite the feeling that we probably deserve it.