Money Management

Unpopular Opinion: You Don’t Need the Latest and Greatest

By  Derek Condon

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Every year the biggest companies in the golf industry come out saying this year’s drivers go longer and straighter than ever (they’ve been saying this for decades). It leads us (as consumers) to believe that by simply replacing our current driver with a nice, shiny, new one, we will be able to hit the ball further without having to put in any work.

The thing is golf clubs are highly regulated and they actually have restrictions so they can actually only ever become so good. Tiger Woods hit his longest drive ever in 2002. To date, the advertised advances in driver technology should result in is his average drive being 90 to 180 yards further over that time (5 to 10 yards per year), but obviously that didn’t really happen. You can find videos on YouTube of golf pros testing clubs and if you compare a driver from 5 or 10 years ago to one just released, there’s honestly not a ton of difference. Instead of performance, you might as well buy a driver that feels good or that you like the look of.

Regardless, that doesn’t stop the marketing departments from doing their absolute best to convince you that you NEED this new club. Brand new drivers are regularly passing the $650 (CAD) mark, while you could pick up last year’s model for nearly half the price. And sure, most pros right now aren’t using last year’s model, but they are also being paid ridiculous amounts by the manufacturers to use the latest clubs. Why you might ask? Because it sells.

Don’t Give in to Marketing

Now you might not care about golf and that’s totally okay. But everyone has interests and passions and hobbies. And typically our passions lead us to spend money. Maybe it’s new sports equipment, TVs, cars, clothes, cell phones, or anything else. It’s usually something we want (not something we need), and it’s shiny and new. But if we really, really dove into it, we probably wouldn’t be able to justify buying it.

A friend of mine recently sold his super upgraded truck and got a more practical car (2017 Camry). I have had the same car for the past 10 years. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s paid off and it works just as fine as any other car. To me, the car my friend bought is really nice, it has a ton of upgrades from what I currently have, but it looks like a downgrade to him because his truck was so loaded (and expensive). So it’s the same car, but from two perspectives. If you’re always upgrading, it almost becomes a trap where you can’t settle on anything less. Whereas, if you make things last and don’t waste money upgrading, when you need to upgrade, something as simple as the base model will amaze you.

You don’t need a new phone every year. It’s okay to keep your phone after the contract is up. People have survived without every bit of tech in their cars for what, like 100 years? No one will remember what clothes you wore to that party. And no one cares what driver you use on the golf course. People only care about how well you hit the ball.

Be Smart with Your Money

I really believe budgeting and finance is a balance of doing what you love today while looking out for your future self. Spending everything today doesn’t make sense and neither does saving everything for the future. There has to be a balance between the two, otherwise, you just won’t be happy. But instead of always spending the most you can to upgrade, look for deals, make things last, and most importantly, be okay with what you have.

If you live within your means and take care of each dollar you have, I think you are more likely to be generally happy. You won’t develop unsustainable tastes or expectations. Especially when the two options (an expensive and a less expensive) will do the exact same thing. If last year’s model is cheaper and pretty much the same thing, that could work out just as well for you.

The next time you feel like you’re faced with a dilemma over something expensive, ask yourself if it’s really worth it. There will be times where yes it is, and other times where it’s not. Each of us has our own priorities and each of us values what we spend our money on differently. It’s not about living on the absolute bare necessities, but it’s about doing our best to be as efficient with our money if the results are the same.

Why spend $500 when you could spend $100 for the exact same result.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

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