Since we’ve spent over a month now discussing investments for college savings, we wanted to talk about something simpler. Last week on The Simple Dollar, Trent Hamm wrote a post called The Old Green Chair. It was fairly short and simple, but the idea he conveys is one that many people struggle with.

In the post, Trent talks about this ugly, old, bright green chair he and his wife bought second hand when they first were married. Then, though the chair was comfortable and got a lot of use, they replaced it: “As a young professional couple, we were supposed to have nice furniture in our home.” So, they didn’t get rid of the chair because they didn’t want it any more. They felt like they should get rid of it because they were supposed to have nicer furniture.

This reasoning is often behind many of the decisions we make, financially and otherwise. You buy a shiny new car when you land your first job because that’s what young professionals are supposed to do. You buy a house when you get married because that what newly married couples are supposed to do. And so on. While it may not be your only reason for doing so, often the thought that you are supposed to be doing something in particular in your life often resides in the back of your mind.

Everyone’s opinions are different on what people are supposed to do, so don’t worry so much about it. Think about what is right for you in your individual situation, and if someone else is going to look down on you for that, so be it. For Trent, “The biggest financial mistake my wife and I ever made was worrying about what people like us were supposed to do. If we had simply focused instead on what made us happy, we would have found ourselves in a much better financial place all the way along.”

There will be no post next Monday. We are going on a family vacation to Disney World which we’re very excited about!