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July 15, 2021

Should you spend more than you earn?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

How much money will flow through your hands during your lifetime? It’s probably a lot more than you think. 

First, get a figure in your mind for your current annual household income. Let’s say that’s $60,000. Now multiply that by 40. $240,000 becomes $2.4 million, a rough estimate of your income over a lifetime of wage earning, not including taxes.

Sure, you may not have earned $60,000 every year since you’ve been working and you won’t stay at $60,000 down the road either. But it’s a quick and easy way to come up with a big picture number, which could be larger still if you’re a two-income family.

All of which is why, despite the grim headlines and admonitions about debt free living from bloggers like Bank Nerd, you should go all out from time to time, says Alan Schram, who blogs at Saving for Serenity. Not on another car or a bigger television, of course, but on those unique opportunities – weddings, birthdays, vacations, higher education – that only come around once and awhile.

Life is expensive. Sometimes it’s going to cost you more than you’re earning, maintains Schram. As long you only break from the plan on occasion, you should feel free to spend more than you earn, he recommends. 

Good idea or merely an early introduction to credit counselling?

What would you splurge on and why?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...