Over the years I have seen many business people who built a successful business and then drained it for their personal whims. I remember growing up in a small town where the lawyer and his family were both respected and somewhat envied. They lived in a beautiful old house that was well-furnished and boasted a lovely landscaped yard.
My mother told the tale about being invited to visit and was so pleased to see the lawyer's wife pour love and expertise into fine expensive materials that she was sewing into window coverings for the two living room bays.
When I was in grade eight we heard the house was for sale and like anyone with a compelling dream we would walk by the house with mom talking about how we would be so thrilled if there was a possibility that we could buy the house for our family.
Well, my parents were diligent and because dad had saved a down payment we were able to put in an offer. I will never forget how elated we were when the offer was accepted and we were the proud new owners.
Then reality hit and sadness entered the equation. We found out that the lawyer who had recently died forced his widow into the sale because he did not have any money in his estate. She found herself without choice and not only sold this but left the community to live out her last days in a much humbler state than she had experienced previously.
Sometimes, people live beyond their means and then have to pretend that they are in an appropriate lifestyle. It's a lie that must be difficult to conceal and accept.
As a business person, you have many choices. You can live according to your means with the freedom from stress that accompanies that or you can take money you earn and supplement it with money you borrow to create an unrealistic lifestyle that you cannot afford, always knowing that at any time you might be "found out."
When you do this you not only jeopardize the business but you also leave your family in a precarious situation that might hurt them in the future. When it comes to making decisions about how you will live, please remember the story about the lawyer and how he left his loyal wife with embarrassment, poverty and life choices that were greatly limited because of his choices.