“You get what you pay for,” is a phrase that we’ve all heard so much it is has become almost a cliche.  What I’ve come to realize is that, although “you get what you pay for” may not be true in all cases, “you pay for what you get” seems to be true in all cases.  Whether the “cost” is money, like we typically think, or something intangible such as lost time, lost opportunity, worry, regret or pain.

You may have read my post about the Honda, the big screen and estate planning.  The idea being that we “pay” (money, time, emotions, etc.) for something based on the perceived value it has to us.  I was reminded of this when I talked recently with a nice gentleman.  At one point he said, “that’s more than I’m willing to pay.”  It doesn’t matter the context – estate planning or business planning – there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in that statement.

It could be a reflection of lack of concern, lack of understanding how things work (estate planning or business planning), not fully understanding the situation, or valuing other things higher than the estate planning or business planning being considered.  Ultimately, I think it is a combination of all of these (and more), although I see the value comparison being the deciding factor in most situations.

I’m not saying any decision is good, bad or indifferent.  I think it is good for us to understand how we make purchase decisions and to not forget all the non-monetary considerations that come into play and how they, ultimately, lead us to the decision we make.

How do you make a decision between two or more “purchases”?  Maybe it’s getting an iPad versus purchasing more life insurance, maybe it’s leasing a new car versus purchasing a new one, or getting a “discount” haircut versus going to a salon.  When you stop and think about the monetary and non-monetary considerations, how do YOU make your choices?  I would love to hear what you think of this!

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and business planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate and asset protection planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses and pet planning.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.