Thursday, January 20, 2022

Everything Must Be Paid for Twice

I suggest reading the whole article.


One financial lesson they should teach in school is that most of the things we buy have to be paid for twice.

There’s the first price, usually paid in dollars, just to gain possession of the desired thing, whatever it is: a book, a budgeting app, a unicycle, a bundle of kale.

But then, in order to make use of the thing, you must also pay a second price. This is the effort and initiative required to gain its benefits, and it can be much higher than the first price.

A new novel, for example, might require twenty dollars for its first price—and ten hours of dedicated reading time for its second. Only once the second price is being paid do you see any return on the first one. Paying only the first price is about the same as throwing money in the garbage.


The miracle of industrialization has reduced many first prices tremendously, but has also given us many more of them to consider paying. With all the wonderful toys on offer, almost nobody feels like they have quite enough money, enough acquisition power. When a person receives a windfall, they immediately think of more first prices they can now pay.

But no matter how many cool things you acquire, you don’t gain any more time or energy with which to pay their second prices—to use the gym membership, to read the unabridged classics, to make the ukulele sound good—and so their rewards remain unredeemed.



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