Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

I had a roommate in college whose mantra in life was, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

She applied this to everything from dating (Just because you can date that drunk frat guy doesn’t mean that you should) to academics (Just because you can graduate with a D average doesn’t mean that you should). But the day she applied it to finance, a lightbulb went off in my head.

We shared a suite with a girl who was, to put it mildly, spoiled. Then her parents got divorced in the middle of the year. Everything that had previously been paid for was now this girl’s responsibility to pay. She fell apart. Instead of getting a job, she got credit cards. In


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5 Responses to Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

  1. Joy says:

    Great article!!

  2. Christine says:

    A believe people would be a lot better off they would take this advice. I don’t know if it’s just the way Americans think, but most people believe that if they can do it they should and I think this gets a lot of people into financial trouble. I think your friend had a wonderful mantra and I hope that many more people will adopt it.

  3. david says:

    On the other side of the coin, it’s important to remember that because you can, often you should. It amazes me the amount of people who can do small things to improve their finances, yet they never take advantage of this. I have friends who are still paying 7% of their mortgage because they just haven’t gotten around to refinancing. It’s absolutely crazy. I could be wrong, but I think more people have a problem with not doing what they can than doing what they can do what they shouldn’t.

  4. Tim says:

    This is a great topic. It applies to everyone but it hits home for young readers who are just starting to deal with money and bills. I will admit, I have fallen victim the the idea “because I can I should” before. It is a lesson that I learned the hard way. The more people that see articles like these the better.

  5. LivingWiser says:

    My wife and I applied this principle back in 2006 when we were debating whether or not to buy a house or continue renting. After considering what the true cost of a home per month would be, we found that while we could theoretically afford the house payment, we wouldn’t have any breathing room if there was an emergency of if the home needed unexpected repairs. So we decided to continue renting. Boy are we glad we did, because we did, in fact, have unexpected medical expenses later, and of course the economy tanked. But with a little belt tightening we’ve been riding it out. Fortunately neither of us has lost our jobs. Yet.

    One of my coworkers was facing the same decision we were at the time, and he chose to go ahead and buy a house. Then the economy tanked, his wife lost her job, and their adjustable rate mortgage adjusted and they ended up losing their home and all the money they had paid into it.

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