Apr 8, 2009

Illusion of Security

My day job requires me to enter into a lot of people's yards. Recently, we've reached a part of Vancouver where the houses are bigger, the dogs are meaner, and almost every house has a gate and a fence. These aren't the normal gates though, the nice ones where you walk up to, open the gate, and walk in. Oh no, these gates are the ones that require you to buzz an electronic system (with camera and speakerphone) in order to gain access. These people have built their fortresses for security, but a lot of the time, it is merely an illusion.

For example, a lot of people will have two gates, one of which is locked, the other is wide open. What purpose does the locked gate serve? Does it keep me out of your yard? Would it prevent a burgler? Other gates are locked, but the fence stops three feet short of the gate, allowing access. Some people have incredible security on the front of their houses, but not the back, signs warning against dogs, but no dogs, and alarm company logos next to doors that are propped open or unlocked.

I've decided that for the most part, people are seeking the illusion of security as much as they are seeking actual security. It is merely the sense of feeling safe that we as humans so desperately desire. It doesn't matter if the fence will actually keep out someone intending to rob us, because in actuality, not even a six foot fence would stop a determined man. But just knowing that it is there, and that it might deter someone, even if just for awhile, is worth it.

I think a lot of us wish that we had more financial security. So we build up an illusion of security around us, by ignoring our debts, or by pretending our credit limit is high enough to handle emergencies. Maybe we have a small emergency fund set aside, but no plan for a job loss or retirement. Financially, there are a lot of things that we could, and perhaps should be worried about, but we think we're okay as long as at least one of our gates are locked.

Where are the unlocked gates in your life? Do you feel secure? Are you one paycheck away from being broke? Do you want a sense of security, a sense of serenity? I know I do.

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with long term financial planning. My short term plan is to just rarely spend money. But if I'm smart, I should start thinking about the future now. Like you mentioned in an earlier post, people tend to regret not starting to save money when they were younger. Perhaps I should avoid having that same regret.