When You Realize The Best Things In Life Are Free

Sometimes, people will make fun of me for driving a car with 204,000 miles of wear and tear on it.    There isn’t a month that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “Ted, when are you going to get a new car?”  On top it, I’m not the kind of person who buys myself much anymore.  I don’t spend a lot money on clothes, I don’t have an expensive hobby, and I don’t even wear a watch anymore.   You’d think I was bunkering up for a financial Armageddon, but in reality a few years ago I realized that no matter how much money you make the best things in life are free.

Growing up as a child, we would have NEVER even thought about going to a four star hotel.  Now, for most families it isn’t even about taking a vacation.  It’s about the style points associated with the vacation.   “Hey, have you gone to the Ritz Carlton in …..?” or “Hey, have you even stayed at the Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld?”  or “Hey, have you tried the Four Season in Vail?”   While there is no doubt these kinds of vacations are nice once in a while, when you start doing them two, three, or four times per year your expectations become so high that you actually start to become disappointed when a four star resort doesn’t meet your expectations.

With the world of fine cuisine today, our expectations of a GREAT meal have gone off the charts.   When two or three new restaurants open up in your neighborhood, you’d think that we all inherited some part of Anthony Bourdain’s personality in the way we critique these restaurants.  I can remember so vividly as a child that when Mom and Dad took me out to the local diner that just the fact that I was not eating a home cooked meal made that diner so special.  Now, it is a piece of cake to go out and spend $100 on a fine dining experience only to tell yourself that you would have been better off just eating at home.

When Sam Cooke sang The Best Things In Life Are Free, the lyrics went like this…

Ah the moon belongs to everyone
The best things in life they’re free
Stars belong to everyone
They cling there for you and for me

Flowers in spring
The robins that sing
The sunbeams that shine
They’re yours and their mine

Love can come to everyone
The best things in life they’re free

The expectations even for the college experience are even through the roof.  When I was on a recent college tour, the school boasted how their indoor track was the largest in the nation (by a few hundred feet) and there were 10 different exercise studios, steam showers, and even a zen area to just sit and relax.   The dorms are now state of the art and the meal plans tie in with 30 or 40 restaurants in the local town.  It’s no wonder that schools are so expensive because today’s college experience is just swipe away from getting just about anything.

Some of you are millionaires.  Some of you are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.   Some of you are struggling to pay off credit card debt and are living paycheck to paycheck.  Remember this…no matter how much money you have in the bank, the best things in life are free.

  • A hug or a kiss from your loved ones
  • Getting a hand written card when you least expect it
  • Enjoyed the sun shining on you during a beautiful spring day
  • Taking a walk in the park with your dog
  • Smelling the beauty of the flowers or trees around you
  • Watching your children doing something great
  • Check out the local attractions
  • And much, much, more

Since I am in the money business, you would think all I care about is money.   In reality, I’ve learned that money can give you financial security and it can buy you a bunch of stuff, but still the best things in life are free.

About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Read More About Ted Here

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.


  • Avatar
    May 21, 2017

    Well said my friend, well said.

  • Avatar
    May 21, 2017

    This is fantastic Ted. My favorite one so far. I particularly enjoyed the list of life’s true pleasures. I hope you continue to find joy and wonderment in a life well lived!

  • Avatar
    May 23, 2017

    Beautiful article :) And very insightful! I’m also all about appreciating what’s free in life. Spending money on “stuff” became too easy. It’s more and more difficult to actually be original when showing someone you care or when you’re simply looking for something enjoyable to do with your free time.

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