What Is Your Fool’s Gold?
by Tim Maurer
December 04th, 2014

My son gave me a present.

To be fair, I don’t think it was until after he realized it was worthless, but I appreciate it nonetheless. It’s a big hunk of mineral pyrite—fool’s gold. But aside from being an excellent paperweight, its worth ironically rises for me. It’s a constant reminder to orient my life away from that which only appears valuable to that which truly is.

We all have our own versions of fool’s gold. It’s the stuff (generally) that, while largely worthless, receives an undue amount of our time, attention and investment. What’s yours?

Here’s the biggest way to spot it:

• Fool’s gold consumes time you’ve dedicated to other things.

Not more than one paragraph into writing this post (on this topic, no less!), I found myself entering this Google search—“what is the best banjo ukulele”—and then navigating to this page, then this one.

You see, when I’m not financial planning, writing or speaking, it’s likely that music is consuming my consciousness. It was only yesterday that I learned that the banjo ukulele—or “banjolele” in some circles (seriously)—was a thing. But now, it is a thing that I don’t possess, making it my obsession of the month.

Last month, it was a foam surfboard (for my kids, of course), the month prior, an inflatable paddle board (it’s a good core workout, haven’t you heard?).

Of course, there’s nothing patently wrong with any of these things—or cars, or HGTV, or whatever steals from your productivity—but when these things start to consume time we’ve dedicated to specific, important pursuits, that’s a problem. It’s a sign of fool’s gold.

I’ll continue on this topic in next week’s blog.


Financial planner, speaker and author, Tim Maurer, is a wealth advisor at Buckingham Asset Management and the director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE.  A Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner working with individuals, families and organizations, he also educates at private events and via TV, radio, print and online media.  Tim is a regular contributor to Forbes, CNBC and CNN/Money.  A central theme, that “personal finance is more personal than it is finance," drives his writing and speaking.

You can follow Tim on Twitter at @TimMaurer.

More of Tim Maurer: http://timmaurer.com/