I was lucky enough to have almost a month off work to go on holiday with my husband and two friends.

This was a holiday that I planned and saved for over two years. I’m not alone in placing travel as a financial goal. A study from moomoo surveyed over 1,200 participants and found that Australian millennials are prioritising travel over almost every other goal, with 48% listing leisure as their top financial goal.

Leisure is not my top financial goal, but it’s a great example of a goal that has clear opportunity costs.

I spend most of my time surrounded by messaging that stresses the importance of getting started early and the magic of compounding. I write about it myself. It’s easy for financial commentators and advisers to tell you that the money is better sitting in the share market where it compounds rather. In theory, this is of course true. Warren Buffett used compounding potential to decide the value of goods and services – famously, the $300,000 haircut. A haircut might cost $30, but he was stressing the opportunity cost of not investing the money and having it grow to $300,000 in the future.

When it comes to travel and leisure, you can save to have more luxurious or longer experiences when you are older. My perspective is that your tastes, preferences and inclinations change over time. During this holiday, I went to beach clubs in Capri. I climbed mountains at 30-degree inclines in Lake Garda. I watched my husband and friends go cliff diving in Milos (no matter my age, that’s not for me). I swam a fair distance into old pirate caves. These are experiences that I would be able to afford ten times over if I invested the money instead and let it compound – but would I have the ability or proclivity to do it at a later age?

There is no blanket solution to juggling instant gratification and saving. I’ve always been a saver. Spending a large chunk of money is never pleasant until you feel enriched by the experiences. It is cliché to say ‘You Only Live Once’, but taken too far and you risk financial instability.  

A good financial plan will be able to tell you what you can afford without severely impacting your financial goals and quality of life. Spending on travel without any consideration of your future goals or life will result in a lack of preparedness – that once in a lifetime trip will be exactly that – once in a lifetime. In the same breath, we speak about wealth maximisation when it comes to trying to earn the highest returns possible. It can also apply to saving. A good financial plan will give you comfort when finding the balance between saving and spending and can let you know if you are on track to reach those larger long term goals.

Life isn’t about the most efficient path to wealth. It is about making the best life for yourself with the resources that you have.

It is about what you find valuable. This episode of Bloomberg's At the Money summed it up nicely. Carl Richards, author of “The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money” speaks with Barry Ritholtz about how to spend smarter in a way that brings more joy into a lives.

As I have been away for most of the month, my articles in June focused on timeless lessons.

Top articles in June

A recent Rainmaker study concludes that the best time to start taking super seriously is in your mid-thirties. I don't agree. Read why here.

A Morningstar report explores if the benefits of global investing can be achieved by investing in global companies trading on local exchanges. I use Morningstar and Pitchbook data to see whether this is a valid strategy.

I spoke to Danielle Ecuyer, renowned financial commentator, on why she has tilted her portfolio to the US and why the benefits of the US can’t be ignored.