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Life Coach Says Blow That Refund Check


As society is built on savings and accumulated capital, personal finance dictates that individuals live within their means and save for rainy days. However, author, inspirational speaker, and life coach John P. Strelecky counsels us to live each day like we are dying.

Strelecky says we don’t know what the future brings, so spend more time doing what you want. “Invest in you and the life you really want to live. Live your bucket list now,” he says.

For instance, those who have provided the U.S. government an interest-free loan this past year and will soon be repaid, don’t pay down debt or save the money, spend the money having an experience, urges the best-selling author.

The check a typical person is receiving from the IRS just isn’t enough to put away. MarketWatch’s Jennifer Waters provides the example in her “Consumer Confidential” column.

A family gets a $5,000 tax refund (this year’s average, per person, is about $3,000, according to the IRS.) If the parents, who are 42 years old, invest that money, they could probably slightly more than double that by the time they retire 23 years later at 65.


In Strelecky’s view, “That’s not enough to justify the lifelong memory and time spent with children that a special trip together might generate,” writes Waters.

And for the person socking money into a 401k of stocks back in 2000, their retirement fund has been decimated. “Because of that, not only do you not get to do the things you want to do, you don’t get the seven-day cruise, but a five-day cruise,” Strelecky said.

And who says you will even reach old age? One in five men doesn’t get to celebrate a 65th birthday. Live for today, urges Strelecky, whose “philosophy is that you buy the insurance now (in vacations, etc.) so that you have lived an amazing life.” Lord Keynes would be proud, writing in Essays in Persuasion,

The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease

The idea that the only pleasure in life is derived from leisure is complete nonsense. Strelecky is a relatively young man and by the looks of it a successful author and entrepreneur, speaking and hosting seminars related to his Big Five for Life concept. An idea that has morphed into certifying life coaches and executive coaches to teach Big Five for Life to others.

It doesn’t appear that Strelecky is slowing down and smelling the roses. He’s working and probably loving it. And he’s likely not spending all his money either, plowing capital back into Big Five for Life projects. Yet he is advising the average working stiff to blow their IRS check making memories.

Mr. Strelecky acts as if this money came from heaven: Some kind of unearned bonus. Squandering this money is no different than squandering a weekly paycheck: The reflection of a high-time preference and an uncivilized lifestyle. Savers are independent and less likely to need handouts from either friends, relatives or government. Those that squander their money are submissive, constantly making excuses, and engaging in wishful thinking.

There is satisfaction to be gained from working, saving, and sacrificing that one doesn’t obtain slurping margaritas on board a cruise ship enjoying the sunset.


Doug French

Douglas French is President Emeritus of the Mises Institute, author of Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply, and author of Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth. He received his master's degree in economics from UNLV, studying under both Professor Murray Rothbard and Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe.