The Difference Between "Need" and "Want"

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The Difference Between "Need" and "Want"

By: Craig Nathanson

Let's face it: Most people spend way too much money on things they don't really need. The more money we make, the more we tend to spend. This endless cycle of materialism has led many people to confuse the word "need" with the word "want." As in, "we need a big-screen TV for our new home theater." Or, "I need a new pair of shoes to go with my new outfit."

If you want to achieve your vocational passion, where every day you jump out of bed and can't wait to go to work, then you need to re-order your priorities. Stay away from the purely material.

The pursuit of material success often is the root cause of burnout at midlife. In fact, a recent study at the University of California at Berkeley found that people primarily motivated by the love of their work grow dissatisfied as they begin to make more money.

The first step to breaking free from the materialism trap is to understand the difference between "need" and "want."

We need food, clothing, shelter, reliable transportation, education, enrichment, and the technology necessary to do our work. Also, we need the occasional small indulgence to treat our children and ourselves.

We do not need 500 cable TV channels, brand new luxury cars, 5,000-square-foot homes in exclusive neighborhoods, lavish ski vacations, and smart phones that do everything but think for us.

There is nothing wrong with wanting these things. But understand that these things do not make us happy, in and of themselves. And, they are often links in the chains that bind us to jobs we despise.

Often, those who make a leap to vocational passion end up making more money over the long term. But in the short term, income usually declines. It may even go away for a period of time. Typically, the first two years of a career change - in particular, one motivated purely by vocational passion - are financially difficult. Major lifestyle and attitude adjustments are critical to making the money last while you pursue your dream.

The amazing thing is that once you learn to live on less, it becomes a habit. The peace of mind that comes from relying less on materialism to define success usually leads to a greater and deeper happiness.

Getting Real About Money

So. Now we understand that pursuing vocational passion requires a major adjustment in our attitude toward money and material comfort. The next step is getting down to the details.

What does it take to transform yourself and your family from a unit that consumes as much as it earns to one that respects money and makes it last?

The trick is to look at all expenses, both big and small. Leave no stone unturned. No savings is too small, and no category of spending should be free from scrutiny.

Those looking to leave a job to pursue a vocational passion face two core issues: raising enough money to fund a career change, and changing spending patterns to make the money last. Raising the money can be a tremendous challenge, depending on your financial resources. Savings, bonds, securities, IRAs, home equity, jewelry, valuables, and family resources are all avenues for raising capital to sustain your family during this transition.

Consider these options to cut down your burn rate. Some will seem dramatic. But if you have decided that your only chance at happiness is to pursue a vocational dream, small measures won't cut it.

  • If you live in a "McMansion," consider selling it. You could use the proceeds to buy a smaller house in a less expensive neighborhood. That would leave you with no mortgage or a much smaller "nut" to make each month. Whatever the size of your home, you can go a step further and use 100% of the proceeds of a home sale as working cash for the transition, then rent a house instead. Seeking the advice of a tax attorney or a financial planner may be wise, particularly when you are selling your home or using it as security on a loan. But, do not let these advisers sway you from your core decisions. They are there only to give you advice on the smartest way to pursue the path you have chosen.
  • Consider part-time or project-based work in the field you are moving out of to supplement your income during the transition. Also, look generally to part-time work as a way to slow your burn rate. Ask each eligible member of your family to contribute toward supporting the household.
  • Evaluate your home, car, and health insurance costs. Are you over-insured? Can you raise your deductibles? This often can reduce premiums significantly. Also, health insurance rates for small businesses, even those with one or two employees, are often more favorable than individual policies.
  • Take a look at what you drive. Is it a "badge" brand imported car? Is it a "suburban assault vehicle?" There are many presentable, economical cars with good long-term reliability that can be purchased used. Sell your status symbol and buy one of these other cars instead. You will save on car payments, gas and insurance. You will be better off the minute you stop trying to impress people with what you drive.
  • Let your children fund a little more of their own college education. Student loans are not a lifelong burden, and in fact many successful people have paid for their education this way. So can your children. They will still love you.
  • Sweat the small stuff. Look at every element of your daily spending and ask whether it is necessary. Do you have features on your phone service that you never use? How many videos do you rent every week? (They are free at the local library, by the way.) How important are those premium cable channels? How many pizzas did you order last month? How much do you spend every day on designer coffee, soft drinks, and fast food? How much do you spend on dinners at nice restaurants? Take a look at what's in your grocery cart. How much of it is snack food or impulse buys that are both bad for you and a waste of money? If you still need a reason to quit smoking, the $5-plus per pack you are spending ought to finally get you to give up that habit. Is your home well insulated, or does money in the form of energy fly out the window? Do you turn out the lights when you leave a room? How much do you waste each year on late fees for credit cards or overdue videos? How necessary is each short trip you take in the car? Can you combine trips, or make small, local errands on foot or on your bike, (which saves money and burns calories)?

Make the effort to evaluate everything you do. You'll be amazed by the amount of money you can save.

About The Author

Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach, is the author of "P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day," by Book Coach Press. He publishes the free monthly e-zine, "Vocational Passion in Mid-life." Craig believes the world works a little better when we do the work we love. He helps those in mid-life carry this out. Visit his online community at where you can sign up for his next Tele-class coming up January, 26th.


elmode13337bojangles 09.10.2006. 00:06

Whats the difference between Herpes1 and Herpes2 on the genitals? Whats the difference between HPV1 and HPV2 on the genitals?


Admin 09.10.2006. 00:06

Okay, I'm confused--are you asking about herpes, which is HSV or are you asking about HPV, the virus that causes genital warts? Either way, check out :
In the event that you are talking about herpes...genital herpes can be caused by either type 1 or type 2, which are two strains of herpes viruses. Either one can be located on the mouth/oral or genitals and either one can be passed between the two locations. The only difference between the two strains, in regards to the way that they present on the genitals, is that type 1 infections on the gentials tend to be more milder and people have less frequent outbreaks.


XxCounterplayxX . 28.11.2009. 10:54

Whats the difference between Linux and Windows? Whats the difference between Linux and Windows?
Would you highly reccomend Linux?
What are some of the features?

XxCounterplayxX .

Admin 28.11.2009. 10:54

1: Full access vs. no accessHaving access to the source code is probably the single most significant difference between Linux and Windows. The fact that Linux belongs to the GNU Public License ensures that users (of all sorts) can access (and alter) the code to the very kernel that serves as the foundation of the Linux operating system. You want to peer at the Windows code? Good luck. Unless you are a member of a very select (and elite, to many) group, you will never lay eyes on code making up the Windows operating system.

#2: Licensing freedom vs. licensing restrictionsAlong with access comes the difference between the licenses. I?m sure that every IT professional could go on and on about licensing of PC software. But let?s just look at the key aspect of the licenses (without getting into legalese). With a Linux GPL-licensed operating system, you are free to modify that software and use and even republish or sell it (so long as you make the code available). Also, with the GPL, you can download a single copy of a Linux distribution (or application) and install it on as many machines as you like. With the Microsoft license, you can do none of the above. You are bound to the number of licenses you purchase, so if you purchase 10 licenses, you can legally install that operating system (or application) on only 10 machines.

#3: Online peer support vs. paid help-desk supportThis is one issue where most companies turn their backs on Linux. But it?s really not necessary. With Linux, you have the support of a huge community via forums, online search, and plenty of dedicated Web sites. And of course, if you feel the need, you can purchase support contracts from some of the bigger Linux companies (Red Hat and Novell for instance).

However, when you use the peer support inherent in Linux, you do fall prey to time.
On the other side of the coin is support for Windows.

#4: Full vs. partial hardware supportOne issue that is slowly becoming nonexistent is hardware support. Years ago, if you wanted to install Linux on a machine you had to make sure you hand-picked each piece of hardware or your installation would not work 100 percent. I can remember, back in 1997-ish, trying to figure out why I couldn?t get Caldera Linux or Red Hat Linux to see my modem. After much looking around, I found I was the proud owner of a Winmodem. So I had to go out and purchase a US Robotics external modem because that was the one modem I knew would work. This is not so much the case now. You can grab a PC (or laptop) and most likely get one or more Linux distributions to install and work nearly 100 percent. But there are still some exceptions. For instance, hibernate/suspend remains a problem with many laptops, although it has come a long way.

With Windows, you know that most every piece of hardware will work with the operating system. Of course, there are times (and I have experienced this over and over) when you will wind up spending much of the day searching for the correct drivers for that piece of hardware you no longer have the install disk for. But you can go out and buy that 10-cent Ethernet card and know it?ll work on your machine (so long as you have, or can find, the drivers). You also can rest assured that when you purchase that insanely powerful graphics card, you will probably be able to take full advantage of its power.

#5: Command line vs. no command lineNo matter how far the Linux operating system has come and how amazing the desktop environment becomes, the command line will always be an invaluable tool for administration purposes. Nothing will ever replace my favorite text-based editor, ssh, and any given command-line tool. I can?t imagine administering a Linux machine without the command line. But for the end user ? not so much. You could use a Linux machine for years and never touch the command line. Same with Windows. You can still use the command line with Windows, but not nearly to the extent as with Linux. And Microsoft tends to obfuscate the command prompt from users. Without going to Run and entering cmd (or command, or whichever it is these days), the user won?t even know the command-line tool exists. And if a user does get the Windows command line up and running, how useful is it really?

#6: Centralized vs. noncentralized application installationThe heading for this point might have thrown you for a loop. But let?s think about this for a second. With Linux you have (with nearly every distribution) a centralized location where you can search for, add, or remove software. I?m talking about package management systems, such as Synaptic. With Synaptic, you can open up one tool, search for an application (or group of applications), and install that application without having to do any Web searching (or purchasing).

Windows has nothing like this. With Windows, you must know where to find the software you want to install, download the software (or put the CD into your machine), and run setup.exe o


Mike 28.06.2012. 04:08

Whats the difference between Secret and Top Secret clearances in the Military? Whats the difference between Secret and Top Secret clearances in the Military?



Admin 28.06.2012. 04:08

The main difference between secret and top secret clearances is how deep the investigators go when researching you/your background. Top secret clearances involve more interviews with people that know you (neighbors, former neighbors, classmates, family, etc) and your family history (are you a natural born US citizen? Are your parents? Are your aunts/uncles/cousins/nieces/nephews etc), and if not, are they originally from a country the US deems a threat? They look closer at your credit history, work history and more.

Secret clearances are 'a dime a dozen' A LOT of people in the military have secret clearances, FAR fewer have Top Secret.

Your level of clearance determines what kind of access you have to sensitive information. Ultimately, the clearance level determines your "trustworthyness"


RoseBushGang 13.08.2011. 01:55

Whats the difference between buying a phone from sprint and buying a sprint phone from best buy? What is the difference between the two?


Admin 13.08.2011. 01:55

The main difference between buying a cell phone directly from any network provider and a third party is support for the phone. If you buy a phone from Best Buy and it (not the service) ends up having some kind of problem down the line, Sprint won't help you. It will be up to Best Buy to fix or replace the phone or tell you to deal with it. I haven't seen a support contract from Best Buy, but it is very likely different than a support contract you would get from Sprint.


akina 14.02.2013. 00:44

What is the difference between molar amount and concentration? is there a difference between the two?


Admin 14.02.2013. 00:44

Concentration is a general word that includes things like mass percent. Molar amount (a term I haven't seen used in concentrations) could refer to molarity or molality, wich are specific concentration measurements involving moles.

"is there a difference between the two?" Yes. One (concentration) is more general than the other.


Ashlee B 07.09.2011. 02:07

What is the difference between consecutive even and odd integers? What is the difference between consecutive odd and even integers?

Ashlee B

Admin 07.09.2011. 02:07

The only difference between the consecutive even and odd integers is that..

?even integers are just even!
?odd integers are just odd!

That is the only difference between these integers. Nothing else. The similarity is that each following set of the integers increase by 2.

I hope this helps!


franjipani78 31.12.2008. 11:18

Whats the difference between the different bodies of waters? Whats the difference between inlets, lakes, rivers & estuaries etc?
Size, where they flow to? Is there any difference between the ocean's and sea's?


Admin 31.12.2008. 11:18

There's lots of informative websites that help answer your question. I'll post some helpful links for you, and give you a brief description as well. Hope this helps you out.

A lake is a large inland body of water. They are much deeper than ponds (which are very similar, just smaller) and they're also fed by rivers. There is a thin line between the differences of lakes and ponds, but they are usually separated by depth, size, wind turbulence, wave action, etc. Here's a link to a wikipedia page, it is very helpful at explaining these differences.

A river is defined as a typically freshwater stream flowing towards an ocean, lake, or another river. A large stream is called a river, and smaller streams may be known as a creek or a brook as well. Size and water flow help define a river from a stream.

And "An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.[1] Estuaries are often associated with high levels of biological diversity." Where I live, estuaries have large numbers of waterfowl and other bird life, and alot of these areas are often protected.

The difference between an Ocean and a Sea is this: A sea is a part of an ocean which is partially surrounded by land.

I hope this helps you out. Size, salt content, water flow, and depth are all factors which play a part in defining bodies of water. Take care!


Glitter 12.04.2012. 11:50

What is the difference between religious studies and philosophy? What is the difference between religious studies and philosophy?


Admin 12.04.2012. 11:50

There are definite differences, including rituals in religion that are absent in philosophy, the approach to the use of reason and faith in drawing conclusions, and acceptance of miracles.

There are also similarities, such as pondering on the presence and identity of good and evil, reality, and the meaning of life.

You may find extensive discussion on the Internet, including at these sites:

. . . and if you want to do more reading and contemplating, this site has copious lists of links:


Scott S 13.01.2009. 05:37

What is the difference between Popular, and Most Viewed on youtube? What is the difference between Popular, and Most Viewed on youtube?

Scott S

Admin 13.01.2009. 05:37

The difference between Most Viewed and Popular on YouTube is that the Most Viewed videos on YouTube mean they have been seen the most, but have not received the highest ranking. Normally, these are the old videos since they have been on YouTube longer, but it can be the latest videos. Then Most Viewed means that it doesn't have the highest ranking, it just means people see those certain videos, meaning it can be ranked with 1 star or even half a star, even though they can be popular.


jenha1005 11.06.2009. 21:38

What is the difference between abobe photoshop elements 6 and elements 7? What is the difference between them? Is it a big difference?
Do they do the same thing like teeth whitening, changing colors on photos or enhancing colors?


Admin 11.06.2009. 21:38

There are no major differences between them. For those of us who've used Elements for a while there are some nice differences: 7 has a Strokes section in Styles in the Effects Palette and there's a Smart Brush. There's also an Action Player that finally separates actions from the Photo Effects section in the Effects Palette.


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