The Difference Between Hurt and Harm

I am currently reading Boundaries, a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

It's a great book to read and discuss with close friends, which is what I'm doing. The book is an easy read that teaches how to set reasonable boundaries in order to follow the true path of Christianity.

Boundaries and Hurt vs Harm

Do you have good boundaries?

While reading chapter five, I stumbled upon a couple of anecdotes related to setting boundaries that really resonated with me. I think they can be applicable for our finances. The first I'll share with you today:

Hurt vs. Harm

In the book, the writers share a simple lesson using kids, sweets, and the dentist. A quick summary: As kids we love sweets; they taste so good and make life great.

However, sweets ultimately are bad for us by causing cavities. On the flip side, filling cavities at the dentist hurts us, but ultimately makes us feel better.

The lesson here is that some things can hurt us, without harming us (filling cavities) AND things that feel good can really be harming us (eating sweets).

Application to Our Finances

Activities like tracking expenses, getting out of debt, finishing an education, saving for emergencies and retirement, living a frugal life, all hurt a little bit because they initially require a bit of effort and change of lifestyle.

But like filling cavities, these things won't harm us. They all end up bringing lasting success to our lives. They have for me at least so far.

On the flip side, if you're like me sometimes, you might want to take the easy route and avoid these things that may hurt a bit at first.

I challenge you in these tough moments to remember the difference between a hurt and a harm and to make the choice that will bring you a sweet future.

Photo: by jbushnell

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Last Edited: May 22, 2017 @ 1:48 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. Pediatric Dentist says:

    Hi Philip, that was a good analogy even people without a good knowledge about finance will surely grasp the meaning you’re point out. 🙂