Many people fail to meet their financial goals because they capitulate to Keeping up with the Jones. as mentioned in my May 27 post, Becoming financially independent. Instead of putting money aside for retirement, getting out of debt, etc., they spend on fancy cars, clothes, gadgets, and so on to impress, at least in part, their neighbors and office mates.
Another subtle dynamic at work is spousal relationships. One spouse may have a taste for expensive things while the other acquiesces against their better judgment. They dont want to be thought of as a cheapskate. Or they want to be seen as a good provider. Or talking about budgeting tends to be stressful. And so on.
But then, before they know it, money problems flare up and become an even bigger sore point. It might be better to sit down in a calm fashion and discuss a more rational approach, rather than let things drift.
Canadian Capitalist and his spouse seem to have things sorted out. He is happy to drive a 1992 Honda Accordeven though they could easily afford something more impressive. Im happy to do it in a 1998 Toyota Corolla. Many couples have to get from point A to point B in something fancier, and are willing to take out big loans to get it. The problem is some important financial goals are likely being sacrificed.