Survivalists have a "Rule of 3" for setting priorities:
- You can survive about 3 minutes without oxygen.
- You can survive about 3 hours in extreme temperatures.
- You can survive about 3 days without water.
- You can survive about 3 weeks without food.
I left out the last rule of 3:
- You can survive about 3 months without companionship.
This brings me to where I disagree with financial planners and why this entry is not titled "Needs vs. Wants". Except for the physiological/psychological distinction, these really are the same kinds of things. "Need vs. want" is just a matter of degree. In the long run, any system which does not fulfill all of these is incomplete.
While a strict hierarchy does not explain things well, putting our psychological needs in some kind of order does make sense. I think it a worthy exercise to extend the analysis that is simple with physical needs, namely how long can people survive with those needs unmet? Quite frankly, I don't have these answers.
What I do know is that making sure all our needs are met, starting with the most urgent, is critical to not losing our way or falling down on the Long Ascent.