Why save money anyway?
I meet folks all the time who say “I’m never going to retire. My philosophy is to live for today and not save a bunch of money for a day I may never reach.”
When someone tells me that, I’m always tempted to respond - why stop there?
If you can simply will your way to work as long as you live, why not just will yourself to not get sick or die?
Not so simple, is it?
You and I both know that you have only partial control over how long you either can work or will want to work. I’ve seen many a man in the vitality of his mid years have a radical change of heart once age crept upon him. I have also seen a few men work well into their 80s. But it has only been a handful. And none of them worked forever.
Maybe someone you know overdid it with saving for tomorrow and not living for today. Admittedly it is a balance – part art, part science.
But don’t let the pain and disappointment of someone else’s mistake drive you to live irresponsibly today. Irresponsibility always has a price tag. It may be a price you pay, or your spouse pays or (more likely) that both of you pay.
Think about something – do you know many people who do what you do for a living, with a similar level of success? Probably so. Professionals and knowledge workers tend to congregate in associations or study groups and you can measure your own success against that of your peers.
But how many professionals do you know that have worked well into old age, stayed reasonably healthy and just woke up dead one day, leaving no messy trail of healthcare bills, nursing homes stays, home-based caregiver costs or other inconveniences often times associated with dying?
I would venture to say you know some…but lots more whose end wasn’t nearly so…neat.
Don’t we all visualize a similar path: live a long, vital life, well into the senior years, with good health and happy times.
I think it’s a great goal – one I’m shooting for myself.
But there is a huge difference between a goal and a bet. It’s not a good idea to bet the farm that you’ll thread the needle of longevity, health, career and a myriad other unexpected future events.
THAT’S why you save.
The beginning of any healthy financial plan is spending less than you earn – in other words, to save money. It’s not a negotiable thing to do for a person who doesn’t want others to pay for their own lack of willingness to be responsible.
You can enjoy your life today and save money for the unexpected tomorrows.
It will simply involve a plan that begins with clearheaded view of reality.