Marion Syverson, was her for this week’s Finance is Fun, to give us the answer to the question “Why don’t we save when we KNOW that we should?”
Wonky budgets - So we HAVE a budget, but it doesn’t ever really get spent as planned. Things unexpectedly go wrong and need fixing and after facing those challenges a few time, we simply give up and spend as we like. And like a garden once tilled and tidy, once left to nature, the weeds grow worse that other parts of the yard. Meaning we tend to be crazier after we tried to budget than we were at first.
Things might make us happy - We get the mistaken impression that new things will make us content and happy. The problem is that craving is never satisfied. Once you have the cute apartment you want a bigger one, perhaps a house. Now a house with a larger kitchen and more closets. Then a vacation home. Always striving for the next thing this need has to be addressed within as things don’t bring happiness. Ask any rich Hollywood star.
Debt will always be with us - We get discouraged by life and our lack of progress taking control of money. Since we have ‘tried to pay off debt’ but seemingly made little progress, we become convinced there is no point in trying to pay it off and just add to it. Though not thrilling, debt repayment is very satisfying. Especially as we see some progress. If you can get your brain in this most excellent game, you could kick debt to the curb and feel an enormous weight lifted from your shoulders. Paid off debt is a very great relief.
Retirement is later- This is true. Retirement IS later. But if you don’t save kind of early and with the little you have in those early years, retirement may be even FARTHER away as you will really need to sacrifice in the later years a larger proportion of your income for your non-working future. To connect us with that older guy or gal, to help us be worried for our retired selves, computer programs are being created that allow age progression. Then you can ‘see’ your older self and really understand the reality of your future. Whatever it takes, you need to be either disciplined or concerned so that you act now for later years.
Spending is a habit - We’re bored, maybe a bit lazy, and our Saturday routine is to shop with friends and eat lunch out. We do it most weeks. Perhaps we are becoming materialistic snobs with this constant focus on things. Shopping amuses us with all the pretty thing to see, and we have fun with friends or family. But weekly shopping is an expensive hobby and not necessarily in our best interest. So what would we do instead? Why not get your creativity inspired. Learn to paint, play an instrument, garden. You could pursue you concern for mankind and teach literacy, serve at a shelter, raise money for cancer research. You could hang out with friends and exercise go to a group workout, ride your bike, go for regular hikes. You could learn to repair things around the house by taking free or inexpensive classes offered at local hardware and big box stores. You might learn ‘hand work’ such as knitting or rug hooking, spin pottery. You could take dance lessons or take group cooking classes. Shopping is okay once in a while. Genuine hobbies would fill your life and heart with so much more than amassing stuff.