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Why are you saving?

He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly need not be rich.  Poor Richard

During the quest for financial independence it’s all too easy to lose the forest for all of the trees.  Every now and then it’s important to step back and remind yourself just why you are clipping coupons, why you’ve been depriving yourself of that new car, why you are living frugally.  Are you hoarding money or are you saving money?  There is a difference.  Hoarding for the future implies that you fear what’s to come.  Saving for the future implies that you are planning for what’s to come.  Being thrifty is difficult during good times, however, in a down economy, like the one we are in now, many people turn to thrift not only out of necessity, but also out of fear. 

I am a self-admitted habitual saver, plagued by buyer’s remorse from a young age.  Although, I do not fear the future, usually I would just rather save for something that I would like more.  The problem with more is that it is infinite.  If you’re always saving for more, then you will simply accumulate more and more money, and where’s the fun in that?  Fortunately, I have Husband, ever generous, ever reminding me when I need to get a grip and stop being a penny pincher.  At some point I need new running shoes, even if I would like to buy a house three years from now more.    

Wealth is not the end, it is the means to an end.  No one wants to be Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge pre-life-altering-ghost-experience, or at least they shouldn’t.  Do a little self-evaluation and remind yourself where all your hard work is leading; here is mine along with more enlightening revelations from that hip cat Poor Richard:

Independence and Freedom — Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.

1. I don’t want to rely on someone else to be able to purchase things that I either want or need. 

2. I don’t like interest, it makes everything more expensive.  I’d rather save the money that I need than pay someone else to use theirs.

3. I don’t want to give someone else control of my money.  If I owe money, my creditor has a right to every next dollar I earn until the debt is repaid.  Paying myself sounds much more appealing. 

4. I want to be responsible for my own well-being from now all the way through retirement. 

Achieving small Goals — Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.

This is one where a penny pincher like myself can struggle, although I do realize its importance and am working on it.  Strictly in my opinion, effective saving does not constitute living completely deprived for 20 years so that you can live like a king for the next 20; it’s about balance.  A small goal for Husband and I is to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle now, as we simultaneously save for the future. 

Achieving BIG Goals — Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.

Husband and I have few dreams we’d like to realize.  Shockingly, rolling around in a pile of money we’ve hoarded for 50 years is not too high up on the list (money is actually very dirty, yuck).  I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll remind you: unless the internet is far more reaching than I ever imagined, you don’t get to take your money with you when you go. 

Doing Good and Serving Others — Who pleasure gives, shall joy receive. 

Money is not the most valuable commodity, time is, and you can’t even buy it.  Yes we can give money to help others and we do, but ultimately we’d like to give more of ourselves and more of our time. 

Article publié pour la première fois le 09/08/2010

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