There are savers, super-savers and then there are people on another level of saving, like savers on steroids of something. It’s highly commendable that there are people out there who can save upwards of 80% to 90% or more of their income.
Yes that is the fast track with a boost of nitrous to financial freedom. But in this process of achieving financial freedom, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. People are out there working 80, 90, 100 hours per week. They’re putting in blood, sweat, and tears to be free. And when you’re putting in that much time, it may take a toll on your mind and body a lot faster than you think. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Achieving your financial goals does take time, but you don’t need to use up all of your time right this second and sacrifice everything else. Learn to enjoy the process of achieving your financial goals. Or the journey can feel a lot longer than it really is.
We Still Should Save A Bit Uncomfortably
You really aren’t a serious saver unless you become a little bit uncomfortable. This basically means save enough so that you have less money to work with than before.
Don’t think of saving as depriving yourself. Instead, believe that you
are taking responsible steps to prepare the future.
If you’re thinking, I already have less to begin with, think about your top 3-5 expenses and how they can be reduced (e.g., housing cost, car payment, food are the categories for most people) and ask yourself some questions.
Can you downsize your home at all? Can you sell your car and buy a used cheaper one? If you do downsize, that should help reduce utilities too. Can you learn to cook more dishes at home? Just by reducing your top three expenses can make a big difference in your savings rate.
Per Go Banking Rates, the numbers they provided in terms of savings are interesting; Americans are saving a bit more but the percentage of Americans with zero in savings did climb between 2016 and 2017:
The chart basically means that some of us are doing great, but most of us are not doing well at all in terms of saving.
Focus On Increasing Income
With saving, there is a floor, but with increasing your income, there really isn’t a ceiling.
So you can save up to a limit. But at the end of the day, you still need food, shelter, clothes on your back, and some form(s) of entertainment to keep from going crazy.
All of these things require spending.
These days, there are so many ways to increase your income. You’re first focus should be with your primary job/career. This is your money-making vehicle. And it makes sense right? You probably went to school and majored in this line of work. Or you’ve spend significant time and investment to learn and attain a job in your primary field.
So it makes sense to continue to enhance your growth in this path.
Ofcourse there are some careers which earn more than others. For example, a surgeon will almost always earn more than a Nurse Practitioner. The work requires more education, more time, is more complex, and comes with higher risk.
Circling back, because a Nurse Practitioner may have more time, he or she can focus on other income opportunities. This can be anything like driving Uber, investing in stocks and real-estate, tutoring, or starting a website and earning ad revenue.
Don’t Forget to Live….Now
In the pursuit of achieving your financial dreams, you may need reminders along the way or previews of those dreams. You want to spend more time with your friends and family right? You want to travel more right? You want to go out to dinner and entertainment events right?
So is it worth it to work so much that you have zero time now to do any of those things so you can have lots of time later? Or is it worth it to work hard now, and from time to time do some of those things along the way so know you know what exactly you are looking forward to doing more?
The average life expectancy is 80 years. The average person’s first job is at the age of 15. The average retirement age is almost 60. You can break it down like this:
|Age||Years||Percentage of Your Life||Activity|
|1 to 14||14||18%||Learning and Having Fun|
|15 to 59||45||56%||Working Towards Retirement|
|60 to 80||21||26%||Retirement/Fun|
You’re spending most of your life (56%) working towards retirement. Doesn’t it make sense to have fun along the way? The hope is that you make it all the way through your retirement years in good health (physical and mental) to enjoy the things you are planning for.
Small Indulgences Can Help You Remain Focused
You don’t want to burn yourself out in pursuit of financial freedom. In other words, you don’t want to think about saving all the time and constantly look for new and creative ways. Remember that Personal Finance is all about preparing your finances for a balanced life; both now and for later.
If you can’t remember the last time you took a vacation, chances are you are in need of one. If you’re tight on cash, consider a weekend get-away. Consider a place that is driving distance. Consider packing some of your own food. Consider going with some friends or another family and sharing the cost of the trip.
From the small wins you get throughout your financial journey, remember to enjoy them. If you meet a threshold for investing, reward yourself with a get together with friends. If you get a raise or promotion, set aside $50 or $100 for a night out on the town. You don’t have to blow through your savings; sometimes spending on simple things can bring extraordinary joy.
Just like a long drive has rest stops along the way, your financial journey should too so you can refresh, recharge, and refocus.
Join The Discussion:
- Do you sometimes think you’re over-saving and need to live a little?
- What may be causing you to avoid spending? Is it a fear that you may lose everything you’ve built?
- Has spending on certain things actually helped you achieve your financial goals?
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