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Why is it so hard to save?

September 29, 2009

While talking about money and futures with a couple of dudes recently I asked how much do they save. They corrected me. You don’t ask how much we save, they said. You ask CAN we save.

Uh right… I forgot.

Ok lets talk about that. You can save 30% of your net take-home pay a month right? Too much? Okay, 20%. No? How about 15%? No? Coins in the piggy?

Well, for us in our 20’s, 15% might be spectacular. 10% is fantastic. 0% is normal. 30%? Hah, in your dreams.

So. Why is it so hard to save?

My take: Because when you’re at the prime of your life and the world’s just yours for the taking, you know its just crud to postpone gratification now for gratification later. Haven’t you heard of carpe diem – seize the day? We all know what happens to the guy who walks around with a first generation Motorola phone when everyone’s brandishing their iPhone 3GS’s don’t we, especially when the nearest retro party is miles away.

If you can live with the obvious trade-offs, then you might actually be one of those with a growing balance in your savings account.

But how do you bring yourself to accept these trade-offs when chicks start running in the opposite direction the moment they spot you coming with a last-generation Nokia phone in hand? What do you do when who you are is defined by who you bring out on a date? I mean what if you don’t live that long to enjoy all the money you hoarded anyway? ๐Ÿ™‚

Instant gratification. Its burned into our heads. To be somebody you gotta be first and you gotta have it now. Delay it and you get the crumbs – if you are lucky. Everyone says so, from kindergarten to the early bird and the worm to investment gurus. Its called the power of Now.

So, why put off till later what you can have now?

You tell me.

*Visions of “Buy now and save 20%!” flash in my mind right now*

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2009 9:16 pm

    Perhaps everyone needs to grow up in a poor family. Then we’d all learn the value of thrift.
    What I do know is if we hadn’t saved, our youngest girl wouldn’t be in college today. I’m sure of that. The world today is such that they teach you how to spend before you even start to learn how to earn.

    That’s so true, esp your last sentence. About growing up in a poor family – the experts have always said that growing up poor, not ideological clashes, is the chief cause of terrorism. So would growing up poor cause more harm than good? According to these experts’ logic that is.

  2. September 30, 2009 8:08 am

    One needs to know how to strike a balance between the 2 – save or spend. It’s not wrong to pamper yourselves (as posted by me previously) once in a while but it’s also equally (if not more) important to plan for the future. Look at your goals, can you achieve them with the $$ you have now? If no, then how much do you need? Most goals need money be it starting a business or a family. If we just focus on the NOW, our goals will never be achieved. We’ll have no money left by then.

    Oh, and don’t care so much of what other people think of you. No point attracting the attention of people who will only be attracted if you’re carrying an IPhone 3GS.

    “No point attracting the attention of people who will only be attracted if youโ€™re carrying an IPhone 3GS.”

    uh oh, now you’ve pissed off Steve Jobs, lol. ๐Ÿ˜€

    For many 20somethings I know, the only goal they know is the one you score in a football match. But seriously, there’s truth in what u said. Its probably the most popular resolution to make on New Year’s eve and the fastest one to break, hehe.

  3. September 30, 2009 9:46 pm

    Steve Jobs is my idol ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. October 1, 2009 12:15 pm

    On the other hand, if we wait until we have enough only to get married or start a family, we’ll never start one. We can only look into the distance and decide if the goal is within our budget, ‘infrastructure’ (home, regular income) is in place, and we move ahead. Old Chinese saying goes, ‘if you have to calculate before you take a step forward, you’ll never get anywhere’.

    Maybe that’s one of the things that affirm the saying life’s a gamble?

  5. October 1, 2009 12:20 pm

    Of course the ‘experts’ on terrorism won’t tell us that politicians are the chief shit stirrers who sow those seeds and create more poverty…

    But wouldn’t that be good if growing up poor creates more restraint and balance in people? For me, I would ask can restraint can be practiced regardless of wealth. Youngsters find restraint hard because of unbridled desires and failure to find balance but I do know a couple of rich youngsters who lead simple lives. How simple… try aspiring to be Buddhist monks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. October 4, 2009 11:48 am

    If life’s a gamble, we are the chips…

    I was thinking potato chips. We get cut down to size, thrown into the fire and eaten….

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