Saving money is obviously an important action to be taken to maintain strong financial health. It’s something that too many people don’t do, despite being widely encouraged to do so. On the other side of the coin, there are some people who actively save. Within that group, there are some that are passionate about saving.
I’m in that latter camp. As I’ve gotten older I’ve taken a closer look at my finances and projected where I am compared to I would like to be long-term. The results of this analysis have pointed me in the direction of increasing my savings rate. Of course, one can only save so much; if you grow income concurrently, your savings increases further.
Clearly, there’s something motivating me, might you agree? This “long-term” notion I mentioned at the beginning of the prior paragraph naturally points to a future a need for money.
Ok – so that’s nothing different than saving from retirement, right?
Perhaps. But it goes further than that.
While some savers are motivated to squirrel away money for specific items (house, for example), paying off debt, or for a retirement filled with world travels – I’m primarily motivated by one thing: not being old and broke.
Sure, I have other “aspirational” motivations, such as a glorious retirement filled with traveling around the world, living in a very nice home, spending lots of time with grandchildren, generously giving to those in need, etc. Actually, I what I would really like is financial freedom as soon as possible.
Let’s get that party started quickly!
But really, it’s that avoidance of being old and broke that’s at the foundation of my interest in saving. I had always had that in some far corner in the back of my mind, but my recent increase in time spent downtown here in Chicago – as opposed to the suburbs – has increased my daily exposure to people begging for money.
Now, the area around Michigan Avenue is a fantastic area with VERY expensive real estate, particularly for here in the Midwest. Additionally, it has what in my opinion is the highest concentration of fine shopping, dining, and hotels in between the East and West coasts. That said, this perceived prosperity draws a few beggars at times.
I really don’t like to see this, and it’s not because I’m annoyed at them for being lazy. Well, it might be for some of them, particularly those in their 20’s and 30’s. But mostly, I just don’t like to see people in a position where they have nothing – no money, no home. Call me a softie, that’s fine.
What really gets to me, however, are the older people who I have seen. While being on the street probably ages people, a few of the people I saw clearly looked to be 65+. The first such person I saw was a woman, the second one an even older man.
That could be someone’s Mom or Dad out there!
Now, who knows what happened in their life to get them to that point. Maybe they did some bad things? Or, maybe they had just one or two bad financial decisions or life events and they were out on the street? Tough to say.
I give a few dollars to people such as this. Hopefully an exceptionally generous person will step up and do more.
Anyway, once I acknowledge that I feel bad for them, I start to think “I don’t want to be them. Ever.”
In the hierarchy of financial motivators, that’s at the top of the list for me. Or maybe a better way to think about is that it’s at the foundation of my personal finance hierarchy of needs.
What motivates you to save money? Not superficially, but at your core. Why do you, deep down, feel the need to save?