Last night Sarah, my wife, and I were discussing the money we’ve saved since buying our house. At this point, we’re just shooting at figures, an amount we’d like to have piled up in zeroes and ones in the bank account. We’re lucky to be saving anything at all given the harsh economic conditions many are struggling in, let alone the monthly stack we’re able to squirrel away. On several occasions over the last few months we’d talked about what – exactly – we were saving for and couldn’t really put a finger on it. We aren’t planning on having kids in the near future and we decided against the yacht and private island after the wine wore off. Again.
So what were we saving for? For saving’s sake. Because that’s what responsible adults do. For the possibility of impending disaster. Reading it on the screen and boy, that’s a fearful way to live. It’s worrying. Mike McCarthy, the Green Bay Packers head coach, had this quote after the Packer game on Sunday: “…worrying is praying for the wrong thing to happen.” This blew me away. I hadn’t ever thought of worrying in that light, and I hadn’t pictured my life as one fueled by worry. The possibility of accident.
Now I’m not railing against the act of saving. It’s generally good practice. When the tree falls on the roof during the thunderstorm, you’ll be glad you were so worrisome. But saving with no goal, especially when coupled with work you might not love, is folly. Take a minute and think about your situation. Are you saving money? What for? Can’t think of anything? Maybe it’s time for an intervention. Maybe it’s time you set some goals. Assuming that saving money isn’t what makes you deliriously happy, consider redirecting that cash flow toward something that does. For me, that’s travel.
The history of my gainfully-employed life supports this fact. Each year we look forward to planning trips and it’s on these trips that we generally damage our savings account. When I think back on the last year in a minute, it’s also the trips that shine brightest, flicker happily. Make sure you know why you’re saving your money. Have a life-altering goal at the end of the line. If your current situation is like living on bread and water 11 months of the year and then gorging on a steaming cassoulet only to regurgitate it on your host’s freshly-laundered tablecloth, stop and think. I did.
So, what are you saving your money for?
Listening to: David Gray
Drinking: Se7en Deadly Zins