Why I Was Bad At Saving
I've worked in several industries and held different positions having to do with sales, customer service, management, training, and now personal finance. And while I'm 35 years old and still have a ways to go in my career, I've come to know two truths in life.
#1: People will believe what they want to believe regardless of facts & circumstances.
#2: People will do what they want to do regardless of reasoning.
So what does this have to do with personal finance, let alone why I was horrible at saving? These two truths are things that people face daily in any kind of decision-making and they're derived from one simple question.
What do you value?
Ten years ago I returned to school full-time to finish my bachelor's degree in finance. I held a full-time job and made decent money for the stage in my life and the area I was located in. In fact, I made enough to have an emergency fund, fund my retirement plan to a degree, and even start saving for a home! I was 25 years old so you would think, this is a no-brainer, right? Life was not that simple.
While conventional wisdom would say, "Your an idiot for getting into debt, not saving enough money, etc...," I didn't value those things. I valued friendships, finding myself, education, and doing things that a college student would do. I had entered a stage in life that traditionally people go through at an earlier age because life happened. And we all know that when life happens, all we can do is adjust.
That's not to say I'm a terrible saver now. I'm married, looking to buying my first home, and value security more than before so of course I'm a better saver. So what changed? My value for security. As something becomes more valuable to you, it becomes a priority.
I've met many people this past year that tell me "I'm so bad at ...," "I know I should start but...," or "I can't do it right now because..." Heck, I've even had some people shy away from talking to me for fear of being judged! The financial services industry has trained our brains to think that at a certain age you should have $XX.XX amount of dollars in your account because if you don't, you're in trouble.
And while I believe there is a high level of prudence involved in saving for a rainy day, the future, or whatever line you hear, there has to also be a balance between money and life. So if you are not where you want to be financially, remember that money is a tool and when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
MyLife Financial is a fee-only financial advisory firm providing objective and independent advice virtually. Our clients are busy professionals that face daunting questions of how today's financial decisions will affect their long-term financial success. Everything written is strictly for informational use only. Please seek the advice of your CPA, Attorney, or financial professional before implementing any strategies.
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