When I was a child it was drilled into me to save my money. So much so that when I was just twelve I had saved enough money from my allowance to not only buy my mother a very nice gold brooch from a local jewelry store for Christmas but to lend her money to make ends meet one month. I don’t feel comfortable without a savings account. There were a few lean years after my husband and I (pre-split of course) purchased our first house. I couldn’t afford to save as much as I wanted but I managed to put away something every week, even if it was just a dollar.
Based on the latest report on Americans attitudes toward savings, it seems I am most definitely unusual in my passion for savings. A third of Americans have no savings accounts. More than half have barely any savings. Per The Economist, most savings is done through 401K plans which, per a 2006 law, employers contribute to on behalf of employees unless explicitly instructed not to. That’s good you say and you’d be right except that, per an NBC study, since 1980 more and more people have been borrowing from those 401ks. In 2012, 1 in 4 used their 401k to fund non-retirement expenses.
I get it that it is hard to put money aside. We live in a society that encourages immediate gratification. If you have a few extra dollars left over at the end of the month, what’s more fun, to save it or to treat yourself to a new gadget? The new gadget of course! That’s the problem. There’s so much temptation out there.
We need to resist temptation because, according to the Huffington Post, 75% of Americans don’t have enough in savings to fund their retirement. People who can’t afford to retire either keep working thus depriving younger people the chance to enter the work force or they end up as wards of the state and a burden on society or, gosh forbid, their children!
Next time that new jacket, phone, camera, pair or shoes or fancy cafe tempts you – think about your kids and ask yourself if you want to be a burden on them. Perhaps that will help you resist temptation! Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned! It works for dollars as well.