Childish Irresponsibility Revisited
Though there are improvements, the economy still, to put it bluntly, sucks.
In acknowledgement of this fact, I’m rerunning a slightly altered version of an article I ran back in late 2008. While the markets have now recovered a lot of their losses, many people are still losing their jobs, and a lot of the structures within banking and real estate, while shored up, are not fixed.
There are many very understandable situations that can cause a family’s finances to go down the toilet. A bad economy brings along downsizing and company closures. Those are times when it is not your fault—it may be no one’s fault. During those times you deserve sympathy and a helping hand.
But people lose jobs even during good economic times. Cars break down and roofs need fixing. Long before this crisis, many were spending more than they were making. Yet even those who were spending within their means had not put aside anything for rainy days.
And it has always been rare to find someone who reduced their budget to the point that they could handle the occasional emergency or repair, put aside money for the next car, and still save to provide for their future retirement.
Don’t make enough to be able to save for retirement? I understand. If you are keeping your expenses low enough that you’ll be able to live off of Social Security and any pensions you’re entitled to when you retire, then I have no qualms with you. You’re doing well. It’s the others who seem to be doing well that may be in trouble.
You see, this is not an earnings-related phenomenon. I’ve met quite a few people who make six-figure incomes and save next to nothing for their future. When they get to retirement, what will they live on? They are not doing well, no matter how rich they look now.
I know that every now and then life throws you lemons. I’ve bounced off zero several times in my life. During the height of the financial crisis my personal income was cut in half. I understand what it means to do without.
Things may not be idyllic for you right now. But as you look back across the last 3, 5, or 10 years, can you say that you’ve lived responsibly? Can you say you’ve lived not just below your income, but far enough below that you can sustain yourself through your 80s and 90s regardless of the economy?
This article was published under the title "Seminar will help you plan for Saving"
in the WichitaFalls Times Record News on May 9, 2010.
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