Six damn good reasons to save
None of which are to do with the words 'retirement' or 'future'...
Circa 1996, there is an illuminating episode of Friends that beats any money magazine in highlighting why we should all be saving money.
Monica has lost her job and her father, Mr Geller, is reassuring his wife that she will be fine unemployed. He taught her a lesson when she was young that she will not have forgotten:
"Ten percent of your paycheck, where does it go?"
To which she sheepishly and totally unconvincingly replies:
"In the Bank"
Because, she hasn't forgotten. But she has completely ignored him – she’s spent every pay check; there are no savings. She has been trying to make money from a number of ventures. And she WAS going to try her luck asking her parents for a loan.
It is fiction of course. But her character needs money, so ends up taking a job in a diner, as a waitress who also has to dance on the bar for birthday parties. In a slightly questionable outfit.
Back in the real world...
The subject of saving is never thrilling. Living for today is much more entertaining. In fact, in a survey that asked people what they thought about retirement planning, only 3 in every 100 people suggest they were excited by the prospect*.
Which is a shame. Because what you get as a result of managing your money - the outcome - is actually quite astonishing. And equally astonishing for all of us, whatever our age.
Money offers you the choice to do what you want to do. When you want to. Like...
1. Quit your job
Is your new boss someone you really can’t get on with? Been turned down for holiday when you had a great plan lined up? Dread Mondays because your to do list is as inspiring as drying paint?
Imagine how you'd feel if you knew you could just walk away…
Now. Having savings does not mean you should just start leaving jobs every time you hit a snag. However, because you CAN leave, that at least frees you up to start negotiating.
2. Take off
You've been on a fabulous holiday, you've seen the way life runs in another country/another area/another town. And you really want to try it for yourself. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't - but you know you'll regret it if you don't try.
Which is where savings can step in.
You live off them for a while, get small jobs here and there and decide if you've done the right thing. Whatever the conclusion, at least you had the chance to find out.
3. Fix the roof
Oh, the dullness of it all. You take all that time saving up cash for an emergency, and that emergency ends up being seriously unglamorous.
A new roof. Repairs on the car. Or - how much less exciting can it get - a replacement boiler!
What's the alternative? No roof? A debt on your credit card? Or worse, a stonking great loan with expensive interest payments that will take months to pay back??
Save. Pay the money. Get things fixed. Move on (without getting rain on your head).
4. Start your own business
You're NOT bored with your job. Actually, you love it. You just don't want to work for anyone else anymore. You want to go it alone.
But you know it will take some time to get set up - and, most importantly, find paying clients.
That's a fabulous, hugely compelling reason to save. To ensure you take your opportunities in life. A great example of what the pursuit of financial independence is all about.
5. Go back to school
It is becoming very rare that any of us start a job out of school and stick with it . I’m Generation X and even I’ve had 15 different ones. Nowadays, we might even change career.
Which generally also means learning something new.
Or perhaps it's more personal. Perhaps you didn't get the exam you wanted by 21. But, though you are aware the world will turn perfectly well without it, you'd like to go back anyway. Give it another go.
So, whether it’s teaching, nursing, journalism, technology, fitness, yoga or a degree in psychology... You can experience the feeling that only fulfilling a passion can bring.
6. Retire – and enjoy it
Yes, the future has to appear here somewhere. But don’t let a fear of grey hair put you off – there will be a great deal of life left in you after retirement.
In fact, retirement might not even be retirement in the traditional sense. But you still want choices. You might want to phase into it slowly. You might want to keep a full time job. But without the same deadlines and/or boss to answer to.
That career break, world travel, new business idea? If you haven’t managed any of them by retirement, then retirement is the time. And the savings pot you started, all those years ago but didn't touch? It’s all there, waiting to help make your dream possible.
*Source: Nottingham University, Financial Services Research Forum, published February 2012;