This year is shaping up to be a great one, financially speaking.
Our income is the highest it’s ever been, and we’ve managed to put about 25% of that away into savings and investments. We’ve also nearly doubled-up on our monthly mortgage payments and so we’re on track to pay off our house in 10 to 12 years.
Related: Our Fast Track To Financial Freedom
I know we’re making sacrifices today so we can have a better tomorrow, but while we continue the long and slow march towards financial independence, sometimes I wonder if the sacrifice will be worth the payoff in the end.
“You only live once” is the rally cry of today’s youth. Why sacrifice and save for tomorrow when you can live like the Kardashians today?
The savers believe it will all catch up with the spenders eventually and they’ll be forced to work for the rest of their lives to repay the debts they’ve built up in their youth. But that’s not always the case.
It’s not always fair
I heard a story the other day about two sisters, Tina and Cindy.
Tina and her husband live mortgage-free in the same home they bought 25 years ago. They work hard, live frugally and save a portion of their income every month. They’ve put their two kids through University, but at the expense of their own retirement, which has been pushed back a few years to 60.
Related: How To Choose Your Retirement Date
Cindy and her husband are spenders. They make a decent income but they spend much more than they earn and have racked up a huge amount of debt on their credit cards and line of credit.
But when Cindy gets in over her head, she asks her dad to bail her out. Over the past 10 years, Cindy has borrowed over $50,000 from her dad. The first $10,000 paid off her credit card, but Cindy quickly maxed it out again when she decided to upgrade her kitchen.
The next $25,000 was to buy a new vehicle because their gas-guzzling truck was costing too much to drive. But instead of selling the truck, they kept it so they could pull their trailer when they go camping in the summer.
Finally, Cindy asked her dad for another $15,000 so they could pay down their line of credit. A few months later they posted pictures of their recent Caribbean vacation on Facebook.
Tina is understandably upset about how Cindy is taking advantage of their dad. Is it fair that she sacrificed and saved for decades in order to retire comfortably and set her kids up for success while her sister spends like an investment banker and continues to get bailed out?
Related: Bailing Out Your Adult Children
Why Do We Save?
Perhaps a better rallying cry should be the one coined by Paula Pant at Afford Anything – “You can afford anything, but you can’t afford everything.”
We save because we want to become financially independent, and the sooner the better. We’ll be financially independent when we’re debt free, and when the income from our investments can cover our monthly expenses.
But saving is not about deprivation. It’s not about living like paupers today so we can live like kings tomorrow. It’s about finding a balance between saving, investing, and paying off debt while still having some fun.
I can honestly say we’re not missing out on anything by saving a quarter of our income. If there’s something we really want to do, we’ll add it into our household budget or plan for it far in advance and pay for it in cash.
After all, you only live once – it shouldn’t be in constant debt, dependence or servitude.