I read this article today stating that half of Americans nearing retirement (ages 55-66) have no retirement savings. I have heard these sorts of things before. Each time I hear about people not saving, I have the following reactions:
- Gratitude, that I “got the bug” and started saving and investing (about eight years ago now).
- Sadness, for those who are not saving.
- Confusion and Frustration, about why people don’t save more?
- Recognition, that everyone is on their own path, and there are as many ways to live as there are people. My way is just right for me.
Personally, when I started to save and invest, I was thrilled. I felt empowered and excited. I assumed everyone would feel this way, too. Who wouldn’t want to save and build a nest egg? In my experience, however, telling others to start saving does not work (surprise, surprise). At least, it didn’t work on the people I tried to “convert” to become savers. Unsolicited advice was as unwanted as it was unused.
Despite my strong feelings, gradually I have developed more understanding and compassion for people being wherever they are on this subject. Happiness and success come in many stripes. There are, and have been, many amazing and wonderful people who were not good savers 🙂 (ya think?)
Nonetheless, I personally believe that sound money management (including saving and investing) should be, say, in the top 5 priorities for adults who want to be happy.
What I Personally Believe are Top 5 Priorities for Happy Adults:
- Healthy relationships (including romanic relationships, family, and close friends)
- Healthy body (including diet, exercise, self image)
- Satisfying work/career
- Good personal money management (including savings, investing, debt management, and spending)
- Satisfying extra-curricular life (including socializing, recreational activities, hobbies, spirituality, personal growth
To me, adults who ignore their money picture, or who live solely a month-to-month financial existence, jeopardize their long term happiness. In most cases, people who want to take care of their finances could probably figure out how. But I can’t make anyone believe this or do it. I remind myself of these things:
Everyone is in a different place
Vive la difference!
As for me, I think I’ll keep saving.