What's your Excuse for not Saving Money?

“I can’t afford to save money.”

Everyone seems to have an excuse these days for not saving any money and most are based on this argument of “I can’t afford to save”.  Americans can afford luxury cars, designer clothes, shoes & handbags, exotic vacations, dinners out, booze, cigarettes and $4 cups of coffee, but they just can’t afford to save any money.

The truth is that saving isn’t a priority for most Americans and that’s unfortunate.  Because saving money is the surest and most reliable way for building wealth and changing your future.  It’s one of the few things people have some control over and yet, they act as though they are helpless.  Money isn’t kryptonite.  You should have power over your money and not the other way around.

“I’m Going to Win the Lottery.”

This morning, I went surfing with a childhood friend of mine.  We were out in the water talking about our lives, when he mentioned that he often bought lottery tickets and dreamed of winning one day.  I gave him a hard time and told him that he was more likely to die in a car wreck driving to buy the tickets, then he was to win the lottery.  On a more supportive note, I told him that it is much easier to save up a million dollars then it is to win the lottery.  I could tell from the look on his face that he thought I was the one who was dreaming.  The concept of saving a million dollars is way beyond most people’s imagination.  But, it’s actually very easy, once you are committed.

Some people get lucky and they actually win the lottery.  And, it has been well documented these people are rarely happy after winning.  The dream is usually much nicer then the reality.  Not only are they unprepared for dealing with the sudden wealth, but it brings a host of new problems.  By accumulating wealth over time, savers are much happier with their lives and more comfortable managing their wealth.

“My Finances are Outside of my Control.”

Last weekend, another childhood friend of mine called to say that he wanted to come and visit me.  But, he couldn’t tell me when he could make it, because he wasn’t sure of his finances.  In almost the same breath, he wanted to tell me all about the new truck he had just bought.  So, he has a shiny new truck, with a $628 payment, but he can’t afford the gas to drive to the beach.  Normally, I’m not judgmental of others or their finances, but my friend is 43 years old and he still lives with his parents.  For over 20 years, he has been telling me that he is thinking of moving out, but he’s not sure that he can afford it.

Now, this is a pretty extreme example.  But we are all guilty of this to some extent.  We can always find a way to afford the things we want, like a new truck or a nice dinner out.  But, we make excuses when it comes to affording the things we need, like gasoline or a retirement account.  Until people take control of their finances, they are living on the good graces and whims of others.  And, they are limiting their future choices, much like my friend.

Saving a Million Dollars

It’s easy to save a million dollars.
(Credit to Marshall Brain)

  • Save $5 per day in an IRA or a 401K plan.
  • Earn an average 10% annual return.
  • You will be a millionaire, in 42 years.

For the cost of lottery tickets, cigarettes or a daily cappuccino with tip, you can become a millionaire.  It really is that easy and much more likely then wining the lottery.  Although 42 years is a long time, that 42 years will pass whether you decide to save or not.  Will you be wealthy in 42 years or will you be poor?  It’s completely up to you.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that almost anyone can afford to save at almost any level of income.  Yes, there are some Americans with dire financial circumstances, but they are few and far between.  Most Americans have created their own financial circumstances and they will continue to struggle, until they accept the consequences of their actions.  Dreams won’t pay the bills, just as excuses won’t make you wealthy.

If you ever want to have a sound financial future, you must begin to save money right now and continue to save throughout your earning years.  Start the habit of saving and the future will belong to you.  If you fail to save, someone else will decide your future.

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