How many of you out there spend with your hearts and not your brains? Think about it, are you all about experiencing things now and then figuring out how to pay for it later, or are you a planner who makes sure the money is there with enough left over for bills and life before spending?
CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison company has done a survey of over 1,100 people and found that 41% of them had less than $500 in their savings account. YOLO (you only live once) right? Yet why does this statistic not surprise me? People will blame every aspect of life but their careless spending in order to not feel foolish about being one of those 41%.
I personally know that part of the problem with this statistic is that the people with no savings, investments, and nest eggs are able to live this way because there’s always a safety net. If it isn’t your brother who works 3 jobs then it’s your dad, if it isn’t your dad then you can call your wealthy uncle. Even people with no family connections tend to have friends who are penny pinchers with big hearts and if that doesn’t come through then there is always Uncle Sam.
We always blame financial education for people’s carelessness with money but shouldn’t 20+ years in the world teach an adult something about keeping something stored in case of emergencies? Suze Orman suggests 6 months worth of salary—this may have changed over the years. $500 though… really?
Remember this story from childhood:
There was a squirrel and a chipmunk who were pals. Every day the chipmunk would play, eat acorns and live carefree—the squirrel would be working, storing nuts away in his home, spending a lot less time playing. The chipmunk would continuously urge the squirrel to stop storing and come out and play with him but the squirrel kept at it.
One day the chipmunk went outside and there was snow everywhere, he found himself hungry and would have to scrounge for hours to find food while the squirrel who had prepared for the winter was warm, fed, and comfortable.
This is a children’s story yet so many of us don’t follow its principles. To the people who live fast and reckless the chipmunk is seen as “fun” and the squirrel is a “bore” but the chipmunk is always having to lean on the squirrel for help when the playtime is over and life comes knocking. We need to be more responsible adults if we are to be self-sufficient.
People as a whole are spoiled and get bailed out of disasters too easy for things to change. Fun is for people with little to no responsibilities yet I see people with children, families and debt playing life like the chipmunk. The squirrels in life are given nasty nicknames like: miser, cheap, tight, boring, greedy… I can go on. But when times get hard the squirrel is known as “savior” and “friend”.
If you find yourself being one of those with a high paying job but less than $500 in savings then it is time to reassess your life and become more of a squirrel. There are so many avenues of free information to do better with your finances that nothing outside of real debt—sick family member, several kids—can be a valid excuse not to take it.
Sites from people like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey are a good start to get your life back in order if YOLO is keeping you from having money in the bank. 41% are living life dangerously and if you are employed and able to pay for concerts, video games, clubs and more then you should have a lot more than $500 in your savings account.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.