Our grandparents knew the importance of saving and considered it a lifesaver in times of crisis, as well as the means by which they could eventually achieve their goals; the new generations instead are less cautious and more naive.
For generations, saving was a custom, as well as the most natural way to finance a future purchase, make a dream come true or comfortably retire without worrying about the Government's support.
Only those who had put aside money and set up an emergency reserve could sleep soundly.
But in recent decades, everything has changed; we live in a world of instant gratification and impellent consumerism.
Nowadays, people are more inclined to squander their money on futile things i.e. objects or services they don’t really need, but which provide immediate pleasure to them, and to which they have become addicted.
Whether it is a new iPhone, a pair of shoes, a handbag, a watch, a piece of furniture, a painting, whatsoever, people believe that item makes a meaningful difference in the quality of their lives producing greater happiness.
Even worse, they buy stuff when they cannot afford it, they keep taking on debts. What a tragedy!
The attitude towards saving and its value has therefore drastically changed.
People have got used to experiencing pleasure without delaying it, but this cannot work when it’s time to save money.
Saving implies sacrifice and giving up on immediate gratification to experience a far greater one in the future.
Nowadays, people have the tendency to spend all their salaries without building a reserve tank.
That’s why more and more people are becoming broke!
Why should people refrain from going on a spending spree, and put off spending their money instead? In other words, why is saving really important?
There’s not a unique answer to this question.
Everyone is different and everyone has their good reasons why saving money is worth it.
There are people who are more far-sighted and save to cope with possible serious future events (job loss, risk of non-self-sufficiency, etc).
Some people save money to cautiously deal with events that can be easily predicted (breakdown of household appliances, bills to pay, etc.).
Others save money to make an expensive purchase, for example, buy a house, or to pay for healthcare, etc.
I believe Covid-19 has taught all of us how important it is to have some money aside.
Many people have found themselves without a job overnight and because they didn’t have any savings they had big troubles; someone even took on more debts.
“The pandemic and global recession may push over 1.4% of the world’s population into extreme poverty”,
said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
The majority of people who had savings were not seriously affected, they got by and someone was able to build even more wealth.
As a matter of fact, more than five million people became millionaires across the world in 2020 despite economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gain and losses in the number of millionaires in thousands
According to Credit Suisse research, the number of millionaires increased by 5.2 million to 56.1 million globally, and the number of global millionaires could exceed 84 million in 2025, a rise of almost 28 million from 2020.
Numbers of ultra-high net worth individuals by region: 2020 and 2025
What do these statistics show us?
They prove to all of us that even in times of recession there are opportunities to improve financial standings, provided we have savings to invest, as well as skills and financial knowledge.
Therefore, we can state that without savings there is no investment, while there can still be savings without investment.
In short, only by starting to save money can people sleep soundly when a downturn comes around, or even have the opportunity to invest their savings and eventually create financial independence.
We can put it this way, the more money you save, the more you are able to control your own destiny.
At the end of the day what money brings about is freedom, freedom to choose.
If you have saved and you work in a job you hate, you can afford to quit it.
You could opt for a sabbatical and discover what you really want out of your life, before risking taking up another unfulfilling job.
If you had health issues and you needed expensive healthcare that your insurance doesn’t cover, your savings would be your lifeline.
If you had children, you could opt to send them to the best private schools and guarantee them a brighter financial future.
Do you get the point?
Money gives you options, as well as the possibility to sleep peacefully.
If you are anything like me, you have already experienced how dreadful being awake at night is due to the myriad of thoughts regarding how to pay the upcoming expenses.
How does it make you feel?
It’s painful, isn’t it?
Now, don’t get me wrong I am not stating that money can solve every problem, there are millionaires and even billionaires who are miserable.
Yet, I believe it’s better to have money than to be broke.
So, how can everyone start saving money?
Like everything in life, we must take one step at a time and be patient.
Rome was not built in a day nor will your savings.
Making a list of your spending habits is a great way to start.
Ask yourself: “Do I really need this purchase, do I really need to go to the coffee shop every day, do I really need to go out for dinner so often, do I really need to smoke cigarettes, etc...”?
If you are honest with yourself you know you could cut down on most of your expenses.
The sooner you start saving, the sooner you have options.
I am not saying that you must just save and stop enjoying the pleasure that comes from spending money on something you like.
My point is, can you at least become more cautious about how you spend your money and make sure you put aside a certain amount every month?
Remember: Time is the most precious asset, and if you're like most people, you work many hours a day, don’t you?
So, every time you are tempted to buy something you don’t really need, ask yourself: “How many hours did I have to work to be able to buy the next useless object”?
Here’s a straightforward example, let’s assume you want to buy a new car at the cost of $ 10,000 and you earn $ 20 an hour; this would mean that to have at your disposal $ 10,000 you have to trade 500 hrs of your life.
So, do you value the time you spend in order to earn your salary more or less than the money you squander?
I personally value my time way more, that’s why I stopped wasting money on things I don’t actually need and started saving it.
What about you? Are you building a money stand-by reservoir?
If you are used to wasting money, starting saving may be challenging at first, but the more you save, the easier it becomes to accumulate additional savings, that’s for sure.
It all comes down to breaking a bad habit and establishing a new productive one.
Saving money has given me the possibility to invest in my education, acquire new skills, which has allowed me to create even more wealth.
I am a great believer that we should have money working for us and not the other way around.
As the greatest investor says:
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die”. - Warren Buffett
Most people only rely on their retirement to become financially free and this means working in a job for 40 years or more.
For some of them, their pension is not even enough to live comfortably and that’s why you can see people in their seventies still obliged to show up to the workplace.
Is this what you want? Isn’t it better to start paving the way to a comfortable retirement by saving some money each month and learning how to grow it?
The sooner you start, the more time a small amount of money has to grow large through the miracle of compounding.
I want to stress the importance of giving value to the work, money, and time you need to earn your income through the following inspirational story and I hope it will make you more cautious about the way you spend your money.
THE VALUE OF MONEY, WORK, AND TIME
Once upon a time, there was a man who had been able to build a successful business after years of hard work and sacrifice.
He had a son, Mike, who was lazy and sluggish; he also used to squander money carelessly.
One day his father, being fed up with his son’s attitude to life, decided to teach him a lesson.
“From today onward I will no longer give you money.
And that’s not all, you’ll be given meals only on one condition, only if you earn something throughout the day”, said the father.
The young boy was puzzled at first, in doubtful disbelief, yet, before long, looking at his father’s expression he understood he was not joking.
Mike decided to go to his mother for pity and support.
She felt sorry for her son and so she gave him one gold coin.
That evening, when the breadwinner asked Mike how much he had earned, he promptly showed his father the gold coin.
The old man was not taken in, he knew his son had not earned anything that day.
So, he asked Mike to throw the coin into the river.
Without thinking twice, the boy got shot of the gold coin.
The following morning, the breadwinner sent his wife to do some errands, knowing that otherwise, she would have kept giving money to their son.
When Mike realized his mother was not around he decided to go to his grandfather.
“Grandpa, can you please give me some money because I want to go out with some friends, but I don’t have a penny left”, asked Mike, pleading with his grandfather.
The old man felt so pitiful for his grandson that he gave him two gold coins.
When in the evening the father asked Mike how much he had been able to earn, he showed him the two gold coins, and again, the breadwinner told the young boy to get rid of the coins.
“Throw them into the river!”, said the father.
Without hesitation, Mike did what he was told and threw the two gold coins into the river.
That same night the breadwinner went to his father explaining to him about his good intention to teach a lesson to Mike, which he would never forget.
Despite being sorry for his grandson, Mike’s grandfather knew his son was right so he stopped giving money to Mike.
Having no other choice, Mike went to the local market looking for a job.
There he met a shopkeeper and asked him: “Do you need any help? I am looking for someone who can offer me a job”!
“I need some help indeed! I am looking for a delivery man, someone who is in charge of delivering all those boxes to the neighborhood. And I am ready to pay you three silver coins a day”, the merchant replied.
They cut a deal. Mike was enthusiastic to have found something that could give him money and started moving the boxes.
By the time it was evening and he had delivered all the boxes he was knackered, soaked in sweat as he had never been in his life.
However, he felt very proud of himself; he had earned three silver coins.
Mike was so enthusiastic that he raced home to show his father his earnings for the day.
“Dad, dad, look how good I’ve been; I earned three silver coins”, Mike said to his father with a big smile of pride and satisfaction on his face.
His father, without blinking an eye, told his son for the third time to throw the coins into the river.
“Why? After all the effort I made to earn these three coins you want me to throw them away”, said Mike in a bewildered voice.
After a while, the father broke the silence and said: “It is painful when the fruit of your hard work and sacrifice is wasted, isn’t it?
You didn’t hesitate to throw away the coins you didn’t earn, for which you didn’t put in any work and time, instead, now you are torn”.
At that very moment, Mike realized both the value of hard work, time, and money.
“Thanks so much, father for waking me up”, concluded Mike.
The time and the effort we need to make a living are too precious to squander in useless spending habits.
Make your choice today, start giving the proper value to the work and time you need to earn your income, cut down on useless expenses and make sure you save a percentage of your salary each month so that you can pave the way to your financial freedom.