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Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:19 am
by gofigure
I'm speaking for myself but (because in the past sometimes she would complain about our saving) I think DW feels the same about this, and that's that living below my/our means has always been to a large extent about fear.....the fear of losing what we acquired, losing the things we financed, fear of things getting beyond our control. We've accumualted significant wealth over the years but when I consider the hows and whys, fear is still the primary motivator.

So I don't consider our saving virtuous or so much an act of self dicipline as I do an act of preservation.

Your thoughts?

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:06 am
by JPH
I save to hopefully secure some degree of future financial security, independence, and freedom.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:07 am
by bighatnocattle41
yes, it was fear that initially prompted my husband and i to save 15-20 % of our income. I remember him telling me back in the dotcom meltdown that he might be axed by his employer so we decided to save save and save to the point that it became a norm to do it. the axe never did come but we continued to save as we realized we need to learn to live with one income in case one of us loses his/her job. the strategy worked, as now we realized how our net worth have exponentially grown over the years. we are fortunate and very thankful for this. to this day, we continue to invest and live below our means. life is good.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:16 am
by Toons
So that I may have some "gold" for my golden years :D :D

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:18 am
by RadAudit
I started to save when I figured out it was my job to put food on the table for as long as my wife decided to hang around - and that included retirement when projected income from SS was a lot smaller.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:26 am
by TRC
Delayed consumption. We want to retire early and not have to worry at all about money.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:37 am
by edge
At this point I save because I can't actually spend it all. Earlier in my career it was motivated by fear.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:57 am
by lws6772
:wink: Because I haven't forgotten what it was like to be poor.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:04 am
by reggiesimpson
The ability to forego todays pleasures for tomorrows promise is one of the few hallmarks of the successful. Dont stop doing what you are doing because the fear will slowly abate and joy will replace it.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:11 am
by bob90245
gofigure wrote:... but when I consider the hows and whys, fear is still the primary motivator.
Same with me. In my case,fear of losing my job has motivated me to accumulate enough so that earning an income would not be out of necessity but out of intellectual/social stimulation.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:14 am
by Boglenaut
JPH wrote:I save to hopefully secure some degree of future financial security, independence, and freedom.
This is my primary motive by far. Secondary is someday to leave it to the kids.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:15 am
by heyyou
Delayed Gratification:

By age 25, I could see that I only needed to work until I could afford to not work. Note that there is not an age requirement. I could rephrase that as my workweeks were often too long and my weekends were always too short.

Surprisingly, these retirement years (age 55 to 62) have been the best years of my life, so far. I was satisfied with my working life, but my retirement has been joyful.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:17 am
by nisiprius
You say that is if fear were a bad thing. :)

Sure, fear, if you like. I could put a positive spin on it by calling it "forethought" or "prudence" but "fear" will do. I work because I fear being homeless. (Shrug) I breathe because I fear suffocation.

The ant and the grasshopper.

Fear can be excessive. Optimism and living in the present can be excessive. I was very much taken with Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:18 am
by sschullo
Like so many things in life some important experiences are not planned. My parents were a good role models since they didn't have money to spend, I didn't get into the spending habit as a youngster. As an adult, I barely made above minimum wage for years, most of my 20s and early 30s. Believe it or not, I saved because I didn't have money to buy any extras. I valued being independent, never asked for money from anybody and lived within my means. When I did make more money in my late 30s and on, I continued saving and learned investing in my late 40s and 50s. Because I never had spending money to purchase fast cars and boats and the like, I saved. After I have saved several hundred thousand, I thought this was cool. I never missed the boats and cars, still don't (There is something to the old saying about not missing something you never had in the first place). I never equated money with nice clothes, image, status and shiny things with self worth. That makes it very easy to save.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:27 am
by Littlefinger
To me it's all about control. Being able to control my future decisions and not have them controlled for me by a need for a certain income stream from a particular source.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:27 am
by Atilla
Because I want options in life.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:36 am
by SomeGuy
I like spending money, or more accurately, I think the things I can buy with money. One of my main financial goals is to maximize the amount of money that I get to spend on goods and services during my lifetime. I combine that with a desire to spread out that spending throughout my life and to avoid or minimize painful reductions in expenditures. Saving and investing allow me to increase the amount of money that I get to spend. Having savings allows me to dip into them when my earnings drop.

I am trying to strike a balance. Most people I know overspend in the present, which means that they forgo investment returns and pay interest instead. This significantly cuts the amount of money they get to spend on goods and services during their lifetime. On the other hand, I know a few people that have lived extremely frugal lives and accumulated large amounts of money that they will never spend. I want to be somewhere in the middle.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:37 am
by Boglemama
reggiesimpson wrote:The ability to forego todays pleasures for tomorrows promise is one of the few hallmarks of the successful. Dont stop doing what you are doing because the fear will slowly abate and joy will replace it.
Awesome quote!

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:41 am
by reggiesimpson
Thanks Boglemama...............i am certain a much wiser person said this a long time ago. I only discovered the concept after i had lived it.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:47 am
by Rob5TCP
Before the Bogleheads, I had a financial mentor who advised similarly. I also lived below my means. Because I am in my own business, I also needed a cushion in case, I went bankrupt or had a super bad year. After 9/11, after the immediate shocks, work had to begin again. It was almost a year before business returned to normal. My business survived because I had a large cash cushion and a much larger retirement account (just in case).

I have since replaced the cash cushion (which took a little hit in a VERY slow 2011) and the retirement account is on target for 5-10 years down the road.

I don't miss some of the "sacrifices" I made. I eat at top restaurants during the 4-10 week periods know as restaurant week. $24 lunches instead of $50-$60 and $35 dinners instead of $60-$100. Eating out at good restaurants, as well as tech toys are my two indulgences. I indulge both, as well as some travel, but in a "Bogelhead way".

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:48 am
by momar
1) It's how I was raised
2) My ultimate goal is financial independence and a reduced work week/second career
3) Knowing that most of the stuff I could spend money on doesn't bring happiness
4) Fear

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:57 am
by kingsnake
I save because as get older I want to work less and enjoy more hobbies (biking, travel, reading, etc.)
Also at my current age Im able to endure a heavier work load. I also anticipate salary cuts in the future given the state of medicine in the US.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:00 pm
by Kenkat
I save because I want to have the option of making financial problems go away by writing a check. The more I save, the bigger problems I can make go away.

Unexpected medical bill or home expense? Write a check.

Lost your job? Write a check.

Unable to work anymore due to disability or just too damn old? Write a check.

As others have said, money means options and options are good.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:10 pm
by yobria
Because my marginal utility of spending is low.
Because the only certainty about the future is that it will be expensive.
Because I enjoy it - life is a game, and my net worth is the score.

Nick

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:12 pm
by camper
We save because we would like to retire someday and not have to worry so much about money. Both of us see how the majority of our older family members become burdens financially to their children as they grow old. Luckily our parents have done it right and planned accordingly. They have taught us to do the same for our children.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:17 pm
by Grt2bOutdoors
If you have it, you are able to make the choice to consume or not.
If you don't have it, you are slave to those who do have it.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:27 pm
by Fallible
gofigure wrote:I'm speaking for myself but (because in the past sometimes she would complain about our saving) I think DW feels the same about this, and that's that living below my/our means has always been to a large extent about fear.....the fear of losing what we acquired, losing the things we financed, fear of things getting beyond our control. We've accumualted significant wealth over the years but when I consider the hows and whys, fear is still the primary motivator.

So I don't consider our saving virtuous or so much an act of self dicipline as I do an act of preservation.

Your thoughts?
If you're concerned about why you saved to help accumulate your significant wealth, would you feel better if you had saved less and had less wealth? As for fear and self-preservation motivating your saving, welcome to the club! :)

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:40 pm
by lawman3966
Given my boglehead-ish mindset, answering the question is easy. Understanding how anyone could NOT save is the hard part.

I save because when working in a volatile industry in the private sector, that has no pensions or retiree health care, savings are what stand between me and the nearby homeless shelter. The magnitude of my savings will determine how far above the livings standards of the shelter I get to enjoy. But not having any savings was never an option. I literally wouldn't get to sleep at night if I had minimal or no savings.

Aside from people with "protected" employment, be it public sector work, or union protection of one sort or another, the act of not saving is a risky one. I know of many people in IT, Telecom and other industries who find themselves in some difficulty in their early fifties. Savings is one way to bridge the gap until they become eligible for Social Security.

For the more affluent, today's savings may be buy a sailboat or an exotic cruise ten or twenty years from now. However, for most, today's savings are for tomorrow's basic expenses.

As stated, my answer to the OP's question is easy to arrive at. My question on this topic, however, would be:
"How could anyone in his or her right mind, not aggressively save money so as to protect against financial catastrophe later on?"

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:51 pm
by VictoriaF
"Save" has two meanings:
1. The difference between income and spending.
2. The effort to get a low price or do without various goods and services.

With respect to item-1, I save because my income exceeds my spending.

With respect to item-2, I save on some things and not others based on my competences and preferences. For example, I don't save money on food; I buy organic produce and other high quality food items that are available within a short driving distance. I do save money on travel by staying in youth hostels and no-star hotels and using public transportation wherever possible; but I do not save money by trying to avoid travel. Likewise, I am not interested in saving money by buying a cheaper home and fixing it; but I also don't spend money on domestic help.

Victoria

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:56 pm
by staythecourse
The answer for everyone in someway is to delay gratification now for later. Same as saving that extra piece of pizza for tomorrow when you are likely to be more hungry then you are currently.

Good luck.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:09 pm
by guitarguy
reggiesimpson wrote:The ability to forego todays pleasures for tomorrows promise is one of the few hallmarks of the successful. Dont stop doing what you are doing because the fear will slowly abate and joy will replace it.
Well said! :sharebeer

One reason we save, and why I (in particular) am so conscious with finances is because of what I've been through in my life. My father passed away when I was 11 and my brothers were 8 and 5, and my mother worked her butt off to raise us on her own. We didn't get the benefit of help paying for college or help buying our first car or the luxury of going on extravagant family vacations. We always had food on the table and had presents for Christmas every year, but unexpected expenses, especially the "bigger ones" stressed my mother out so much that even as a child I remember noticing it.

I hope someday I can give my kids some of these things I never had, and to be able to do that and take other unexpected things in stride without having to stress over it too much. Knowing we're as prepared as we can be for the future is a big stress reliever.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:55 pm
by reggiesimpson
guitarguy......you were fortunate in that you recognized the "fear" of poverty when you were young (as many of us have). And while we want to do the best for our children the unfortunate dichotomy is that in doing so we may actually be doing them a disservice. Save? "Why should we Dad"? Nobody said parenting was easy.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:01 pm
by HongKonger
Because I don't have a pension, I'm single, and there's no inheritance coming to me.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:14 pm
by sscritic
I don't know why, but I don't like spending money. I had a comfortable middle class childhood so I can't claim the early deprivation lead to my condition. I don't think it is fear, although there may be a little of that. So what I do can't really be called saving; what I do is not spend. After I "not spend" I have to put the money somewhere.

Some examples: the suede shearling coat I didn't buy in Paris when I was 20; the BMW I didn't buy when the bishop totaled my old car (see another thread for more details); more recently, when I go to my local Japanese market, 90% of what I buy is what is on sale. I buy the tofu that is on sale that week, the lettuce that is on sale that week, the snacks that are on sale that week. I don't buy meat, not because I want to be healthy, but because it is expensive; I save my meat buying for restaurants (see below). I usually bake my own bread, but I will buy the expired 50% off bread in the store when it is available. I do spend too much on my apartment because I insist on (faux) granite countertops, and I only eat out at upscale restaurants, but always with my children, never for myself - otherwise I eat at home or get the $2.50 trompa (pig's snout) taco (it's really two, with four small corn tortillas and enough snout to fill all four) at the local "Market." My other splurge is an annual pass to Disneyland (again for the grandkids) and meals at the Plaza Inn and Cafe Orleans (the latter for the Monte Cristo sandwich and the mouse shaped beignets).

So it's really about not spending, with occasional splurges that prove the rule, rather than saving per se.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:18 pm
by wander
Peniaphobia!

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:23 pm
by hicabob
wander wrote:Peniaphobia!

+1 - nice word! "(fear of poverty for those who are as vocabulary challenged as me)

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:27 pm
by reggiesimpson
phew..........i thought it was 'fear of the penis"

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:31 pm
by epilnk
gofigure wrote:I'm speaking for myself but (because in the past sometimes she would complain about our saving) I think DW feels the same about this, and that's that living below my/our means has always been to a large extent about fear.....the fear of losing what we acquired, losing the things we financed, fear of things getting beyond our control. We've accumualted significant wealth over the years but when I consider the hows and whys, fear is still the primary motivator.

So I don't consider our saving virtuous or so much an act of self dicipline as I do an act of preservation.

Your thoughts?
Yep, that's about right. It's fear and security.

Now that we've saved enough to take care of the fear, we've begun to spend a little more freely. Of course we're still adding to the nest egg and can't imagine drawing from it as long as we still have an income; we've gone from living far below our means to living below our means. Because after you pass a certain threshold the marginal utility changes. And two of the four members of my family have serious health risks with uncertain futures. So the future we've been saving for is here now. A dollar spent traveling with my children today is probably worth more to me than two dollars spent after they're grown.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:39 pm
by staythecourse
reggiesimpson wrote:phew..........i thought it was 'fear of the penis"
That is funny that was what I thought it had to do with as well. Well fear of poverty is a lot better then fear of my penis. :D

Good luck.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:12 pm
by stoptothink
I do without so that my loves ones never will have to. I grew up dirt poor, the oldest of 5 children to a single mom, and I have never forgotten how it feels to live with relatives or get your food from food banks. It killed my mother(and still does to this day) that things like Christmas and birthdays were just not possible. She wasn't able to help me pay for college or for my first a car, now I am able to help my little sisters out with those things that I struggled alone to acquire. My future family will never have to struggle because I was willing to.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:15 pm
by FireProof
To be able to stop working.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:20 pm
by rob
lws6772 wrote::wink: Because I haven't forgotten what it was like to be poor.
This for us mostly as well.... but savings buy flexibility at some points in your life.... My spouse has not worked for a number of years - aim been we wanted her to stay at home while the kids are young. Savings made something like that possible (plus a shed load of luck).

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:31 pm
by Peter Foley
1. Because that was how I was raised (by two parents who suffered through the depression when they were young adults).
2. To provide a jump start for my kids (a debt free college education). I was fortunate enough to have a great uncle who believed in education and who left a good portion of his wealth in a trust for the education of his 13 great nieces and nephews. My children's grandparents all believed in post secondary education and help provide that boost for my kids. I will do the same for my grandchildren.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:06 pm
by Mudpuppy
staythecourse wrote:The answer for everyone in someway is to delay gratification now for later. Same as saving that extra piece of pizza for tomorrow when you are likely to be more hungry then you are currently.
I'll disagree with that on the following point: Some people save because they don't need more things now, not because they want to buy something later.

I have a house that is comfortably furnished, my electronics are still up to their appointed tasks, my car still runs and gets good fuel economy... I have no need to purchase more material things because I already have the material things that I need. I don't buy new things because they are new or in fashion. I buy something because it is needed (e.g. replacing a worn out old item, maintaining an old item, or something new that would be quite helpful). With this outlook on life, what is one to do with any pay raises in excess of inflation but save more or donate more to charity.

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:23 pm
by fisher_man89
I have more than I need. The opposite (debt) I see as moderately immoral.

Fear seems to be based on (future) discontentment, whereas having more than enough sees blessings in the present, without making assumptions about the future.

Wealth does not alleviate fear or provide security, as illustrated in this parable:
“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

Re: Why Do You Save?

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:25 pm
by gofigure
Last summer while sitting on the back of his flatbed trailer after a long day of helping me to install a new water line to the house, my neighbor, an eighty something YO former logger and potato farmer and I were chatting about stuff. He told me about an injury he sustained while cutting trees in the Maine forrest some decades prior. He described a scene where a tree that was cut got hung up amoung a group of standing trees and while attempting to free it, the tree fell and crushed him, breaking his neck. He told me that despite the doctors recommendations he returned to work after about a month and continued to manage the harvest and his crew of loggers. He told me about the conversation he had with his doctor after his injury and how he explained to him that not continuing his contract with the lumber mill would mean his losing his home and everything he worked for up until then. It was quite a story.