No Excuse Not To Save

Search any finance site and you’re bound to find an article on retirement savings and the importance of starting early. It’s not exactly earth-shattering news, but I read them anyway out of morbid curiosity about the comments. Today’s entertainment (and disappointment) came from a recent Yahoo! Finance story about retirement mistakes to avoid:

  • Not Starting Early
  • Not having a Roth IRA
  • Raiding your retirement account
  • Cashing out your 401(k)

Good advice, but with any article I see on savings, there’s always some comment about how hard it is or “easy for you to say” from someone claiming difficult life circumstances or just flat out hatred for banks or Wall Street. Here are some of the comments from this story (typos and all):

  • Just making financial institutions,FATTER!
  • With rent in Toronto what it is, your dollar earned at Starbucks can only carry you so far. Share your dwelling with 14 other millenials, and you MIGHT have something to spend on your retirement day.
  • DO NOT believe any of these financial advisor’s #$%$. Yes, they have good advice but it doesn’t apply to most of us.
  • Likely the biggest mistake is thinking you’ll be able to retire.
  • Kinda hard to give a damn about retirement when you’re just trying to keep the lights on another week.
  • Unrealistic for the vast majority of young people to start saving at age 25. More like 35 once they establish a career. Every time I read an article that says start saving at 25 I know they are out of touch.

It’s sad that there are so many people who don’t get it. The point of starting early is to benefit from compounding interest. You can actually save less and have more at retirement if you start early. See the example from Chapter 6 of Basic Personal Finance.

The key is being disciplined with your spending. Create a budget to identify frivolous spending and get it under control. Here’s an example from the comments that I wished I had used in the book: “Don’t spend more on coffee every day than you save for retirement every month.”

If you can’t afford to save 10% of your income, you’re living beyond your means. Rather than making excuses for why you can’t save, use your energy thinking of ways that you can save.

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