Have you ever seen one of those fancy RVs with the bumper sticker that reads: I'm spending my children's inheritance? Most of us probably do not have the Rockefeller kind of wealth to leave to our heirs and we probably haven't lived on an inheritance that anyone left to us. You and I for the most part have worked hard to sometimes barely get by or at least live pretty comfortable lives. From a young age we have heard the admonishments to save and invest our money--save for college, save for marriage, save for retirement. These are certainly good bits of advice, but to what extent should we make sacrifices in the now to save for the uncertain future? Here is today's question for consideration:
Is taking advantage of present opportunities more important than saving for an unknown future?
Saving and investing took a hit in recent years as many with 401Ks and other retirement and investment accounts saw their values plummet. Many retired senior citizens found themselves having to return to the work force because they no longer had the funds they had counted on to keep them in their accustomed life styles. Others on the cusp of retirement were forced to remain in the work force to compensate for lost savings. Some even suffered health problems arising from stress or even committed suicide. The financial crisis that has been sweeping the world has had a devastating effect on the savings that people had put away.
Perhaps our values have been misplaced. Perhaps our children don't really have to have the education from the more expensive college or we don't really need to have more house than we can realistically afford. Most of us would probably agree that going into excessive debt is not a sound financial plan, but could it be that setting savings goals that do not conform with our present budget might be equally ludicrous--especially when we look at the uncertainty of conditions in our world.
I'm not advocating hiding money in a mattress or just frivolously frittering away our finances. I'm suggesting judicial spending with some allowance for fun, fancies, and philanthropy. Don't deprive yourselves of enjoying life now because you have to save for a future that may or may not exist. Aren't we somewhat presumptuous to be counting on having something we don't have yet? Sure saving for something may allow you to have something in the future that you don't have now, but then again it might not. The only thing we ever know that we have for sure is the present, and the future is really a big maybe or maybe not.
Sure, it's a good thing to have some savings set aside for our retirement in our current societal form. Many years ago people often didn't live as long as they do now and families often lived together and took care of the older members. Our thinking about families has changed to a great extent. We rely more on government care through the programs like medicare and social security. The alienation of familial interdependence has been supplanted by government care and the private resources of how much one has saved. Is our modern society sacrificing something very important?
The Bible teaches us not to worry about money and needs, and not to store up treasures on earth but to lay up treasures in Heaven. Now whether or not you accept Christian beliefs, if you really dwell upon this concept you might see the practicality of it. Number one--worry will make you sick, sad, and uncomfortable. You should do what you need to do to take care of yourself and do your best to take care of others. The second point is what I have been saying--treasures here on earth are temporal and subject to loss. If we disregard the religious aspect of the statement, we can see that intangible treasures could also be memories, traditions, and relationships. My suggestion is that one be realistic with the money and possessions that one has, but don't depend totally upon them to the exclusion of enjoying life.
From the standpoint of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, what we have been doing is time consuming, but I have seen it as a sort of investment. At the outset, some bloggers stated that they would like to do it but they didn't have the time. I suppose any of us could have made this excuse. My question would be why do you blog? What is the purpose of blogging? For many of us we are trying to establish a "platform" as they say. I was already blogging every day so the A to Z Challenge did not really take up that much extra time in the mere act of posting articles. Commenting did. It was an investment to me, but how about you? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section of this post or if you wish this might be part of what you would like to talk about in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post.