A few weeks ago, I shared a truly delightful and extravagant meal with Stephanie, my wife.
We started off with a delicious goat cheese spread over sourdough baguette. Next, we cleansed our palate with a refreshing dijon vinaigrette salad. For our main course, we enjoyed a mouth-watering panko-crusted chicken with a side of mixed vegetables. We both paired our meal with a glass of Chardonnay. And for dessert, we indulged in a rare treat: two slices of the most perfect apple pie you can imagine!
Then…our bill came. And we were shocked.
Imagine you just arrived at a beautiful estate for a holiday party hosted by your friend Yvette, a neurosurgeon at a nearby hospital.
As you park and walk up towards the house, you spot two gorgeous cars, a Mercedes and a Ferrari, parked on the driveway. You remember these are two of Yvette’s several luxury cars. Yvette warmly greets you at the front door. As you walk in, your eye first catches a crystal chandelier hanging above a large and ornate entry hall. The rest of the house is equally lavish, as is the party you attend. You have a great time and as you leave the party that night you think to yourself - wow, Yvette is really living the good life!
In 2016 and 2017, something truly alarming happened. And almost nobody noticed. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we Americans halved our average savings rate, from an already low 6% to an extremely low 3% of take-home pay (source).
Why does this matter? And what should your savings rate be? Let’s discuss!
A few years ago, I had an encounter which forever changed my perspective on why so many of us struggle financially.
I had just come back from a trip to Las Vegas and was buying some groceries. As the person working the cash register scanned my items, we started chatting:
Him: How was your spring break?
Me: It was great! Went to Las Vegas with some friends.
Him: Awesome! Did you do some gambling?
Me (smiling): Yep, we did.
Him: Nice, did you lose all your money at the tables?
Me: I lost $50, that was my limit
Him: Well, that’s ok, money comes, money goes, you’ve got to spend it while you’ve got it!
I collected my bag, thanked him, and started walking out, when it hit me. “Money comes, money goes, you’ve got to spend it while you’ve got it.” It was...wrong. And yet, it’s the approach many of us take with money.