Here’s another post pulled from drafts. Don’t you hate it when you leave notes to yourself assuming you’re going to know what you’re talking about and then months pass and you’re like, you know, you could have just left a link.
This post was initially inspired by a number of other posts happening around the same time period.
The SHUbox had a post, ClubThrifty had a post, and retireby40 had a post, and I really should find them and link to them. We will see if I am successful. Spoiler: I wasn’t.
In any case, my commentary:
Saving for early retirement if you don’t want to retire early and are unlikely to need to retire early is ridiculous. If you’re worried about being unable to work, then get disability insurance. Still, worry about job loss because of age discrimination, working in a failing industry, or being forced into management (and thus wanting to quit) is a bit harder, and is a valid reason to save for at least partial early retirement– enough to fund a career change.
The fact that there are early retirement posts about how to handle (early) retirement if you’re not enjoying it and how to emotionally prepare for not going to a job so you’re not unhappy suggests not that there’s something wrong with people in that situation, but that perhaps early retirement was not the right option for them. One suspects that rather than trying to come up with ways to make retirement less soul destroying, it might be easier to just stay in one’s job. (A related recent post from Leightpf.)
But early retirement is not the only reason to save. I really liked Rosa’s comment on this post (here I did myself the favor and actually linked).
we asked people who did save to write down why.. Most people gave the same set of answers – for unexpected expenses, for my kids, for retirement.
A number of people were unable to answer because the idea of not having savings horrified them. Why save? Why breathe?
But one woman gave the very best answer. “For myself.” That’s all. You might not know what your future self will want to do with the money, but the money will be there for whatever it turns out to be.
We save so our future selves aren’t in dire straights in an emergency. So we have time to focus the time after a job loss on finding a good job rather than the first job that will pay a paycheck. So that we can quit a miserable work situation without having another lined up. So that we can focus on a medical emergency and not the cost of said emergency. So that a car crash doesn’t make us unable to get to work because we can’t afford alternate routes. Or a slow reimbursement or delayed paycheck doesn’t max out our credit cards pushing us into forced credit counseling or bankruptcy. Or to get into the fancy nursing home.
We save for opportunity. So we can take a year off or invest in something or someone important to us without hurting our future selves.
It’s ok to find the early retirement community demotivating. It’s even ok to find paying off student loans unmotivating.
You don’t actually have to be motivated to save, you just need to save first, and enough that you will be living a reasonable lifestyle in the event of an emergency or job-loss. Auto-deductions can help you take care of your future self. So that way your future self will have money when you need it, and maybe even some when you really really want it.
Do you save? Why or why not?