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How Saving For Retirement Is Like Living In A Goldfish Bowl

How Saving For Retirement Is Like Living In A Goldfish Bowl

By Susan Williams

There was an interesting article the other day about how some wealthy families are not saving nearly enough for retirement.

In their desire to keep up with the Joneses, a financial planner complained that families who may be earning up to $250K a year were spending their money on nannies for longer then needed, trips and other extravagant things however not saving nearly enough for their retirement. Never mind a retirement in the lifestyle that they were currently living.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of an analogy about spending a friend once told me.

He said that our spending was similar to a goldfish growing to the size of their bowl. The bigger the bowl, the bigger the spend.

In this case, I imagine these individuals see the large bowl that they are currently swimming in (their current cash flow). However what they are failing to see is that this cash flow they are currently swimming in will actually have to support an even bigger bowl that they can’t see right now.

In some ways, it’s understandable. We’re surrounded by “live for the day” or “live each day as if it was your last” slogans.

And there is truth to this. We do need to live for the moment.

None of us know exactly how long we will be here. However, I don’t think “live and spend everything you’ve got now” is meant to be included in these sentiments.

I think this is where the balance between your current, everyday life and your future life comes in. And it really doesn’t matter how much money you make.

It takes discipline to be able to live within your means, save for your future and enjoy and cherish your life along the way.

So maybe the slogan in this case is more like “pay now or pay later”.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.