Thursday, December 1, 2011

Progress - Depends on Your Point of View

I think, over the last five years, we have done a super, duper job with our finances. 

We, in year one of our marriage (2007), paid off all our unsecured debt ($55,000+), created an annual spending plan, began tracking our expenses and developed our allowance system. 

In the last couple of years, we have saved quite a bit of money.  Last year we saved $49,500 and this year we have saved $54,400 (thus far).  I'll have to look back and see what we saved in 2008 and 2009 as I don't have the data available right this minute. 

We feel like we are doing great, we are maxing out our retirement funds and also saving other monies, we are not incurring debt, we are paying down mortgage debt and we are saving monies in our emergency fund and elsewhere. 

According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey, 53% of workers in the U.S. have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. The typical American household had just over $18,000 in savings.  So, we are certainly doing better than many, but these statistics set a very low bar. 

So recently, someone (whose opinion I respect and whose personal finance acumen I admire) has challenged us both on our perspective and our progress.   He says we could save more and, that since we started late and based on our age, we should save more. 

Could we save more?  I think we could which is why I'm working hard on our Annual Spending Plan and trying to figure out where we could squeeze and reduce to free up more for savings or debt repayment (I count putting money towards our mortgage principal as savings). 

Should we save more?  Probably. 

How do we save more?  I'm working on this, but I, more than Mr. Sam (sorry honey), work really hard and as a result want to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor now.  If I'm just working really hard and putting every dime into needs and savings I'm going to get grumpy fast.  I want to eat out, enjoy my entertainment, travel, clothes, art, etc. now. 

Anyways, I'm glad that we were challenged in our thought process and I'm going to be working on reassessing our current habits, how we can improve, how we can save in some categories to free up money for spending in other, more important, categories and additional savings. 

1 comment:

Dwight Groves said...

I am reminded of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "Retire Young & Retire Rich" by Robert Kiyosaki. My thoughts run to the idea of continually increasing cash flow (high return generating assets)from all/appropriate asset types so that work and saving money is no longer a number one priority.

My goal is to acquire enough assets (real estate, businesses, equities) that the cash flow will cover my day to day expenses. My thoughts also run to a concept (also by Robert Kiyosaki) of the velocity of money. I want the money I save and invest to work as hard as I do. Please, continually save and reduce expenses, consider the idea of making the money you/yall save work harder for yall.

I do know that in the short time that I have been following your blog that I have certainly enjoyed it. I hope yall celebrate the milestones that yall have reached and I hope to reach the financial comfort that yall have obtained.