Talk about finance and the number one tip will always be about budgeting and making every dollar count. There’s nothing wrong with this advice in itself. The issue comes when you take into account the rest of your life.
I know people who budget hard and invest every spare dollar they get so they can enjoy a comfortable retirement. They look down on the millennials who believe in spending on experiences not their first home.
There are arguments to both philosophies. The problem is you have to take into account both sides. Too many people choose a side.
Experiences are not just for the rich. You don’t have to choose between experiences now or enjoying retirement.
It’s all about picking your spots.
How Do You Pick Your Spots?
Are you the type of person who will take a used teabag and dry it out on the washing line just to use it again?
There’s certainly a time for hardcore budgeting. But if you’re just saving every dollar those retirement savings are going to go to waste. You might drop dead a week after you retire. Hoping and praying you’re going to live a long and healthy life is a dangerous game.
So what do I mean by picking your spots?
I’m going to use the way I travel as an example.
I’ll happily pay for the $10 room. Even though I’m losing out on luxuries I save a considerable amount of money.
But I’ll pay $50 for the private shuttle between cities or the extra $100 to take a flight over an all-night bus. I also don’t mind occasionally blowing my load on a restaurant.
I don’t live any particular lifestyle. I operate like a rich man in some areas and operate as a poor man in others, so it always balances out.
So Does That Mean Budgeting isn’t a Thing?
If anything, picking your spots only increases the need for a regular budget. I know where every dollar goes from my budget. I’m aware of how much I’m spending per day.
When you’re deciding to spend on experiences it’s easy to get carried away. When you’re not spending much, you don’t really need a written budget because you know you’re saving more than you’re spending.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Figure out how much you’re earning every month and how much you’re spending.
Most people have regular, monthly expenses, so just input these into a spreadsheet and you know how much you have to play with. From there, just work with whatever amount you have spare.
How much you want to save and how much you want to spend is entirely up to you.
The Millennials are Right About Experiences
Everybody hates millennials, and that’s fine because there’s a lot to hate about them. As a millennial, I should know.
But they do have a point when they say they would rather spend money on experiences when they’re young and worry about the traditional life path later.
There are lots of wealthy people who haven’t done shit in their lives. They worked a corporate job straight out of college and spent the next few decades kissing ass and earning money for someone else. Maybe they would even get a one-week vacation every year.
Talk to these people and they don’t know anything about the world outside of work and their home.
Many of them talk about how they’re going to travel the world when they retire, but realistically how many of them actually do?
They’re too tired, have health problems, or don’t have as much money in retirement as they thought.
They might even be dead before then. And they died having done nothing remarkable.
To be a well-rounded human being you need to do both. There’s a time and a place for work, but a life of work and nothing else makes a dull person indeed.
So Which Path Should You Choose?
It all depends on your age.
If you’re fresh out of college or preparing to graduate soon, don’t waste your life diving right into your chosen career path. You have a golden time window in which to do whatever you want to do. Don’t blow it because you won’t get it again until you retire.
Those later in life need to consider what they’re doing with their vacation. There are so many Americans who do nothing but work. They don’t even take the paltry vacation time that they’re entitled to…and a lot of them are proud of it.
Someone who has worked themselves into a better position over a couple of decades needs to consider asking for more vacation time.
Is your company allowing you to indulge in experiences or are they riding you harder than a backstreet prostitute?
At some point, you need to ask whether the salary is worth it. Those with high salaries would enjoy life more if they took a lower salary but had more opportunities to see what the world looks like outside of the office.
Forget about how people are going to see you. Don’t be proud because you haven’t taken a real vacation in five years.
You might think it makes you look hardworking. Do you know what you look like to me?
Someone who’s dedicated their best years to helping someone else earn a ton of money and a great retirement. That doesn’t make you smart it makes you look dumb as fuck.
Thankfully, the next generations are beginning to see how ridiculous the traditional American attitude to work is. And employers are beginning to understand that to remain competitive they need to start banishing what was common before.
They know that the next generation expects something different.
Take that opportunity. Grasp it with both hands. And see that you don’t have to choose between experiences and money.
How do you balance out the need to save for the future and enjoying what the world has to offer?