Imagine never seeing an advertisement on television. In the age of television where you can choose whether you see ads, it’s not such a novel idea. My children first experienced television ads when they were little, and we were traveling across country without access to our programable television. Subject to network programing and advertising, my children, with mouths agape and eyes wide, watched an ad for a particular toy and were absolutely convinced that buying that toy would change their lives. Although we talked with them about how advertisements exaggerate products to entice people to buy and assured them that the toy would not include rainbows, they didn’t believe us. We had to go into a store, visit a toy aisle and show them the box to prove that we were speaking the truth.
Showing is more powerful than telling. As a financial planner, when I talk with people about how to build a habit of saving money, there is often disbelief that there is money available to save. After we examine the flow of money, we often discover money that may be redirected toward savings. Relative to money being spent, the amount available for savings may be small but impactful. Consider $10. If you deposit $10 every two weeks into a savings account, you will have $260 in one year ($10 x 26 = $260). Assuming no interest is earned on that money, and you continue that habit for five years, you’ll have $1,300 ($260 x 5 years = $1,300) five years from now.
Consider the story of my children watching an ad: does the experience of spending money meet your expectations? As human beings, when we spend money, we may experience a bit of euphoria. But how long does it last? Is the item or experience received in exchange for your money worth the thrill? What if you pay with a credit card, adding to a tsunami of debt you’re struggling to pay off? Is the buy worth it?
Money management involves a variety of habits and choices. Trade-offs like choosing not to spend a certain amount of money now so you may have money ten years from now, may give you more choices around how or whether you work after the ten years have passed. Have you created a financial plan to address where you want to be five or ten years from now? Talk with a financial planner to identify ways in which you may align your spending (and saving) habits with your financial goals.
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Wealth Transition Finance, A Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC, where she offers financial planning and investment management services for either a one-time or on-going cost. Wendolyn is a fee-only financial planner and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the US, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.