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Saving for the future? Don’t forget to enjoy your life today

Photo: Nattanan Kanchanaprat/Pixabay
Someone once said to me, “We save money for a better future, for ourselves and our loved ones. But we invest for long-term security, so that we are fairly rich in our retirement.”

To me, both these monetary concepts are two sides of the same coin. The difference lies in our perception of whether we save money in a bank or invest in a portfolio, and earn returns to a higher or lesser degree depending on the decisions we make and, of course, our luck or the lack of it.

Whatever path we choose, our goal is to put our money to work, make it grow and create wealth over a period of time.

And yet, there is more to money than saving or investing it and building capital. In a world where the present and the future are uncertain, it has become imperative to go beyond the pursuit of money, and perhaps affluence, and focus equally on improving the other essentials of life – our health and well-being, cognitive and behavioural functions, job satisfaction and income growth, work-life balance, decision-making and problem-solving abilities, thriving relationships and family life, following our passions and, to the extent possible, a happy disposition.

Without these requisites, only savings and investments – however smart they might be – will not offer us a balanced and fulfilling life. For a truly secure and prosperous future, we have to also invest in ourselves. We ought to synchronise our life choices and priorities with investment strategies and financial accumulation. There can be no compromise between the two goals. What this means is that we grow in value, personally and professionally, even as we grow our money.

Having money is an ideal prospect, but it’d mean very little if the other important elements of life, as mentioned above, are not aligned with wealth creation. For example, the lifestyle choices we make when we are young can catch up with us in the form of unexpected health issues in later years. As a result, instead of using our carefully built savings on enjoying the good life, as we inch closer to retirement and after, we will probably be spending the money on doctor’s visits and treatments.

We are so consumed by the rat race that we often forget to take a step back and enjoy life. There is no doubt that an escape from the daily grind every now and then, engaging in moments of self-indulgence such as travel, leisure and entertainment – anything that makes us happy – can add excitement to our lives and provide an opportunity for personal enrichment. Not to mention keep us in better shape both mentally and physically.

It is one of life’s ironies that we spend our working years establishing a financial safety net to reduce stress and anxiety in retirement when, in effect, we often subject ourselves to mental distress chasing money and building that nest egg.

American self-help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer put it into perspective: “When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.”

Yes, money is important, except for the fact that as we go about saving it for a stable future, we also need to strike a balance and prioritise other dimensions of life. This will greatly contribute to our overall prosperity well into our retired years.

© Prashant C. Trikannad

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You make very strong points here. Saving and planning do mean money, of course, but they also mean (at least to me) investing in one's health, one's relationships, and so on. Those investments pay off handsomely later in life, and are extremely important to overall well-being. What does it matter how many cars you have or how big your home is if there's no-one in your life and your health is wrecked?

Sep 12, 2023
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Margot, thank you for your kind feedback. We have always been of the view that, to use a cliche, health is true wealth. Without the former, the latter is meaningless; except, of course, to pay for medical expenses and recuperation. It's important that we start taking care of ourselves as early in our lives and careers as possible, so that we reap the dividends of a sustained well-being as we grow older.

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