2008-04-10

Is All This Work In Saving Just To Spend?


Wall Street Journal columnist Jonathan Clements signed off on his 1,008th and final column yesterday—and asked what I thought was an interesting question: “What is the reason for all this saving and investing?”

His answer? “ [Y]ou save now so you can spend later. But what will you spend your money on?”

Clements makes the point that lots of folks accumulate money with the dream of the “rich life”—full of material possessions and comforts. As a blog with the word “rich” in its name, this seemed worth at least several seconds of introspection. Is our goal of “getting rich” oriented around the “rich life”—new cars and the like? Well, we usually state our goal as “financial independence”—though putting that into the name of this blog would be even more of a mouthful than it already is!

For us, financial independence connotes a certain type of freedom—particularly the freedom to make decisions that are not as driven by our need to earn a living as they are today. For many folks in the personal-finance blogosphere, my sense is that the goals behind wealth or net-worth accumulation are similar.

Clements concludes that the supposed leisure and material benefits of wealth will quickly grow old. What he thinks are the three real benefits of wealth are:

1. If you have money, you don’t have to worry about it.
. . .
2. Money can give you the freedom to pursue your passions.
. . .
3. Money can buy you time with family and friends.

That seems like a pretty good summary to me. Check out Clements’ full column as published at Yahoo!.

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