Saver or spender?

It’s heading towards the end of the year and many of us will soon receive our Christmas bonus.

It’s time for beach holidays and Christmas gifts. School fees and clothes for 2017 still feel many weeks away and are next year’s problems.

Guilt-inducing financial planning

Soon a guilt-inducing financial planning article is bound to catch your eye. You will be told how you should save your bonus for school fees and invest the rest for retirement.

But what’s the fun in that?

If you are a saver, you will feel satisfied when you look at your growing account balance and displeasure when you need to spend money. However, if you are a spender (like many of us) and you look at life as something to enjoy, you may buy on impulse and worry about your growing debt later.

Extreme savers may have regrets later in life, but it’s also important to put something away for a rainy day.

Spenders can use the following tactics to help them cut back:

1. Limit your credit card usage and try to use it only for emergencies. Forking out cash will help you realise how much you are actually spending.
2. Withdraw cash from your bank account, so that you can see the dwindling balance.
3. Pay for everything as it comes and you will start to understand how your money “just gets away” from you.
4. Set personal savings goals and tell your friends and family, so that they can hold you accountable.
5. Reward yourself when you reach your goals, but only by spending a responsible percentage of what you’ve saved.
6. Ask yourself before every purchase whether you truly need the item. Know the difference between needs and wants.
7. Consider the future, even if this makes you uncomfortable. Think about how much money you will need to retire and how you will pay for your child’s college education.

Savers

If you are a saver, you will sometimes go without things you really need, because money in the bank is more satisfying to you than anything you could ever buy. You rarely have a credit card balance and you astonish others with the savings you’ve managed to build up over the years, even though you just earn an average salary.

But are you missing out in life through your frugality?

Tips for savers to loosen the purse strings:

1.When it is time to do something pleasurable like go on a vacation, distance yourself from the stress of spending by paying with a credit card. You’ve got the cash to cover it, so now you can take your mind off the expense and relax.

2.Treat your purchases as a reward for something you’ve done well, so that they take on more value in your mind.

3. Tell yourself that you also deserve pleasure.  Think about your future and if you really want to have regrets one day about not doing things, simply because you would not spend any money on enjoyment?

You only live once, but sufficient cash will ensure that it’s a good life. So, spend some of that Christmas bonus, but also put some away for next year and the years to come.

The saddest regret

An increasing number of mothers are coming forward and stating that they wish they never had their children.

They describe motherhood as a life-altering mistake and middle-class prison.

I cannot imagine life without my boys, therefore I can only feel sorry for these women (and some men). Some of them also make me angry…

Reasons

Many do have legitimate reasons, such as complex emotional problems and lives. Many women do become pregnant by accident.

However, plenty of people also seem to regret having their children for purely selfish reasons.

  • There’s the father who has to use anti-depressants, because he can’t face the fact that his one year old has needs which have to be satisfied before his own. He wants his life to go back to the way it was before he had a kid.
  • There’s the mother who feels she would have written 3 books by now if she had not had her kids. Surely she should have considered before having kids that she would now have less time for such pursuits, at least while the kids are small? And then are those ladies who feel they would have been much further along in their careers, but the children are holding them back…
  • You also get your outright narcissistic and abusive parents. One young lady was abused by her mother who also decided she did not want kids after having them.
  • Some people are actually good parents, but seemingly unable to enjoy parenthood as they have unreasonable expectations of themselves.

Societal pressure

Apparently a life without kids is still regarded as inferior for women. Many of the women in the various newspaper articles and online chat groups, mentioned they were pressured by society to procreate. I’ve never experienced this bias (or maybe I’m just thick-skinned and unknowingly ignored it), even though I only got married and had my first child at the age of 34. Somehow it seems easy to blame societal/peer pressure for doing something you don’t want to do, when the regret hits you afterwards. But surely as a mature adult you can also make your own choices?

Don’t inflict yourself on innocent children if you don’t really want them. Having children may seem like the fashionable idea at the time and in tune with your crowd, but they can’t be returned to the shop if you grow tired of them.

I fully support people who don’t want children and consider this a normal and adult decision. But it’s unnecessary to act in a dysfunctional manner by having a child and then regretting it afterwards because you now have to make sacrifices in your career and personal life.