Saving money vs. everything else - MoneySense

Saving money vs. everything else

It can be a challenge finding the money to save for retirement. But the new year is around the corner, so you get to try again!

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With kids in hockey, debt to pay down, a mortgage, and everything else, saving often slides off the plate, onto the floor and unobtrusively kicked under the carpet. The trouble is, that’s where it stays.

Let’s face it, there’s never a good time to stop spending money on the things we want for the sake of having some money down the road…way down the road. The temptation to fall into the “live now, save later” mindset is huge.

According to the Stats Man, our personal savings rate was 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011. It fell 0.2% from the quarter before, even as disposable income went up 0.7%. We’re not saving enough and we’re trending in the wrong direction!

It’s easy to find reasons to spend money. But a new pair of shoes or another drill won’t be of much use when you’ve hung up your spurs and want to have more than the basic necessities of life so you can still have some fun. And retirement’s gonna last a long, long time. While our savings rate has slipped, our life expectancy has climbed to 80.7 years from 79, with men kicking the bucket at 78.3 years and women hanging in until age 83.

It isn’t easy walking away from something you could have now, for the sake of having money in the future. But before you sweep the issue under the carpet, think about how much money it takes to live now. Are you going to be content living on government benefits if you have save any money? Never mind looking at the maximums—not everyone qualifies. A much more realistic number are the averages. And the average combined CPP and OAS monthly benefit is $1008.06. Could you live on that? If not, then make it a resolution to jump on the saving wagon in 2012. At this time next year you’ll be feeling pretty proud of yourself.

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