Common Personal Finance Advice Might be Baseless
The key to financial success? Stop wasting money on pedicures and $4 lattes. At least that’s what many popular personal finance gurus would have the world believe.
How much weight does this line of thinking hold? Do a few, small personal sacrifices pave the road to financial security? That’s exactly what writer Kashana Cauley tried to nail down in a recent op-ed for GQ.
Checking the Math of Personal Sacrifice for Financial Gain
While personal finance experts provide a lot of insight and motivation, it is important to avoid taking every piece of advice at face value. Instead, each person should do the math of certain claims and compare it against the reality of their lifestyle.
Take, for example, the common trope of giving up a latte to save for retirement. By giving up this habit and saving $100 a month, Suze Orman suggests that anyone can save a million dollars in 40 years. While this might be true, this doesn’t work for those who don’t have 40 years left between now and retirement or won’t still be living 40 years from now. It also doesn’t work for those who don’t have $100 to spare, for coffee or retirement. Plus, this depends on a high return and this isn’t something individual investors can control.
No Excuse for Reckless Spending
This is not to say you get a free pass to spend recklessly. Instead, it’s a suggestion that each person needs to be honest about their current set of circumstances and consider what really needs to happen to reach financial milestones.
If a comfortable retirement is your ultimate goal, cutting back on spending and saving more could certainly help. There are those who will have to take more creative approaches, like downsizing their lifestyle, selling a home or even getting a second job.
Ultimately, while personal responsibility and smart money management are important, it is also important to acknowledge that each person has limitations in their life. Understanding limitations allows for realistic goal setting. Not everyone can retire a millionaire, but many can create a comfortable retirement lifestyle that works for them.
~ Here’s to Your Financial Health!
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