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Financial Wellness: Followers of old adage are missing the point

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Financial Wellness: Followers of old adage are missing the point
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‘You can’t take it with you.”

I hear this maxim from those who don’t understand being frugal and saving for the future.


“Life is short,” they say. “Money does you no good in a cemetery. Enjoy it while you can.”

And by enjoy, they mean spend.

To me, it’s a misguided adage that promotes financial irresponsibility.

Plus, it totally misses the point.

It assumes that saving and frugality are only about amassing wealth for the sake of amassing it. That those actions are anchored in greed.

That’s not why I pinch my pennies.

As a family, we have long-term goals that keep us focused. They make saving purposeful, even enjoyable. Any sacrifices are worth it, a result of delayed gratification.

But honestly, frugality isn’t much of a sacrifice for my family.

We relish in a simpler life, living below our means, finding pleasure in things that don’t cost money. It’s far less stressful than spending every dollar.

Sometimes we splurge, but thoughtfully. We’ve saved up for that expense first.

Because here’s a cliché that does ring true: Money can’t buy happiness.

A lot of those people who spend because “you can’t take it with you” believe that trading that money for things will bring them joy.

It won’t.

But money can provide security. It gives you options, especially if you’re careful with your dollars early on.

By not frittering away our money, my husband and I can enjoy retirement to the fullest, maybe retire a little early, not worrying if Social Security will be enough (it won’t).

We can help pay for our future grandchildren’s college education.

We can leave a legacy, donating money to charities or organizations that do valuable work.

By doing without, we can have more. Or as Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else now so later you can live like no one else.”

Former Police frontman Sting was in the news recently for an interview he did with the Daily Mail, in which he said he didn’t plan to leave much to his six kids, as he expected them to work and he was spending his money anyway.

I’d say he’s earned that. Sting’s fortune amounts to more than $300 million, according to the Huffington Post.

Maybe, like Sting, you don’t want to leave money to your kids. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact with it.

No, you can’t take it with you. But you can make plans for it along the way.

Sherri Richards
Sherri Richards has worked for The Forum since 2002. She is the features and business editor, overseeing Variety, SheSays, Farmers' Forum, the daily Business pages and Saturday Business section.     Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to
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