Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I'll admit that this post by Megan McArdle doesn't at first glance appear to fall in the category of political or social commentary and yet I feel it's worth sharing for her financial advice. Why? Because our current financial condition is similar to what is happening in Europe I think we're going to face serious changes (i.e., cut backs) to Social Security, Medicare and other "entitlement" programs if (and that's a big IF) we're going to face the incredible financial hole we've dug for ourselves with trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. The more we can rely on our own personal financial resources the more we can isolate (or try to isolate) ourselves from relying on the "safety net."
After a long explanation of the different economic and political factors that affect us she offers this advice.
The important thing is to pay yourself first. Savings should be the first thing you do, not the last. After you've saved, then you budget your consumption. I won't tell you what to cut, because when you confront your new, slightly leaner budget, you'll be perfectly able to calculate what's no longer worth the money to you. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that after a few weeks or a few months of initial pinch, you won't remember that you miss the money much.
Unfortunately saving for the future isn't nearly as much fun as splurging on buying things today, even if it means using our house basically as an ATM as many people did before the housing market imploded (and then expected someone to help extricate them from bad decisions).