Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Emotional Side of Savings

One of my favorite banking industry slogans is “We, The Savers.” Launched in 2008 by the cutting edge online bank ING Direct (now owned by Capital One), it pokes fun at our nation of non-savers. Three out of every four people in the United States don’t have the recommended six months of expenses saved. One out of every four don’t even have one month of reserves. 

Let me say that one more time. 1 out of 4 don't even have one month of reserves. We know we should, but few of us do.

When we hear these statistics barked from the media, most of us hear them as just that: statistics. We don’t stop to think about how it impacts our lives. Our car breaks down, and we have no personal safety net to get it repaired. That sounds so matter of fact, but if that has ever happened to you, you know that underlying the fact is a deluge of emotion, frustration, shame, annoyance or fear. And the impact comes not just from when we let it happen to ourselves, but we also have to feel some of the brunt of it when it happens to our children, coworkers, and other family and friends. There’s no faster way to a bad day than a sudden expense you were unprepared for.

When I was first tackling my financial issues with my own money mentor, every time I had a “my car broke down” issue (or whatever the issue of the day was), he wouldn't spend a minute talking with me about how to resolve the problem that I didn't have money in savings, and I didn't want to use my credit card. He would only talk about what I was saving, was it enough and how I could save more. Frustrating! I walked away from so many conversations with him completely annoyed, and ashamed because once again, I was in a financial bind.

But then, finally, came the first time that my car suddenly needed a major repair and I had enough in my savings account. It was a revelation. A relief. A moment of "feeling adult." I finally not just logically understood the importance of my savings, but more importantly, I understood the importance from a deep emotional place.

If not having enough causes frustration, shame, annoyance and fear, having enough brings a sense of ease, pride, and safety. What's your emotional experience of your money

- Stacey Powell

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1 comment:

  1. Totally loved this article as I have had a live for today attitude for most of my adult life about savings ... i.e. not fun, don't do it. IN my fifties I'm finally getting it -- and am now surrounding myself with some folks who appreciate the value of a prudent reserve. Thank you for this.