After receiving our bonus in work – lots talked about what they’d spend the money on and nobody talked about saving it. I’m sure that many did save it but it made me think.
Spending is social and saving is solitary – the wise GFF
This thought came to me as I wondered about how the end of the tax year was not mentioned in our office but the release date of 19 plate cars was avidly discussed by one and all. Spending is social it seems – it brings people together in a grown up game of show and tell
How else could you have people in my office drooling over the new cars in the car park with 19 plates on them after our bonus was paid and nobody talked much about the benefits of salary sacrificing that bonus into your pension? Knowing where’s the best place to save your money is complex – it’s really not straightforward and talking about it would help. Everyone wants to have more than everyone else, it’s a natural desire – but it just leads to what Alain de Button calls Status Anxiety. You don’t know who is rich and who is poor based and talking about money and how much we earn is a taboo!
But let’s face it, we all have taboos that we dare not speak about – money is one of them.
As I walked around the graveyard to pick up some flowers for the Lady, I reckoned that I should invest in a good metal detector and a sharp shovel. But more importantly, I thought that you don’t really need any help in how to spend money – that’s what advertising is there to do – if you ask most people what they would do if they won the lottery they have a list of things ready and waiting.
Maybe GFF is a bit funny – I wound’t want to win the lottery and I don’t buy tickets. Furthermore, the lottery is just a stupid tax and winning it won’t solve all your problems. Personally, I think that they should be banned or made into an anti-lottery where everyone wins £2 but one poor bugger ends up being billed £10m and then all his family, friends, neighbours & random strangers have to stump up to save him from debtors prison.
With saving money, investing and money in general the level of awareness and education is woeful in the UK. Maybe everywhere. But the fact that personal finance is considered to be first and foremost personal means that there lies a secret inner world of financial emotional turmoil. We want all these nice things that cost money, we can’t have them or we go into debt to acquire them but they don’t make us genuinely happy so we either try to get more money or feel bad about it.
What we don’t share and we let it fester!
So, maybe that’s how the FIRE movement can help. Getting people to open up about their finances. There are lots of people out there with stories to share and relate able experiences to learn from.
Thinking idealistically now, if I spend money on a new car, I’m really spending that on myself. How often does anyone else sit in your car – when did you pick up your last hitchhiker? Maybe spending is solitary and maybe saving is social. If we work hard, save hard, invest wisely it will mean that we don’t have to work as hard – or suffer from the stresses of desire that make people unhappy. If we didn’t have to work full-time all the time, then maybe we could spend more time together as a family, see family and friends in distance places and play more of a part in our community.
So maybe Saving is Social and Spending is Solitary.