Now vs. Later - When should you start saving for retirement?

Why start now?

 I have had an abundance of conversations with friends, classmates, coworkers and many others about the dichotomy of saving for retirement now, or spending now and saving later. Many people think financial decisions right now don't matter or have little impact on our future lives. Often, thoughts of retirement planning are avoided until later in life when it becomes a heavy burden to bear. We seem to be under the impression that the decision to save comes at the cost of forgoing experiences or possessions now. This isn’t a cut and dry trade-off between one or the other, but rather it is a spectrum in which we can seek a healthy mix of both. Let’s look at the reasons for doing each and then discuss benefits of doing both.

Living in the Now

Living in the now, or “being present”, is often seen as being in a state of carefree enjoyment. This may include spontaneous decision making, carefree spending, and minimal responsibilities. This is often amplified by FOMO (the fear of missing out) that is ever so present with the hyper-connected world we live in today. The benefits of this mindset are experiencing things now, instead of later. Some of these benefits include:

 •    Real World Experience

•    Social Interaction

•    Glamour 

•    Low Stress 

•    Assured Opportunity

Saving for the Future

On the other end of the spectrum is sacrificing many of the luxuries of today in order to afford more in the future. This may include a lower standard of living during the early years, however it provides for many benefits over the long term. These benefits include: 

 •    A Higher Standard of Living Later in Life

•    The Advantage of Compounding Interest (Time Value of Money)

•    A Lower Average Savings Rate 

•    Financial Security 

Conclusion

Each of us must make our own decision of how we want to live. There is a happy medium in which we are able to save for our future and enjoy life now and I urge you to find it. Look at what it would take to reach your goals and compare that with how you want to live now. You may have to alter both, but in the end it will pay off. The important thing to remember is to make it a conscious decision. 

-Josh Payne