It may seem counterintuitive, but spending your money can help you be a better saver. Let me show you what I mean.
How successful would Olympians be if the Olympics were held every 40 years instead of every 4? Not very, right? Most athletes would burn out long before they made it to the actual competition. That’s because it’s impossible to always be in “preparation” mode without experiencing some sort of “payoff.” For athletes, the training and sacrifice needs to be counterbalanced by cheering crowds and medal stands.
Relating that to retirement planning, it’s tough to sacrifice, save and be disciplined with your planning decade after decade without having some sort of payoff along the way. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Americans work longer and take fewer vacation days than almost any other developed country and we’re also woefully underprepared for retirement. We’re asking people to be all wind up and no pitch.
Taking a break can remind you why you’re saving in the first place. After spending a little time at the beach or touring around Europe you might find yourself saying “I could get used to this.” When you get a taste of the reward, you’ll probably be more likely to put in the effort.
So take that vacation. Have a little fun and enjoy life now. It will probably give you the incentive you need to save for the long haul.
Incidentally, I try to eat my own cooking here at IR. The photo in today’s post is the sunrise in the Cayman Islands last week. I finished up the test I mentioned in the last post (I passed!) and got on a plane the next day for a trip with some friends. After a week of 80 degree weather, sand volleyball and scuba, one of the first things I did when I got back was to increase my 401(k) contributions. 🙂
Have a great week!