I’ve saved…now what?

I’m posting a few links to posts that I really enjoyed on The Simple Dollar. I think I’m pretty on top of my finances but I also love to read about what other people are doing or recommending. Hey, I never know when I can pick up a great tip to incorporate into my own life!

As I mentioned very briefly here, moving to a cash diet has made it THAT MUCH MORE obvious to me how easy it was to treat myself to something when I made most purchases on credit cards. It was really timely to read Living Below Your Means is a Challenge for Everyone; I think we’re at a point in our lives where we’re really trying to shift more towards living below our means so that we can both save up more (emergency funds, retirement savings, vacation funds, paying down the mortgage) and reprioritize aspects of our lives. You know, stop buying stuff, enjoy the stuff that we already have, maybe get rid of stuff (donate, recycle) that we don’t really need, and create more memories and enjoy more experiences together.

I’m not sure if this is actually plausible but I think I was born with a saving instinct; my mom tells me that she would give me a snack when I was a wee toddler and she would find me munching on something a few days later…yes…I had hid part of the snack away so that I could eat more of it later. It’s a bit gross when I think about it now but I swear, that was the beginning of the story of where I am today. I came out of university with no debt (yay good paying university jobs that also taught me solid life skills), have a solid emergency fund, don’t live out of my means, and feel pretty comfortable with my financial situation. I do, however, feel internally conflicted about where I should be channeling my financial attention. Should I focus on saving for retirement, which – if the conventional age for retirement is between 55 and 65 – is many years away but with inflation and longer expected lifespans, could cost a substantial amount? Should I spend more on travel, which I love to do? Should we pay down the mortgage as quickly as possible? Should we use more of it now or save more of it for later, hoping that we will live to see a ‘later’? Reading Investing with Indirect (or No) Financial Returns makes me think more about what our financial priorities should be for the moment. I want to be prepared for what may happen tomorrow or ten years from now but I also want to make the most of my life today since I have no idea what may or may not happen tomorrow. How do we reconcile those two thoughts?

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