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March 17, 2017

Invest More, Save Less

Money is not a prize to be celebrated, nor is it an evil to be feared. It is simply this: a muscle to be used.

(Hal Runkel)

This may sound like crazy advice I would give to my daughter as she left for college, but this is exactly what I wanted her to think about as she managed more of her money. This comes from an excerpt of our newest book, Choose Your Own Adulthood. Here’s what I told her:
This may sound crazy, but life goes best when you spend your money.

Now, of course, the immediate dopamine-infused shopping spree can certainly feel good, especially when you’re buying all those Christmas gifts for others (and maybe a few for yourself? Am I the only one?).

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Money is not a prize to be celebrated, nor is it an evil to be feared. It is simply this: a muscle to be used. Just like our physical muscles, money is a living tool that must be exercised for exact purposes, or else it weakens.

This is why the most at peace among us actually “save” very little. These folks only save their money for a distinct purpose: a rainy day fund, a large future purchase, or Christmas shopping, for instance.

But in reality this is investing, not saving. Saving is fearful. Saving is protective. Saving is about avoiding mistakes, and just like our muscles, money saved in this way will atrophy on its own.

Think about this: Back in 1983, I spent $2.50 on a ticket to see Return of the Jedi. Tomorrow I’m spending $12.50 to see The Force Awakens. That’s inflation for you. What this means, in simplest terms, is that had I saved $2.50 back then, it would now, 30+ years later, only be worth 20% of what it was.

Had I invested $2.50 in Apple stock back in 1983, however, it would now be worth over $200,000.

Of course that’s a ridiculous example. But the principle holds true. Every dollar is a muscle, and it’s asking to be exercised–not just for bills, or for budgeted thrills, but for investments that help it grow. These include stocks & bonds, of course, but they also include experiences that create memories, meals that bring people together, and advice that leads you to wisdom.

Every dollar is a muscle. How are yours getting worked out today?

Peace begins with pause,

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