Saving is the route to getting up in the morning and not having to go to work, or just not getting up in the morning; staying in bed all day with a book or a loved one. Not doing anything you don’t want to do that day.
To get there we may have to work another 10, 15, or 20 years, but not having to work a day longer than necessary is the benefit of saving and investing. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the real median U.S. household income was $53,657 for 2014. When we compare this to the Bureau of Labor Statistics average household spending for 2014 of $53,495, there is a glaring problem: the average household in the U.S. earns only $162 more than it spends. That is a savings rate of 0.3%. At that rate, it would take someone 81 years of work, with consistent 7% return on investment, to retire on $25,000 per year, which is a pretty low retirement income. Assuming you start full time work at the tender age of 18 that you will be 99 by the time you retire. Sod that!
The sad fact is that many people could be ready to retire much sooner if they only understood how much small savings now pay off in the future. Most people don’t realize how just cutting a few things out of their budgets would put them in a place to retire in 15 years.
Here is a list of stuff you probably have or pay for that is totally unnecessary – not that you should find a cheaper option but that can be removed totally from your life and still leave you with a full, enjoyable, and satisfying existence.
Cable TV: $70/month or $840/year
Car payments: $300/month or $3,600/year – sell you car with payments and buy a good old car
Expensive phone plan: $80/month or $960/year
Magazine subscription: $4/month or $48/year
Buying lunch 3 times per week: $7/day or $1,092/year
Gym membership: $50/month or $600/year – buy a secondhand set of weights ($200 on craigslist) and do cardio outside (you burn more calories and get a better work-out outside)
Fucking coffee: $65/month or $780/year – would everyone please stop buying fucking coffee (4 cups per week @ $3.75 a cup)
Groceries – According to the USDA, the average 4 member family on a “thrifty food plan” spends $149 per week on groceries or $7,748/year, 25% of which gets thrown in the trash. With planning, and not throwing good food in the trash, it can be done for $50 a week, a yearly cost of $2,600, which provides a yearly saving of $5,148.
Just cutting these simple things saves $13,068 per year and increases your savings rate to 24.3%. Once you have gone without this stuff for a couple of weeks you will realize you didn’t need it, and watching your savings pot grow will become all the reward you need for not having the option to watch 300 channels of TV.
Make these changes for life and not just a few months, and you could have an additional $193,192 dollars in your retirement fund in 10 years’ time, $351,373 dollars in 15 years, or $573,230 in 20 years. That has to be worth a few sandwiches, an older car, and a little less food waste.