"Life's too short to save," so say some

Written by
Peter Dunn

I invoke defensiveness in some people. It's the truth. It's not because I'm judgmental, because I'm not. People assume that if you aren't doing it the Pete the Planner way, then Pete the Planner gets angry (third person in the first paragraph is a little much). Not true. I think it's great that people choose to live their lives in unique financial ways. And one of the most common unique ways (yeah, I think that's funny too) is to "get it, spend it". This live-life-to-the-fullest method is popularized in the mildly popular hip hop song "Get it, Spend it".

Have you ever found yourself ever saying one of the following phrases?

  1. Who cares if we are $30k in debt, the kids have got to see Disney.
  1. I just bought a new BMW...on a 6 year car loan.
  1. We give our kids everything they want, even into their 30s.
  1. Our mortgage payment is huge. It's 40% of our monthly income.

Now you are probably expecting me to tell you how stupid all of these things are. But I'm not going to do it. Because if you expected me to say that, then you already know that it's the truth. Instead, I would like to tell you the rest of the story. Life IS too short to save, unless you live longer than not-very-long. The "spend it, get it" method is actually a brilliant economic model if you are, in fact, facing imminent death. And I don't say that lightly having had 8 clients pass away prior to 40 in the last 12 years. But the reality is that you are most likely to live deep into your 70s, 80s, or 90s. And if you have no money when you stop working, then the "spend it, get it" methodology really bit you in your saggy 80 year old ass. And to take my point just a bit further, this "I might die tomorrow so I gots to have fun" mentality often exists in the exact same people who refuse to buy life insurance. So they are fatal immortalists. How does that work? Beats the hell out of me.

So, I'm not going to give you trouble if you pull the "life is short" crap with me. I really won't. But at least have the balls to finish your sentence. You should tell me "life is short, but if I happen to be wrong, then I'm screwed." Yeah, I know. Just send me a postcard from Disney.

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