Unless you plan to die young it is absolutely worth it.
The relative term is’ Frugal.’ I was born into a lower-middle-class family. We always had a roof over our heads, food enough and decent clothing. We hadn’t much extra— rarely went on holiday, got by on a car, etc. I’ve been raised to be economical on matters. Rarely did I buy stuff that I didn’t need.
I moved up through the corporate ranks in the early ’80s, receiving annual pay raises. I’ve tried to live below my means that wasn’t hard. I bought my first house at age 25. It was a small job it needed but it was mine. IRAs and 401Ks just became common so I invested early in those.
My wife and I put in four years from 1981 to 1984 the maximum amount we could get into IRAs. The $24 K has risen over the next 30 + years to $250 K, without function. We just left it to ourselves.
I put my money into 401Ks after that and taxable income plans afterward. I placed the maximum amount my company can match until I’ve done gathering my kids. I placed up to 20 percent of my pay into savings after those costs were behind us. Wherever we stayed we were comfortable and we didn’t see a need to get a bigger, better home. We paid it off and started to save more / save more.
We drive vehicles before they die— no need to get a new car every couple of years. We’ve got enough clothes but that’s not flashy. We have all that we like and a few items that we don’t.
Two days ago I retired, two days before I turned 64. For a few more years I was ready to work but my company was changing and I didn’t want us old people around. They gave me a generous offer to go away and not sue for discrimination against the age group. I just gladly took it.
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I have invested enough to live off my investments. I’m not going to take Social Security until I reach 70 which is the maximum that you can get. I’m working some but only when the job concerns me and my new lifestyle is consistent with that. My health is terrific. I expect to live to at least 90 years as my father is nearly 90 years old and should live to be at least 100 years old. I am pretty much like him.
Yeah. Start college and retirement savings as soon as possible. Retirement and old age seem like a mirage until they just happen one day. Live within your means, and maintain your health. Work out, eat healthily and keep track of your weight.
Making those things habits and keeping on course will be fast. I’ve seen a lot of people my age or older who didn’t plan. They do it but they don’t feel comfortable. You are going to be old and unemployed someday unless you die early.
The idea that companies that want your money are selling is “spending like your last day.” The only problem with that thought is that the majority of people living today will also be alive tomorrow, i.e. they will not just die tomorrow and will probably not die for years to come.
No one knows what one person’s future holds but you have to follow the averages. The average life expectancy in most of the developed countries is over 70 years.
If you’re only 30–40 years of age then that’s a big gamble. Any way you lose. When you die early then you may miss things like growing old with your wife or seeing your children grow up… and if you don’t die early then you’re not spared and you’re going to end up in a horrible retreat.
You might be able to build a case for spending a little more if you were close to your life expectancy but even then you don’t want to run out of money.
Life is about keeping balance. Any extreme, be it to frugality or to spend, is bad.
Changing your mindset on money and happiness most important. Why do you think that spending your entire money today would bring you more joy? The happiness which provides more money and investment is only marginal after a point. Instead, be happy in more non-material things.
Whatever you do at the end of the day-just ensure you don’t run out of money before you die. It sure is going to be miserable.
You might find that being frugal is a great practice for the discipline of life and goal setting/attainment that is necessary. This is particularly true if you’ve got a significant other.
“Retirement” may also not be the right target for someone who wants to live life to the fullest. Economic flexibility or independence can be accomplished well before the day when you can “retire” or, to put it another way, stop working together.
If you focus on specific investment goals with your significant other that pay in cash flow (such as real estate, LLC’s or other cash-flow generating investment) rather than unrealized capital gains (such as ETF’s and mutual funds) you will be able to stop working the job you dislike and replace that job with something you love even if it pays much less, as you will have the cash flow
If you enjoy the process, managing your investments can become your new job too. This sort of cash-flow is quite reasonably expected. (Passively $4000-$5000/month) in a decade or at times less if you focus and work hard.
Anyway… if your alternative to “frugally” living is to live gluttonously the answer is that the latter will always lead you to a life that is much closer to hell than to heaven.