You often hear that long term saving requires discipline and commitment. Just a bunch of words that conveniently sum up the idea. But be warned, you may have been duped by the understatement of the year. Yes, long term savings needs your discipline and commitment. But if you’re planning for your children’s education and retirement, you’ll need a singular, Batman-like, focus on the goal–uncompromising and almost obsessed with your savings.
In other words, you need a super-heroic level of commitment.
Now you know why we now have an abundance of financial literacy campaigns today–so people need to be brainwashed into savings and investment.
The Superhero Saver!
Of course, to become a superhero saver is possible. Like from the comic books, the superhero is the every man (and woman). He wants to take control of his finances and not the other way around. He is the amateur. The underdog. He is the person who belongs with the struggling 90% of the population, dreaming to be part of the 10% rich. He wants a come-from-behind-victory. He wants to be financially independent, secure, and dreams of a comfortable retirement.
So what I am saying is that the superhero saver can be YOU.
Lessons from your Piggy Bank!
Long term savers and investors just need to go back to the very basics of saving. Recall your origin story. Remember your piggy bank.
You may not have realized it, but the piggy bank gave you your first mental challenge of holding back and delaying gratification. As kids, we were taught to keep our own coin banks to learn how to save money. By the time you see it fat and full, didn’t you get this overpowering urge to smash it to pieces and spend it?
Years later, this habit of spending money when it’s full never went away. When I see my bank account fill up, I always ended up spending much of it. This returns me to that miserable situation of little savings and trying to build it up again (Banks actually wants you to behave this way). I roll up a boulder up a mountain, and like of Sisyphus, I’ll see it roll back down the other side. I would be trap in this financial rut for years and years.
It’s a mental game!
I realized I missed the part where the piggy bank was actually telling me that saving is not as important as controlling how you spend. In other words, filling the coin bank is not your goal; it’s staying away long enough to pacify your emotions toward it. Only after then are you even allowed to use it.
So your first foray into super-heroic saving is to be in control of your emotions when it comes to money and investments. Just about any wealth adviser and financial literacy program would tell you that when it comes to money, emotions are very dangerous. It’ll easily make you its slave.