I’ve written about change before, but then it was only theoretical. Now, it’s much more real. Change of seasons (sweltering humidity to frigid, unforgiving icebox), change of clothing (tank tops to cashmere). Change of perspective (what matters, what doesn’t).
Based on my experience with cancer, I’d previously come to the conclusion that what matters most is your health and the people in your life. After planning a wedding for four months, however, money seems to be the most important thing. (Don’t even get me started on the honeymoon.) Financial stability-wise, this has been my progression:
1. 1996: I’ll put money into my savings account.
2. 2000: But I’m going to spend some of that money on shoes and crazy backpacking trips.
3. Health insurance? Who needs that? I’m going to be young and healthy forever! FOREVER.
4. 2013: Crap, I need to figure out what a 401(k) is and accept the fact that even though I don’t get a tax deduction, Roth IRAs really are the way to go. (My friend, Sophia Bera, says this a lot, as does my financial advisor. Sophia is a the founder of Gen Y Planning and her website and blog is very informative and accessible. She repeats herself a lot, but that’s because no one ever listens to financial advice until it’s too late, kind of like buying health insurance.)
4. 2014: I don’t know what most people do after being hit with #3, but I’ve started to save as much as I can, deposit more than I’d like to into my 401(k), buy store-branded products; etc. Unfortunately, the corollary to all this saving is that I now panic over spending money on anything, and that’s no way to live, either.
So, how to fix this conundrum of planning for the future but also living (and spending) in the present?
Thanks for playing, everyone, and have a safe and happy holiday!