I consider myself a pretty tolerant person. I understand that others may not feel the same way I do about politics, religion, marriage, unicorns, and money. That said, I have a moral obligation to call out bad advice when I see it, and today I plan to do just that.
Last week I overheard two people having a conversation about budgeting and saving. Like a true Ninja, I inched closer to where they were talking so I could eavesdrop on their convo. It went a little something like this…
Insecure Guy: My company offers a 401K match, but retirement seems pretty far away and having more cash now is pretty appealing. That said, I feel like it’s stupid to give up free money.
Idiot Guy: Dude, don’t even bother with the 401K. In fact, don’t even bother with investing or saving. You should live it up now. I mean, what if you died tomorrow?
Insecure Guy: Yeah I guess that makes sense, especially with everything that’s going on now in the economy.
Idiot Guy: Do you really want to work hard, and live frugally, during the best years of your life for the hope that the last few years of your life will be “good”? No way, dude. Have fun now!
I couldn’t really hear where the conversation went from there, but I’m really hoping Insecure Guy said something like “You are a stupid-head and I think it should be illegal for you to have kids.”
Can you believe how ignorant that idiot is? Worst. Advice. Ever. Unfortunately, I’ve heard at least a handful of my friends and acquaintances proclaim similar sentiments over the years. Bad advice is apparently contagious.
Look, I could care less how you feel about the stock market. It’s virtually indisputable that over a long time (think like 20+years) the market is the best way to grow your money. It beats savings, CDs, real estate, etc EVERY TIME. Sure the stock market gets fussy every now and again, but overall it’s one heck of a performer. Even if you don’t like the stock market (as I know a few of you faithful commenters don’t), you should still be doing something to try and save/grow your money.
My issue with this bad advice is that it makes assumptions based off highly unlikely, and depressing, circumstances. I mean, who wants to live their life like they’re knocking on death’s door? I personally like going to bed at night, being relatively confident I will live to see another sunrise (not that I actually wake up early enough to see the sunrise, but you get the point).
Is tomorrow guaranteed? Of course not, but I’m going to bet you, YES YOU, $1,000 you’re not going to die today, tomorrow, one month from now, or one year from now. Facts don’t lie, and facts tell me that the average life expectancy in America is mid to late 70’s. That means you should plan on living until you’re wrinkly, gray, and wearing adult diapers. Which also means you should plan on providing for yourself in your 70’s now…as in today! It’s never too early to start preparing for the future.
Grrrrr… stupid people, who give bad advice, make me angry. Have you ever heard someone try to argue against the value of saving/investing? Do you see ANY logic to the “live it up today” mantra, cause I sure as heck don’t? What’s the worst personal finance advice you’ve ever heard someone give?