Thinks this is a problem:
Then there is the inability of people to envision their ‘future self.’ Simply put, people would rather buy a flat-screen television for themselves today, than save and invest for a future self who is effectively a stranger living in some distant and uncertain retirement universe. Flat-screen TV today or give money to a stranger? For many of us the response is, ‘what size screen?’
Newer research suggests many of us with decent incomes “over saved” for future retirement options that may never happen. I am one of those people. For example, 93% of those with a college degree have traveled internationally, and 70% of those have been to 3 or more countries (per Pew Research study, August 2021). Not me. I saved my money and planned to travel starting in March of 2020 … since canceled indefinitely. As we get older, we are faced with other responsibilities, expenses and health issues that may make those activities we postponed to the future, impossible to achieve.
I now question everything I was taught (by Depression era parents) to save absolute everything, spend as little as possible, buy second hand, repair instead of replacing, and so on.
Covid-19, and now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has taught us that we should enjoy life during periods of prosperity and not assume that the future will be a better time for such activities.
We must live life for the present and not postpone to a future that may never arrive.
Considering my numerous traumatic brain injuries, this resonates with me. A side effect of TBI is anxiety – which is associated with constantly thinking of the future. A treatment for anxiety is to engage in mindfulness and live in the moment – rather than always thinking of the future. Excessive saving is a focus on the future – a future that may not occur (I could have another TBI or be dead from other causes). I now feel the effects of age on some of my joints that will limit some activities I had intended to pursue. Anxiety and excessive saving for the future went hand in hand – with predictable bad outcomes for the anxious mind and the continued postponement of experiences that actually matter.