We all know that the future is uncertain. It’s a fog that we cannot see through and understand the exact events and timings of what will happen. Regardless of how well we plan things, we know that events can conspire to change what we expect to occur. Some people use this as an excuse to simply live for the moment and do not even plan beyond the next day in most things.
Is this really a good idea?
Living for today is always a good thing. If we cannot live for the time that we are actually living and instead live in another moment, whether it is the future or the past, then we are not truly living. However, only living for the present moment is not a good thing either. It has been stated (I forget where) that most people truly do not think beyond two or three days in the future. And this is also why people don’t truly make long term goals, for the most part. And perhaps it’s also why budget planning is not a big part of what we learn growing up.
It is important that we learn to handle our money. If we spent everything as we got it, truly only living for the moment, then there would never be anything available for the longer term expenses, even including housing, insurance, and groceries. Never mind what such a thing would do to emergency planning and retirement. While 75% of Americans surveyed stated that they have saved for retirement, only 13% are very confident that they will actually have enough to retire comfortably. And only 44% have actually done any kind of retirement needs calculation.
Perhaps it’s a good idea to actually make some plans for the future. Without planning and knowing how one is going to handle crisis, retirement, and upcoming large expenses, then there is no way that one can know exactly how much is required for these expenses. Sitting down and doing some kind of estimate, even a rough one, would make planning a lot easier. Realistic returns need to be taken into account on all savings, as well. This can give a sense of hope and security. And it might surprise people how little they actually need to retire. I’ve figured mine out. And in today’s dollars, assuming that I have no consumer debt, and that my kids are grown up, I can survive on less than $500,000 dollars in savings. In fact, that may even be high, especially if my taxes are low, or if I decide that I want to work part time. Actually, I know that I will do some income producing activity. It’s just the way I am and I will do it to keep myself occupied and happy, doing writing, consulting, teaching, or artwork of some form.
Planning for the future also allows one to live a better life today. With solid future plans, written goals and knowing how to accomplish them, one then has more security in the present. It’s easier to plan for the day when one knows exactly how much money is available for the present, allowing for all other plans. This makes living for today all that much better!