Show Her the Money
December 13th, 2005 | Posted by Shannon
The other day, the guy who handles my IRA retirement account stuff, called me up to ask me how much money I am saving every year. This kind of call always catches me a little off-guard. I can totally answer if asked am I eating enough green vegetables (no) or if possibly I am drinking more wine than is good for me (yes.) If you were to ask me, right now, my five favorite records of the month, I could answer in two seconds. I know how many hours I am working a month, and I know, sort of, how much I have in the bank. And I do know, with a few minutes of thought, how much I am saving and/or how much I’ve got saved. Still, when IRA guy asked me how much I’ve stashed in my 401K this year, I was like, uh, three thousand? That is the wrong answer, I totally underestimated under the strain of being put on the spot, but he was like “you’ve got to bump that up to $10,000 per year.”
Let’s just say right here, that I have definitely invested a little more than $3000 in my future this year, but that the number also falls fairly short of $10,000. I don’t make very much money, and to save $10,000 a year would, well, make my life really, really boring. Also, do I REALLY believe in a future that far away? I am not so sure I do. I want to believe I’ll be around in 2030, but I can’t imagine it. I really can’t imagine that I could live that long. So wouldn’t it be a drag if I put everything cool and fun on hold now, and saved every friggin’ penny, for no reason because I am going to die kind of young anyway?
It sucks knowing I will probably never own a house (at least in a place I’d want to live) and that there may not be any social security left should I even make it close to 67 or however old you have to be these days to get it. And it’s not like I am not saving anything – I am, but how can you live now, and also save enough for later, in case you make it that far?
I am lucky that I have no hardship in my life and no debt. My life is good, and I know how to live this way within the confines of my income. When I think of my mom raising me and my brothers alone on a fraction of what I make (and I only need take care of myself) it makes me feel, well, weird, and whiny, but I am not trying to be whiny. I am just trying to figure out how to strike a balance, without feeling guilty or frivolous, between what I spend on music and travel and wine (which is what keeps me going) and what I put into a tax-deferred void for my questionable future.
It’s nice, I guess, that I get a call from time to time from someone who seems to care, for a forty dollar administration fee, about my future. I just want more. A crystal ball or a winning lottery ticket would be a nice start.