“Bro, Saving karke kya karega? Abhi toh shaadi bhi nahin hui hai teri!”
Translation: “What will you do by saving? You aren’t even married yet”
A friend told me this once when I told him that I couldn’t afford a particularly flashy smartphone that I honestly wanted to get. I couldn’t buy the smartphone AND maintain my usual 25%-30% savings rate. I chose to save rather than buy the smartphone.
“I am saving because I want to buy time for myself.” is what I told my friend.
He had a look of confusion on his face when he heard me say that. “What do you mean?”, he asked.
Saving isn’t just about commitments
A lot of us like to believe that saving is for when we have greater commitments in life, and by greater commitments, I mean getting married. Marriage is seen as the beginning of the “serious” stage of life. After-all now everything you do impacts another person as well.
Saving and investing are thus seen as incredibly important after marriage but apart from those planning to fund their own marriage (by choice or by circumstance), saving is seen as something you can put off until then.
It’s understandable as well, considering the cost of living in our metros and low starting salaries for the majority. After rent, commuting, and basic necessities even Rs. 30,000 a month doesn’t take you very far in 2017. Saving, therefore, is not an easy thing to do.
Saving is about making the future affordable
For me, saving is not so much about saving for the future but to buy time when I need to. We work for a salary because we want to or because we have obligations to meet. Make no mistake, when we work for a salary we are giving up the time to pay for our present and our future. Loans mean we pay for our past too (we will ponder over that in a later article).
Our savings makes our future affordable for us.
So when I buy an expensive smartphone, I am making a choice between making my present happier but with a future that might turn out to be too expensive because I might not have enough saved up to pay even for necessities.
Yes, the future is unpredictable and even the smartest minds in the world can’t say with any certainty what will happen when. But, rather than assuming that I will somehow have enough for an “affordable and easy” future, I choose to be realistic and plan for it. I try to make sure that while I cater to my present happiness and desires, I am also putting away something so that I can buy more time, when it really matters, for myself and for my family.
Someday, when my income is high enough, buying that smartphone might not mean a more expensive future. Till then, I will play it safe and stick to saving.