The biggest threat to your savings account isn’t Wall Street. It isn’t your bank. It isn’t your utility bills. It isn’t debt, credit cards, gasoline prices, your stockbroker, your employer, your spouse, your kids, your bombed out car, your credit report, buying Christmas presents, cable television, health care, your car insurance, or even a lack of a budget.
The biggest threat to your savings account isn’t your student loans, your fat mortgage, your friends, jury duty, your tax rate, your IRA contributions, going to the movies at the theater, failing to buy in bulk, overlooking a hot ETF, too many books, not enough books,or going out for a few drinks this past weekend. It isn’t buying a new car, drinking sodas, a lack of an inheritance, stopping off at convenience stores, season tickets, late payment charges, your shoe collection, gambling, your cell phone plan, bottled water, a lack of insulation, a home equity loan, or your affinity credit card.
It isn’t your credit score, your asset allocation, old medical bills, vacation expenses, declaring bankruptcy, or a lack of coupon clipping. The biggest threat to your savings account isn’t your past due dental bills, a daily latte, interest charges, your large home, too many clothes, chasing returns, or the size of your paycheck.
It isn’t buying lottery tickets, beer, cigarettes, pesky debt collectors, shopping at the mall, birthday gifts, a lack of a Christmas Club, your marriage, food prices, summer camp, your property tax, your mother-in-law, or your pet costs.
The biggest threat to your savings account is YOU
Sorry, but it really is you. You are the biggest threat to your own attempt at stockpiling cash for your future. Offensive? Perhaps. But many times, it’s the offensive stuff that changes your life, so go ahead an be offended. It might actually help.
All the items I listed above CAN be threats to your savings account, but excluding judgments or garnishments, you are the only one who can withdraw that cash and spend it.
We tend to seek every opportunity to lay blame at the feet of someone or something other than ourselves. Even when we do “accept responsibility,” we do so begrudgingly, with justifications galore – expressed and not expressed.
We make choices every day and those choices have consequences. Too many times we blame the choice rather than the chooser. And so, we live in bondage to the choice, allowing it to control our lives, thoughts, actions, and future.
What should we do?
Protect your savings
Make your savings account somewhat difficult to access. Consider using an online bank such as ING Direct where withdrawals are not instantaneous (as opposed to the bank where you have your checking account).
Automate your savings. Make regular deposits. Once your emergency fund is in place, move specific amounts ($1,000 to $2,000) into a brokerage account for investing.
Sometimes you have to protect your savings from their greatest threat by putting those funds into accounts you can’t easily access.
Photo by swimparallel