Why Making More Money Won’t Help You Save

Let’s not beat around the bush… sometimes, looking at the balance of your Savings account can require a few shots of liquid courage. Rarely are we where we need to be in regards to a safety net. Savings, retirement, heck, even enough to get you through a week without a paycheck can be hard to come by. During those stressful moments of crunch, it can be easy to slip into a fantasy and think, “Man… if only I made more money… then everything would be fine.”
That thinking is just that… fantasy.

Recall all the times you’ve read a headline of a famous athlete or recent lottery winner filing for bankruptcy, or how many actors leave this world penniless. We scoff, we mock, we think “How could that happen? With that amount of money, they should never have another problem in their lives!” Often times, though, it’s not the lack of money that’s the issue: it’s the handling of it.

The reason people who suddenly find themselves with a significantly large amount of cash often lose it all is incompetency. Not to say they’re stupid… they just don’t know. Money is exciting! Having money is a thrill! Remember the first time you got a paycheck? No doubt you opened a Roth IRA and became making some quasi-aggressive investing decisions that you could afford at your young age, right? Or did you buy a sword and hunt for quarters in your couch to pay for gas only a few days later? It’s ok to admit shortcomings… we’ve all be there.

The realality is that these issues scale with your budget. Do you blow a big chunk of your paycheck on nights at the bar with buds after work? Having more money doesn’t mean that you’ll have more money at the end of the night… it means nicer bars and better booze when you go out. Spend way too much on a vacation you really needed? With more money, those trips happen to more distant lands. The amount of money may have changed, but not your mentality, your habits, the way you think did not.

So think better.

Put a certain percentage of every check away, and keep that percentage the same when you make more. Make a budget and stick with it. Little changes bigger larger over time, so that daily latte you love? That’s over $16k over a decade you could keep in your pocket if you abstain. You don’t get you buy better lunches just because you make more… you get to put more away.