My sister confided in me how difficult her life is to keep financially afloat. A kid in daycare. Car payments. A mortgage. Flat income growth. This was a woman who was living the life not less than 5 years ago, living rent-free at home, making almost six-figures and saving close to 95% of her take home pay. Now? Not so much.
I’m writing this story because I’m living the life my sister used to have right now. A 60%+ savings rate living in Toronto, a high income job, and not many demands straining on my personal finances – but just like her, it won’t forever be like this.
One day, I will wake up feeling the financial pinch. It may not be tomorrow, but one day I will look back and wonder: “what the hell happened?”
It’s just the inevitably of life.
Inevitability #1: Family (Young and Old)
If you have parents, they aren’t getting any younger. Elderly care is already costing Canadians $33 billion a year, and that’s only going to keep rising as the rest of the boomers catch up in age. I will not be exempt from these costs as my parents are managing just fine presently. But what about in 10 years? Or in 20? And what if we add kids in the mix?
We can all agree kids are crazy expensive. As my sister quietly vented about needing some more income to generate some savings, I thought I’d comfort her and tell her that the end of daycare would be about 4 years away and savings could then return.
She turned to me and began to list the facts of life that would prevent those savings from being recaptured, specifically: desire for baby #2; and financing her kids’ educations. With a smirk, she said “It’ll basically never end.”
Point taken. It won’t end if we aspire to live a family life. But if it won’t end, are we preparing ourselves financially today for that future?
Inevitability #2: Medical Emergencies (personal and otherwise)
Another obvious statement: we take our health for granted. Think about it, assuming you are perfectly healthy today, you woke up this morning, went about your morning routines, went to work, and conducted yourself in your usual fashion. It all seems much worse when we’re hampered by an ailment.
There are a lucky few who will basically be Bruce Willis from Unbreakable, but the rest of us have to cope with illness or injury to either our own bodies or to people we care about. And caring for ourselves or the ones we love means taking time off work, either at a reduced salary or completely unpaid.
Even sadder, there are some who may never recover from their illness. If that is the case, what do we leave behind for our families and children?
Inevitability #3: Lifestyle Inflation
As much as many of us finance bloggers write about avoiding lifestyle inflation, it is inevitable. For instance, I’m fully aware I won’t be able to live with a tiny apartment with a roommate for the entirety of my life, nor be able to get away with paying for zero upkeep of my living quarters.
Like many Canadians, I aspire to own a home and raise a family. That will inflate my lifestyle. And I’m doing my best to prepare for it.
But the real question is, with all these potential futures:
Are you ready?