Awhile ago, I posted that I don't have a 401k or any sort of "retirement fund". I know that this is far from the norm considering that I'm writing a personal finance blog. Everybody knows that the key to financial independence is to lower your debt and increase your retirement fund. Right? (Well, everybody who's interested in this type of thing at least. I suspect that many "normal" people are not too far from where I am.)
I further state, for those of you who didn't read that post, that the reason that this doesn't bother me is because I believe that the world (as we know it) is going to end in five years and money will cease to exist.
Naturally, someone (Frank, but I can't go to his website...) asked..."Don't you want a safety net? Suppose you're wrong and the world DOESN'T end in 5, 10, 50 years? You're putting a lot at stake."
A very fair question indeed. One which requires a two part answer:
1. Yes, I do want a safety net. But my idea of a safety net is much different than other people's ideas. Most people think that it's best to save a lot of money that you'll have on hand when it's time for your retirement. But the majority of people put their money in the stock market. How safe is that really? What's going to happen when the gazillion baby boomers collectively start withdrawing even a modest $1000 a month to cover their expenses in retirement? Will there be enough people putting money into the system to keep that up? Is the stock market just as much of a ponzi scheme as Social Security? I'm not an economist, but I do have common sense. And the stock market just doesn't hold up to my common sense.
My idea of a safety net is working towards living sustainably. I need a place to live and food to eat. If I were to own a house outright and be able to grow the majority of my food, then I wouldn't really need much money. To be honest, I haven't really thought that much about the cost of things, but I would estimate needing $50/month for internet and maybe another $50 for food that I cannot grow myself. Then maybe another $100/year for clothes. Of course, potential big expenses could come from medical needs and taxes and I'm not even going to try to estimate those on the fly. But I don't have a lot of needs or wants. Electricity could come from solar panels. Books can come from the library. And I have a whole big beautiful world to entertain me. That's all I need. It's more important to me to reduce the amount of money that I need rather than increase the amount of money that I have.
2. What if I am right? What if money did suddenly cease to exist? How much of your life did you waste acquiring and saving for something that you didn't need? Would you wish that you had spent more time with family? With yourself?
I realize that everyone has different priorities. But to me it's more important to spend my time living now than it is to save money so I can live life later.